For those that missed it, I recently posted a review of the NeatDesk for Mac – a great desktop scanner that really helped with de-cluttering my workspace. One of the main concerns with the NeatDesk to a mobile user, however, is its lack of portability.
Fortunately, Neat has an offering for the mobile professional as well, and they call it NeatReceipts for Mac. Today, I’ll take a look at the NeatReceipts, mainly considering it as a counterpart to its bigger brother, the NeatDesk. Read on for my thoughts.
While the NeatDesk is a robust and powerful machine with relatively few faults, the solution it provides – a desk-based scanner – doesn’t work for everyone. In particular, mobile professionals who travel frequently or are often away from their desks might find the desire the ability to scan documents into their database on the go. This is the idea behind the NeatReceipts, and I think it serves its purpose well.
As with the NeatDesk, the portable NeatReceipts is extremely easy to set up and get started with. Simply install the included NeatWorks for Mac software, plug it in, perform the 30-second calibration process, and you’re ready to begin. The entire process takes 5 minutes or less to complete.
The NeatReceipts for Mac is a simple unit that basically supplements the NeatDesk for Mac, hiding away in your suitcase so you can scan receipts and documents when you are away from your desk. As such, much of its functionality is very similar to the NeatDesk for Mac, and it includes the same powerful NeatWorks for Mac software to manage your documents.
When you are on a business trip or away from you desk, you can simply feed your documents and receipts through the NeatReceipts. While it’s neither as fast nor as strong as the NeatDesk, it certainly does provide an answer for what to do with your paperwork when you are away from your NeatDesk.
Despite its small size and portability, the NeatDesk for Mac is very well constructed and solidly built. It features the same design aesthetic as the NeatDesk for Mac, featuring a compact, curvy design made from solid and durable white polycarbonate. It ditches the boxy “industrial” sharp corners and classic grey or black color scheme of many office products, the result of which is a device that is as stylish as it is functional.
Neat seems to have taken great effort in the design an implementation of this product. Unlike most portable scanners, the NeatReceipts neither includes nor requires an external power adapter. Instead, it can be powered and run using a single USB cable, and only takes up a single USB port on your Mac. This makes it much easier to pull it out, scan a few documents, then nestle it back into your briefcase as quickly and efficiently as possible.
While the NeatReceipts does perform well, and can process (in real-world use) 2-3 business cards or receipts per minute, it doesn’t perform to quite as high of a standard as the NeatDesk for Mac. After feeding a dozen or so receipts and business cards through each device, I found that the NeatReceipts just doesn’t recognize text as well as its larger counterpart.
While the NeatDesk for Mac correctly processed all 12 receipts and 11 of the business cards, and only required me to enter or correct information on a total of 2 business cards/receipts, I found that I had to make minor corrections on 4 of the same receipts and business cards that I fed through the NeatReceipts, and it entirely failed to process the data on 2 of the business cards (admittedly, these were fancier and more graphical cards.)
Even though it didn’t perform quite as well as the NeatDesk, it still did a good job, and I believe that most people would conclude that the device was still helpful and time-saving in nature.
I didn’t encounter many problems while using the NeatReceipts, but was disappointed that it wasn’t just as accurate as the NeatDesk for Mac that I had become accustomed to. This disappointment was absolved somewhat, however, in that the NeatReceipts seemed to work slightly better with the NeatWorks for Mac software than its larger brother, and I did not experience the problem with opening documents in preview that I experienced with the NeatDesk.
A second concern that I had with the NeatReceipts is that it sometimes had difficulty distinguishing between business cards and receipts, often mis-categorizing one as the other. This, however, is a simple problem to fix within the database, taking just a second or two for each document.
While the NeatReceipts for Mac was not as robust as its desktop counterpart, I still feel as though it performed admirably, largely met my expectations, and saved significant amounts of time and effort when trying to keep track of business cards and receipts.
I was impressed with its compactness, the fact that it was powered by a single USB cable and didn’t require an external power adapter, and how easy and fast it was to set up and get started with the NeatReceipts.
Ultimately, while I did run into a few concerns, and wasn’t 100% satisfied with the NeatReceipts for Mac’s performance, I doubt that any other compact portable scanner on the market could do much better, especially considering the very high quality of the included NeatWorks software.
Rating & Information
Rating: 4 out of 5
While the NeatReceipts for Mac certainly did a lot of things right, resulting in a durable, aesthetically pleasing, well designed and very high quality product, I was disappointed that the NeatReceipts for Mac didn’t meet the performance standards of the NeatDesk for Mac more closely, despite the fact that it is a portable product. Below are some of the pros and cons I encountered in my usage of the NeatReceipts.
- Portable, high quality, and powered by a single USB port.
- Very compact and visually attractive design.
- Works well as a solution for when you are away from your desk.
- Included NeatWorks for Mac software is extremely functional and useful.
- Decent value for the money ($200).
- Not as accurate as its counterpart, NeatDesk for Mac.
- Seemed to have difficulty distinguishing between receipts and business cards.
- Scanning sometimes felt a bit slow.
Further, while the NeatReceipts’ $200 price tag does represent a fairly decent value when placed next to its competitors, namely the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1100 ($200, Fujitsu) and the HP Scanjet 1100 ($250, Hewlett-Packard), especially when considering how well the included NeatWorks for Mac software looks and performs. I award the NeatReceipts for Mac a 4 out of 5. For more information, or to purchase the NeatReceipts for Mac ($199.95), visit Neat’s product page on the web.