Apparent Doxie One review

The Apparent Doxie One's software lets you convert scanned documents to searchable PDF format.
Photo of Apparent Doxie One

The Apparent Doxie One offers an unexpected twist on computer-free scanning. Like most scanners in the category, including the Editors’ Choice VuPoint Solutions Magic Wand Wi-Fi PDSWF-ST44-VP, it saves scans to memory, which in the Doxie One’s case means an SD card. You can then copy the files to your computer’s hard disk later. The unexpected twist is software for your PC that lets you easily move the files to cloud apps.

All this makes the Doxie One a computer-free scanner that also manages to link to the cloud, in a once-removed sort of way. That’s an obvious advantage if you want to share or store scans in the cloud. Even if you don’t care about the cloud capability, however, the software’s other features, including saving to searchable PDF (sPDF) format, offer more than some of the competition.

The Basics
Although it’s not as small or as portable as a wand scanner like the PDSWF-ST44-VP, the Doxie One is suitably small and light for a portable manual-feed scanner, at 1.7 by 10.5 by 2.2 inches (HWD) and just 14 ounces by itself or an even pound with four AAA batteries. Note that it won’t work with alkaline batteries, however, and it doesn’t come with either the rechargeable NiMH batteries it needs or a charger.

Key items included with the scanner are a 2GB SD card, a power adaptor, an assortment of plugs that Apparent says will let you plug into wall sockets anywhere in the world, a USB cable that you can connect to a computer to easily copy files from the memory card while it’s in the scanner, and a 5 by 7 inch plastic sleeve for protecting photos or other easily damaged originals.

Missing from the list is a soft carrying case, which is a common extra with portable scanners. However, you can buy a protective hard case ($29 direct) from Apparent’s Web site, as well as a set of four rechargeable batteries with a recharger ($25 direct), and an assortment of color skins to cover the Doxie One’s black case ($10 direct for a pack with seven colors). The site also mentions, but doesn’t sell, SD card readers for an iPad, which are available elsewhere with either a 30-pin or Lightning connector.

Setup for scanning consists of plugging the SD card into the back of the scanner, either plugging in the power adaptor or inserting four rechargeable batteries, inserting the supplied calibration sheet in the front slot, and letting the scanner go through its self-calibration step.

Scanning is just as simple. Everything gets scanned to JPG format at 300 pixels per inch (ppi) and in color, so there are no settings to change. All you do is turn on the scanner and insert whatever you want to scan in the front slot. You can move the scans to your computer later, either using the SD card or by connecting to your computer by USB cable, letting the computer recognize the card in the scanner as a drive, and then copying the files.

Software
Although Apparent doesn’t include any software with the Doxie One, it offers software you can download from its Web site, a trick that ensures you wind up with the most recent version of the program. If you already have other scan-related software, you can ignore Apparent’s utility if you like, but it offers some useful features that are well worth having. For my tests, I downloaded Doxie 2.3.1 for Windows and installed it on a system running Windows Vista.

Like earlier versions of the Doxie software that I’ve tested, version 2.3.1 is easy to use and also reasonably capable. It lets you rotate images, combine individual scanned pages into a single file with a Staple command (for saving multipage files to PDF format only), and then send the images to various locations, including folders on your own hard drive and to an assortment of cloud destinations. Choices include predefined connectors for Evernote, Dropbox, Flickr, Google Docs, Twitter, and Apparent’s own Doxie Cloud, plus the option to define additional choices.

Although the scanner itself saves all files in JPG format, the software lets you save them to JPG, PNG, BMP, or PDF image formats or sPDF format, with text recognition handled by an integrated version of the Abbyy FineReader optical character recognition (OCR) engine. Unfortunately, however, there’s no option for saving to editable text format, like RTF or Microsoft Word.

Results and Other Issues
The scanner and the utility worked as promised in my tests, with the Doxie One offering reasonably fast speed. I timed it with photos in the protective sleeve at 8 to 9 seconds. Add in the time it takes to put the photo in the sleeve and take it out after scanning, though, and the real time is closer to 25 seconds each. Letter-size text pages also take about 8 or 9 seconds.

Image quality for photos is acceptable for casual use. I saw an obvious loss of sharpness in my tests, but most people would consider the results suitable as snapshot quality for digital images or even for reprinting the photos. Scanning and saving to sPDF format also worked well enough, and I was able to search for and find text in the files. However, it’s hard to judge how well the recognition works, since our approach to scoring for our text recognition tests requires an editable text format.

One last important note is that the Doxie One doesn’t give you any way to see how good the scan is until you move the file to a computer, at which point you may no longer have the original to rescan. The same is true for most computer-free scanners. However, it’s worth mention that a few models, including the Editors’ Choice Visioneer Mobility, let you connect to your smartphone by Wi-Fi so you can spot a poor scan while you can still do something about it.

The Apparent Doxie One would certainly earn a higher score if it offered something similar. However, based on my tests, you should rarely wind up with the unpleasant surprise of a poor scan, which makes this more of a problem in principle than in practice. The lack of common types of application software, with no way to scan to editable text format for example, is potentially more of a concern. But if you don’t need additional application programs, or already have the ones you need, that’s not an issue either. And if you want an easy way to move scanned images to the cloud, the Apparent Doxie One may well be the portable scanner you want.

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Specifications
Scanning Options Reflective
Automatic Document Feeder No
Maximum Scan Area Letter
Maximum Optical Resolution 300 pixels
Ethernet Interface No
Flatbed No

Verdict
The Apparent Doxie One lets you scan without a computer then easily send scans to cloud apps with Doxie software after you've moved the scans to your computer.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc