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I Bought the Freewrite Traveler - An Honest Review

Is the Freewrite Right For You? Exploring the Features and Portability of the Traveler

By Olivia L. DobbsPublished 12 months ago 4 min read
Top Story - May 2023

Note: This article is not sponsored, and I am in no way affiliated with Freewrite.

On the fence about purchasing the Freewrite Traveler? Read on to determine if purchasing the device is right for you:

The Good

The Freewrite Traveler has been a huge lifestyle upgrade. Previous to this device, writing anywhere but at my desktop was a hassle, my only other option being lugging around an absolute brick of a work laptop. It’s a lot easier now to wander over to a local park or coffee shop - with the Traveler, you no longer have to deal with bringing around a charging cable, a mouse, or any other computer accessories.

The Freewrite Traveler charges with a regular USB-C cable, meaning that, even if you do bring a charging cable along, you’re looking at a writing device that weighs you down no more than 2 lbs. But, the battery life lasts up to four weeks, so even a little USB-C isn't often needed to bring around.

It’s also super easy to use. The directions, commands, and accompanying instruction booklet are really intuitive, and the simplicity makes the whole experience feel both optimized and minimalistic.

With the display, which uses E Ink (similar to that of a Kindle Paperwhite), writing outside is phenomenally better. The screen doesn't glare when it's bright up. The company boasts that this sort of screen tech prevents eye strain, too.

But my favorite feature? It's nearly impossible to get distracted on the device. There's no web browser, no notifications, no apps. It is just a typewriter with a screen. The simplicity and lack of bells and whistles makes it a breeze to stay on task. I've found that I'm actually able to write more and more quickly on it than I usually can at my desktop. If you're a writer who often trails off onto websites or apps during your writing time, this device is meant for you.

The Bad

The first problem I noticed was the latency; it really takes some getting used to. It takes a noticeably long time for what you're typing on the keyboard to actually show up on the screen. If you’re the sort of folk that looks at the screen while you type, it can be a little disorienting to have previous letters appear while you’re typing out the next word. It took about a week of use on the device before it felt natural, it definitely helps to look away from the screen when typing, though.

The second problem is one that has, unfortunately, began to emerge as of writing this: Display Burn. Using it for just about a week now has resulted in mild remnants of previous lines of text that are especially visible in bright sunlight. This issue is fairly common for front-lit screens and is a trade-off with the ability to use it in the sun and without eye strain. As of writing this, I hope this issue doesn't get worse with continued use, but it's still too early to tell.

The Ugly

In addition, the outside of the Freewrite Traveler is, unfortunately, a fingerprint magnet. After the first use, it was covered in little smudges. The kit came with a high-quality microfiber cloth that definitely helps, but this reviewer would have greatly preferred a better material for the outside casing.

And, at the moment, that plastic-y outer casing is what Freewrite Traveler consumers are stuck with. The store offers a disappointingly small selection of accessories for its devices at the moment, most of which are containers to use to store the device when it is not in use. Hopefully, they’ll be expanding this part of their store in the near future.

The Verdict: Should You Get a Freewrite Traveler?

All in all, I would recommend this device, but not to everyone. It's a niche device for certain personalities of writers, and definitely not a one-size-fits-all solution.

If [most of] the following criteria resonate with you, I'd say it's worth a purchase:

  • You find yourself often getting distracted when writing on a computer.
  • You prefer writing outdoors or in public spaces.
  • You already have a decent writing setup, but want a tool to add some variation to your routine.
  • You don't often need to investigate and cite within the material that you're writing.
  • You love the aesthetic of a writer, and really want to give off that vibe when you're working.

But, honestly? It should be more a supplemental tool than one that could replace your writing medium. For me, it gives me the opportunity to sit outside while writing, which gets my creative energy flowing, but it in no way makes my desktop setup obsolete.

If you want a comprehensive writing solution, opt for a laptop with a long battery life instead. Something like a Chromebook would provide much more functionality for a writer, with the ability to use the internet to research and of course upload articles to writing platforms. Plus, tools like Google Docs offer significantly more editing tools. There's no such thing on the Traveler.


Got questions or comments? Let me know in the comment section below!

Thanks for reading! :)

product review

About the Creator

Olivia L. Dobbs

Science Enthusiast, Naturalist, Dreamer, Nerd.

I crosspost my Medium articles here :)

You can find my main account on Medium: https://medium.com/@oliviadobbs13

Check out my science! -> bit.ly/DobbsEtAl

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  • Ehab Mohsen30 days ago

    Thanks for sharing your honest review of the Freewrite Traveler! It's always helpful to hear real user experiences, especially with gadgets designed to boost productivity for writers. The Freewrite Traveler seems like a fantastic tool for anyone looking to focus on writing without the distractions of a traditional laptop. The long battery life and lightweight design certainly make it appealing for those who love to write on the go. For writers who are also involved in digital marketing, tools like the Freewrite Traveler can be a game-changer in terms of enhancing content creation without the clutter of numerous apps and notifications. Speaking of digital marketing, if you're looking to amplify your digital content strategy or need tips on content marketing, Digitology might have some valuable insights. They specialize in creating impactful digital content and strategies that resonate with audiences. You can learn more about their services here: Digitology - https://digitology.co I'd love to hear more from others who've tried the Freewrite Traveler or similar devices. What's your experience been like?

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  • Lost in Writing8 months ago

    Too small and that small LCD are a deal breaker for me. For that I would rather stay using my favorite Android app: Novelist, and then the usual PC/laptop writing with a full-size keyboard and screen.

  • Kenneth Lawson8 months ago

    I've been playing the idea of one of them for a long time, on and off. However, there are a couple of problems; One is the price, especially for the full-sized version, which I'd ideally like at over $600. It's not doable. Two, My typing; Due to my health issues when I was born, my hand-eye coordination isn't as good as it should be. This has me making a lot of mistakes that other people don't. Therefore I routinely have to go back and fix 80-90% of what I type, either because I spelled a word wrong, or made another mistake. From, what I've seen of them, fixing a lot of typos and other mistakes would be problematic at best on the Freewite. For me, this is a bigger problem than the price. As a Pantser or Discovery Writer, I often move lines around in a paragraph as I write. Something I don't think I can do on that. As much as I'd like to try one, Between the price, my writing style, and my creating process, I don't think I could make it work. That said, I do see the pluses of a device like this. and can definitely justify it for someone who can actually get the use out of it. My point, in all of this, is this; Consider your writing/creating process and how you actually work. Are you a fixer as you go, or can lay down a stream of words regardless of how they come out and fix them later? Do you have to stop and do a lot of just-in-time research to find the odd fact or idea as you create the project? To me, they are more important considerations than just the price.

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  • Abdullah10 months ago

    Honesty Is The Best Policy!

  • Ignacio Davies 10 months ago

    Great review

  • Raymond G. Taylor11 months ago

    Very interesting thanks. I used to have a similar device maybe 20 years ago but they stopped selling it so might consider buying. Not sure about the latency though, as I would find that irritating. Thanks for sharing

  • James Crawford11 months ago

    Thanks for this! Was half considering the device myself, but never saw much for reviews on it. Then again, I didn’t look terribly hard either…

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  • Amjad Ateih Dib12 months ago

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  • Paul Levinson12 months ago

    Excellent, informative article -- thank you!

  • Ashley Lima12 months ago

    Yes! I've been looking for personal opinions on this. My MacBook screen is half broken, so I'm forced to either minimize my screens or work at my desk using an external monitor. However, from your verdict, I don't think the free-write is for me. I know that Kindle recently put out a scribe tablet with paperwhite technology, which might be a good alternative with a Bluetooth keyboard. Thanks so much for sharing your insights!

  • Cendrine Marrouat12 months ago

    Great review, Olivia! You forgot to mention the horrendously high price for this device. Honestly, I think it's what puts me off the most about buying it.

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