We've followed Apparent's Doxie scanners since their infancy, and the company has done a fantastic job of working to bring the reality of the paperless office to millions of Mac owners. The Doxie One ($149) is a portable scanner that works with Macs and iPads, and you'll have a chance to win one with a pack of fun accessories at the end of this review.
The best thing about the Doxie scanners is their small size. The scanner measures 10.5 inches wide by 1.7 inches high by 2.2 inches deep, and weighs just 13.6 ounces. It's designed to scan anything from business cards up to A4 or US letter sized sheets. There's a special "carrier" sleeve if you have old fragile photos to scan, or you can just slide those color images right into the scanner.
The basic Doxie One is made of black and dark gray plastic, but if you're in the mood for color, the company now sells swappable skins in seven Pantone colors ($10). There's also a nice carrying case to protect the scanner if you take it on the road ($29). The device is powered by a generic power brick, but can be outfitted with four rechargeable AA batteries for total portability.
Doxie One comes with a USB cable, but that's not really needed as it's designed to be used without a computer. It comes with a 2 GB SD card that is placed into a slot on the back of the device. Scans are saved to the card, which can then be read by the SD card reader in most new Macs or by using the SD card readers for iPad.
While you can then just import the images into your favorite Mac or iOS apps, Apparent recommends using their free Doxie app to help organize and save your scans. For Dropbox users, you might just want to use the built-in auto-upload function for images on an SD card to copy your scans to the cloud. The Doxie app does allow you to virtually staple scanned docs together, rename the scans, and do some OCR as well. That OCR capability is used to create searchable PDFs, although you can have the app output a text file.
The sharing capabilities of the app provide one-click uploads to Evernote, Dropbox, Google Drive, Flickr, and Basecamp among others. On the Mac, there's integration with iMessage and AirDrop to send PDFs to friends or other Macs on a local network. Scans loaded to the iPad are transferred to the Photo Roll, where they're automatically backed up through iCloud.
I've never been a real fan of sheet-fed scanners, since they always seem to pull in the paper sideways if there's a crease, and that causes the scans to be screwed up. However, the Doxie One does a remarkable job of pulling in whatever you're scanning and keeping it straight. I scanned receipts, folded glossy paper, old photos, invoices, and even an old newspaper (remember those) clipping, and all were pulled through the Doxie One with ease. I'm not sure what Apparent has improved, but it seems like this version of their scanner handles paper better.
If you've never used a scanner before, Doxie includes a well-written comic book-like Quick Start Guide to get you going. Seriously, a kid could set up and use this scanner. I do tech writing for a living, and I find the Doxie Quick Start Guides to be the gold standard for clear, understandable instructions.
To transfer the scans from the Doxie One to my iMac, I decided to use the built-in SD card reader. That provided a bonus backup for my scans, since I use the Dropbox camera import feature to send photos straight to the cloud. The Doxie Mac app is straightforward and incredibly easy to use. Items that have been scanned and saved are marked with a large white-on-green checkmark, while newly scanned items are designated with a clear thumbnail image.
Clicking on any of the scans allows you to save it, send it, or store it on your favorite cloud storage. Command-clicking multiple pages gives you the ability to staple (combine) pages before saving.
With the iPad, you're using the built-in Photos app. Using Apple's USB Camera Kit (or the Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader), placing the Doxie's SD card into the reader launches the Photos app and you're given an opportunity to import the images. Of course, there's no way to combine documents; that requires other third-party apps.
I'd love to see Apparent come up with an iOS app that would provide the functionality of the Doxie app on Apple's mobile devices. Yes, it's possible to mimic the functionality with a combination of other apps, but having an iOS replica would make it possible for Doxie users to learn one app for both platforms.
One final note; Doxie customers get free access to Doxie Cloud, which provides a quick and easy way to share scans.
Apparent has raised the bar for portable scanners with the Doxie One. It's an excellent piece of hardware supported by an easy-to-use Mac app, and it can be used with an iPad with the help of an SD card reader. With the new year about to arrive, the Doxie One is a great gift for anyone who needs to go paperless and get organized.
Compact, lightweight and can be battery powered for complete portability
Easy to setup and use thanks to well-written documentation and a simple, straightforward app
Can be used without a computer or tablet, storing scans to an included SD card
No native iPad app (but does work with built-in Photos app)
Who is it for?
Anyone who would like a portable scanner to enhance their personal organization
Tis the season to be giving, so we're giving a TUAW reader a complete pack of Doxie goodies. The winner will get a gift pack complete with a Doxie One valued at $149, an A4 Case valued at $29, both a Lightning to SD Card Reader ($29) and a 30-pin Dock Connector SD Card Reader ($29), and a Doxieball hoop ($3). Here are the rules for the giveaway:
Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button.
The entry must be made before December 23, 2012 11:59PM Eastern Standard Time.
You may enter only once.
One winner will be selected and will receive a Doxie One scanner gift pack valued at $239