Hanx Writer

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
Hanx Writer App Poster Image
Typewriter sounds with modern features mostly a novelty.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about typewriters and experience a simulation of using one, adapted for modern technology. Kids will see the limits of fonts and spacing and work with the absence of auto-correct and spell check. Hanx Writer isn't designed so much for learning as it is for fun, but learning could be supplemented by exploring the history of typewriters, using one hands-on, or taking one apart.

Ease of Play

The interface works more like a word processor than a traditional typewriter, with keys to touch and a delete button. 

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism

An in-app purchase is required to unlock all content.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hanx Writer is produced by actor Tom Hanks, who often signs his name "Hanx." The app turns the iPad into a replica of a typewriter, with the sounds of the tapping keys and carriage return and the imperfect look of typewritten text. The free version is mostly a novelty, a way for kids to hear and get a glimpse of what typewriters were like. In-app purchases unlock additional features such as text alignment and colors, making it more word-processor practical. The free version does include the ever-necessary delete key, so there's no need to worry about Wite-Out on your iPad screen. Documents can be emailed as PDFs.

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What's it about?

The iPad screen becomes a typewriter, and kids can type pages of text with the modern convenience of the delete key. New pages can be added to folders and saved in-app, or pages can be emailed as PDFs. Each of the three typewriters available has a different look, both of the typewriter and keys as well as the font. The Hanx Prime Select is included with the free download. The Hanx 707 features a bolder font, and the Hanx Golden Touch is sleeker and a bit more modern. Those are offered individually or in a bundle as in-app purchases.

Is it any good?

Upon opening HANX WRITER, kids will find a typed note from Tom Hanks explaining the inspiration behind the app. The letter closes with, "You already know how to work them," referencing typewriters, but that may not be true for most kids. They do know how to use an iPad, though, and that's close enough. The interface is totally intuitive, even though it looks like a typewriter. Kids can type on the touchscreen or use a Bluetooth keyboard. They won’t get the feel of a typewriter's keys, but they will experience the sounds of the clacking keys and clicking returns. Playing around with the typewriter will be a little fun, but the nostalgia will be lost on them, and they'll likely prefer to stick with more familiar and fully featured word-processing options.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how word processing has changed since the days of typewriters. Parents (or grandparents) can share stories of correction fluid and double spacing.

  • Find an old typewriter for kids to explore hands-on, feeling the weight of the keys on the return bar.

App details

  • Device: iPad
  • Subjects: Language & Reading: writing
  • Skills: Communication: multiple forms of expression
    Tech Skills: using and applying technology
    Health & Fitness: fine motor skills
  • Price: Free (with in-app purchases)
  • Pricing structure: Free to Try, Free (Hanx 707 Bundle is $2.99 -- additional typewriter that offers a different feel, background colors, and text alignment Hanx Golden Touch is $2.99 -- additional typewriter that offers a different feel, background colors, and text alignment Writer's Block Bundle is $4.99 -- adds both typewriter options)
  • Release date: August 14, 2014
  • Category: Productivity
  • Topics: History
  • Size: 21.20 MB
  • Publisher: Hitcents.com, Inc.
  • Version: 1.0.2
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 7.0 or later

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love writing and storytelling

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