updated 06:11 pm EDT, Wed October 30, 2013
Self-contained device scans direct to cloud
Honed in as we are on productivity technologies, the notion of an autonomous, cloud-connected scanner piqued our interest. Neat's NeatConnect arrived on our doorstep just a short time ago, and now Electronista is taking a first look at the hardware, as well as the device's setup process, to see if it's as useful a tool as it has been billed to be. Early indications point to "yes."
Taking a look at the hardware, one can't help but notice how well it aligns with the company's name: Neat. The NeatConnect sports a minimalist aesthetic that would see it totally at home next to an iMac, a MacBook Air, or any number of other similarly spare computers. The plain, white facade is broken up only by the company's inconspicuous logo, the slots for paper insertion, and the touchscreen.
The touchscreen is nothing to write home about, but the overall effect it has on the look of the device is pleasing. It is also the way one sets up NeatConnect, a topic we'll address shortly.
The NeatConnect comes with little else in the box. The company includes the power cable, which should be sufficiently long, provided one's desk is near to an outlet, and a USB cable for connecting to one's computer. Other elements of the device -- the paper feeder supports, the paper catchers - slide neatly into and out of their slots on the back and bottom of the device.
This was a surprisingly easy process, a true testament to the thought that appears to have gone into this device. The setup process for the NeatConnect is run through the device's touchscreen, and the whole thing probably took us less than two minutes. That figure should be impressive, considering that one has to join a wireless network and create a NeatCloud ID, all on a touchscreen. The NeatConnect handles it well, though, with an intuitive interface.
Our only issue was a minor complaint: the touchscreen keyboard seems a bit small. That said, with only a few typos along the way, we had logged the NeatConnect onto our home wireless network, created a NeatCloud account, and completed the scanning tutorial in much less time than we had expected.
The NeatConnect also features a mobile component, with an app downloadable for both iOS and Android that allows access to scanned content on the go. We're interested to try that out, as well as the device's ability to sync with assorted cloud storage options besides NeatConnect. We'll have info on those aspects and more in our full review, which will be up soon. In the mean time, this device looks like it might well prove very useful.