Is a mobile scanner still mobile if it needs to be attached to your notebook to work? Xerox doesn't think so. Equipped with an Eye-Fi wireless scanner card, the Xerox Mobile Scanner lets users scan documents to the cloud or their notebook wirelessly. Better still, you can also scan directly to a USB storage device or SD card. But the Xerox has some drawbacks, including a relatively high $249 price. Our full review will reveal just how much convenience you're getting for the money.
The bulkiest of the portable scanners in our roundup, the Xerox measures 11.5 x 2.8 x 2 inches and weighs 1.35 pounds. That's larger and heavier the Plustek MobileOffice S410 (10.8 x 1.9 x 1.3 inches and 0.87 pounds). Despite its large size, the Xerox Mobile Scanner is still relatively attractive, thanks in large part to its curved shape. We also appreciate the two-tone paint job, which features a shiny silver coloring up top and dark grey down below.
One major upside to the Xerox's large size is that it feels extremely sturdy. Although thinner and lighter, other portable scanners invariably feel somewhat delicate. But the Mobile Scanner feels like you could smack it with a brick and it would keep right on scanning.
The top right corner of the scanner is where you'll find its power and function buttons and matching blue LED indicators. The function button lets you quickly choose the output format for each of your scans (JPEGs, black and white PDF or color PDFs).
Around back is a micro-USB port, a full-size USB 2.0 port for scanning to a storage device, and the SD card slot. On the Mobile Scanner's left side are its roller release button, which separates the roller and the glass inside of the scanner so that you can clean them, and its Kensington lock slot.
Setup and Ease of Use
While convenient, the inclusion of a 4GB Eye-Fi wireless SD card makes setting up the Xerox Mobile Scanner a rather lengthy affair. Because the scanner is battery-powered, you'll have to first install the battery, as well as the Eye-Fi card. Next--and here's the annoying part--Xerox says you'll have to plug the Mobile Scanner into a power outlet and charge it for eight hours. Even worse, you can't use the scanner while it's charging.
You can, of course, use this time to install the included Xerox XMS PC Connect software and drivers, as well as the third-party Nuance PaperPort, OmniPage Pro and NewSoft Presto! BizCard, on your notebook. Once you've finished installing the Xerox's software, you can install the Eye-Fi software. The setup does take a while, though, since you'll also have to create an Eye-Fi Center account.
You can either connect the Mobile Scanner to your notebook via the USB 2.0 cable and scan your documents directly to your hard disk, or scan to an Eye-Fi card or USB storage device. The Eye-Fi card also allows you to scan items and wirelessly send them to your notebook via an available Wi-Fi connection. If you there's no Wi-Fi connection available, you can also wirelessly connect the Eye-Fi directly to your notebook using Direct Mode.
Once connected, using the Eye-Fi was fairly straightforward. We would choose which folder to save our scanned documents to and the Eye-Fi would instantly transfer them when we were done. We were even able to view our scans remotely by downloading the Eye-Fi Center on our desktop and logging into our account.
The Eye-Fi Center also gives you the option of uploading your scans directly to the cloud. We were able to scan photos to Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, Snapfish, as well as a host of other websites. We could even set our photos to automatically upload to our Kodak Gallery or Walmart Digital Photo Center. Documents could also be uploaded to various cloud sites including our Evernote account or FTP server. With the Eye-Fi Android and iOS apps, we were also able to scan documents to our smartphones.
If you're looking for a speedy document scanner, than you'll want to pass on the Xerox. Scanning a black-and-white document to a PDF took 22 seconds, much slower than the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1100's 9.4-second time, but a hair quicker than the NeatReceipts NM-1000's 24.4 seconds. The Xerox was equally sluggish when scanning business cards, taking 15.4 seconds to scan a black-and-white card to a PDF, the slowest time of any scanner we've tested.
Scanning and wirelessly sending a black-and-white document to our notebook also took quite a while, averaging 1 minute and 5 seconds. Still, the convenience of wirelessly scanning documents is worth the extra couple of seconds.
However, the Mobile Scanner was able to scan photos into JPEGs over a wired connection incredibly fast: an 8.5 x 11-inch color photo of a sun-bathed vineyard took just 13.5 seconds. That's much faster than the ScanSnap S1100's 28.9-second scan time for the same photo. However, the Xerox scans at just 300 dpi, while the ScanSnap can scan at 600 dpi.
Users keen on customizing their scans will be disappointed to learn that the Xerox only has three scan settings: one for 300 dpi color JPEGs, 300 dpi black and white PDFs, and 300 dpi color PDFs. While documents were clean and artifact-free, color photo scans had an almost sepia tint to them. A scan of a vineyard looked took on a noticeable brown hue that overpowered the formerly green grapevines while the sky appeared almost white in some places. Scanned photos also weren't as sharp as they could have been, had the Xerox offered 600 dpi scanning. Of course, Xerox does offer other mobile scanners capable of 600 dpi scans.
According to Xerox, the Mobile Scanner's 1700-mAh battery will hold a charge for up to 300 scans. The scanner automatically shuts down after two minutes of inactivity, which is a great way to save on battery power, but becomes tedious when you have to keep turning the scanner back on.
Warranty and Support
The Xerox Mobile Scanner features a one-year standard service and support warranty, 24/7 Web support and access to the company's toll-free technical response line. Users can also sign up for Xerox's Advance Exchange Warranty, which extends your warranty coverage up to five years and gives you access to priority call response, in addition to all of the benefits of the standard warranty. Users can also step up to the Advance Exchange Warranty with On-Site, which adds on-site technical support to the bundle.
Despite its relatively long scan times and its lack of customization options, the $249 Xerox Mobile Scanner stands out in a big way, thanks its wireless scanning capabilities. Color photos may not be its forte, but this device performs extremely well when it comes to document scans. If you're looking for a smaller, more affordable mobile scanner that's capable of capturing more accurate color photos, we suggest the $199 Fujitsu ScanSnap S1100. However, the Xerox Mobile Scanner's ability to scan directly to a USB drive, SD card or smartphone means you don't need a computer, making it a truly mobile device.