Digital scanners are an essential piece of equipment for home offices, but many are bulky and difficult to use. That's where IRIS' IRIScan Mouse comes in. A combination scanner and mouse, this peripheral offers all of the functionality you'd expect from a standard desktop mouse and couples it with the ability to scan and save documents and photos with ease. Better still, scans can be imported to Evernote, Google Translate and Microsoft Word in a snap. But is all of that convenience worth the IRIScan's $79 price tag?
Measuring 4.3 x 2.3 x 1.5 inches and weighing 4.1 ounces, the IRIScan is about the same size and weight as your run-of-the-mill computer mouse. A large bump toward the rear allowed us to comfortably cup the device. Unfortunately, the IRIScan's glossy black paint job makes its surface slippery. To account for this drawback, IRIS lined the edges of the mouse with a green band of rubber that helps to improve grip. Like most mice, the IRIScan has left and right click buttons and a clickable scroll wheel.
The left side of the mouse has a button that flashes blue when you activate the scanner function. Below that is a guide that gives you a basic outline of the scanner, so you can properly position the mouse before scanning a document. On the IRIScan's underside is the scan surface and two laser sensors.
Users may take issue with the fact that the IRIScan is a wired mouse rather than wireless. Unfortunately, the wire is a necessary evil, as it allows for the data from the scanner to be transferred to your laptop quickly.
The IRIScan Mouse will only work with computers running Windows XP, Vista, 7 or 8. Setting up the IRIscan is easy. Simply pop the installation CD into your laptop's disk drive and follow the onscreen prompts. Unfortunately, the software is not available online. That's a real hassle for Ultrabook owners. The company says it can email the software to a customer with proof of purchase.
If you have another mouse plugged into your notebook, you'll be asked to remove it and plug in the IRIScan. You'll also have to download and install Evernote to sync the IRIScan software with the app. IRIS provides users with a free three-month subscription to Evernote Premium.
The IRIScan performed well during our testing. We scanned a business card and a small photo quickly with accurate results. However, when we scanned a magazine cover, the mouse ran out of scanning memory, which resulted in an unfinished scan. If you want to scan a particularly large document, you can adjust the amount of memory the IRIScan uses from 100MB to 1.5GB. However, we suggest keeping the memory set to dynamic, which will automatically select the amount of memory you need for the image you are scanning. You can monitor how much memory you have remaining via a bar that appears at the top of the screen when you click the scan button on your mouse.
The IRIScan scans images at 300 dots per inch, and because of this the scan quality won't be as high as a dedicated portable scanner, which can scan documents at a quality of 600 dpi. Still, we found the IRIScan's scan quality to be high enough for capturing documents and basic photos. On a few occasions, the IRIScan was unable to properly stitch scans together, resulting in a choppy, distorted image. IRIS says its mouse can scan document sizes up to 11.7 x 16.5 inches.
After scanning an image, you can rotate it, change the hue, color saturation, brightness and contrast. You can also delete sections of a scanned image using the Eraser tool to ensure your new image doesn't have any stray artifacts.
After you finish editing your scanned image, you can open it with Evernote or Google Translate, but not Google Docs. Userscan drag and drop scans into Microsoft Word, Excel or Outlook as images or text. When we dropped a scan of a magazine article into a Word doc as text, it immediately appeared without any errors, and the text was ready for editing. You can also share scans to Facebook, Twitter, Flicker and email using the Share button in the IRIScan editor.
When we scanned the back of a press pass into Evernote, the app was able to recognize all of the text displayed on the back of the card without issue. However, there's no handwriting recognition.
The IRIScan Mouse packs a lot of functionality into a small package. For $79.99, you get a solid mouse and a capable scanner in one device. Best of all, the setup is quick and painless. We especially appreciated the IRIScan's drag-and-drop feature, which allows users to scan a document and move it to Microsoft Word. Our biggest complaint is the slippery glossy paint on the mouse's surface. Overall, though, we found the IRIScan Mouse to be a user-friendly alternative to a desktop scanner that will not only save you time, but also desk space.