AlphaSmart Dana - Handheld - Palm OS 4.1 ( 560 x 160 )

AlphaSmart Dana - Handheld - Palm OS 4.1 ( 560 x 160 )
From AlphaSmart

4 new or used available from $44.95

Average customer review:
(4.0 stars, based on 62 reviews)

Product Details


  • Included are a full-size keyboard and a screen that's 3.5 times wider than the typical handheld screen.
  • Virtually all Palm applications are compatible with Dana, and many are ready to take advantage of the wide screen.

The AlphaSmart saved every keystroke directly to the machine's RAM, which was maintained by a battery backup even when powered down. AlphaSmarts could transfer data either by a special program that communicated with the AlphaSmart or by the simpler method of transmitting the keystrokes of the written text as if it were the computer's keyboard. When not transferring text, the AlphaSmart could be used as a standard keyboard. AlphaSmarts were very popular in schools for their affordability and durability. Elementary schools and high schools used them; and they were particularly popular among special education departments for use by students with graphomotor challenges. The machines were also popular among journalists and writers, who found them easy to carry and appreciated the full-size keyboard and long battery life

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful.
5I would buy this again! Worth it for the writer in me.
By Dotchi Latham
I bought this for writing specifically because of the screen. You see, I have an AlphaSmart 3000 also but could only see 4 lines at a time and scrolling back and forth was tedious at times. I bought the Dana because of the screen... and I do not regret it one bit!

It has a larger screen that is a touch screen so I don't have to scroll through 2,000 plus words to add in a line I forgot. But this is even better! I can bold, italicize, underline, strike-through, change the font style and more! I can see what file I am on (File 1-8), and so so much more! I like the typing feel of the keys better than the 3000 also. This is more modern feeling when I type.

It comes with a stylus that I hardly ever use. It has SD slots which I also haven't used. I use the cord to transfer typing. The speed is so much better than the 3000 also.

The only thing I noticed is that the batteries die faster. They will probably last 3-4 months with this one. Not a big deal though. I can get batteries for $1 at the dollar store.

It also has a to do list which I started using as a writing to do list. All my other lists are in my phone. It also has a calendar which I don't use. But it's a Palm OS based calendar. And it has alarms that beep and such. I don't actually use all those features since I have a phone that does all that.

I just wanted this for writing and it is so worth it! I love it!

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful.
5Needs updating
By Amazon Customer
Update: have gotten sync to work and regular scheduled backups to SD card via UniCMD. COOL!

Fantastic device. Used a simplified version of the Vance Fry Power Hack, and the device now gets over 50hrs of battery life on one set of Eneloops. That's a lot of writing and organization work. Between jPilot syncing, the native palm Memo and task apps, CardTXT and AlphaWord, plenty of options for a complete writing workflow. AlphaWord and task list printouts look great on a Brother laser printer. Two SD cards allow for one dedicated to files and another dedicated to backups and apps, if you so please.

The only thing to make this device better would be better file format support (e.g., native RTF / txt import and export), and it only supports SD cards 1gb or under, I believe. It has a fantastic keyboard, great battery life, and is part of a very solid writing production workflow. Wonderful that you can print directly from the device, dump text from the device directly into a word processor, or save/backup to an SD card. I can bang out second and even third drafts without having to look at an infernal backlit display. My eyes and brain have thanked me a thousand splendid thanks for making this shift. I can even bang out final drafts on this thing, using a print > line-edit > revise workflow, like a digital typewriter.

All in all, a wonderful, solid, reliable glorified typewriter / word processor / digital notepad.

With rechargeable AAs and SD cards, this device is nearly future-proof. And it seems built to be very sturdy. The proposed Hemingwrite seems utterly stupid in comparison. Dependent on internet access to a handful of proprietary cloud services and a workflow that shoves you onto the computer AND online as soon as you bang out a first draft (e.g., no print/line edit option?? wtf), creating an incredible design contradiction: a distraction-free production device that requires you get on a computer and the internet ASAP. Hah! Who was it who said, "Nothing word reading was ever written on a device that can connect to the internet" ???

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful.
5Love my Dana!
By Andrew Scotton
I have been using an AlphaSmart 3000 and loved it, with two reservations. First, the screen is quite small, and second, the keyboard feels a little "sticky" and definitely not smooth in its operation. The Dana has a much larger screen and you can change the font and font size. The keyboard on this thing is superb. I don't like the feeling of laptop keyboards in general, preferring instead the feeling of a desktop model. The Dana has a full sized "traditional" style keyboard that was just what I was looking for. I understand that this is the same keyboard that is used in the Neo. About the only drawback of moving to the Dana is that the battery life is reduced to about 25 hours, down from about 700 hours for the Neo and previous AlphaSmart products, but it has been a non issue for me in practical terms.

If you are or aspire to be a writer, and you want a dedicated little device to write on, the AlphaSmart Dana is definitely worth considering. Mine cost me less than $20! How can you go wrong with that?

See all 62 customer reviews...