on the cheap and sleazy side (www.cheapandsleazy.net)

Words and Pictures by April Davis, RPR, XHTML by G.D. Warner

The LightSpeed

My Experience as a Newcomer to the LightSpeed


Have you seen it?

Mark Kislingbury has one.

A lot of the regulars on Depoman have one.

Yes, that's right -- I'm talking about the LightSpeed, from Stenovations.

At my school, my fellow students can often be found pondering which writer to buy. When I quiz them, they're only aware of a small number of writers: The Stenograph 400 SRT, the Mira, and the Diamante.

"But what about the Passport? Or the Flash? Or the LightSpeed?" I ask.

"What are those?" is usually the answer they give me. That's usually fixed by showing them Technolust or Technolust II ... but that leads to the dreaded question:

"How come there's no review of the LightSpeed on Cheap and Sleazy?"

Thanks to April Davis, RPR, returning author of the ProCAT Stylus review, I no longer have to dread hearing that question!

Thanks, April.


The LightSpeed

The LightSpeed

My experience as a newcomer to the Lightspeed

My first Lightspeed purchase was the silicon overlay model:

The LightSpeed With silicon Overlay

Greta Duckett's LightSpeed With silicon Overlay

After reading dramatic horror stories of setting up the configurations I was apprehensive, but excited. While it seemed a little overwhelming on day one, it wasn't as bad as the stories. My tran rate out of the box with the default configuration was 13 percent. That is normal since we all write differently. I wrote some practice material and it was very easy to recognize the most obvious changes in sensitivity that needed to be made for my personal writing style. The user interface is very easy to understand and use and changes are very easily made. Within a day I had it down to 8 percent. I felt good enough to take the silicon overlay LS into a trial that same day.

Initially the ridges that are on the keys to assist with finger placement threw me off and I whined about it. It was simply a lot to absorb all at once. After a week I found that the ridges aren't too bad. If they were a little smaller it would be nice. I understand in the next version they will be smaller by popular demand. If you are a pounder or are used to key tops on your writer you will acclimate much faster than I did and likely love it right out of the box. My biggest issue with this was the feel of the silicon. That really is not an LS problem, but my personal problem. My best friend got one the same day I did and loves the feel and would never trade it.

As I debated the whole situation of the feel I decided to buy a refurbished LS with the old style of smooth, hard keys.

The LightSpeed Classic

The LightSpeed Classic

I figured I could use it as my back up writer. When it arrived I loved the feel and within seconds I knew I would return the silicon overlay model. There was no problem with how it functioned and it worked the way it was supposed to, I just like the feel of the keys on the older one better. I am one of those people that just can't write with key tops and that's what the silicon felt like to me.

With the refurbished LS, as with the silicon model, as each day progressed I would go home and make a change here and there and by the end of the first week I was down to a manageable 4 percent. Although that doesn't sound wonderful to some of you, you have to consider the following: The touch takes getting used to. Finger placement and touch in the first week are going to throw you off because we are so used to writing a certain way and this is very different. It will get better as you get comfortable with it. Tweaking the keys is an ongoing work in progress for me.

When I refer to configuration settings I am speaking more about the pressure sensitivity settings. Each key has 1, 2 or 3 individual sensors on it. When you plug the writer into the software you are able to adjust the sensitivity of each sensor separately so that it is specific to your touch.

LightSpeed Sensitivity Adjustment Screen

LightSpeed Sensitivity Adjustment Screen

This is done mostly through trial and error. Everybody seems to have a different way of doing this and there is no right or wrong method. What worked best for me with both models was setting the sensitivity of every key to the same thing and making the whole thing very sensitive because I have a light touch. Once I did that I was able to see which strokes I was dragging and adjust those keys upward.

With my purchase I did get a tripod. It was easier to use the tripod the first couple of weeks because that is what we are used to. I have always used a tilting tripod, as I like to tilt my keyboard away from me slightly. I contacted the company that makes the tripod that comes with the LS and for $20 they made me a tray for the LS that could be attached to my tilting tripod. By week three I was using it in my lap instead, which is incidentally what the majority of people on the message boards said would happen. I only bring the tripod to court now and have been know to use it as a footrest instead!

(NOTE: I've been trying to convince April that she should send me a picture of her using her tripod as a footrest, but so far, no joy! Perhaps one of these days ....)

My models both had Bluetooth. A lot of people don't opt for that, but I did for a number of reasons. One thing is I have been used to using Bluetooth for the last six years. I like to be mobile. Another reason is that I use a 9" laptop to keep the weight down. Tiny laptops do not typically come with a lot of RAM or resources. If you run the LS through the cable you have to have the LS software running in the background to transmit the data. I didn't want to have two programs open at the same time with the limited resources on the laptop. When connected via Bluetooth I still attach the cable to the laptop for a power source, but not for data transmission.

They will be coming out with another version of the LS very soon.

The LightSpeed LX

The LightSpeed LX

The Starlight is in the works as well (Cancelled!).

The StarLight

The StarLight

Update (02FEB13)

The StarLight was replaced by the LightSpeed LSQ sometime back:

The LightSpeed LSQ:  The New StarLight

The LightSpeed LSQ: The New StarLight

For now I will stick with my refurbished version. Although the Starlight will have the audio feature that is on all of our wish lists, I am unlikely to purchase one. I tend to be wary of electronics that try to do too many things in one unit. Running a full version of windows and having the LS keyboard, onboard audio and display concerns me. Also, it will have to be larger than the current LS. Small is better for me. I could be wrong and only time will tell if the Starlight is the greatest thing since sliced bread or not.

Overall I think this is a great writer. Even with the tweaking and learning curve, I have no plan to go back to using a traditional writer. As soon as they get another refurbished older version in stock I will be purchasing it for a backup and will be eagerly awaiting to see what the new LSX that is in the works will be like. I find the LS to be very user friendly and easy to set up, it is lightweight and it is reasonably priced. I love going to work with a bag that weighs less than five pounds on my shoulder. I don't even look like a reporter and constantly get asked, "Where is your machine?"

My wish list would be that they offer both a silicon and non-silicon version. If it had an onboard audio option I bet they would sell a lot more of them as well.