Draft now, edit later. Traveler is our most portable distraction-free writing tool.
A place just for writing, wherever you go. Turn off distractions. Focus your thoughts. Enter flow state.
I spent weeks researching the product before I bought it. After a decade of “trying” to write a novel without ever finishing an entire chapter, I am currently working on chapter 4, after only a week or so of having the device.
To address some of the concerns you might have when thinking about buying a Traveler, here’s my take:
The small delay between key press and it appearing on screen was a concern, but I’ve found that it’s a non issue. I’m actually improving my typing using the freewrite because not having spellcheck forces me to be more deliberate.
I’m sure you know the benefits of distraction free writing and draft focused writing if you are considering this product, and it really does work. But another benefit I didn’t anticipate is that not being able to edit on the fly easily is forcing my best work out of me. If I write a paragraph that’s not fantastic, it’s easier to simply delete it and start again than to try to bandage it with edits. It removes the temptation to put a band aid on mediocrity and instead forces you to step your game up a bit.
The battery life is probably not as good as they try to make it sound. But it’s very good nonetheless, and probably lives up to its advertising if used as described. I find I spend a lot of time thinking while writing, and when I ponder too long it goes to sleep and then wakes up again instantly with the push of a button, making it very efficient. This being said leaving it on sleep mode overnight doesn’t do the battery and favors, so do a full shutdown when you know you won’t be using it for a few hours or more.
It’s not as bad of a fingerprint magnet as I had feared, not any worse than any other mobile device I own.
The keys are super satisfying and tactile, it’s a joy to type on. You can get some nice click clack going but it’s capable of nearly silent typing if you use a gentle touch, so it’s a nice balance.
Ease of use as far as document management and Wi-Fi/cloud features is really great. Everything was set up and working without issue in just a few minutes. Painless. The Wi-Fi connects reliably without intervention once it knows a source, even when using a phone as a hotspot.
I love the one touch email function! I can zip a draft to my email and then read it on my iPad or phone as a walk around and stretch, then sit back down and continue writing or scrap something that needs re written.
It was packaged nicely a arrived quickly.
My only complaints about this device are as follows:
The battery indicator is not very accurate. It seems to be on 50% forever and then one day needs charged. I’m hoping it gets improved in a future firmware update. Speaking of firmware updates the process was fairly painless, so that’s nice.
Another con is the power connection seems a bit flimsy, and the charging indicator light doesn’t work when the unit is fully powered down. It works fine when the unit is on standby. Not a deal breaker but this could have been executed better.
I’m not super in love with the plastic exterior. The unit feels strong enough but it’s definitely not going to take the kind of abuse an iPad or iPhone can take. Probably invest in a hard shell case if you are traveling a lot in public transit. Love to see this in aluminum, especially at this price point.
All in all this device does what it says on the tin, and despite its few flaws I find that it’s superpower is getting words out of your fingers, and that it absolutely does. If you are perpetually beset by distractions or your inner editor won’t let you write a draft in peace, just buy a freewrite. It’s quirks and minor issues are greatly overshadowed by its utility.
If it had a better battery indicator and aluminum case I’d have given it five stars.
This is the best gadget I've ever owned, in terms of writing tools (I have a LOT of computers, of all kinds and makes). It makes you want to write more, you tend to write faster because of the format, and you lose some of the "let me go back and rephrase that", or "I'll just change that paragraph a bit" quirks we sometimes develop and which are not useful when writing a draft.
The only flaw I see in the Freewrite is the response time, the time between you writing something and it being printed on screen. I wish it were faster, but I guess that's a small price to pay for an amazing battery life.
Three thumbs up.
An incredible device for distraction-free writing. With the freewrite, I'm averaging maybe an extra 100-150 words per hour - and most importantly, it makes writing an even more enjoyable experience.
Love the concept. Wish the build quality was a bit better and that the type lag was reduced
I got the Freewrite Smart a few months back and loved it, but it is big. The keyboard is amazing, the screen is beautiful, the system is EXACTLY what my writing needed. My only issue was how hard it was to take the Smart on the road with me. I have trips planned to the Davis Mountains in West Texas and NYC in the next two months. I could not get much work done on the Smart, but the Traveler looked to solve the travel needs.
After I got the traveler, I had a space bar issue, it worked 50% of the time because I had to smash it to be noticed. A little research and saw a recommendation to just push all edges down to set it better. Did that and it worked. The keyboard works better than I expected and I get a lot of writing done, in fact, the size is so ideal, I work more on the Traveler than I do on the Smart, even when I am home and the traveler is right there on my desk.
I think I would jump between the two more if the folders would sync. I do not understand why my writings or folders do not sync. I should be able to start on one and move to the other and continue and then when I get home, go back to the first. This is standard programming that has been around for many years. I hope that Astrohaus makes this happen soon.
Not everything is perfect on the Traveler, I cannot give it five starts for one reason and one reason alone, no back light on the screen. I have a kindle oasis to read my books, in places that are bright or in direct sunlight, or dark, with limited light. I love the Smart, that I can write at my desk without having the light on to wake my wife or daughter with too much light (the keyboard is like ASMR, its amazing). The traveler, which will, ideally, be used while my wife is driving in the evening, or when I am on a plane and all the lights are dimmed. I will not be able to see the screen. I am investing in a booklight, like I used on my Kindle II in 2009.
Just like with the syncing of files, having a backlit e-ink should have been an automatic. They were introduced on the Kindle in 2012. I understand Astrohaus is not Amazon and there might have been price constraints, but these two things should have gone into the traveler.
All of that said, I am not unhappy with my purchase. I am even considering giving my Smart to a friend for writing and keeping the Traveler only (I can plug my mechanical keyboard into it and get the same benefit of the Smart). If Astrohaus connects syncs the files, I will keep both and my traveler will never leave my bag and used all the time.
Last note, the black top is a finger print magnet, I could clean it and then when I pick it up, it has smears again, but who cares? I am looking for stickers to put on it and moving on. I thought about a dBrand skin, but they only had the “make your own” skin for one day. I think I can find some cool Writer’s quotes stickers to put on. Do not let the finger prints scare you away.
If I am being honest, if Astrohaus releases a backlit Traveler, I will be selling mine and buying that one (probably not in that order) because the lit screen will change the value of the Traveler. I would have paid full SRV for the traveler, if it had a back light. Hope this helped with your decision. I would recommend (and have to many friends and family) the purchase of the traveler.