Visioneer’s Mobility portable scanner has a built-in battery pack and memory card slot so it can scan completely on its own, saving images on the card for later transfer to a computer.
There are two sockets on the back of the scanner. One takes the supplied 1GB MicroSD card through a supplied adapter that allows it to fit into the full-SD-card sized slot.
The other allows USB devices to be plugged in: if you connect an Android, Blackberry or Windows smartphone (though not an iPhone) using the USB cable that came with the phone, you should be able to view the contents of the scanner’s card and check the pages as you scan them, a great idea.
The Mobility scanner itself is about 30cm, with power and option buttons on top. The option button selects between photos in JPEG format and black-and-white and colour PDFs.
The scanner starts as soon as it senses something in its feed slot, so no button is needed for that.
The software provided for PC owners was excellent, with full versions of Nuance Paperport 12 for managing scans, Omnipage 15 for OCR and a program for saving business cards.
But if you work with a Mac it’s less good. The Mac OS X Scan program will import images from the scanner’s SD card, but you have to delve into the folders to copy PDFs. It wasn’t hard, but there’s very little guidance in the electronic manual.
Scan times were good, with almost every page coming through in under 10 seconds, but this was partly due to the comparatively low resolution of 300dpi.
Most portable scanners, even other models from Visioneer, manage 600dpi. While 300dpi is sufficient for OCR and we saw near-perfect translations when we ran them through Omnipage, it’s not so good for photos.
Coloured areas looked grainy, particularly in the darker shades, and hues were not always accurate. We wouldn’t expect the same quality in a portable scanner as from a flatbed model, but the Visioneer Mobility’s results are sub-par given its price.