Disclosure: Viewpoints gave me a free NeatDesk Desktop Scanner in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated for this post, and all thoughts are my own.
Note: Due to the personal nature of some of the information in this post, I have blurred out some parts of screen shots. Please don’t think that the Neat application looks weird. It has an immaculate interface that I have marred in some instances.
One of my resolutions this year was to get more organized. And I’m proud to say I’ve been taking (baby) steps toward making that happen. A little bit at a time, I get one area of my life sorted, cleaned out, and repositioned. And the results are wonderful. Less clutter makes me less grumpy and more efficient. It’s a beautiful thing.
That’s why I was beyond thrilled to try out the NeatDesk Desktop Scanner. Piles of paper (unsorted mail, school documents, tax forms, etc.) tend to hide and reproduce in my house until they suddenly take over a room. Being able to tackle the piles with this scanner would be a dream for me. I’ve used Neat products before, and was always pretty happy with them. But for one reason or another, they were always a bit simplistic for my needs. Maybe I needed color scanning, or the ability to scan multi-page documents, or a better place to store my scanned documents than in a folder on my computer. What I’d tried was good, but not great.
This new scanner, however, covers all the bases. While it’s very simple to use, it’s got a very complicated back-end system. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. I simply mean that there are now TONS of options for scanning and storing your data.
Let’s start with storage. The NeatDesk comes with a free 30-day trial of their cloud storage. I went ahead and signed up for it immediately (I got the $15 a month home-use version). Being able to store my documents in the cloud means never losing them if anything happens to my computer. It also means being able to access them from any device through my secure account. For example, I scanned my medical insurance card. Now, when I have to go to the doctor, I can just pull it up on my phone instead of worrying about having it with me.
And speaking of phones — the Neat mobile app allows you to scan documents from your phone. I used it just today to grab details of a birthday party invitation.
Sure, I could just take a picture of stuff and refer back to it later. But one of the wonderful things about Neat is that it performs a keyword search on entire documents. This means I can search for documents by any word found on them. Here’s an example. I wanted to search for information from my car dealership on my last oil change. So I searched for the word “oil.”
This feature is a lifesaver for anyone who has a large number of scanned docs, or who can’t remember what a document is named. It’s much more powerful than searching your computer.
There are also tons of scanning options available. Let’s take a look.
You can see that NeatDesk allows you customize your scan functions. You can choose to scan single or double-sided. You can analyze the text on every page of the document. You can even instruct the scanner to throw out blank pages. It is highly customizable.
The NeatDesk makes keeping up with expenses and taxes a breeze. Whenever you scan a receipt, you can add lots of information to the document. You can edit any of the fields that automatically populate (perfect for when a receipt is worn out and the ink becomes hard to read). You can also categorize it based on tax and expense purposes.
Are you like me, and have no clue what those options mean? No problem. Neat explains it for you, and links you to the appropriate sources.
Think you can only scan business-y stuff? Think again. I use it to scan recipes on index cards and organize newspapers clippings. You can scan anything! And it still analyzes every single word of those clippings!
There are a few more cool things Neat can do. Add scanned business cards to your existing contacts? Yep. Share documents with others and allow for collaboration? Yep. Email directly from the application? Yep. Import documents already on your computer? Yep. I’m telling you, you can go OCD crazy with this device!
Last, but not least, let’s talk size. The NeatDesk is taller than a printer, but it takes up less surface area on your desktop. It’s also very lightweight. In fact, I’ve found myself toting it around the house, using it everywhere from on my dining room table to on my bed. My only complaint with this is that because it is so portable and versatile, I wish it had a longer power cord so that I could easily use it in more places.
So are there are downsides to using the NeatDesk scanner? Yes, and they’re mainly technical. Every once in a while, I’d be plowing through a stack of paper, totally in the groove, and BAM, the scanner would stop scanning and throw up error messages. A window would pop up directing me to unplug the scanner, wait five seconds, then try again. However, this rarely rectified the situation. I ended up having to close the Neat application and reopen it in addition to restarting the scanner. This gets annoying when you’re trying to scan large amounts of documents at a time, as you would when doing taxes or first getting organized when it’s new, for example.
Also, there were times when running the Neat application would freeze up my computer. I lost track of the times I had to do a Force Quit on this program. Again, it wasn’t the end of the world (I didn’t lose any data or anything), but it was very annoying and inconvenient.
For me, though, the benefits of the NeatDesk far outweigh these issues. If you’re the type of person who flips out over tech problems, you may not find it worthwhile. But if you’re the kind of person who flips out over clutter, lost documents, and disorganization, then you will absolutely fall in love with this scanner.
Want to know what the other reviewers thought of the NeatDesk Desktop Scanner? Check out this video.
There are way too many features of the NeatDesk Desktop Scanner for me to discuss and review them all. Have ANY questions about this device or the Neat program? Ask away in the comments. I’ll be happy to answer them for you.