I’ve had my NeatDesk Scanner for about a week and have scanned over 300 documents & crumpled receipts, without single paper jam. I am impressed with the speed and ability of the hardware and the text recognition/search feature. The scanner is crazy fast, plus incredibly smooth and reliable.
Old reviews are really giving this machine a bad rap. I find most complaints are either just plain untrue, outdated, or made by people who never consider that they might be doing something wrong. The biggest misconception out there is the claim by many Fujitsu fans, that scans made with the NeatDesk are “proprietary” and can’t be imported into other software. The more I looked at the SnapScan, the more ridiculous this claim proved to be.
The truth of the matter is the NeatDesk has MORE file format (save) options than the Fujitsu Snapscan!
- The SnapScan has one button, and Saves in ONE format only: PDF.
- NeatDesk has 2 buttons: one labelled “SCAN” and one labelled “PDF.”
Guess what that PDF button does? It saves the document directly to PDF, and you can choose a destination for those PDF documents, whether it be email, fax, a folder on your local hard drive, a folder on an external hard drive, or any cloud service you choose. That’s right, that button does exactly the same thing that the Fujitsu scanner does, for over $100 less!
I truly can’t understand how this accusation could persist for so long, when it is so absolutely wrong! People just keep on repeating it, without ever questioning the accuracy. NeatDesk gives the user two options: 1.) to save the document as a PDF or 2.) to bring it into the Neat software, which I find to be a powerful organizational tool. (The reason you never hear about Fujitsu’s software is because it’s useless and most Snapscan users hate it). They all use outside OCR software or services like Evernote to store and organize their data. (Many use it with Neat software!). Keep in mind, when you are storing all that data, and want text recognition, you will be paying for it!
NeatDesk has all that built-in to their included software. I happen to like the software a lot, so unless I’m going to immediately email or fax it out, I’ve been saving documents within the Neat program. I can always export it to another program later, if I need to. I haven’t decided if I will subscribe to their NeatCloud service, but I think I probably will. It’s only 4.99 a month which is cheaper than many cloud services I’ve looked into. Plus it works seamlessly with the Neat software on my PC. Totally effortless sync and backup, so I can edit or add from my iPhone or iPad, on the mobile app, when I’m away from my desk.
To access your files on the Neat mobile app, you’ll need your data on NeatCloud. But you can use any cloud service with a mobile app, like Evernote, Dropbox or Google Drive … just like the SnapScan. But newsflash: they ALL charge a fee! Any free versions out there give you a minimum amount of space. In they end, you need to pay for secure storage space that you can access anywhere. Five bucks a month is cheap and especially appealing when you see how it automatically syncs your Neat data.
NeatCloud is totally optional. Is basically a backup of your data. You can backup any way you want to. If you want to back it up to a external hard drive, you can do it. Just save your documents as PDF (just like Snapscan does) and tell Neat to save all documents to that drive. By the way, external hard drives are not free either. Years and years of documents take up space, and digital storage space costs money. (Just responding to all the griping about NeatCloud’s OPTIONAL $5/month cloud storage. Yes, five dollars, not fifteen. The $15/mo service is for business level needs).
Another thing people jump to conclusions about (and I was guilty of this too) is how Neat software performs with the “Auto-Fill” task, when you first get started. Two points I feel you need to know about this:
- The software seems to “learn” to recognize store names/logos and how you categorize your purchases from that store, as you begin to enter those fields manually, a few times. For example, the FIRST CVS receipt I scanned only filled in a few fields correctly, but after I corrected that first time, and categorized the receipt as “Rx” and “medical” … NeatDesk Software began to auto-fill every field correctly. And if it found a prescription on the receipt, it automatically categorized it as Rx/Medical. It now seems to know that I usually purchase Rx or beauty products from CVS. NeatDesk gets better and better at auto-fill, as you use it. So don’t panic and think that you are going to have to correct every field with every scan, forever.It also works better on receipt dates and totals, if you cut off all the extraneous info on the end … Such as coupons which have expiration dates, and Rewards points & totals, and “return before” dates. All those things make it more difficult for the software to locate the “real” receipt date and dollar amount.
- I find the text recognition and search features are so powerful, that I don’t even bother with the review screen much anymore. You don’t have to fill out a single one of those fields, to be able to find what you are looking for with the search tool. If I enter the word “Dog” and click SEARCH, Neat will display all the receipts I’ve ever scanned with Dog products. It is crazy fast and crazy good! I am truly amazed at the speed and accuracy of the search tool.
When you first scan a document, it slips through the scanner quickly and smoothly. Then the scan is sent to your computer, where Neat takes anywhere from 5-30 seconds to process, depending on the amount of text in the document. The speed to process all the text really depends on the capability of your own computer. If your computer is slow and bogs down a lot, or has a bunch of other tasks going on simultaneously, then the OCR software will be slow as well.
Finally, the data from NeatDesk is NOT proprietary! It exports to TurboTax, Quicken, Quickbooks, Evernote, DropBox, Box, Outlook, Excel, Word. I also always use it now to scan any sheet that I want to fax or email. I just use the PDF button, and it’s scanned and saved in way less than the time my Epson All-in-One takes just to warm up the flatbed scanner. With NeatDesk, the sheet is scanned & saved in ten seconds, without warming up, pre-scanning, selecting a scan area, waiting for the scan to finish, and then choosing a place to save it to. That function alone, makes me happy I purchased a NeatDesk. I love it for emailing and faxing!
The software is not perfect, it could use a little refining. And definitely, the company could improve their website navigation and PR efforts. They don’t do the best job of explaining things or making the correct update easy to find. (or dispelling misleading complaints. I wish they would do more damage control, and set the record straight when people make false statements in reviews, and forum comments). Also, many of their video tutorials have way too much salesmanship preceding the valuable help information. I got sick of watching another sales pitch at the beginning of every video. Get on with it, already! I’ve purchased NeatDesk, so stop selling it to me again! And finally: it’s clear they are stepping up the customer support, based on all these satisfied reviews I see on Amazon. (Why does Amazon make it so difficult to see reviews “newest first?” Many of those ‘most helpful’ reviews are SIX years old!).
The SnapScan and NeatConnect do have 2 things thing that I wish the NeatDesk had: wifi, and internal memory, which allows the machine to be used away from the computer. I would love to be able to take NeatDesk to another room and scan a pile of documents … But I’m just not sure I’m willing to spend an additional $150-$200 for that convenience.