Brother AX-300

This 1993 Brother AX-300 is an example of what I called the AX/GX Beta (-β) series of portable electronic typewriters in my Plugged in with Brother Portables post.

For some reason, E.T.s of this series are much harder to find in Australia than those which belong to the AX/GX Alpha series, for example, this AX-550 I owned briefly:

The fact that Brother produced two distinct body styles for typewriters which, otherwise, appear to be the same, shows how committed they were to product improvement.

Having owned both, it’s clear the Betas have a simpler and more elegant design. The keyboard cover, for example, has a raised bubble over the space bar which allows the cover as a whole to be thinner. Flared tabs at the top of the keyboard cover, left and right, also make it is easier to attach and detach.

The keyboard cover on the “Alphas”, which is thicker, has two release tabs at the front. I remember these keyboard covers being fiddly to attach and detach:

The “Betas” are also different to the “Alphas” in that they have an enclosed power cord compartment which runs across the back of the machine:

The door of the cord compartment lifts up and clicks into place as a paper guide.

While I think this is yet another design improvement on the “Alphas”, a minor quibble  is fact that there’s nothing to wrap the cord around.

The “blocky” Alphas on the other hand, allow the power cord to be wrapped around an exposed power cord holder:

The streamlined “zig-zag” profile of the “Betas” is another point of difference – a definite improvement on the blocky and ribbed profile of the “Alphas”:

Looking at the underside of my Beta AX-300:

And the underside of an Alpha AX-550:

The only difference is a slight change in the configuration of the holes and the rear vent. Typing-wise, there’s little difference between them either.

Design-wise though, as I said before, the “Betas” have the edge.