The nice folks at PLANon shipped their flagship DocuPen scanner to me for a review. The scanner is called RC-800 and it looks like a small windshield wiper. This model is the top of the line scanner going for $300MSRP. This little wonder can scan in full color at 24 bit, up to 200 pages and offers several modes: mono, document-color, high-quality image. All three options are available in high and low res options. The control is done by the use of two buttons to turn the device on/off and mode-selection. The package comes with a proprietary USB data cable, deluxe leather case, instruction manual and installation CD.
Installation was relatively easy by following the quick-start manual. Simply load up the three small applications and a USB driver and you are on your way. I ran into a snag during my installation; for some reason, my windows xp did not detect the pen scanner for USB driver installation. I had to go through device manager and reinstall the USB device. Once this was resolved, the PaperPort software and DocuPen application was able to recognize the scanner for image transfer.
Operation can take a little while to get used to. It took me a dozen tries before I was able to scan at the right speed to keep my images from being blurry. The scanner has a small LED which tells you if you are moving too fast. The device has a 8MB internal memory; four of my images scanned at high resolution took up 3.6MB. With the price tag over 3 Benjamins, it would have been nice to have atleast 512MB to work with. However, the scanner does support MicroSD which means you can easily upgrade for more considering how affordable memory cards are these days. The scanner is rechargable, simply by ways of connecting to your laptop. There is a battery indicator which will warn you if you are running low.
Conclusion: This gadget is pretty cool in a secret-agent-007 sort of way. Conceptually, it is great to be able to pull this portable scanner out of your pocket and make a photo copy on the fly. The device does work but its portability also makes your scan quality uncertain. With practice, one can get good with it, however, it would not be able to substitute for a flat scanner for real high-resolution needs. If you are one of those people who must have every gadget and can spare the $300 price tag, this mobile scanner can be a nice addition to your collection.
Shout-out: Special thanks to Jason McLaughlin at SS|PR for arranging this unit for review.