Hand Help Scanners Roundup – Canon imageFORMULA P-215 Scan-tini Personal Document Scanner
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Hand Help Scanners Roundup – Canon imageFORMULA P-215 Scan-tini Personal Document Scanner

$284.99 on amazon.com at time of writing.

The canon imageFORMULA P-215 is portable document scanner that, thanks to the incorporated automatic document feeder (ADF), includes much of the functionality normally associated with full sized scanners or multi-function printers.

The first thing you notice is how compact this device is, with a sturdy protective lid that folds back to form the paper chute. That whole thing is powered by USB ( a second USB cable can provide extra power but doesn’t dramatically improve performance) rather than by an external power supply which greatly improves its portability, and while the whole thing feels surprisingly heavy (coming in at 2.2lbs), this only adds to the impression of workmanlike solidity. In order to keep the design to a minimum there is no paper-out tray, although this is par the course for scanners of this kind. Overall, the design impresses with its functionality rather than with its looks which are, well, functional.

In use, the image FORMULA P-215 works very well. The feed tray can hold up to twenty sheets and it can scan 15 pages or 30 images per minute in full duplex (scanning both sides) mode, with the software doing a good job at detecting mixed images and text. The feed tray works well with standard office paper, although scanning ripped out bits of magazine etc. will require supervision of the process. If any jams do occur, the inner surface hinges forward allowing to allow them to be quickly fixed. Scanning in color takes a bit longer, with full page color scans taking up to 40 seconds at the default 150dpi resolution and a still reasonable minute and a half at 300dpi. It is to the P-215’s credit that it offers full color scanning at up to 600dpi (not always available in other hand-held scanners), although this can take over five minutes to complete.

While the resolution can be set manually for all scans, the scanner has an auto-resolution mode that works well at selecting the appropriate settings. Canon’s fantastic CaptureOnTouch software will also sort through scanned documents, ignoring blank pages, re-orientating upside down pages and correcting skewed pages before offering up a preview for you.

The imageFORMULA P-215 also comes with a slot for scanning plastic cards such as ID cards (and is also good for business card scanning) which is a nice bonus and works perfectly. PaperPort document organization and OCR software is included with the scanner, although it needs to be installed from disk which is an easy thing to miss, as the basic software needed installs directly from the scanner when it is first plugged in. PaperPort is a good piece of software that should be up to most document or image scanning needs, but it does fall short of the power offered by OmniPage OCR 9to which you can upgrade).

The Good

  • Compact and functional design
  • Good scan quality
  • Integrated 20 sheet feed tray
  • Fantastic CaptureOnTouch software
  • Auto-resolution works well and makes scanning easy
  • Can scan up to 600dpi in full duplex

The not so good

  • Color scanning at higher resolutions is bit slow

Conclusion

This is a compact and versatile scanner that should be able to cope with almost any scanning tasks when you are away from the office.