Nice Scans, Touchy Software

May 18, 2008 (Updated May 21, 2008)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Good imaging at adequate speed for the price.

Cons:The accompanying PaperPort software is volatile; OmniPage unduly complex.

The Bottom Line: Highly recommended for those who must obtain images in the field because in spite of the page a minute limitation it's still faster, lighter and of good quality.

As an auditor I often need to take copies of documents in the field. Not only does this create a spied-on feeling with the audit subjects, it can also be exhausting when you've been placed in the opposite end of a building from the available copier. The inefficiencies combined with the relationship strain and ridiculous work level sent me looking for a scanner light enough to cart around in my laptop case that would provide good-quality images at a reasonable speed. Ideally, images would be of sufficient quality to convert to Excel when warranted, to reduce keypunching.

My IT department was of no use in providing advice, so I searched the 'net and found everything from hand-held pen-like scanners to portable flatbed scanners of varying sizes. I knew hand-held was not practical for the volume of my work, nor was a flatbed scanner. In despair I refined my search to focus on self-feeding models and up came the Visioneer family of scanners.

I found the Visioneer website very informative as to product specifications, and the selection to be decent, ranging from older, slower models at bargain prices to the latest incarnation at a tidge more than I wanted to spend. The RW120-WU was in the right price range and offered page-a-minute scanning in both color and black-and-white. Sold!

The unit has turned out to be one of the best buys I've ever made. The images are clear, the main problem being "sweep" from the feeder brushes. However, that cleans up nicely either with options in the accompanying software, PaperPort and OmniPage or in Adobe. Also helpful are the ability to set automatic deskewing and image optimization.

I find a page a minute a little slow, but for the price and in light of the alternative, it's not a big disappointment. The biggest issue I've had is lost data because of a software glitch in PaperPort. While there is no mention in any of the user guidance, 65 documents apparently are too many without some sort of move to a final destination. Four hours of work simply disappeared one afternoon, with no reasonable recovery (yeah, sure one could call on high-level connections who specialize in data recovery, but let's be serious). Customer support couldn't provide insight as to what happened or why, so it was a natural progression to decide to work in batches of 20 pages.

As for convertability, it's as good as any office behemoth imaging I've known to date. Conversion to other programs can be painful no matter what; images from this unit are no different.

PaperPort is too icon-dependent, with too loose a "Help" function: the guidance and tutorials leave a lot to be desired, requiring a lot of time to learn all the tricks and finesses. OmniPage, the Adobe-like other software is horrendously difficult to pick up. I'm a fairly astute user and find myself sticking with the basics until I have time to really go through the materials rather than making the most of the RW120-WU immediately.

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