Like many companies, our office has been moving to a paperless organization. However, there are still many pieces of paper that are handled every day, including receipts, business cards, and other documents. The folks at Neat offer products to help you transform paper into digital files and then manage those digital files.
I use our printer/scanner to convert paper into digital and then those files are emailed to me. Efforts are then required to manage those email attachments and thus handling these paper files is anything, but convenient. I've been testing a NeatConnect cloud scanner and digital filing system for a few weeks and it has made handling paper quick, easy, and much more productive.
The NeatConnect arrived in a rather large box with the NeatConnect, power cable, USB cable, and Quick Start Guide. The NeatConnect weighs in at 5.3 pounds and is 11 x 8.7 x 7.5 inches.
There are slots on the upper front for business cards, receipts, and documents. There is a removable paper tray so when you have more than 15 of each type of paper then you can remove the tray and load up to 50 documents.
The NeatConnect can scan two sided documents with support up to 600 dpi for paper up to 8.5 x 11 inches. You can actually scan in longer documents, up to 30 inches, but the resolution drops to 300 dpi. These are both still higher than the default 200 dpi resolution I currently use at the office.
There is a lower extendable paper tray where your documents come out after scanning. You will also find a SD card slot on the lower left side, with support up to 32GB.
The NeatConnect supports 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and that is the intended connection method. However, the device also has a USB port so you can connect directly to a PC or Mac.
It was extremely easy to setup the NeatConnect and I never even had to look at the directions. I simply unpacked it from the box, plugged in the A/C adapter, and pressed the rear power button. The small touchscreen lit up and prompted me to setup the NeatConnect.
The first step is to connect to your wireless network and then make the connection to the NeatCloud service. A free three month subscription comes with the NeatConnect device. The touchscreen works well and the keyboard is easy to use.
You can download iOS and Android apps and use the Neat Mobile app to view your NeatCloud documents or scan in documents using your smartphone camera.
While you can use NeatCloud to store your scanned documents, a subscription with that service is not required to use the NeatConnect. you can connect to other existing cloud services, including SkyDrive, Box, Dropbox, Evernote, and Google Drive. This functionality makes my Evernote and Google Drive accounts even more useful.
The basic settings are available at the top of the touchscreen and include grayscale/color, one or two sided, and continuous or separate documents from multiple page scans. Below the word 'Scan' you can swipe left or right to select where your scan is sent, including the cloud services or via email attachment.
I was honestly blown away by the speed and quality of the scans made by NeatConnect. I placed 14 pages of documents I intended to get into electronic format for a long time and it was scanned and sent to my Evernote account in seconds.
People in the engineering field I work in still hand out business cards and with all my travel over the last couple of months I collected many cards. It took just a couple minutes to get them all into my Evernote account. This is important to me since I can now search those cards via Evernote's amazing text recognition technology.
The display times out after a few minutes, but then when you put a document, receipt, or business card in the slot it turns back on with the previous settings ready to go. You then just tap Scan and Send and that is it.
There are desktop clients and also a website you can log into for viewing and managing your documents. I have a proprietary software for expense reports, but the NeatCloud software is designed to help you create expense reports after scanning in your receipts and documents.
The NeatConnect is an expensive device, but it gets the job done very quickly and the time savings may justify the cost for your business. The ability to scan to various cloud services is fantastic and makes the device even more useful than a simple scanner.
While I am personally not going to buy the NeatConnect for my home office, the NeatReceipts scanner ($179.95) looks to perform the scanning functions I want with USB connectivity.
The NeatConnect is available now from Neat for $499.95 with free shipping until 31 December. It comes with three months of NeatCloud service. The NeatCloud service is normally priced at $119.88 for a year of service with options for personal ($59.88/year) and business ($239.88) users.