Over the past few years I have worked to eliminate as much of the paper-clutter as possible. The NeatConnect cloud scanner takes “paperless” to an entirely new level by allowing you to scan directly to various cloud services without the need of a computer. It is a case of “the right tool for the right job at the right time”.
I have, and often use, a NeatDesk Scanner. When combined with Neat’s desktop software, it does a great job of taking paper, receipts and business cards and digitizing them. Better still, the Neat software intelligently handles the documents once they are scanned and lets you quickly and easily process them. The NeatConnect does the same thing, but it lets you cut the cords.
You see, you don’t need to have a computer to set the scanner up. In fact, you don’t even need a computer to scan, process and save documents. Everything, and I mean everything, is handled by the NeatConnect thanks to its wireless capabilities.
It’s a whole new way to get organized! NeatConnect transforms paper into digital files and sends them straight to the cloud – without a computer. At home or at the office, NeatConnect sends your files straight to NeatCloud, the Neat mobile app, email, or wherever else they need to be.
I’ve spent some quality time with the NeatConnect over the last few weeks, and I’ve found it to be a great productivity tool for anyone looking to move toward a paperless lifestyle. And for someone like me, someone who relies heavily on both Evernote and Dropbox, being able to scan directly to the cloud is terrific.
Paper, receipts, and business cards; the NeatConnect handles each with aplomb.
I was initially concerned that the entire setup process was done using the NeatConnect’s screen. It offers a small, relatively low resolution, somewhat mushy-feeling touchscreen, and my experience with touch screens similar to it on other devices has been less than optimal. I expected the process to, at best, be cumbersome. I was wrong. The setup process took just a few minutes, and the touchscreen on the NeatConnect walked me through the things one step at a time. Within minutes the scanner was connected to my WiFi; a few minutes after that it was connected to NeatCloud, Evernote, and Dropbox. How cool is that??
The scanner comes with a three-month trial of NeatCloud. It is a subscription service that we have previously reviewed, and while it adds to the price of a scanner that is already just under $500, adding the service is key if you want to truly leverage what the NeatConnect has to offer.
Send items directly to NeatCloud, where your information becomes secure, useful, and usable. Create reports, edit data, and share files from anywhere, with NeatCloud and the Neat mobile app.
In other words, when using the NeatConnect with NeatCloud, the scanner doesn’t just scan business cards but rather it scans, processes them with optical character recognition, pulls relevant contact information from them, and then populates the appropriate contact fields in your NeatCloud account address book. Similarly, if you scan a receipt, the information is hit with OCR, and then the relevant data is placed in the appropriate fields. Scanning to the various cloud services is just as easy to set up and do. It won’t add the extra layer of expense, but you won’t have the benefit of Neat’s smart organizational power.
Of course you don’t NEED to continue the NeatCloud subscription after the three-month trial is up, since you can still connect the scanner to your computer running the Neat Desktop software and use it to process your information. That, however, is SO 2012!
Inside the box you’ll find the scanner, a power brick and cable and a USB cable for making a wired connection. The box also contains two folders – one gives setup instructions while the other includes the aforementioned desktop software and NeatCloud trial instructions.
- Wireless: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n compatible WLAN (required)
- Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) Scanner
1- and 2-sided scanning
- 24 PPM color, grayscale, B&W (300 dpi, A4 size)
- Maximum resolution: 600 dpi
- Supported paper sizes: 1.5″ x 2″ to 8.5″ x 30″
- Max scan area: 8.5” x 11” (up to 30” long for 300dpi)
- Capacity with paper tray: 15 business cards + 15 receipts + 15 letter-size documents
- Capacity without paper tray: 50 letter-size documents
TWAIN, WIA, and Image Capture support for scanning into other imaging applications
- 1 SD card slot for saving scanned images (32 GB max)
- 1 USB Port for scanning directly to PC or Mac
- Scanner Dimensions: 11″W x 8.7″D x 7.5″H
- Weight: 5.3 lbs
I plugged in the scanner and turned it on. I then decided to turn on my camera and document the setup process. Would it be as simple as they cleaned? Would the scanner live up to its promise as a true cloud scanner? Check out this video to see.
So there you have it. Setting up the NeatConnect scanner was just about as simple as simple could be. It walked me through each and every one of the steps, and it didn’t take on too long. (It would have been even faster had I not initially tried to log into a Wi-Fi network that wasn’t password-protected.) From there I was quickly able to start scanning to NeatCloud and, a few minutes after that, I was scanning to Evernote as well. I was impressed. So long as there is an available Wi-Fi network you will be good to go.
Which leads me to what I hope will be the next product we see from this company. I would love to see this scanner in a significantly smaller package that includes a rechargeable battery. From there it would be as easy as using your mobile device as a hotspot to go online anywhere and anytime and scan the documents you collect on the road. How cool would that be?
At $499.95, the NeatConnect is a pricey product, and there certainly are less expensive scanners on the market. But if you are looking for a scanning solution that allows you to scan wirelessly to the cloud without the need for a computer, and you want something that does more than simply scan your documents – you can’t go wrong here. To say that Neat has a homerun of a product on their hands is actually an understatement. If I didn’t already have access to some excellent scanners, I would seriously consider picking one up. I was, in fact, none too happy to send the review sample back. Yes, the NeatConnect delivers what it promises, and it does so even better than I expected. Learn more.
What I Like: Easy, computer less setup; Easy to use; Connects to computer, NeatCloud or various cloud services; Fast and does an excellent job scanning; Feed tray specific for 8 1/2 by 11 paper, receipts and business cards
What Needs Improvement: Pricey; Would love to see a mobile version of this
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample