Document scanning with the Doxie Q

Document scanners are usually bulky, heavy and pricey and if they’re mobile, they often under-perform and/or are easily broken. Doxie is a scanner company whose objective is to deliver portable scanners that are inexpensive, as robust as possible and feature-rich. The top model is the Doxie Q. It has multi-page capabilities and scans without a computer or the cloud. It scans letters, receipts, ID-cards, photos and anything else that you can put through its automatic document feeder or specialty paper slot.

The Doxie Q comes with everything you need in the box, including a protective photo sleeve, a calibration sheet, an 8GB SD-card (good for hundreds of PDFs/JPEGs in 600dpi) and a power cable. The Doxie Q has an internal — replaceable! — Li-ion battery that lasts 1000 scans before it needs a recharge. The Doxie software is free to download from the website and available for macOS, Windows, iOS and Android. Doxie scans can be offloaded by inserting the SD-card in a computer and starting the Doxie app and by connecting through WiFi or USB. Obviously, on tablets you’ll connect over WiFi.

With a Mac, you can connect a Doxie Q and continue scanning, but you do need to set the Doxie SD-card to not automatically mount on the Desktop. That’s a one-step action as Doxie Q asks you if you want to scan in Connected Scanning mode. Even then, though, Doxie Q will scan to its SD-card, not to the computer directly, so you can’t see what you’re scanning as you can with a flatbed scanner. That’s normal for a document scanner.

The scanner takes up very little space, even when fully set up to scan, yet it has an Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) and support arm for pages up to A4. In the back of the unit there’s a second document slot that accepts paper with a width of up to approx. A5 but unlimited length — which is perfect for receipts and photos. I didn’t try to scan a plastic ID-card, but it should work.

Scanning with Doxie Q

The Doxie Q scans up to eight same-size pages in one batch. The ADF works very well, although you will sometimes need to help the Doxie Q load some of the paper in a stack. It’s unclear to me why that happens as very smooth paper passes fine while the Doxie sometimes has a bit of trouble with coarser surfaces. I tried my test unit with some 400 pages of all sorts of paper, from A4s to Letter-sized shipping documents. Some of the stacks I fed had chipped pages, some torn paper, most of them were intact but with folds and creases. Never once did the paper feed to one side and never once did it get stuck.

That’s pretty impressive as I once owned a ScanSnap S1300i that regularly loaded paper in such abysmal ways I couldn’t use it. My experience is anecdotal, of course, and in no way meant to say SnapScan scanners are rubbish. It does, however, say something about the Doxie Q’s quality of build.

Its back scanning slot worked perfect as well. A very, very lengthy receipt (30cm+) passed without hiccups as did four passport photos I scanned inside the protective sleeve.

The outside is nice too, by the way. The scanner is white with black touches. Upon unpacking, you’ll notice it is literally stuffed with stickers that help you set up the Doxie Q without ever launching the online user guide or glancing over the thick, plastic Quick Start guide. I removed those labels that protected the insides of the unit but left some others on as it’s very easy to have a quick reference just stuck on the insides of your device.

The Doxie Q’s control panel is simple and offers access to the file format (PDF or JPEG) and the resolution (300dpi or 600dpi). A large Scan button does double duty as WiFi start button. WiFi isn’t always on, as it drains the battery. All buttons are touch-sensitive, so there’s little than can wear out from intensive usage. The paper support may look a bit flimsy, but as scanners aren’t meant to be thrown about, it’s robust enough.

Duplex scanning and scan quality

The unit doesn’t support duplex scanning in hardware, meaning there’s only one scanning lens unit inside the Doxie Q. That explains its slim design and light weight. You can obtain duplex scans in software by first scanning one side of a stack (or a single page), then feed again with the other side up and selecting “Interleave” in the Doxie app.

This staples the scans together as when you’d be duplexing in the scanner itself. It’s not ideal when you have more than eight pages, but it works and if I had to choose between the portability of the Doxie and the added weight of a true duplex scanner, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t prefer the latter.

At 300dpi, the Doxie Q is fast. At 600dpi, it still scans pretty fast and never becomes frustratingly slow. The quality of the scans is very good at 300dpi and perfect at 600dpi. Even photos — mine were B&W pictures — scan very well, as good as you’d expect prints to scan with a flatbed.

One piece of advice if you buy a unit and want to keep the Doxie Q clean as a whistle: buy the optional padded carrying case. It’s not expensive but does a great job at protecting the Doxie Q against bumps, dust, dirt and scratches.

The Doxie Q is available from a large number of online stores, including amazon.com and co.uk. It retails at $239/£229. Te carrying case costs $18/£15.

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