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Review: Doxie One portable cordless scanner

I decided to go paperless — as much as I could — some time ago, and have taken to saving newer documents as PDFs, subscribing to PDF versions of utility bills, and scanning older documents and then discarding the physical copies whenever I get a chance. Heck, I even bought a book to prepare for going paperless — the aptly named Paperless, by David Sparks.

I’ve had my eye on a Doxie scanner for a while now, but couldn’t bring myself to get a scanner adorned with pink hearts, and the new, cordless Doxie Go was too expensive for the light work load I had in mind. When a simpler and cheaper version of the Doxie Go came out, I ordered one (about $150 or Php6,200 on Amazon). The Doxie One is a portable, cordless scanner that does just one thing: it scans documents in color at 300 DPI and saves them as JPEG files onto an SD card. It doesn’t have the built-in rechargeable battery, the USB slot for scanning to flash drives, or the 600 dpi option that the Doxie Go does, but it’s also $50 cheaper. If you don’t really need to bring the scanner with you everywhere, the Doxie One should serve you well.

The beauty of the whole setup  is that you can scan without the need for a computer. Which means you can scan anywhere, any time.

The Doxie One is about the size of a short and thick baton — 2.2 by 1.5 by 11 inches — and is about the weight of a thick paperback. You should be able to fit this into most briefcases and bags. It’s powered by an included AC adapter, or by four rechargeable AAA batteries, if you prefer, to make it really portable. In my case, it sits on my work desk most of the time and I just take it home on weekends, so I just keep it powered by the AC adapter.

Doxie One portable scanner

On one end you have the power button and the paper guide…

Doxie One portable scanner

…and on the other you have posts for the AC adapter and the USB cable. At the back is an SD card slot.

It takes in any kind of paper that you can fit into the slot — I’ve scanned calling cards, receipts, photos, newspaper clippings, regular bond (8.5 x 11) and long bond (8.5 x 13), A4 sheets, without any problem. The 2GB SD card included in the box should accommodate more than 2,000 scanned pages, so you won’t be running out of space for a while. That said, this is a scanner meant for light scanning duties. If you’re planning to scan several hundred pages in one go, you’ll be better off with a scanner that has a sheet feeder.

You transfer the scans onto your computer via SD card, if you have an SD card slot, or via the USB cable. The Doxie One scanner has a neat trick: it formats the SD card as a digital camera card, with a DCIM folder and subfolders, so that you can import the scanned images into any device that accepts digital camera cards. In my case, I can transfer the scans to my iPad using the SD camera connection kit — a really useful trick for reviewing in-class work or workshop outputs.

On your laptop or desktop, you can manage the scanned files using the Doxie app, which has versions for Mac OS X (10.6 and up) and Windows (XP, Vista, 7, and 8). You can combine — or “staple” — images into a single file and export them as PDF, or run them through the excellent bundled ABBYY FineReader program. It’s a fine app for getting the basics done, especially OCR, but I found it limited as I could’t crop out uneven margins nor adjust rotation to straighten crooked scans. And the most annoying limitation is that it won’t recognize scans that have not been created by the Doxie One or modified in some other app. I’ve since taken to iPhoto and Preview for cleaning up and managing my scans.

UPDATE: A representative from Apparent Software, makes of the Doxie One, got in touch with me to list in detail what their desktop app can do: “Doxie’s automatic image recognition system delivers crisp, clean copies of your paper. Automatic cropping, rotation, and contrast boost makes every scan look amazing. If you want to edit your scans (cropping, rotation, contrast, etc) just double click on a scan to open up the Adjustments window. From this window you can rename your scan, view the source, adjust contrast boost, color mode, brightness, saturation, rotation, and cropping.”

UPDATE 2: Here’s clarification from Apparent software: Doxie’s app definitely allows you to rotate and straighten your scans by small increments. In the adjustments window in the Doxie software, right above to “Rotate 90 degrees” button you’ll see the sliding bar that allows you to adjust rotation to your own liking.

Since the Doxie software is designed only to be used with Doxie scanners as an inbox for your scans, it does not allow the addition of scans from other scanners. The app is simply a place to import, edit, and save, send, or share your scans. It isn’t an organizational software (since most users prefer to use something like Evernote and Dropbox for organizing their scans). We’ve made sure to provide all of the necessary tools for editing your scans after import, so there is no need to edit your scans in another software before stapling.

A few little annoyances

The Doxie One scans only one side of a page, so you’ll have to flip it over and scan the other side, if you’re working with double-sided material. As I mentioned, I found the desktop app a little limited, but maybe i’m just too much of an OC to want to clean up and crop and straighten my scanned files before moving them to their folders.

It takes practice to get the rollers to grab the sheet such that it feeds into the scanner in a straight line, and every now and then I end up with crooked scans that I have to straighten before saving them as a PDF.

The bottom line

Overall, though, I’m very happy with the Doxie One. I can use it anywhere — at my desk, in the library, at home, on trips — and it helps me keep my paperwork organized. I just scan the documents I need, then toss out the originals. That Paperless book helped me set up a filing system that keeps my PDFs within easy reach, so to speak. They’re on my desktop, backed up to a account, and accessible via iPhone or iPad when the need arises.

There are cheaper scanners out there, but none are as portable. If you really want to go paperless, consider getting yourself a Doxie.



Jason de Villa is teacher by day and a geek at all other times of the day. When he’s not teaching, he’s reading and writing about technology, looking for ways technology can help in education. His favorite noodles: Pancit Malabon Express.

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