There’s one major problem with going paperless: everyone keeps sending you paper, and you can’t just tap a “Save to Dropbox” button on paper. You’ve still got to take it digital. Scanners are nothing new, but they’re typically synonymous with bulky all-in-one printers that are clunky and frustrating to use. Unless you’re really dedicated, odds are you’ll never digitalize all the paper you keep around with a traditional scanner.
The Doxie team recently sent me a Doxie One, their newest and simplest scanner, to try out. I’d recently purchased an HP printer+scanner, one that’s nice enough to have built-in wireless AirPrint. It’s no match for the Doxie, though, but then, the Doxie’s still no match for it either.
Just Doxie It
Remember when you first got a smartphone? No matter how bad its camera was (my first took 1.3 megapixel shots), you suddenly were taking pictures all the time. Perhaps that’s not such a great trend, but then, most of us have captured pictures – and saved memories – that we never would have with a point-and-shoot or DSLR, which would end up being left at home more than not.
The Doxie is the scanner that’ll get you scanning in the same way that your phone got you taking pictures. It’s so simple to use, you’ll find it makes sense to scan, say, receipts, greeting cards, business cards, bills, and more. The Doxie One needs to be plugged up, but you’ll likely end up wanting to grab 4 AAA batteries to stick in it instead, so it’ll just work anywhere. And with little effort, you’ll be able to run your daily load paper through it in seconds, and everything will be stored on the included SD card (it comes with a 2Gb SD card, but with little effort you could get a, say, 32Gb SD card for ~$20 and use it instead to store an incredible ton of scans).
Using the Doxie One
The Doxie One I tested scanned a full sheet of paper in literally a few seconds, and the speed difference of scanning on the Doxie versus from my all-in-one printer felt about like the difference of printing a full page from an inkjet versus from a laser printer. The difference is night and day. Rather than putting a document in a flat-bed scanner, starting a scan from your Mac, then making any adjustments to the scanned area before saving the finished scan to your Mac (a process that can take minutes, as we all have experienced), the Doxie literally just takes you putting your document, face-up, into the front slit, and seconds later the scan is saved as a file on the SD card. It’s that simple.
The Doxie works great with a Mac; you can pop the SD card out and stick it in your SD card slot, or connect it via USB, and import the scans just like you would import pictures from your camera. Or, you could use it with the SD card connector for the iPad, making it one of the few scanners that would really work if you’re using an iPad as your main computer.
There’s several Doxie scanners, right now, but the Doxie One is the newest and cheapest – though it still costs $149. With that, you’ll get the scanner and a 2Gb SD card, which you could swap out with an Eye-Fi card to automatically upload your scans over Wifi, if you wanted, and can also add 4 AAA batteries to scan anywhere. It’s small enough that I threw it in my laptop bag with my MacBook Air and charger, and barely noticed the difference. It’s fast, quiet, works great, and is a scanner that doesn’t feel tied to the legacy of computing.
The Doxie App
Then, there’s the Doxie App, a free download that you’ll want to grab to get the most out of Doxie. It gives you a bit of handholding in setting up your Doxie, but odds are you’ll already have scanned documents on your Doxie before you get the app installed. The info is the same as you’ll see in the included pamphlet, so just click through it if you’ve already gotten started scanning.
Doxie’s app will then import your scans from your SD card or connected Doxie. You can then select multiple scans to “staple” them together as one file – similar to merging PDFs in Preview – and then can save scans to your Mac or send them to various apps and online services individually or in bulk. The Doxie app is integrated with Messages and AirDrop, which is nice to see. You can do some basic edits to your scans, but for most editing, you’ll likely want to head over to Preview or other apps.
When you save files, or send them to apps, you’ll have some options about how to send them. By default, they’ll be sent as normal images, but if you’re wanting to save your scans so you can easily find what was in those documents, you’ll want to choose to save files as a PDF with OCR. If you want, say, to save your scanned receipts to Dropbox, this is the best way to do it, as you’ll then be able to search from Spotlight or Alfred and find the scans, no matter what you name the files. It’s simple, fast, and while not perfect, it’s a great way to archive your document scans and go paperless.
Of course, if you’re saving files to Evernote, you’ll just want to send an image file, since Evernote does its own OCR. Or, if you scanned a photo that you want to tweak in Photoshop, you’ll just want to send the image file, so the defaults are fine. For anything else, head to the settings, where you can add more apps to the Send menu, as well as add integration with online apps such as Dropbox and CloudApp to easily save and share your files online. You’ll find some OCR and image settings as well. It’s not a terribly advanced app, but it’s enough to get the job of simple scanning done in a far less confusing way than the default Print and Scan app.
If you do get a Doxie One – or if this just makes you start using your printer’s scanner more – then I’d highly recommend checking out Prizmo 2, which we reviewed recently here. The Doxie app’s own OCR is nice, and definitely a great free addition to go along with the scanner, but Prizmo takes it to a whole other level. It supports more languages (including, most recently, Thai), and lets you fine-tune OCR to get the very most text recognition from your documents. But then, that’s if you’re wanting to get archival-quality OCR, and the Doxie is more about just getting everything scanned. And for that, the included app is great.
As an American citizen living abroad, I often need to copy documents, especially pages from my passport. This week, I again needed to make some copies and mail forms off, and a robust scanner is needed for that. Even after using the Doxie One so much, and beginning to rely on for my scanning needs, the HP all-in-one was the machine for the task, as it could scan something thick, like a passport, and make paper copies without even turning on my Mac. The HP cost less than $100, so it wins the scanner race, hands down.
Well, not so fast. The Doxie was sitting right beside the HP printer, and it got the true paperless task of the day. For in the passport, I had a residence card that I needed to mail to the immigration office, and I wanted a copy of it for my own records. In less time than the HP made a paper copy, I had a digital copy of that important slip of paper saved on the Doxie’s SD card. Without turning on the Mac, or running any apps. It just worked.
Will the Doxie replace all-in-ones? No, not yet. But it’d sure make me far more confident of getting a printer – say, a compact laser printer – that didn’t include a scanner. And even with an all-in-one, I still think many would choose to do most of their scanning from a Doxie, because it’s quick, 1 step, and just works. It’d become your scanner of choice, even if not the technically best scanner, just like your phone became your camera of choice.
The Doxie One’s the cheapest standalone Doxie yet, and if you’re looking into buying a new scanner, it’s definitely the one I’d recommend checking into first. It’ll likely be the first scanner you really use daily.