Hands on: Lettrs app harnesses the power of snail mail

Lettrsbanner

Everything old is new again. Vinyl records are back in style; everybody is thrift shopping for their grandad’s clothes, so why not send off some snail mail, just for old time’s sake? When’s the last time you received a meaningful piece of physical mail that didn’t include a deadline for you to pay by? The post office still exists, so you might as well get some use out of it. Lettrs, a Web-based service turned iOS app that lets you send physical versions of letters you write on your mobile phone or tablet.

Lettrs1Lettrs is the intersection of old and new, allowing you to create a correspondence on your phone that is eventually delivered via snail mail. The creation of your letter includes picking out the style of stationary and font, which are packaged as themes that can give your letter a distinct feel. (What was lacking was a good ransom note theme, with cut-out magazine letters – a shame, really. Crazed lunatics will have to make their demands the old-fashioned way.) Once you have your style picked out, you can type out the message that you want to send off. It’s no different than typing up an email, though knowing your email will be printed and delivered encourages you to put a little more effort into your letters. No one wants a printed out version of that almost funny joke your aunt sent you with 18 FWDs in the title.

The envelope that houses your letter is hand-addressed, scented, and sealed with wax. This all takes place in the Lettrs postal center in Collinsville, CT, the same place that your letter is printed out on to linen paper. While this may seem like overkill, the entire process is beyond anything we’ve experienced in some time when it comes to snail mail. None of it necessary, but it wouldn’t be very fun to just receive a letter in Times New Roman font on a standard white people of paper in a plain old envelope. Seeing the final product arrive in the mailbox and opening it up is a far more satisfying feeling than seeing it on the screen of your mobile device. We often talk about how good screens on phones look and the pixel count and whatnot, but it doesn’t compare to holding linen-printed paper in your hand.

We usually think of apps for our mobile devices as tools that eliminate the need for any sort of physical alternative. Your GPS wipes out the need for a map; contact lists and search tools do away with phone books; Angry Birds removes the need to throw avians at pigs, etc. While Lettrs does the opposite, and really for no purpose other than novelty, it is a lot of fun.

There is a sizable portion of people who may use this app that have never actually sent a typed or hand-written letter. It’s a weird world we live in. For those of us who have, it’s a chance to relive a simpler time with a modern twist. For those who have not, welcome to a world where correspondence was not always immediate. Crazy, right? Lettrs claims that it is leading a movement that focuses on “a more thoughtful mode of personal communication.” And you know what? We’re buying it.

If you’re thinking about giving Lettrs a try, now is a good time. You get five free USPS-delivered letters between now and Mother’s Day on May 12, 2013.

Smart Home

Consumer groups call out retailers in a bid for better IoT security

Consumer groups posted a "Dear retailer" letter on February 12 that called out Walmart, Best Buy, Amazon, and Target, shaming the companies for selling insecure smart home devices.
Deals

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for February 2019

Smartwatches make your life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. So if you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, read on for the best smartwatch deals.
Gaming

Feel the love this Valentine’s Day with these 12 romantic video games

In celebration of Valentine's Day, we take a look at games that offer heartfelt romances. From the Mass Effect series to Stardew Valley, each of these romantic video games offers a layered depiction of love and relationships.
Emerging Tech

3D printers are better and more affordable. These are the best of 2019

On the hunt for a new 3D printer? We've got your back. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned veteran, this list of the best 3D printers has what you're looking for.
Mobile

Happy Valentine’s Day! Coffee Meets Bagel dating app data may have been breached

Are you planning on using Coffee Meets Bagel to find love on Valentine's Day? If you've been using the app for a while, you'll probably want to change your password -- the company said a data breach may have taken place before May 2018.
Mobile

Worried about extra data charges? Here's how to check your usage on an iPhone

It's common to get a little nervous about nearing data limits. Keep your peace of mind by checking how much data your iPhone is using. Our guide on how to check data usage on an iPhone helps you stay in control.
Mobile

Exclusive: Take a look at what a next-generation 5G phone will look like

With 5G phones debuting at MWC in mere days, there is discussion about whether they will be clunky bricks that die after a few hours? A reference design from Qualcomm offerrs a glimpse of the future: This is what 5G phones will look like.
Mobile

North Focals smartglasses discount cuts the price by a massive $400

Canadian startup North is hoping smartglasses will be the next big wearable. After announcing its new Focals smartglasses in late 2018, the company opened product showrooms in Brooklyn and Toronto and has made its first shipment.
Mobile

New Apple patent hints clamshell-style foldable phone may be in the works

Apple has filed a patent for a foldable phone that suggests the company could be following in the footsteps of the likes of Samsung and Huawei. The patent describes a clamshell-style foldable phone with two separate sections.
Mobile

Xiaomi Mi 9 will be one of the first phones with monster Snapdragon 855 chip

Xiaomi's next major smartphone release will be the Mi 9, and the company hasn't held back in giving us a good look at the phone, revealing the design, the camera, and a stunning color.
Wearables

Galaxy Watch Active isn't official yet, but you can see it in Samsung's own app

Samsung may be about to resurrect its Sport line of smartwatches under a new name: The Galaxy Watch Sport Active. Leaks and rumors are building our picture of the device at the moment.
Mobile

Stop buying old tablets, says Samsung, buy the new Galaxy Tab S5e instead

Samsung has launched the Galaxy Tab S5e -- the E is for Essential -- a reasonably priced tablet that includes many of the features we like from the Tab A 10.5, and the Tab S4. Here's what you need to know.
Mobile

Bag yourself a bargain with the best budget tablets under $200

The battle for your budget tablet affections is really ramping up. Which tablet, costing less than $200, should be commanding your attention? We take a look at some different options for the budget-conscious.
Computing

What is Wi-Fi 6? Here's a look at the next evolution of the wireless standard

We're exploring the new naming convention for wireless standards, how it affects the devices you buy, and what the upcoming Wi-Fi generation is changing for the better.