Doxie's been around for a while, selling a series of very portable scanners that were battery powered and used a sheet feeder that you could feed one piece of paper or one photo at a time into. These were fairly nice scanners, but you couldn't use them to do something like scan a book -- at least not without doing something really counterproductive like copying the pages first, then feeding those into the scanner. That's why I think the new Doxie Flip (US$149) is going to be popular. It's a small, battery-powered flatbed scanner that can be used in a variety of ways to scan photos, books, sketches, you name it.
Take your standard flatbed scanner, put it into your shrinkerizer -- you do have one of those, don't you? -- and then reduce the size of the scanner to about 6.5 x 10 x 1 inches. Take the bottom off and put a transparent window in, and add a tiny LCD for previews and for changing settings. That's what the Doxie Flip looks like. The top is an A6-sized (4 x 6 inches) glass surface with a removable plastic flip-up cover.
It stores scanned images onto an SD card, which you can then pop into the SD card slot on your Mac or into a reader for an iPad. The entire thing is powered by a pair of AA batteries, and the Flip weighs in at 1 lb 7.3 oz.
There are some great accessories for the Flip, including a $19 Flip Case with a hidden pocket that's a perfect size for Field Notes notebooks. You know those little memo books they have, that are 3-1/2" by 5-1/2" big? They're perfect for scanning with the Flip, and early buyers will get a limited edition Doxie Field Notes memo book with "a unique textured French Paper Speckletone 80# Cream Cordtone cover". Eat your heart out, Dave Caolo (he's a collector of all things Field Notes)!
There's also a $29 SD Card reader available in either Lightning or 30-pin Dock Connector versions for use with your iPad, iPhone 5c, or iPhone 5s. A 4 GB SD card and a USB SD card reader are included with the Doxie Flip at no cost.
The big question is how this little flatbed scanner works, and the answer is "very well!" The review device came with a box full of photos, postcards, and a swatch of material, all of which I scanned in a very short amount of time at 600 dpi (there's also a 300 dpi setting). To scan something, you just power on the Flip with a small thumb switch on the side, and then you're greeted with a prompt to set the time and date on the device. There's a small five-key pad that is used to move around the various prompts and make your selection, and I was able to do the setup, read the built-in manual, and even (after scanning) look at my scanned images on the color screen using that navigation pad.
In the gallery below are eighteen scans of color and black & white photos and post cards. The scans are surprisingly accurate -- all of the images you see in the gallery are unretouched and the color accuracy is uncanny.
But the big deal with the Flip is that you can take off the cover of the scanner, place it on any larger surface, and scan it as well. Have a large piece of art you want to scan? You can take off the cover, flip the scanner over, look through the back to line it up, and push the large green scan button on the side to capture your scans. Although it's not available now, Doxie promises an update to the software in the near future that will stitch together these smaller images automatically into one larger image.
Just for the heck of it, I made some additional scans using the Flip feature, and also timed how long scans took. A 600 dpi scan took about 22.4 seconds (that's for the scan and for the scanning bar to return to its default position), while a 300 dpi scan took about 14.6 seconds. Those scans are included in the second gallery below.
There are some other nice features of the Doxie Flip, like being able to set the device to automatically turn off after a certain duration of non-use. Once you're done with the scans, just move the images to your favorite device and import them. Doxie also has an app that provides an easy way to do cropping, rotation, color and contrast adjustment, and also to "staple" two or more images together. This last feature is quite fun -- if you want to send multiple images (like the front and back of a postcard, for example) to someone, you can staple them together and then send them to Preview as a PDF. I do wish that the Send button on the Doxie app had a button for sending images directly via Apple's Mail app.
All in all, I'm VERY impressed with the Doxie Flip. I own an Epson WF-3540 All-In-One with a sheet feed and flatbed scanner, and I'm frustrated with how hard it is to make decent scans and get them over to my Mac sitting literally inches away. Not only is the Epson software less than usable, but third-party apps I've tried aren't very helpful either. And everything has to be carried to the scanner; I can't carry the scanner to the items I want to scan. That's the beauty of this scanner; if I want to grab it and take it to my parent's house to scan some old photos, the Flip is lightweight and fits into a backpack. If my wife wants to scan a box full of old photos while watching TV, that's easy to do with the Flip. This would be a perfect tool for a student doing research or working on art projects.
That being said, is it the scanner for everyone? Well, if you have stacks of full-sized and two-sided paper documents that you need to scan into Evernote or Dropbox, then you probably still need to consider using a sheet-fed scanner. Making four or more scans of every page with the Doxie Flip and then using the soon-to-be-released stitch capability of the app to "glue" them together would be counterproductive.
This thing just works, and I'd heartily recommend it to anyone. And one more thing... I tested the Doxie Flip with an Eye-Fi Connect X2 card and was able to send scanned items directly from the Flip to my Mac. How cool is that?
Doxie has created a winner in the Doxie Flip mini flatbed scanner. It's as portable as a paperback book, scans quickly and accurately, and is so simple to use that you could -- and should -- give it to your kids to let them get creatively crazy. I'm not the type to gush about something as commonplace as a scanner, but the Doxie Flip is an exception. Now you'll have to excuse me; I'm going to take this out to my back yard and scan some of the leaves that have fallen...
- Book-sized and insanely portable for a flatbed scanner
- Doxie desktop software is impressive and will be even more so when the auto-stitch capability is enabled in an upcoming update
- Excellent color rendition in scans of up to 600 dpi
- Easy navigation of the onboard display, with very simple settings
- Works with Eye-Fi cards for direct-to-Mac/PC scanning from anywhere on your network
- Perfect size for scanning printed photos and postcards
- Currently can't scan items larger than 4 x 6 inches, although that limitation will disappear with the auto-stitching software upgrade
Who is it for?
- Anyone with a Mac, PC or recent iOS device who has a need or desire to be able to scan printed photos, postcards, small notebooks, or 2D art objects quickly and portably.