Doxie's range of scanners have enjoyed immense popularity, especially amongst those (like me) who have moved towards a paperless workflow. Their award-winning mobile scanners provide a truly portable scanning solution that makes digitising letters, photos and documents amazingly simple. The Doxie One and Doxie Go are paper-feed scanners, much like how a fax machine (remember those?) works as you feed paper into it, one sheet at a time. This ability to continually feed page after page of content without constantly changing the page on a flatbed scanning surface makes it far easier to quickly scan documents, as well as dealing with multiple pages.
While the Doxie scanners are great for single page scans, anyone wanting to digitise notebooks, fragile photos, books or magazines were out of luck. That is, until now.
Doxie have now released the Doxie Flip, a portable flatbed Doxie scanner, squarely aimed at those wanting to digitise physical media that, otherwise, just won't fit into one of it's paper-feed siblings.
The Doxie Flip is a huge break from the norm for Doxie and is the first flatbed scanner that they've released. The first thing you'll notice is that this is tiny, measuring just 10.23 x 6.46 x 1.34” (26.0 x 16.4 x 31.4 cm) and weighing just 1.26 lbs (570 g).
It comes in a dark plastic casing with contrasting white lid. A small colour LCD screen and controls sit on the right side, whilst the SD card slot, large scan button and power switch are all located on the right-side edge of the scanner.
As you'd expect, the hardware is well put together and feels solid, yet surprisingly lightweight. The LCD screen provides feedback about how many scans you have remaining on the SD card you're using and is also used when making changes to the settings.
Unlike the rest of the Doxie family, the Doxie Flip doesn't feature a power supply, instead solely relying upon AA batteries to power it. Speaking of which, powering up the scanner takes a matter of seconds, at which point it's ready to start scanning.
Unlike other Doxie scanners, you can control the quality of the scans, selecting either 300dpi or 600dpi. A sleep timer is also accessible, which is especially useful for keeping your battery life extended as much as possible.
Scanning items with Doxie is not much different from a traditional flatbed scanner, simply place an item on the flatbed and press the large green button. Once powered up, there's no warmup period for scanning, no previews or pre-scan, the Flip simply scans whatever is on the flatbed, letting you make any adjustments later.
To ensure your scans require as little adjustment as possible, the LCD screen displays a preview of the item you're scanning as it is digitised, also allowing you to scroll through previously scanned documents to preview them. The screen is quite low resolution, making it more for checking that the scan generally looks like it has worked ok. After scanning a few items, you'll likely neglect the screen altogether, occasionally using it just to make sure you've scanned everything you needed.
Doxie know how bad scanners are in general, especially when dealing with orientation and page positioning, and makes it very easy to know with clear iconography along the scanning glass. A singular arrow denotes where the scanned item should be placed, keeping scans as neat and straight as possible.
So far, the Doxie Flip just sounds like a small, portable flatbed scanner. All this changes when you remove the lid and turn the scanner upside down.
The Doxie Flip has a transparent plastic base, letting you see right through to the other side. This lets you place the scanner on to notebooks, magazines, fabrics, pretty much anything that you can think of. The transparent base ensures your scans are easily lined up and prevents the often-troublesome issue of trying to fit a book into a flatbed scanner.
In practice, this works really well and you avoid the light bleed that occurs when the spine of a book exposes the scanning element. By swapping the roles of the item you're scanning and bringing the scanner to it, you're effectively removing any of the inconveniences that occur when trying to scan something that is far too big to fit on the flatbed.
This isn't something just for frequent notetakers, graphic designers will likely love the fact that fabrics and textures can be easily scanned, providing a great way to use them in artwork and design. In addition, Doxie even go so far as to say you can scan almost anything you like, just remembering that the glass surface is susceptible to scratches.
In some ways, it's a similar feature to apps for the iPhone, such as Evernote and Scanner Pro, both apps that include the ability to take a photo of a notebook and adjust for perspective. While these methods might be somewhat more convenient for note taking, the Doxie Flip makes it far easier to capture consistently higher quality scans.
In addition to just scanning notebook pages and magazines, Doxie have announced a new AutoStitch function to allow for the scanning of items far larger than the Doxie Flip's scanning surface itself. At time of writing, the feature is still awaiting release and is scheduled to be available sometime in December, at which point the Doxie app will include the ability to automatically stitch individual scans together, making one larger scan. It sounds similar to how panoramic photos are created, using a number of photos taken to create one larger one. It's certainly a shame the feature wasn't available at launch, especially as it's a touted one, but it isn't too far off.
One of the best feature of the whole Doxie experience is its simple to use import app. Once launched, you can simply insert the SD card into your Mac (or use the included USB to SD card reader) and Doxie will detect the scans, giving you the option to import them for you to then rename and save.
Doxie integrates with a wide range of cloud services, from Dropbox to Evernote, and includes many one-click solutions to send your scanned items to various online services or other apps on your Mac. For multiple pages of a notebook, you can simply select all the pages and click "Staple" to create a multi-page PDF document.
Unlike other Doxie scanners, the Doxie Flip always keeps to the same dimensions of scanning, meaning you'll likely need to edit scans to crop them accordingly.
The Doxie Flip and Doxie Go/One have very little overlap when it comes to providing a scanning solution. The Doxie Flip isn't something you'll find useful if you're wanting to reduce paperwork clutter and ensure all letters, documents and anything else that would normally sit in a filing cabinet is digitised.
What the Doxie Flip offers is something for avid notetakers and graphic designers to easily digitise work that would otherwise be cumbersome, difficult or even impractical to scan. By, quite literally, turning the flatbed scanner upside down, Doxie has presented a neat solution to anyone wanting a permanent digital archive of notes.
At $149, it's the same price as the entry level Doxie One and is inexpensive for what is a portable, high quality scanner. The small LCD screen is somewhat of a disappointment and the lack of auto-stitching at launch does mean it can't be used to its full potential straight away. Nonetheless, for anyone using notebooks and wanting to scan photos or any other physical item, the Doxie Flip is a great way to do it.