Gadgets neatconnect

Published on October 9th, 2015 | by Greg


NeatConnect: Scan To The Cloud, Anywhere!

Despite all of the technology that surrounds us, we still end up using (and saving) a whole lot of dead trees. The paperless office might have helped dramatically reduce the amount of filing, but if you run a business or work for yourself, you’re bound to end up with receipts and invoices and important documents by the ream. And you can try to stuff them away somewhere, but the better solution is to electronically store everything where it won’t take up any physical space at all.

That’s the promise of the NeatConnect, a wireless scanner aimed straight at small business and SOHO users. Like many office scanners, the hardware is only half of the equation, and we’ll look at both the product and the software a little more closely below. This is the big brother of the Neat Company’s family trio, which includes their small and compact, USB-powered NeatReceipts entry-level version as well as the middle sibling NeatDesk, which boasts similar specs as the Connect but lacks the wireless connectivity and requires a computer. With the NeatConnect, you don’t need to have a laptop or desktop handy, as it can scan directly to Neat’s cloud service (or others like Dropbox).

The unit makes an immediate and positive impression- it’s pretty large, well-built, and includes three different slots on the top to accommodate business cards, receipts, and regular letter-size paper, each able to hold up to 15 items. The automated document feeder was decent, but could catch on thin paper, and though the stated speed is 24 pages per minute in simplex mode, we noticed slower scan speeds in our tests. Capable of duplex (dual-sided scanning), it can capture up to 600 dpi, but it’s not built for regular office scanning or photography- it’s definitely built to handle documents, pure and simple. The soothing white color scheme and rounded edges are friendly, and the control panel is interesting, a touch screen built right into the center of the NeatConnect.

It’s important to note that a subscription is required for use of the Neat Premium Service, but one full year is included for free. We setup the scanner and tested out a whole sheaf of various items you’d expect to keep for tax time or regular accounting. Of course, we first had to create an account, and then figure out how to use the software- it has a little bit of a learning curve if you are used to other standard applications, but the OCR is fairly impressive (text was imported mostly correctly). There is a bit of lag- a few pauses during scanning and recognition and import- and non-Roman characters do present some issues as with most scanners that we’ve seen. We liked the inclusion of an SD card slot for saving documents, and TWAIN/VIA support for direct connection to your PC if you desire. And compared to our favorite competitor, the Fujitsu ScanSnap, we found crumpled receipts were easier to scan and process using the NeatConnect. It’s not quite magic, and for regular documents, was slower. But if you are looking for a nifty scanner that doesn’t require a computer, the NeatConnect is available now online and in stores for around $425.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Appleā€™s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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