Neat NeatReceipts NM-1000 Review

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Editors' rating:
The Pros

Exceptional organizing software; Extremely lightweight; Dedicated scan to PDF button

The Cons

Color scans appeared washed out; Slow scan speeds

Verdict

The NeatReceipts NM-1000's intuitive software and ultraportable design make it a compelling portable scanner.

Neat's super portable NeatReceipts NM-1000 scanner is designed for mobile workers looking to cut down on stacks of paper. The device is small enough to fit into most laptop bags, and features Neat's unique Neat 5 software package that helps make organizing documents quick and painless. But is the $179 NeatReceipts NM-1000 the best in its class?

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Design

Weighing 11.6 ounces and measuring 10.8 x 1.6 x 1.3 inches, the NeatReceipts NM-1000 was the smallest and lightest scanner in our roundup, coming in at just 0.2 ounces lighter than Epson's 11.8-ounce WorkForce DS-30. By comparison, Plustek's MobileOffice S410 weighed 13.9 ounces and measured 10.8 x 1.9 x 1.3 inches. With such a small footprint, we were easily able to pack the NM-1000 in a messenger or laptop bag. The scanner's relatively petite size also helped make moving the unit around our workspace feel like less of a workout than other "portable" scanners.

The folks at Neat should be commended for making a portable scanner that doesn't look like a malformed block of plastic. Covered in a glossy white chassis, the rectangular NM-1000's most eye-catching feature is its matte black document feeder. The only other distinguishing factor is the telltale Neat logo located in the unit's top left corner.

NeatReceipts has just two buttons, both located on the device's top right corner. The larger Scan button is used to scan documents as standard JPG files, while the smaller PDF button is used for, you guessed it, scanning documents to PDFs. Next to the Scan button is a green indicator light that glows whenever the NM-1000 is switched on and flashes as documents are being scanned. A micro-USB port built into the scanner's right side connects the device to your computer.

Setup and Ease of Use

Setting up the NM-1000 took us five minutes. Just slide in the installation disk (or download the appropriate drivers from Neat's website), and follow the onscreen prompts. During the process, we had to register our device with Neat using a valid email and username. Once that was finished, we received a confirmation email, plugged the scanner into our notebook and were ready to go.

By far, NeatReceipts' most unique feature is its digital file management system, Neat 5. Scan something using the NM-1000, and Neat 5 can determine if the item is a document, receipt or business card. Not only that, but the software will also input the information it collects from scanned items - phone numbers, addresses, names - into searchable and editable text fields.

In addition to editing scanned information, we were also able to export our scanned items to various third-party programs. For example, we were able to quickly export the information from a sales receipt to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet where the price, date of purchase, tax and tax category for our purchase were all listed and placed in their appropriate categories. Other export options include Outlook, Word, Quicken, QuickBooks and TurboTax, as well as the standard PDF and JPG options. Neat 5 also enables users to scan to the cloud via Neat's NeatCloud.

For road warriors, Neat 5 also features an expense report template. Using the template was as ease as scanning our receipts, selecting the Reports tab from the Neat 5 dashboard and following the onscreen instructions. Need help organizing your taxes? The same software allows you to create tax reports, as well as spending summary reports.

Performance

The NM-1000 is capable of scanning items between 1 x 1 and 8.5 x 14 inches, at a maximum resolution of 600 dpi, although it is also able to scan documents up to 30 inches long. According to Neat, the NM-1000 scans receipts at a rate of three to four business cards a minute. During our testing, the scanner took an average of 24.4 seconds to scan a black-and-white 8.5 x 11-inch document. By comparison, the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1100 took just 9.4 seconds, while the MobileOffice S410 took 12.8 seconds.

The NeatReceipts was much quicker to scan business cards, taking just 6.9 seconds. That still, however, was longer than the Fujitsu, which took 3.5 seconds and the MobileOffice, which took 2.9 seconds. Photos, as expected, took the longest to scan, averaging roughly 35.9 seconds. And while that's much quicker than the Plustek MobileOffice S410's 53.2-second scan time, it's still not as fast as the Fujitsu's 28.9 seconds.

Image quality was good when scanning black and white documents. Lines were clear and we didn't notice any artifacts. We did, however, notice some slight image distortion when we scanned a few business cards in black and white. But when we switched to color, distortions disappeared. Scanned color images were clear and crisp, but looked slightly washed out. Colors in a scanned image of a California vineyard seemed to lose much of their pop. Much of the grapevine's greens were replaced by browns and the deep blues of the sky took on a lighter hue.

Because of its compact size, the NM-1000 can scan only one document at a time, which can be a major inconvenience when you have a large workload. NeatReceipts is also missing a duplexer, meaning you'll have to scan double-sided documents twice. Thankfully, Neat 5 has an option that lets you combine several scanned items into a single multipage document.

Warranty

NeatReceipts includes a one-year limited hardware warranty. Neat also offers an extended warranted called NeatCare, which adds one-year accidental damage protection, unlimited phone and online technical support for the duration of your NeatCare plan, and replacement scanner and expedited shipping if your original scanner bites the dust.

Verdict

The small size of the $179 NeatReceipts NM-1000, coupled with the included Neat 5 software, make it a strong choice for truly mobile worker or the average user who needs a space-saving scanning solution. Black-and-white documents are generally clear and photos are crisp and streak-free. While we prefer both the quality and speed of the $199 Fujitsu ScanSnap S1100, road warriors will appreciate the NM-1000's robust software offerings.

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Author Bio
Dan Howley
Dan Howley, Senior Writer
A newspaper man at heart, Dan Howley wrote for Greater Media Newspapers before joining Laptopmag.com. He also served as a news editor with ALM Media's Law Technology News, and he holds a B.A. in English from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
Dan Howley, Senior Writer on
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Size 10.8 x 1.6 x 1.3 inches
Weight 11.6 ounces
Company Website http://www.neat.com