I hate to admit it but I have boxes upon boxes filled with bills and receipts. I have business cards scattered around my desk. I shutter each and every time I have to look for a bill or a receipt. I needed a solution. I needed something to simplify my life. The NeatConnect® is a desk scanner that transforms paper into digital files. You would then be able to either send the files directly to your computer or wirelessly to the Neat Cloud Service. So, could the NeatConnect end up being the solution I was so desperately looking for? Read on to find out!
Ease of Setup
From unboxing to scanning, setting up the NeatConnect was relatively simple. If you’re interested in using the NeatConnect exclusively as a wireless scanner, then all you would need to do is simply plug in the scanner, power it on and follow the on-screen prompts to get started. The on-screen prompts help you set-up the wireless connection, connect to your Neat Cloud account and give you a brief tutorial to assist with your very first scan. I simply adore anything that allows you to interact directly with whatever it is you are in the process of setting up, without needing to go back into the box to search for the instruction manual. At this point you can consider yourself all set!
But in case you’re not ready to get started with using the Neat Cloud Service, you can always connect your NeatConnect directly to your computer. However, before doing so, you will need to install the Neat software prior to connecting the scanner to your computer. And as you can imagine, installing the software is not too complicated. After a few clicks, you’ll be able to connect the scanner to your PC and start scanning away.
So, in the end, whether you choose to use the Neat Cloud Service or use the NeatConnect directly with your computer it’s pretty safe to say that setting up the scanner is a pain-free experience overall. No boxes or instruction manuals were harmed while setting it up. The only thing to be wary of is making sure you have enough space wherever you end up setting up the NeatConnect. While it’s relatively compact, you have to remember that paper will shoot out through the bottom of the scanner once they are scanned so it would need to be set up in an area where the paper would not fall over or get caught on things found around the scanner.
Ease of Use
Now that we’re all set up, it’s time to get scanning!
I started with business cards first since I attended a plethora of events lately. I stacked together a few business cards and watched them go through the NeatConnect. For the most part it went pretty well. The NeatConnect was able to recognize that some of the cards were business cards and, therefore, was able to pull the name, phone number and address directly from the scanned card. However, cards that had backgrounds or graphics of any kind were not able to be scanned properly. In these cases, the contact information was off since the NeatConnect wasn’t able to appropriately distinguish the lettering on the business cards from the graphics. For most people, I doubt this will be too much of a problem since most business cards aren’t particularly fancy. This is just something to be aware of.
Afterwards, I moved on to scanning some receipts. These were pretty easy going. The NeatConnect was able to easily scan receipts of varying lengths and sizes. Imagine being able to scan those pesky CVS or Best Buy receipts along with some regular receipts from Old Navy or H&M. NeatConnect was able to distinguish the retailer, purchase date, sales tax and total relatively easily with department store receipts. The only issue arose when scanning restaurant receipts. The Neat software was unable to distinguish my handwriting for tips and totals but for the most part was able to effectively get the initial totals. The only drawback is not being able to automatically get the overall totals from restaurant receipts. Then again, reading handwriting tends to be tricky for OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software.
And finally, I moved on to utility bills. No surprise but it also was a relatively painless process. Again, the only drawback occurred with bills that contained backgrounds. These types of utility bills had the same issue as I mentioned earlier with the business cards that were graphically intense. The NeatConnect wasn’t able to automatically determine the totals accurately or even the company if it was a graphical element like a logo, for instance.
Wireless: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n compatible WLAN (required)
Supported wireless bands: WEP, WPA/WPA2-Personal
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.
Features of the Neat Desktop Software
Now that we’ve scanned some documents into the Neat Desktop Software, it was fascinating to see the results. The Neat Software is able to group all the documents together and generate an expense or tax report as well a phone list from your newly scanned business cards. You can review all your scans and verify the results. Using the Neat Software, you can update any of the fields that were incorrect when scanning.
Benefits of the Neat Cloud Service
Personally, I wish the Neat Desktop Software was more like the Neat Cloud Service. Everything appears easier through the Neat Cloud Service. It is easier to search and view scanned documents as well as generate reports. Additionally, you are able to manage your Neat account and do everything you would be able to do through the Neat Desktop Software just through a web browser. This way you are able to access your scans everywhere. From your computer to your mobile devices, you would be able to always have your important documents on hand.
Bottomline if you are drowning in a sea of paper, the NeatConnect might be the solution you are looking for. The necessity for using the Neat Cloud Service still remains to be seen – at least for me. The ability to be able to scan directly into OneDrive, Evernote, Google Drive and others are definitely going to be tempting for some. For me, I’m trying my best to keep all my documents in one service and for now that service will be the Neat Cloud. I love being wireless and being able to scan documents without being tethered to a computer.
It’s available now through The Neat Company for $499.95. I know, I know. That’s quite a hefty price tag but when you couple the wireless capability with the three months of Premium Neat Cloud Service as well as the ease of being able to declutter your life. The NeatConnect will be worth it.
‡Disclaimer: The NeatConnect was provided for review purposes to RoyalFlushMagazine.
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