Hanx Writer – Can Tom Hanks Turn Your iPad Into A Typewriter?

4.0 Overall Score
Usability: 4/5
Design: 4.5/5
Duration: 3.5/5

Exceptional level of authenticity | Great visual plus audio cues | Remarkable fit & finish

Doesn't have basic keyboard functions | Can't replicate true typewriter feel


Tom Hanks is one of the best actors of a generation, and now he has used his brand recognition to power a new word processing app. Hanx Writer was thought of by Tom Hanks, and has now been developed to turn your iPad into an old fashioned type writer. At least in a visual, and audio sense by transforming the on screen keyboard to the look of the old fashioned typing tool. The type writer is an antique of a bygone era, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its own appeal even in this day and age of iPads. Combining the two together is quite the idea, and there’s a great deal of polish applied to Hanx Writer to deliver that sense of nostalgia.
There’s just something about a typewriter that makes what you’re writing feel more important. As though you’re typing letters to loved ones lost in the war, or insightful articles about the president of the United States. Hanx Writer really excels in getting your mind into a different state than just the typical word processing app. The app does a great job of providing audio feedback to each key you type to make them that much more important, while providing a very authentic typewriter key sound. As Tom Hanks suggests, there’s a rhythm to writing with a typewriter, and Hanx Writer nails that ideal whether it’s the sound of the keys, the bell ring at the end of a line, or seeing the strikes on the page. Not only does Hanx Writer, provide the audio feedback, but also the visual cues with each key showing the hammer animation as the letter is typed on the page with the classic typewriter font.

The one thing that any iPad app, even from Tom Hanks, can’t replicate is the feel of a typewriter. Whether you’re using the on screen touch keyboard, or a wireless keyboard accessory, the feel is the same, no matter what app you’re using. Hanx Writer does as much as any app can in providing a typewriter experience, but it’s not the same thing as pushing down on the actual keys. It’s kind of like the record player apps, which provide the looks, and sounds you remember, but not the feel of actual putting a record on, and moving the needle to the specific grooves. Another missing part of the typewriter is pushing the return bar back across the page, and instead Hanx Writer goes to the next line automatically with just a ding. It would be neat to swipe to slide the bar back into position, but that’s sadly not included.
Hanx Writer does come with some new age flairs including an actual delete key, but you can turn that off too for more classic typing. The app also lets you manage multiple multi-page documents that can be shared, and/or printed. There are also two additional typewriters to buy for $2.99 each, or you can buy the full Writer’s Block bundle for $4.99 with both typewriters as well as text alignment, background colors, tilt pages, pictures, and multiple documents. The extras make it a full featured $5 iPad app, but you can full enjoy it for free as well. The big thing missing though is the native iPad keyboard structure you have become accustomed to with double tap for a period, automatic capitalization of the next sentence, and a basic autocorrect. Without these basic features, it becomes a hassle to get anything really meaningful typed up.

Hanx Writer (Free, iPad) is a neat idea that is well executed to give your iPad a typewriter make over for a brand new way to type on your iPad. It’s not perfect, and can’t offer a true typewriter feel, but it’s well worth picking up.


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One Comment on "Hanx Writer – Can Tom Hanks Turn Your iPad Into A Typewriter?"

  1. David. Foster August 17, 2014 at 5:46 AM -

    Is it possible to export text out of this app? Every attempt so far just yields a PDF. And although a PDF preserves the typed outcome, I think there should be an alternative to using an OCR program to extract out what you’ve written to share with others. If you wrote a novel, you’d be left with several hundred PDF files. It’s a nice start, but it needs some additional evolution.

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