Technology, Thoughts

Review of Doxie Go scanner

It seems too good to be true, a wireless, portable scanner that can send documents to your computer or iOS device. Perfect for one’s office within a Starbucks. Kind of.

Measuring a foot long, two inches tall and about 3 inches deep, weighing in at less than a half a pound, the Doxie Go is definitely portable. It powers on to a default scan mode of 300 dpi and can be toggled to 600 dpi, if needed. The power button can easily be erroneously pushed, too. Paper (photos, too) get scanned face side up, and the scanner gently pulls the item through, saving the scanned item within its on board memory or an SD card that you can add. The scanner seems fickle when pulling the item through.  If the item isn’t lined up perfectly, or you hold on to the paper a moment more, the Doxie Go doesn’t scan. Also, if the paper goes in angled or as it goes through and the paper catches on a random object on your desk, the resulting scan is a trippy blur of digital LSD. And don’t even bother with wrinkled or worn paper–vending machines take crumpled money better. Ideally, you’re scanning a relatively flat piece of paper and you either have a very clean desk or surface to scan on or you guide the paper through, catching it so it doesn’t get caught on any stray pens or keyboard.

The catch, for wireless scanning, is you have to add the wireless capability yourself with an Eye-Fi wireless SD card. So in a sense, it is wireless, but to get the scans off it, out of the box, it’s not.

Oh. OK.

Otherwise, to get your scans off the device, you must connect the Doxie to your computer via a mini USB cable,use a thumb drive, or, in the case of non-Eye-Fi SD cards, a memory card reader. Then, to do anything with the scans, processing through the Doxie software is required.

The software is free and actually pleasant to use.  Before your first use, the Doxie requires a setup procedure. To note, the Doxie Go I received needed a full charge before using. Setup is painless. To import the scans, select import, and the scans will be moved to your computer within a Doxie application directory.

The quality of the scans is quite good at 300 dpi, usable and the equivalent of a very good, clean fax machine. Scans can be saved to JPG, PNG, PDF, PDF with OCR (object character recognition) in black and white or color. Images scanned OK to good.  Scan images that have a purpose, e.g. labels, clips from magazines, and don’t necessarily have to be reproduced.

Each scan can be tweaked for clarity and contrast via several sliders (see screen shot below). A neat feature, to group scans, like a 10 page legal form, you select the 10 related pages (make sure they’re in the order you want them). One lacking feature is the ability to zoom in on a document. Legal forms look the same, and distinguishing them was a challenge in Doxie’s software.

doxie editing controls

Battery life seemed to be less than I expected.  I’d only get about two dozen scans out of it across several weeks. It comes with a mini USB cable, carrying case, which is a black bag, a calibration card, a guide in which to place 4″x6″ images and some random dongle that I have no clue as to what its purpose is.  I never go the Eye-Fi to work properly with the Doxie Go, despite several attempts. If Eye-Fi can put a wireless transmitter in something the size of an SD card, why couldn’t the engineers at Apparent put a wifi transmitter on their device to begin with? Would it really raise the price more than the additional $80 it costs for the Eye-Fi?

If you’re regularly out of your office and need to scan a document or three, the Doxie Go will work. Pass on it, if your multifunction printer already has this capability or own a flatbed scanner.

Standard
Technology

Jambox wireless speaker by Jawbone

Everything about Jawbone’s portable wireless speaker, the Jambox, is well done. The speaker itself, the included cables and charger, the ease of use, the carrying case and even the packaging all show serious thought in the design, presentation and experience of the product.
Jawbone Jambox wireless speaker

The Jambox comes in four different colors: black, red, grey and blue. Shaped like a rectangular brick, it measures approximately 2.25″ tall, 6″ long and 1.5″ deep and is a solid 12 ounces. The build feels solid, with quality materials–a rubberized top and bottom allow for a solid grip when holding and maintaining position on an uneven surface. The speaker’s grill is styled aluminum, where each color has a different design.

As for buttons, there are only four: the on off switch, increase volume, decrease volume and a function button. Pushing the function button once will cause a voice to speak the approximate battery life remaining. Very smart. Also, the function button can be used to send or receive calls if paired with a bluetooth phone.
Jawbone Jambox side view

To connect the Jambox, there are several options. The primary means is via bluetooth. Pairing is as simple as turning on the Jambox, and then going into the device’s bluetooth connection screen. I’ve used an iPhone and an iPad to connect to the device with no issues at all. Also, there is a stereo line in jack for devices that lack bluetooth.

Speaking of stereo line in, a 3 foot stereo to stereo cable comes with the Jambox, along with:

  • 60 inch micro USB cable (for charging and syncing to a computer from longer distances)
  • 12.5 inch micro USB cable (for charging and syncing to a computer at short distances, and for traveling)
  • a wall charger with a plug that folds out
  • a neoprene like carrying case

Jawbone Jambox with case

The case is especially clever. It’s made of a synthetic neoprene-like material that fits over the Jambox like a sleeve. The ends consist of foldable tabs with a thin magnet within the sleeve. As the tab encloses the end, it gently snaps to the case. One drawback, the case fits almost too snugly, and may take practice to push/pull the Jambox out of it.

But how does it sound? How does a $200 portable, wireless speaker sound? Impressive. Don’t expect something compared to a $2000 hi-fi, but you’ll hear a full range of sound with good bass response. I played numerous albums on it from a variety of artists: The National, Mumford & Sons, Iron & Wine, Rilo Kiley, Feist, Ella Fitzgerald, Broken Social Scene, The Beatles, Vampire Weekend, classical guitar. It tends to lose the high end, but it keeps the feel of the music clear and crisp. It can get loud enough to drive a small party in an apartment or living room or patio.

Lastly, the device is intelligent. Pushing the function button will state the battery life, but it can be upgraded with apps and firmware modifications to do more. Not a fan of the pre-installed voice–you can change it from 4 different voices, and that doesn’t even include the other languages it supports. If you create an account with other services, you can add apps to assist with caller id or voice dialing.

Of note, Jawbone took consideration to the packaging, too. The hard plastic case covers the Jambox, and a tab on each side of the case clip into a heavy paper box. Inside the box, the cables are neatly placed and labeled along with the carrying case and charger.

The utility of the Jambox offers a lot of value from dialing and syncing to phones, and also pairing with devices to provide richer sound beyond the devices tinny, mono speakers (e.g. the iPad). Instant parties can be had, watch movies or play games away from a TV, create a conference room speaker. This is definitely one, cool little, electronic brick.

 

Standard