When traveling or away from your home computer, a good way to stay organized and work efficiently is to use a portable scanner to scan paper documents like sales receipts, business cards, magazine and newspaper articles and hand written notes into your laptop.
Back at home, old letters, warranties, birthday cards, postcards and post-it notes with scribbled phone numbers also are fair game. But flatbed scanners can be bulky and take up lots of scarce desk space, due to their flat-and-wide footprint. I’ve found that using a portable scanner in my office saves space and works just as well for what I need it for, which is mostly text documents.
Best Portable Scanners By Price Range
-$1-5$ Price Range: You can get low priced apps for Android smartphones and iPhones or iPads that will do in a pinch. These basically use the phones’ built-in cameras to capture images and then convert them to various formats like PDF or JPG. I would recommend using these for convenience only, as they are not practical for more than 1 or 2 pages of a document or business card. They make good scanners for receipts, like a restaurant bill, that you need to save for expense account purposes.
- Under 100$ Price Range: Your best choice here is the VuPoint Magic Wand. A handheld portable scanner that actually has some pretty good features. Very compact and light but you need to be careful when scanning since your hand must be steady as it moves across the page, as is the case with all handheld page scanners. Read my review here>>
- Under 200$ Price Range: Here you can find a few Brother basic mobile scanners like the DSMobile Scanner DS-600, which is reasonably good for causal use and quick on the go work. Read my review here>>
- Over 200$: Now we are getting into the seriously usable scanners for road-warriors- designed to give top quality results with mobility and usability in mind. In this category, you get many of the features and capabilities of a deluxe office scanner, like document feeders, optical character recognition capability (OCR), push button scanning to file, email, Excel or Word and more. Of course, they are still lightweight and small enough to carry in a briefcase.
(1) Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300- Top rated portable. My review>>
(2) Canon imageFORMULA P-150 portable scanner
(3) Canon imageFORMULA P-215 Portable Document Scanner (shown at top of page)
In this category, it looks to me like Canon is starting to challenge Fujitsu as the king of portable scanners. Canon has designed these imageFormula scanners to be fast (15 pages per minute), convenient and small. The two imageFormula models here (also confusingly branded Scan-tini) are fairly similar, with the P-215 being a little more expensive. Is it worth it? I think so.
The P-215 scanner has USB 3.0 compatibility (vs. Usb 2 only for the P-150) It is .20″ wider and 2 oz. heavier. It ships with “Advanced Text Enhancement,” “Character Emphasis,” and various other user-adjustable color settings the P150 does not; it has a built-in “dedicated” card reader slot (which accepts thick, laminated cards as well as paper biz cards and takes the place of a Portable business card scanner); its high-speed interface includes USB 3.0 along with USB 2.0 (P-150 does not); finally, Mac users should know that it is sold as “Lion-ready.”
Here is what one owner had to say about the imageFormula P150:
“here is where the P150 shines and you will need sunglasses.
1. It does receipts seamlessly. The feeder narrows down for even the tiniest gas receipts.
2. It is quick. The paper just runs through without even the slightest of noises or whirring sounds.
3. It makes beautiful scans and very rarely requires adjustments to the settings.
4. OCR is performed automatically. (doesn’t get everything but you can run OCR again with other software such as Acrobat pro etc)
5. The scan software is simple, intuitive, fast and just plain excellent.
6. You don’t have to click on any software to scan. Just stick the paper in and hit the button and voila, it scans. Then just save and your ready for the next one.
7. I haven’t had a jam yet. Seriously. Make sure you install in the included page separator component as it appears some other negative reviewers failed to do so.
8. The thing is tiny, but solid and just very cool. Dust on black is no big deal as some reviewers complain. The thing closes up and is completely protected. The gloss black is fine and quite nice actually. Take care of it, and get a HEPA air filter or something. Give me a break.
9. It doesn’t need a power cable! Just plug into standard USB and you are in business. It apparently will go faster with the included 2nd USB power cable but it’s already WAY faster than my flatbed. I suppose if you were douing a huge stack of paper you would, but I don’t want it to go any faster with the creases and folds in my documents…I’d rather see it go at a nice medium pace.
10. Yes, I tried the NeatReceipts product and save your self. It is a total waste and a real piece of inferior equipment plus it is proprietary and the software is absolutely…”