Review: The Doxie Q Portable Document Scanner

Review: The Doxie Q Portable Document Scanner

I had the chance to review Doxie’s last model, the Doxie Go Wi-Fi, in 2014, and since then I’ve been excited to see what Doxie would do next.

This December Doxie soft-launched the Doxie Q, a new version of their familiar line of document scanners. At first glance Doxie Q looks a lot like its predecessor. But look more closely and you’ll see the company moving in a different direction. Or should I say, dimension. (Okay, that was kind of dorky.)

Meet Doxie Q

The most noticeable change is the addition of a paper feed that folds out and extends from the top of the unit. This is the design change I’ve been waiting for and in itself makes Doxie Q a significant upgrade from the scanners that came before it.

Earlier Doxie models were always hampered by a major limitation: you could only ever feed through and scan one piece of paper at a time. Not so with Doxie Q. The flagship model can now accept up to eight pages of paper at once, and that’s a big deal when you’re trying to get through a stack of statements, receipts, and your kid’s artwork.

Doxie Q accepts sheets of paper through the top feeder, or you can put receipts and photos through a special “Direct Feed” slot on the back. However, I’m afraid Doxie Q still doesn’t include the feature I’ve been waiting for – duplexing. Higher end scanners are able to scan both sides of the document at the same time, meaning the paper only ever has to go through the machine once.

Yes, duplexing is notably absent from the Doxie Q and all other Doxie scanners, and it’s a shame. Instead you’ll have to take the stack of paper, turn it around, and feed it through again. Bummer.

I reached out to Doxie to ask them about this missing feature and they explained, in so many words, that adding an additional image sensor would keep Doxie Q from being the truly portable ADF (automatic document feeder) scanner folks are looking for at this price point. Can’t argue with physics, I guess.

To be fair, Doxie’s companion apps for Mac, Windows, and iOS can collate the pages using an Interleave feature. But in my experience this only really works if the pages you’re scanning all belong to the same document. (After all, Doxie Q is smart, but not smart enough to know that piece of paper is a day care receipt and that one is a retirement statement.)

If you don’t order the papers beforehand, then you’ll end up with single PDFs containing pages from different documents. Not exactly what we’re looking for here. So you’ll need to take some care to make it all work.

What’s In the Box

Again, this is the third Doxie scanner I’ve owned and the second I’ve reviewed, so allow me to focus my impressions on what it was like to open the box and get started with Doxie Q.

In the box I found the familiar Doxie Getting Started instruction card, the Doxie Q unit, micro USB cable, and various adapters for a universal power plug. The more common DC power input has been replaced by micro USB, which means you can charge Doxie Q by connecting it to any available USB port.

After following the instructions for setup, I flipped up the sheet feeder, only to find two more stickers on the inside of the unit. Bad, bad stickers. I tried removing them and they left behind a trail of adhesive. That drives me crazy. Maybe I was supposed to leave them there, but if so, that wasn’t clear.

Doxie Q in Use

As I wrote in my Doxie Go Wi-Fi review, my main use case for a portable scanner like this is to make sure that the paper that enters our house exits just about as quickly as it comes.

I’m not running a small business or anything like that, so I don’t have gobs and gobs of material to scan. But I do end up with batches of statements, receipts, and the like that need to get scanned and filed in Dropbox.

Along those lines, here are some quick hits, or reasons you’ll like Doxie Q:

  • It’s the fastest Doxie scanner I’ve used. Both the tray feed and Direct Feed slots push paper through fast.
  • Like the original Doxie, the Doxie Q has a dedicated Scan button. I much prefer this to the game of chance that was pushing documents through the Doxie Go Wi-Fi.
  • These will be the straightest Doxie scans you’ve ever seen. To be fair, the Doxie app does good job correcting for straightness. But that can’t really compete with physical guides to keep the paper aligned correctly.
  • Option for transferring scans via WiFi or SD card. My Macs still have SD card slots (this will not always be the case), and popping the card in and out certainly the fastest way to get scans off Doxie Q. But with WiFi transfer built in, Doxie Q is ready for the promise of a truly wireless (and port-less) future.
  • Doxie Q doesn’t leave our house, but it doesn’t take up a lot of space, either. When it’s not in use, I just put Doxie Q in our old-timey secretary desk.

Okay, that was some of the good. Unfortunately there’s a little bit of bad (okay, and ugly) as well:

  • The fold out paper feed design is pretty clever, but it feels far more fragile than I’d like. Doxie Q is rated for just 8 pages at a time, so this isn’t too big a trade-off. But I just don’t want to break the thing.
  • Lack of duplexing stings a bit. Doxie’s Interleave software feature is somewhat convincing, but it’s only a small evolution from any of the previous generation Doxie scanners.
  • Okay, this one’s a little ticky-tack, but: c’mon, what’s with the sticker residue? Outside decals: fine. They come off cleanly. Inside stickers? Not so much. This drives me batty.

My Final Thoughts

I like Doxie Q for the same reason I liked the original Doxie scanner – with its size, speed, and cost ($299), it’s an accessible path for getting into a paperless workflow for the first time. Open the box and you’ll be scanning documents in minutes.

Doxie Q is obviously the most mature of Doxie scanners to date. Its crowning feature is the ability to scan multiple pages at once, and that’s a big win. Onboard control of document output type and resolution and a dedicated scan button are pleasant improvements to the user experience. And at under two pounds, there’s no reason why you couldn’t throw Doxie Q in your backpack or suitcase.

Doxie Q sits at the top of the Doxie line, but relative to the mobile scanner market, it’s competitively priced. I believe it’s a good value for the price you’ll pay.

But if I’m being honest, I continue to wonder: what it would be like for Doxie to go all-in on a desktop workhorse scanner? What could they offer at a $399 or $499 price point? In short, I’d love to see Doxie’s playful personality in a professional-grade scanner.

In the meantime, Doxie Q is a fine fit for my paperless process. I’ll just fold in its cute little arms, flip down its lid, and wait for the paper to pile up so Doxie Q can go back to work.

(My thanks to Doxie for providing me with a Doxie Q unit for this review.)

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