July 24th, 2005
Dana or Neo…Am I in a Matrix movie?

I am coming to the time where I’m going to have to break down and buy something that allows me to write AWAY from the computer. I’m not ‘strong’ enough to resist the temptations of internet hook-up. Sigh.

With that in mind, I’ve been looking at the AlphaSmart page. The decision is between the Dana sans wireless or the Neo. Any help you all can give me would be greatly appreciated. For those of you who own one of these little gems, how did you go about deciding which model to purchase? Is there a specific reason you purchased the Dana/Neo? Why didn’t you buy the other model? Thanks in advance.

28 comments to “Dana or Neo…Am I in a Matrix movie?”

  1. I have a NEO, I just got it about 4 months ago when my laptop bit the dust for the last time. I admit, I don’t use it as much as I did the laptop, butI do love it!

  2. Oh, and I bought the NEO because the screens a bit bigger, and it does NOT have internet capabilites, and I liked the color. 😀

  3. I thought the screen on the Dana was bigger than on the Neo. Hmm… Glad to hear you like it. 🙂

  4. I bought the Neo because a) I like the colour [yes, I choose machines, including cars, this way], b) it was cheaper, and c) I didn’t need all whistles and bells, just something for me to focus on writing my reports. The Dana looked, at the time, too big and too expensive [when comparing it with a laptop]. Now I’m officially unemployed, it’s gathering dust. Eek.

  5. I’ve got a Dana and I love it! I was torn between the Dana and the Neo, but a Dana came up on Ebay, so I bought it for a little over half the retail price. I like it because it has a good big screen that has a useful backlight for working in lower light conditions, and you can also add a variety of additional programmes that run on the Palm platform. For example, I’ve added a reader programme so I can now use the Dana as an ebook reader for Ellora’s Cave books! There’s a native ebook reader with it too, but I’m not sure that’s compatible with the EC formats. I’ve also added a backup utility that backs up all my data to an SD disk in the middle of the night while I’m asleep!

    Don’t know how the screen size compares to a Neo as I’ve never seen a Neo in the flesh, but you can see a good big chunk of text at one time on the Dana. Must be at least ten lines… I’ve never actually counted.

    Having said all this, if a Neo had come up on Ebay at an attractive price, I would probably have bought that… It’s just that Danas have been out longer, so they’re starting to come through for auction now at decent savings.

  6. Do you have a laptop? If you don’t, and want a laptop simulator (more functionality), then Dana’s probably the way to go. If you want a distraction-free, instant-on writing machine, then I’d go with the Neo. There’s not much to fiddle with on it.

  7. I’ve a PDA, which I love.

    I didn’t get a Dana because I wanted something I could use, say, standing up on the train.

    I also have a laptop, so if I’m headed to the library or somewhere to write, it’s what I would use.

    Jordan, this discussion came up on the eHarlequin boards recently, specifically the Bombshell Writers thread.

    I heard comments about how if you edit while writing, ie you scroll back up often, then the Alphasmarts probably aren’t for you. Another suggestion was to borrow a friend’s for a couple of hours to fiddle with too.

  8. I have a 3000 and i wish i’d waited the six months to get a NEO. Since the point is to unplug from the net I’d say go for that–i don’t know if htey’re backlit or not though. They also have a great message board over there!

  9. Maili, I was leaning toward the Dana due to screen size. I’m not concerned that it has all the bells and whistles. I’ll probably use very few of them. As long as it has back-lighting and instant save functions, I will be good to do. The Neo does look ‘prettier’. 😉

  10. Wendy, Thanks for the indepth take on the Dana. I really appreciate it. I want to do a valid comparison between the two machines. The difference in price between the Dana and Neo isn’t enough to sway me one way or the other. (Although it sounds like you got a great deal.:)

  11. CW, My laptop’s battery is shot, so it only last about thirty minutes. Not useful at all. Are you talking about the added programs on the Dana being a distraction? Doesn’t the Dana have the on/off write and save immediately thing? I thought it did. I’m concerned with screen size, memory, and usability. The backlight is important too. I want to be able to see the screen.

  12. D. Angel, I wish I could borrow a friend’s AlphaSmart, but unfortunately they’re all using them. :-/ I do tend to edit as I write, but it wouldn’t be a bad thing to have to write forward. That’s one of the reasons I’m looking at getting one.

    I had a friend who sold her Dana and bought the Neo. She wasn’t happy with the new machine. She said she missed the Dana. She thought it was more reliable. I’ve also had friends rave about their Neo’s. Hence why I’m confused about which one I should go for.

  13. Cece, Where’s the message board? Also, wasn’t there four different models? The AlphaSmart 3000, Dana, Dana Wireless, and the Neo. Or am I confusing the 3000 with one of the Dana’s? This is what happens to me when a site puts too many specs on it. LOL!

  14. I have an older ALpha Smart I got cheap on ebay. It has the small screen, and no backlight–which would be nice to have. However, it was hardly used before I got it(3 sixth grade reports on trains, wedges and Santa Claus) and works perfectly, uploads onto a doc or even email or a message board quickly.

    I’m kind of glad it doesn’t have an e book reader at this time–I noticed that I got about 8k written on my WIP last week, without all the distractions(not just the internet, but our computer is in the living room with kids and TV.) I heart it.

  15. Becca, The internet is what distracts me from writing. I have an e-book reader, so I won’t be reading e-books on it. I’ve heard from more than one person that they tend to get a tremendous word count done when writing on their Alphie.

  16. I bought the Dana before the Neo was available. I used the Quick Office feature and it messed everything up….it’s buggy. Now that I’ve deleted all the programs, I like my Dana a lot better. The backlight eats battery power, but is fine if you charge nightly.

    I plan to use the Dana as an e-book reader too.

  17. Monica, What in Quick Office was causing the bugs, do you know? I figured the backlight would eat the battery that’s a given. It does on everything. You’re the first person I’ve heard who’s had bug problems. Wow, this is worrisome.

  18. QuickOffice? If you are talking about Iambic/iGo’s QuickOffice, don’t bother with it. It’s got more bugs than a jungle.

    Documents To Go from DataViz can be a bit slow to open up, but it’s very much easier to use and more reliable.

  19. Thanks D. Angel! I guess what I’m trying to figure out is, do I need Quick Office to be able to write on a Dana? Is that part of the word processing package? (ie dictionary, spell-check, etc.)

  20. Here doll

    My 3000 has very stiff keys–but the Neo (from when I tried out a chaptermates) has keys more like a Laptop. Very easy to the touch.

    I used to go outside on my afternoons off and I could knock out ten pages in like NO TIME. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to do that much, so I think there are some definite plusses to “unplugging”

    Three more weeks till school starts

  21. Thank you, Cece!!! The sticky key thing is something to consider. The screen and readability are the big things for me.

  22. I don’t know Jordan.

    It says it’s run on Palm OS, so it means that you can get Docs To Go and install it like normal software though.

    You can email me if you’ve got any questions (I won’t be checking this blog entry again now that it’s moved down the page).

  23. Thanks D. Angel!

  24. Jordan,

    I have the Dana and love it. I don’t use the backlight very often but man it’s nice to have if you do need it…say like you’re traveling on a plane at night and the shut off the lights on you and you don’t want to turn on the spotlight above your head to disturb the person next to you. I’ve seen a lot of the back and forth on this thread about the NEO vs the Dana. At the time I bought the Dana they didn’t have the NEO,but I probably still wouldn’t gotten the Dana. I didn’t see this option mentioned here so I’ll throw it out to you…

    Alphasmart offers you the ability to ‘test drive’ their products. They’ll send it to you for free and if you decide to keep it, they charge you for it. If not, your only cost is the shipping cost back to Alphasmart. I test drove the Alphasmart 3000(I think, can’t remember the #)but I thought I’d rather have the high end Dana because I could use it as an ebook reader AND the Palm features on it (as an aside, I’ve never used either of those features! LOL!). But all it cost me was $12 of shipping cost to test drive their product. Just a thought! Good luck with your decision. I think you’ll be very happy with it and A LOT more productive. I know I was!! :o)

  25. Um, I MEANT, I still WOULD’VE gotten the Dana! LOL! *slippery fingers* :o)

  26. Patrice, Thank you so much. That is VERY helpful info. How did you go about getting them to send you one? Did you contact customer service? Thanks again.

  27. Hey Jordan,

    Yes, just call Customer Service directly. They’re great to work with. :o) Good luck!

  28. Thanks Patrice! I’ll call them at the beginning of the month.