The paperless society is something that has been promised for many years but has never quite managed to appear. Too many companies send you letters and information and you simply accumulate too much backlog of things you have to keep. If you’re anything like me your kids art seems to multiply and you have boxes of old pre-digital photographs that you want to keep but usually just end up taking up space.
Scanners have been available for many years but in the last couple they’ve gotten much much better. I’ve gotten a chance to test out the Doxie Go Plus and it’s a revelation.
The first thing that people expect from an scanner is that you need a computer to go with it. The Go Plus is designed to be a portable system and designed for simplicity. Switch it on with a single press of the only button and feed the paperwork in. The images are stored on its internal memory (or a SD card or USB stick) until you dock it with your PC or Mac when you can either just copy them off or use the Doxie software to process them in a number of ways.
The scanning is simplicity in itself and I had our 5 year old scanning herself in a stack of her artwork immediately. When switched on it defaults to 300dpi at around 4 seconds a A4 sheet and can be switched to 600 dpi at around 8 seconds a sheet with a push of the button. Doxie included a small plastic envelope for oddly shaped paperwork but I found that as long as there was at least one straight edge I rarely needed to use it. Paperjams were rare and could easily be pulled out when they happened.
The idea is that the Go Plus lives in your bag or desk draw and once a week or regularly you plug it into your computer and download the images and process them.
So whats the software like? The Doxie Desktop software is fairly simple to use. Switch on the scanner and plug in and click the import button. It can take a few minutes to finish downloading depending on how many images you have scanned in but eventually you get a series of thumbnails. These can be attached together if they are one document (“stapled”) and have their contrast adjusted or be rotated or mirrored. They can then either be exported as files or to specific software or cloud systems. Lets take those in order.
Exporting as a file is straightforward. You can select a JPEG, PNG, BMP or one of several types of PDF and decide where to save the file. Software export is also straightforward. A list is autopopulated (which can be added to or changed in settings) and you can open the files in that software. For example in my case I’ve setup options to export to Evernote as an OCR searchable PDF, Lightroom as a PNG or Paint as a BMP. Finally you can send direct to a cloud service. Doxie offers their own service that will let you store files for up to three months and hooks to let you send to OneDrive, Dropbox, OneNote, Box, Google Drive, Scribd, Twitter or SpiderOak.
Included in the box: Doxie Go Plus Scanner, MiniUSB cable, Wall charger, Quick Start Guide, Scanner cleaner, Plastic irregular document envelope and calibration sheet.
Paid Extras: The Doxie Case is also available for £22.80
Doxie is a brand started by Apparent Corp with their first portable scanner in 2009. Apparent was formed in 1998 and makes a number of paper and barcode scanners. As well as Doxie they have the Intelliscanner home organiser brand and the Barcode Producer brand which is software for making barcodes.
The Ergohacks Evaluation
The Doxie Go Plus is among the most versatile scanners I’ve used as well as the most simple. It lets you scan to its internal memory, an SD card slot, a USB drive and with the software output in a number of formats and carry out OCR.
The unit is designed to charge with the included charger but will also charge (although slower) with the USB cable which is much more flexible if you are on the go.
With a little ingenuity and extra hardware its possible to get the scans onto an iPad using an camera kit, onto an Android device by mounting the scanner as an external drive or wirelessly onto a PC using a EyeFi card.
The only major problem I discovered with it is that you cannot scan when plugged into your PC’s USB port. I’d hoped to have it setup on my desk for normal use and pick it up when I wanted to go and this has added a certain extra amount of plugging and replugging. This also means that you cannot charge with the USB cable and scan at the same time although you can with the external charger. I tested the battery and got to 142 scans before the full charge was exhausted which is enough for most situations.
The scanner is very simple to use with a single button that needs to be held down for a second and has a positive click when you press it . The button lights up with a single green LED and on another second long press switches to an orange LED showing higher resolution. Scanning is very simple – just poke the paper into the slot and off you go. If the thing you’re scanning has a straight edge and is remotely stiff it will feed properly.
I had a backlog of paperwork built up and was able to feed it through whilst watching TV – its a very simple mindless activity.
I found that the whole thing fitted well into my bag although I’m already considering the case to protect it as it does feel somewhat vulnerable. Bags have padded space for tablets and laptops but they’re not designed for a shape like the Doxie.
Environment & People
The Doxie Go Plus does not use any particular environmentally positive or negative processes in its construction. It’s a fairly typically mass produced electronic gadget which will probably prove difficult to recycle.
The mindset behind wanting to scan in paper wherever you are is however much greener. Carry this piece of electronics and you don’t need the piece of paper. Someone else can have it or it can be recycled directly. At home declutter, keep paper usage to a minimum and as a bonus be more organised.
It’s a nice idea and the Doxie Go Plus makes is viable. You need to form some good habits to get the best from it but its got a good chance of making you greener.
The Doxie Go Plus is not the cheapest scanner on the market and is rather more expensive than no-name flatbed scanners of a similar DPI. There are other portable scanners which are usually of a slightly lower cost also available but they rarely have internal memory, a battery of a comparable size nor the flexibility of the Doxie software. This is a premium product but you get what you pay for.
Size: 30 x 19.8 x 5.8 cm
Capacity: (for bags, containers)
Item Weight: 975g
Colour: White gloss plastic with black accents
Controls: One button
Feedback: 2 LEDs that show red or orange and flash
Internal storage: 477 Meg
Battery: Integrated non-removable rechargeable 7.2 Watts and 3.1V
Charging: Propriety charger or via MiniUSB
Expandability: USB and SD card
Warranty: 1 Year included
The Doxie Go Plus is an interesting piece of technology. It has a number of immediate drawbacks. You can’t use it plugged in (via USB), you really need to buy the £25 travel case and it can only handle a single side of paper at once. Unless you’re planning to scan in a huge number of documents daily these are irrelevant (with the possible exception of the case).
The Go Plus succeeds in one thing very well. It makes scanning in documents simple and easy. This morning I came into my office to start the day to find my five year old carefully feeding a drawing she’d just made into the scanner. She informed me she wanted to keep a backup so she’d have a safe copy. She was a little hazy about how she’d get it back out of the PC if she needed it but it was simple enough for her to switch on and scan in.
There’s an aphorism that I’ve heard a few times about smart phone cameras in the last few years. The best camera is the one you have on you. Well – the Doxie Go Plus is the scanner to have on you. Highly recommended for anyone working on the go or who just wants to bring a little order to an overflowing desk.
The review is based on the Doxie Go Plus kindly provided by Doxie. This post contains affiliate links. First published on 8th of January 2016