Product Review: Neat Desk for Mac

I have to admit that when I took the Neat Desk One Month trial offer, I was planning on returning it.  I didn’t.

Don’t get me wrong.  The Neat Desk is not without its problems, it’s not cheap, and it’s not for everybody, but I have concluded that for me it is worth the investment.

First the downsides.  The Neat Desk scanner takes up a lot of precious real estate.  If you were hoping to keep  it on a shelf (like I was), forget it.   You do have to keep it within cord’s length of your computer.  I believe you have to be VERY selective with what you choose to keep at your fingertips on your desk.  I would say that a scanner that you use an average of weekly, doesn’t make the cut.  When you account for all the room that is required for paper to pass through, it takes up about the same amount of room as a fax machine.

It costs about $400.00, which is a lot for an office tool with such a specialized use.   I am very suspicious of organizing tools that claim to make my life easier.  It has to be a hell of a gadget for me to pay 400 bucks.  It is.

Downsides aside, the Neat Desk scanner performs beautifully.  If your experience with scanners has been flatbed scanners (like mine was), this is a refreshing change.  It is FAST.  No worries with placement, previewing, converting to Photoshop, sizing, formatting or any of that.  Just drop your receipts, documents, or cards into the appropriate chutes and hit “SCAN.”  Then it’s just ZOOM, ZOOM, ZOOM.  You can scan about 20 times the documents in the same amount of time as one flatbed scan.

Setting up is very fast and easy and there’s a nice series of simple video tours to show you how to use it.

Perhaps my biggest pain with taxes is adding up cash receipts.  Not only does Neat Desk scan receipts at lightning speed, it organizes them by category, and can even integrates them with Quickbooks.

If you want to input contact information fast, the Neat Desk is a godsend.  There is a special slot to scan business cards, which the machine can read and integrate into your Address Book.   Assuming your computer automatically syncs with your smart phone, it’s the difference between WISHING you had that information and HAVING it, in your pocket.

There is also a slot for scanning 8-1/2 x 11 documents.  Sometimes your receipts are this size and this is handy, but I don’t plan on going nuts with this.  That is, I’m not going to scan EVERY document.  That’s more of a commitment than I’m prepared to make.  I’m not going to get rid of my file cabinets.  I don’t know what I’d do without the surface area they provide.  No kidding.  The fax machine, which has been displaced by the Neat Desk, has to go SOMEWHERE!