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Doxie Go mobile scanner cuts the wires, sort of... (Updated)

Apparent Corporations Doxie scanner has been a hit since it arrived a few years back. It's small, lightweight, and pretty well perfect for mobile use. So when I heard that the company had come out with a new scanner called Doxie Go ($199) that allegedly removes the need to have a computer around when you need to scan something, I got a bit excited. Read on for a full review of the Doxie Go.

Design

When I first saw the PR blasts for the Doxie Go, my thought was that they'd figured out a way to build in Wi-Fi for a scan-to-cloud solution. Nope. Maybe it would use an iPhone or iPad as a go-between for scanning on the road? Not really. So how do they do PC-free scanning?

It's quite simple, actually. The scanner has some built-in memory, and also has an SD slot for expanding storage. No SD cards on hand? There's also a standard USB port into which you can plug a USB flash drive. Once you've charged up the device and done a quick calibration, any media placed into the scanner's slot is captured to memory.

To actually do anything with the scans, you need to move them to another device; either a personal computer or an iPad. The move to the computer is done with a standard USB to mini-USB cable, and the Doxie Go shows up as an external drive. If you've installed the Doxie software on your Mac or PC, attaching the Doxie Go launches the application for importing the images. Your alternative is to double-click the Doxie "drive" to transfer the files to your computer.

All of the scans are saved on the device as jpeg images. Using the app, you can also save your images as PDFs or PNG files. Later this month, there's supposed to be an update that provides optical character recognition (OCR) capabilities for scanning documents and saving them as editable text files.

The Doxie Go is still pretty small and light, perfect for traveling. It weights in at 14.1 ounces and will fit into almost any computer bag at 1.75" high x 2.125" deep x 1.5" wide. It comes with a cloth bag for protection, a USB cable, and a small cleaning tool, but no USB power brick. That's fine, because most Doxie Go users are going to either have a power brick they can plug into for charging (like the one that comes with the iPad) or a PC or Mac with a USB port.

Update: According to a spokesperson from Apparent, the Doxie Go works well with the Eye-Fi Wi-Fi / SD cards and can be set up for fully wireless scanning. Coupled with the Eye-Fi Direct Mode, it's possible to have scans transferred directly from the Doxie Go scanner to an iPad, iPhone or Android device.

Functionality

There are two different resolution settings for the Doxie Go -- 300 dpi and 600 dpi. To switch between the two settings, you tap on the power button until the light goes from green (300 dpi) to orange (600 dpi). The device automatically scans in color, and is drop-dead simple to use. Turn it on, slide the document in face up on the left side of the scanner slot, and it takes over from there. For older or glossy photos, there's a special scanning sleeve with a bar code on it to put the photos into.

Scans are quite fast -- a 4" x 6" color photo at 300 dpi took about 4 seconds, while a full 8.5" x 11" black and white document scanned in a little over 8 seconds. At 600 dpi, the scan times were about 11 seconds and 27 seconds respectively.

I mentioned earlier that you can use the Doxie Go with an iPad. To do this, you'll need the Apple Camera Connection Kit or a similar device. You will need to store scanned images right onto an SD card and put that card into the SD reader dongle from the kit. I tried to attach the scanner directly to an iPad using the USB cable connector from the kit, but the iPad complained that the peripheral used too much power. There is also an iPhone / iPad Sync Kit sold by Doxie for $39, although there are no images or specs for the kit. I would assume that it's a Camera Connection Kit clone.

With the iPad, I imported scanned documents into the Photo Library, then used Readdle's PDF Converter app ($6.99) to convert them to PDFs. Once that was done, I could open them in Readdle's PDF Expert app ($9.99) for annotation and signatures. That's actually a very useful use case for the Doxie Go -- if you need to capture and annotate legal or other work documents just about anywhere, use the scanner, the Camera Connection Kit, and an iPad and you're good to go.

On the Mac, the software (downloaded directly from Doxie's website) is pretty basic. You can change the file names, add a counter number to each scan, change the image quality, have the app do some automatic processing of images, and move the scans to local or cloud apps.

The app gave me the choice to send scans to Adobe Reader, Evernote, iPhoto, Picasa, or Preview. For cloud apps, the choices were CloudApp, Flickr, Google Docs, Picnik, Scribd, Tumblr and Twitter. No iCloud or Dropbox, the two cloud apps I use the most. The final choice is to send scans to Doxie Cloud, a free service provided by Doxie for sharing scanned documents and photos.

Conclusion

As you can see from this review, you won't totally cut the wires when you're using the Doxie Go. But this scanner can be used to ingest numerous images and documents while you're away from a computer, and then spew them quickly into whatever app you want.

There are other solutions that might be less expensive. For example, my usual solution for scanning on the go is to snap a photo of documents and receipts with my iPhone using the $1.99 JotNot Scanner Pro app, which acts as an even smaller "scanner" for traveling. On the other hand, JotNot is not made for scanning photos, and it can sometimes take a while to manipulate scanned images to look good.

Other mobile scanners include the NeatReceipts Mobile Scanner ($200), HP ScanJet Pro 1000 ($219.95) and the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1100 ($200). If you're looking for a fast and incredibly easy mobile scanner, the Doxie Go is definitely a product to consider.

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