Indispensable if you want to go paper-free

Jan 26, 2006 (Updated Jan 27, 2006)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Portable, fast, easy to scan, scan without your computer.

Cons:Resolution and bits/pixel are low; scans not always straight.

The Bottom Line: If you are away from a photocopier frequently, or want to go paper free, then get it.

There is a lot to love and hate about this scanner. You'll love the fact that you can scan documents anywhere, without having your computer with you, on battery power. You'll hate the quality of the scans.

You'll love how fast it is to use, even though you have to manually drag the scanner over the page. If I'm in a hurry I will always use this rather than my flatbed scanner -- no need to start up software, no need to "warm up the lamp", no need to run a preview scan to select the scanning region. You'll love the fact that if someone is giving or showing you a piece of paper, you can scan it on the spot before they take it back, or before you lose it.

You'll hate the fact that the scans are in 200x200 dpi max resolution (200x100dpi if you want to scan a page less carefully). You'll hate that they are sometimes skewed because you twisted the scanner as you were running it over the page. You'll mostly hate that it is 1bit/pixel B&W scan.

If you run bluetooth or serial ports, you might find yourself hating the fact that the driver sometimes tries to communicate over an incorrect COM port or a bluetooth virtual COM port instead of the USB virtual COM port. (On my laptop and on my previous desktop computer I have to reboot to get the images off the scanner because of this incompatibility. It's not a big problem for me anymore because when I'm on the road I'm scanning, and I don't usually bring the images onto my hard drive until I'm back on my newer desktop computer, which also has bluetooth but doesn't have this problem.) The friendly staff at the support desk were patient with me, but they just couldn't solve this problem.

You'll LOVE LOVE LOVE how small this is. Alas, a bit too long for your pants pocket (8"), but so easy to carry in a laptop bag or briefcase.

I scan things regularly over the course of a week or so, usually when I'm out of the office, but sometimes when I just want to quickly transfer things to electronic format. About once a week or so, when I need a document on my hard drive, I download all of the documents into Adobe Acrobat and save them in appropriate hard-drive folders.

If I had written this review shortly after buying the scanner I probably would have given it a low rating because of the image quality. But it's been almost a year and I'm still using it regularly, and I'm even using it at my own home-office so that I don't have to set up the flatbed scanner. And I can't imagine life without it. So it must be good. I might even have to upgrade to the new colour 24bit version.

An alternative to this product, if you already have a digital camera, is just to take pictures of the documents you need copies of. You would gain resolution with a camera, but you'd have to worry about lighting and focus. It would be slower to photograph just a sheet or two because of setup time, but it would be faster if you had dozens of pages to work with and an assistant to flip pages while you snapped photos. I have both a digital camera and the Docupen with me most of the time, and I never use the camera for documents -- the Docupen is just an easier and faster way to get things into Adobe Acrobat.

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