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Can a Scanner Actually be Fun?

Scanning isn’t usually an activity that’s considered very much fun. Can a new type of scanning tool change that?

I’m doing my best to live the paperless life – I hardly receive any mail, my bills and statements are automatically sent to my Evernote account by FileThis Fetch, and I have more scanners than anyone I know (every model from Neat, every Fujitsu ScanSnap, and an HP multifunction) to handle the few papers I have left.

I can say in all honesty that I think the scanners from Neat and Fujitsu are great (the HP multifunction, not so much), and provide tons of utility. But I’d never thought a scanner could be fun until the people at Doxie sent me a Doxie Go to try.

The Doxie Go is a very small, sheetfed, portable scanner. By portable, I mean truly portable – it has a built-in battery that you charge via your computer. In my experience, I was able to go a couple of weeks without recharging, scanning about 5 sheets a day. The Doxie Go has only one button that serves to turn it on or off, or by holding it down you can change the scanning resolution. No screen, no scan button, nothing. You just put your paper in, and your paper is scanned to the Doxie Go’s internal memory, or to a flash drive or SD card inserted in the back of the Doxie Go. For someone like me that’s used to using a scanner connected to a computer and seeing my scan instantly on the screen, this was a little unnerving – I had to trust that the Doxie Go was doing its thing. It was weird… but I have to admit it was kind of cool to scan my docs without a computer.

The Doxie import window. Pretty cute!

My faith was rewarded when I plugged the SD card into my computer. When it’s time to actually see what you’ve scanned, the Doxie software sees what’s on the SD card (or flash drive, or the Doxie Go’s internal memory).

After you click the “Import” button, Doxie will grab the scans. This software is truly cute – which is not a way I ever get to describe scanning tools (or really any software, for that matter)!

You’ll then see a fairly-standard looking display of your scans. You can rotate and adjust your scans from here. If you’ve scanned multiple pages, you can “staple” them together in this window too – and when you do, you’ll hear the sound of a stapler!

Once you’ve cleaned up your scans (if necessary – in my experience the Doxie did a stellar job automatically fixing up my scans), you can then export your scans to your computer, or sync with the cloud service of your choice (Evernote, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.). I synced most of my scans with Evernote, which worked seamlessly.

Doxie's view of your scans.

What I really like about Doxie is that it doesn’t use any tech terms or jargon, and the interface both on the scanner itself and in the software is simple and clean. I imagine if Apple designed scanners and software that it would end up being something like Doxie.

Since the Doxie Go has a built-in SD card slot, you can do a couple of other interesting things. First, if you have an iPad, you can attach a memory card reader, insert the SD card into your iPad, and then see your scans immediately. This is great if you’re on the go, and all you have are your Doxie Go and your iPad. You can scan your docs, access them, and email them if needed – no computer required.

Second, the Doxie Go integrates directly with the Eye-Fi wireless SD card, which essentially lets your Doxie Go work completely wirelessly. When you scan a doc, the Doxie Go sends it, via the Eye-Fi card, directly to the Doxie software on the computer. I was dubious of this at first, but it was surprisingly easy to set up and seems to work like a charm about 95% of the time. I’m not sure if there’s some interference on my wi-fi, but I have noticed that occasionally the connection gets dropped momentarily. It does pick up on its own again without any intervention on my part. For the 95% of the time that it is working, there is a definite “wow” factor to scanning a document and then seeing it in the Doxie software without any wires or additional steps on my part. It’s novel, and I like it.

The biggest downside I see with Doxie is that it only scans one sheet at a time. If you have a stack of documents you want to scan, be prepared to spend a significant chunk of time feeding through your documents one by one. I would love to see a Doxie model with an automatic document feeder.

Overall, I really like the Doxie Go. In fact, I was prepared to not like it at all, given that I’ve had so much experience with other scanning solutions. But the entire Doxie experience is just… fun! Somehow Doxie makes the usually-boring process of scanning your docs into a pleasurable activity. I wish more software and hardware companies spent a little more time thinking about ways to make what they’re creating fun and enjoyable. I never thought a scanner could be fun, but I’m glad Doxie showed me otherwise!

 

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