Looking for a new writer, and I found one

So the other day, I had to stop the depo bec. there was this very loud beeping noise coming from God only knows where.  Oh, yeah, it was me.  What's going on?  Am I about to crash?  Nope.  My disk was full and I had to end job soon!!!!

Okay.  So I say, I just need a quick second to change out my floppy, at which all the attorneys in the room mocked me for using floppies.    So there's one reason to get a new writer.

Second reason - I am on Eclipse and I will be upgrading to Eclipse 5 sometime this year.  While I'm going through a shakeout period, I would like a writer that has onboard audio that will sync in case my computer freezes up.

Third reason - newer laptops are no longer being built with the Expresscard.  It's usb all the way.  My writer is currently serial to usb or expresscard.  I need a new writer that is usb to usb or has blue tooth or something more modern than serial to Expresscard.   The Expresscard is not seated very tightly and has been knocked loose during depo which involves rebooting Eclipse in order to start a new file.  Not fun.

So now that I've talked myself into wanting a writer, which one?  Hmm, decisions, decisions.

Lucky me, the DRA Convention was this past weekend.  So I hauled MY laptop, MY microphone, My cables to the vendor hall and visited each vendor that I was interested in.   


ProCat  - maker of the Flashwriter (this was the one where they yanked out the innards of your Stentura and put in new innards), looked exactly like a Stentura.   This morphed into the Stylus.  And the latest generation is the Impression.

Eclipse - maker of the Passport, the first writer put out by this company.  As I mentioned, I do have Eclipse software.

Neutrino Group - they started off with the Piper which morphed into the   Revolution Grand and the latest and greatest is the Infinity Traditional and Ergonomic

Stenorgraph - the heavyweight champ in this ring.  Starting from the Stentura 400 to the 8000 to the Mira to their latest, the Diamante

My goodness how far we've come.  They practically write by themselves.  I'm hardly necessary.  But let's get down to the nitty-gritty.

I tried all four.   The only one that I absolutely ruled out for me is the Passport.  I really did not like the way it felt.  It just was too tight.  I know for those of you who like a really shallow stroke, this might have been great for you, but not me.  They also told me that I could individually adjust everything.  But it seemed very complicated.  It is seriously a d 5 to 10-minute process.  I don't have that kind of attention span.  That's probably why I don't have automatic indexing (but that's another blog).  

So after a day at the vendor hall, I was able to rule out the Passport for me.     Not to say it might not be right for you.  The only other issue is that once again there is a wait list.  You can't get one for 8 to 12 weeks.  I have no idea why.  Call them up and ask.  This is as of February 2013. 

The Passport looks like a great machine.  It is heavier than the others, but you can really customize the keys and there are all kinds of skins you can buy if you want to customize the look. 

The Diamante, the Impression, and the Infinity were practically plug and play.  A few drivers here, a few plugs there, and voila up and  running within minutes.   All three hooked up quickly and easily to my laptop.  I was writing within minutes, and it looked pretty clean.   

I did not try to the Infinity Ergo.  But for those of you who have carpal tunnel or other wrist ailments, you might want to take a look.  This also has a lot of color choices and customization options for keyboards and screens.  You could get one w/out a screen.  It has bluetooth.  The touch is very nice.  However, once again it seemed a little complicated to set up.

Impression v. Diamante?  They're very close in looks.  The Diamante's screen folds down over the keyboard, so you cannot have it down and write.   The screen will always be up.  Some of you won't care.   It kind of bothers me because I usually have my writer under the table.

On-board audio - I said this was important.  I tried all three.  Honestly, the Diamante had the best audio.  The Impression was decent.  I had trouble hearing the Infinity.   Once again using my mic which looks like the Martel Hi-gain with battery.  But then again, I did try the Diamante audio when everybody had left for lunch and the hall was quiet.  The other two, unfortunately everybody had come back and there was a lot of background noise.

The touch - once again all three were nice.  All are very adjustable for your writing style.

Body - the Infinity is the sturdiest and yet still the lightest.  I think Jason Pardykes is actually using metal and it's just a well-built machine that can handle getting knocked over.  I know.  I knocked two over by accident.  Whoops!!!   So sorry.  I was almost afraid I was going to have to buy it bec. I broke it.  The Steno Doctor thinks this is a well-built machine that you will not always be bringing in for maintenance or broken parts.

The Diamante and the Impression are a little more plasticky, but still nice-looking machines.  You don't have the color choices that you get with the Passport and the Infinity.   But really, I can't buy a machine just based on the fact of whether it comes in a pretty color.  That would be really too shallow; right?   Right?

So which one did I buy?  Well, I bought the Impression.  Why you ask?

I liked the touch.  I like the fact you can write via usb to usb or use blue tooth.

Did I mention it has a touch screen?  That's kind of cool.  

The audio is decent.  

It's backing up using the SD cards (actually all of them are, so this isn't that big a deal.)

The sales team actually followed up with me.  I got practically zero follow up from the other companies.  I'd like to work with a company that wants me as a customer.  I think it bodes well for the service.

Yes, at the moment their only maintenance is by sending them in to the company, but I think the Steno Doctor will be able to work on them once they take the training.

The build time is one to two weeks.  I'll have it in my hot little hands in one to two weeks, at which point I will write follow up with the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Oh, there's also whispers of writing directly to an attorney's iPad from the writer via bluetooth.  Oooh, that sounds kind of exciting, especially if you're a realtime writer who  doesn't want to/can't use CVNet.  This might be a possible workaround.  Keep your fingers crossed.

So that's why I went with the Impression.  I also spoke with my friend who has an Impression and they liked it a lot.

I got a pretty good deal with convention pricing and everything.

UPDATE - 3/9/13

So I checked in with ProCat Flash.  I had been told lead time on the writer was one to two weeks.  So I thought I'd have it by now.  Alas, per ProCat, it takes a couple of weeks to build and then it goes through quality control.   So will probably ship 3/18/13.

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Comment by Kyung on March 2, 2013 at 19:41

I posted links to the website in the original blog post of all three machines.

Comment by Kelli Combs (admin) on March 2, 2013 at 9:39

You should post a picture of the Impression.  Not sure I know which one that is.  I just looked it up.  Looks just like the Diamante. 

Comment by Kyung on March 1, 2013 at 14:19

@Judy - no asking if you had tried Infinity Traditional versus Ergo.

It's a good machine and the only one right now that is being serviced by someone other than the manufacturer/seller.  

Word is Impression will be serviced by Steno Doctor soon as well.  We'll see.  My first year includes maintenance and updates.  After that, it's yearly.

Comment by Patricia Babits on March 1, 2013 at 10:31

Thanks for the review!

The "plasticky" part really bothers me. I hate to spend $5,000 on something so plastic and cheap looking!!!  But I really did like the Impression and Diamante when I tried them at a convention.

Comment by Jenny Griffin, RMR CRR CCRR CRC on March 1, 2013 at 8:50


A few years ago I found a Kraft casserole carrier at a Goodwill for under $5. I've used it ever since to carry my Grand and now my IE writer in. Because I always bring my wedge cushions to sit on and snacks, etc. in a big black bag which I secure on top of my Duet 2, I place this carrier inside that bag.

I've been told, and it has been proven true to me, that we can smash down (depress) the writer's keys for an extended period of time, and it won't hurt them.

Last month I found another carrier that is just a bit smaller than this one at a different Goodwill for only $3. That is now the snug home of my backup Grand.


I am a realtime reporter, and I love my Infinity Ergo.  I will admit it requires tweaking time.  It's so worth it.  My sister, April Floyd, CM, CSR, has one as well.  Two days ago she emailed me this:    

My job today was 108 pages, but lots of arguing - totally obnoxious opposing attorney.  The attorney wants it as soon as she can get it.  I sent it off to my scopist an hour ago.
 
John's depo went off for tomorrow, so I gave him mine.  So now I get to stay home and work, work, work.  I'm going to bed now.
 

I hope you're feeling all right.  If it wasn't for my Infinity, I would be hurting.  I actually feel fine - but burnt out!

Comment by Judy on March 1, 2013 at 8:09

Oh, wait a minute, are you asking if I wrote on the ProCat?  No, I did not. 

Comment by Judy on March 1, 2013 at 8:06

Yes, I did write on both of them.  The little guy (Traditional) was WAY cool.  Extremely light, nice touch, did NOT stack.  The Ergo is probably what I should buy, considering I have right elbow and shoulder issues.  The only thing that's stopping me with the Ergo is, as you said, way more work in getting it packed up and unpacked. 

On their website they have a comment about accepting trade-ins, but they don't list the actual prices.  I imagine it's 1,000 or less, though.

I won't even consider the Stenograph machine because it HAS to be shipped back to their offices for repair/maintenance.  I prefer to hand my machine to the tech and then pick it up, without FedEx/UPS throwing it around for their pleasure.

 

Comment by Kyung on March 1, 2013 at 8:00

Oh, return policy 21 days with Neutrino Group and 15 days with ProCat.  I think with Stenograph there isn't one.  But I didn't really ask. 

Comment by Kyung on March 1, 2013 at 7:59

They weren't offering anything in trade-in at the DRA convention.  He was just doing a straight percentage off the price.  Remember the snazzy colors can be extra.  But if you're going with the Infinity, you gotta get a snazzy color.  Those are nice!!!

Judy, have you written on both of them?  Yeah, I hear the Mira was notorious for stacking. 

Comment by Judy on March 1, 2013 at 7:24

Neutrino does make sweet machines.  I'm trying to decide whether to buy the Infinity Traditional or Infinity Ergo, but they will be who I purchase my next machine from.  I have a MiraA3.  If I hit, say, the final B and A in rapid succession, it ALWAYS stacks.  I have to be going less than, I'd say, 160 for it not to stack.  I did the same rapid-fire succession on the Infinity machines and it NEVER stacked.

Any idea what they offer for trade-ins?

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