Hand it to me, baby

17th June 2005 at 01:00
It can scan a full page of A4 but fits in your pocket, Desmond De Araujo is impressed with Planon's pen-sized scanner

The Planon DocuPen R700 is the first portable handheld scanner I have used that works well enough to effortlessly scan a whole page of A4 text. Simply hold down a button, slide the scanner down the length of the page and the document is instantly stored in the scanner's flash memory. The whole process takes just four to eight seconds.

The R700 isn't as powerful as a flatbed scanner in terms of resolution and speed, but it doesn't aim to be. Although the image quality is average (only 200x200dpi), it's still remarkable for its portability. The scanner is only slightly bigger than a pen and weighs just two ounces.

So what exactly makes it so good? Quite a few things. The R700 is stylistically innovative with great technology. Traditional pen scanners only read individual lines of text and are unable to scan graphics. The DocuPen R700 overcomes this because it scans at full-page width. The R700 incorporates a rechargeable Lithium ion battery which is very effective.

You don't have to use a separate charging unit as it charges automatically when plugged into a PC's USB port to download the scanned information.

Another great feature is the in-built 2Mb of memory that allows you to store up to 100 scanned pages at 100dpi. LED indicators inform you how much memory is available and when it is full. They also warn you if you're scanning too quickly. The R700 comes with Paperport software from Scansoft to provide OCR (optical character recognition), so you can transfer scanned text into Word.

There are only a few downsides. Image quality is average and only monochrome so it is best suited to text documents or simple images, and it takes a little practice to use. However, it would be hard to get much better at this size.

The DocuPen R700 has a potentially huge market. For education, teachers can use it to prepare class work or to scan in student homework, while students can digitally copy pages from their reference materials instead of having to photocopy them (copyright allowing, of course).

Planon System Solutions DocuPen R700

Handheld scanner with 200x200 dpi resolution, 4-8 seconds scan speed per A4 page (speed varies depending on text, graphics and scanning resolution), black and white scanning mode, USB cable connection for PC, 2Mb flash memory (stores up to 100 pages at 100 dots per inch), lithium ion battery (recharges through USB), TWAIN driver and Scansoft Paperport OCR software.

Price: pound;114.79 plus VAT

www.docupen.com

Buy online at www.datamind.co.uk

Fitness for purpose *****

Ease of use ****

Features ****

Quality *****

Value for money ****

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