I recently received the VuPoint PDS-ST410A-VP. As you can tell by the title, it’s a portable scanner. Basically, you can scan anything so long as it’s flat by placing the scanner at the top of the document, pressing scan, and sliding it down to the bottom. A great thing about this scanner is that it uses standard ports. Images are stored on a MicroSD card and can be transferred to the computer via a Mini USB cable (which you can see in the picture). It also runs on two AA batteries, which are easily accessible by sliding off the silver plastic piece on the right. Standard ports are much better, because it’s not a pain to replace cables or memory cards, one can just buy a generic cable for much cheaper. Probably the best thing about this is how simple it is, not only to setup but in general use. I’ve only used this for about a day, and can safely say that it couldn’t get similar without losing some function (other than taking away the ability to change the dpi). When you first use it, you are supposed to calibrate it by scanning an included white piece of paper. I neglected to do this first, and the images still looked very good. I didn’t see much of an improvement (if any at all) after calibrating. Image quality was excellent on the default setting (I haven’t tried changing the DPI yet). It works very well for scanning paper, and can even be used to scan pages out of a textbook while still retaining the excellent image quality. Scanned images cannot be viewed on the device itself, but that isn’t very necessary. Transferring images to a computer is very easy as well. Simply plug in the included USB cable, and it shows up as a Removable Device (which also allows for more universal file transfers. It can be used on pretty much any OS that can find a driver). Viewing pictures is the same as how you would view a picture on something like a phone (or camera) in mass storage mode. Just go to the appropriate folder (In my case, they are in DCIM\100MEDIA) and drag the image to your desktop (or just view it). It’s very portable as well, and is even better with a carrying case that is sold separately (as it has a place for the USB cable).
The portable scanner does include software, but it’s not what you would expect. The included software is ABBYY Screenshot Reader, which is OCR software. If you don’t know, OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition. Basically, the software takes text that’s in an image and converts it to plain text that is editable. In the case of ABBYY Screenshot Reader, any text that is on the screen can be converted into plain text and can be recognized in multiple languages (if you want to know the specific languages, feel free to comment and I will respond). The software has many options as well. It allows you to take a portion of the screen, a window, the entire screen, or a timed capture of the entire screen. It can export the text to the computer clipboard, Microsoft Word or a text file. It can recognize tables and export them to the clipboard, Excel, and to a file (.xls). ABBYY Screenshot Reader can also recognize images (it just takes a screenshot, like the snipping tool built in to Windows) and export them to the clipboard, a file, or an email message. There were a few errors in recognizing text, but overall it worked pretty well.
- Standard ports/slots (a huge plus, no proprietary crap)
- Very good image quality
- The simplicity and ease of use
- The small form factor for it’s portability
- The device requires a steady hand (or a smooth surface). If it is not held steady while scanning, the image will have some unreadable spots.
- It would be nice to have a rechargeable battery via the USB cable, but having standard AA batteries allows the use of rechargeable batteries, so it isn’t a big deal.
- The screen doesn’t have a backlight, but you don’t really need to see the screen to use it.
- The build quality feels a little cheap, but again not a big issue.
As you can see, the pros outweigh the cons (in my opinion) and is definitely a good product that I personally can see many uses (and will hopefully need to use it for those uses, if that made any sense). I will post an actual review in a week or so.
Have you ever used or seen a portable scanner? Leave your thoughts in the comments.