Hands-on: The Doxie Go mobile scanner is lightweight, simple and handy

There are a variety of small, portable scanners available for those who need on-the-spot scanning abilities. One of the latest is Apparent's Doxie Go, a compact, battery-powered mobile scanner.

The $199 Doxie Go is a slim, white-and-black squared-off device that is small (10.5 x 1.7 x 2.2 in.), lightweight (14.2 oz.) and elegant. (An earlier $149 version, called simply Doxie, is a rounded-off black unit whose logo features a series of pink hearts; I'm not sure I would have wanted to be seen with it in public.)

Doxie Go

The only control on the scanner itself is a single power on/off button with a status light that blinks green or orange depending on a number of factors -- for example, whether the battery is low or whether it's scanning at 300 dpi or 600 dpi. The device uses a lithium-ion battery that, according to the company, is good for about 100 scans per charge; it takes about two hours to recharge.

According to the company, the Doxie Go can store up to 512MB of data, or about 600 pages of copy. If you max out the internal storage, don't fret: You can also store documents using the included SD card slot or the USB drive port. (The former can also be used with an optional $30 Wi-Fi SD card to enable wireless data transfer to your computer.)

To scan a document, you just push it gently into the front slot (which accept sizes ranging from business cards to legal-sized paper) and the Doxie Go will grab it and pull it through. On the whole, I found it worked very well; the scanner occasionally pulled smaller documents through crookedly, so I had to keep watch and re-scan those. There is a paper guide that you can push to the width of your document that helps somewhat.

In addition, while the Doxie Go was efficient, it isn't a speed demon; Apparent rates it at about 8 seconds per page for 300 dpi, which is fine for a small portable scanner.

Doxie Go software

The scanner comes with its own software (for Windows or OS X), which you download and install from the website. After that, once you've connected the Doxie Go to your system using the included USB cable, you just start the application, hit the "Import" button on the main page, and your scans are transferred to your computer.

Once all your scans have been imported (which may take a while), they appear on the main screen. You can browse the thumbnails to see how the scan looks; if you want, you can click on a scan to enlarge it and adjust the contrast, brightness and saturation, or crop it and adjust the rotation.

If you want to keep several pages together (because the Doxie Go only scans one at a time), the application offers a "staple" feature that lets you group them together as a single document.

Once you've finished tweaking your scans, you can output them in a number of ways. You can send one, several or all of them to a local application; you can save them to your computer as PDFs, PNGs, BMPs or JPGs; or you can send them to a cloud service such as Dropbox or Google+.

I found working with the software to be a lot easier and more straightforward than a lot of other scanning software I've come across. I had no issues with it, nor did I have to go running to the website for explanations of how to perform any of the tasks I tried -- which is unusual.

Apparent also offers users its own storage/sharing service called Doxie Cloud, which lets you upload your scans and store them for up to three months; it gives you an URL for each scan that you can share via email.

Bottom line

To test the Doxie Go, I scanned a variety of business cards, small handwritten notes and letter-sized documents; transferred them to a Windows 7 netbook using the company's software; and then sent them to an Evernote account as PDFs and JPGs. Everything worked very well and with a minimum of fuss -- I was impressed with the ease-of-use of both the scanner and the software.

In short, the Doxie Go is a useful mobile device which, while too slow and simple for those who do a lot of bulk scanning, will work well if you need a scanner to travel with -- or if you only do occasional scans on a very crowded desktop.

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