Visioneer Mobility Review

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Pros: Very easy to use; Attractive and lightweight design; Software included

Cons: No double-sided scanning; Can't wirelessly transfer scanned items to PC; Scanning quality varies

Verdict: The lightweight Visioneer Mobility makes scanning documents on the go easy.

Offering wireless scanning in a compact package, the $199 Visioneer Mobility forgoes the extra features of its larger siblings for portability and ease of use. Visioneer claims the scanner takes just 10 seconds to scan a full page at 300 dpi, but how did the Mobility perform on our tests? Read on to find out.

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Design

Measuring 11.5 x 2.8 x 2 inches and weighing 1.4 pounds, the Visioneer Mobility scanner is slightly smaller than the Visioneer Strobe 500 (11.7 x 2.8 x 3.3, 2.2 pounds), but it lacks the bulky docking station of the latter. The Mobility's length means it won't fit in any but the largest of handbags, but it will easily slip into a backpack or any piece of carry-on luggage.

We like the sleek but simple design of the Mobility. The top is a glossy white plastic, while the underside is matte black. Combined with its long and thin dimensions, the black-and-white color scheme lends the portable scanner a fashionable, if not high-end, look. Some might not like that the Visioneer logo and the product name are located in the center of the scanner's lid.

The Visioneer Mobility has two buttons: one for powering the device on and off, and one for toggling between the scanner's three modes. Both buttons are located on the Mobility's glossy white top. Around back are an SD card slot, a miniUSB port, and a USB port. Visioneer includes a 2GB SD card with the scanner. While this is helpful, frequent scanners will need to invest in more storage space.

Setup and Ease of Use

Getting started with the Visioneer Mobility is as easy as can be. Thanks to its wireless design, no software installation is required (though Visioneer does bundle some utilities). The scanner requires either an SD card or a USB flash drive, both of which are connected via the rear of the machine. Once we had our drive connected, we simply had to power on the Mobility to begin scanning. The LED light next to the scanning mode button will appear lit (as opposed to flickering on and off) when the scanner is ready to go.

In addition to an SD card, the Mobility includes a carrying case, a USB cable for connecting the scanner to your computer to charge, a cleaning swab, a wall charger, and one calibration page. Bundled (PC-only) software includes Mobility PC Connect for accessing the scanner's removable media from a computer, NewSoft BizCard SE for managing scanned business cards, Nuance OmniPage for converting scanned documents such as PDFs into editable files, and Nuance PaperPort for organizing and sharing scanned items.

It was easy to transfer our scanned items to our computer with our USB flash drive, but we wish the Mobility could wirelessly transfer our documents. However, the scanner is compatible with Eye-Fi cards, which uses built-in Wi-Fi to port over your files sans cords. Eye-Fi cards start at $49.99 for 4GB and are sold separately through various online and brick-and-mortar retailers.

Performance

The Mobility scans items between 2 x 2 inches and 8.5 x 11.7 inches. The scanner offers three output modes: black and white or color PDFs at 300 dpi, or color JPEGs at 300 dpi. By comparison, the Visioneer Strobe 500 can output scans to BMP, JPG, PDF, sPDF, and TIFF formats. The Mobility scanner can only take one sheet of paper at a time, which means scanning longer documents could be an ordeal. There's also no duplexer, so double-sided pages will need to be scanned twice. Visioneer says the Mobility can scan approximately 300 color 8.2 x 11.7-inch pages per battery charge.

In our hands-on time with the Mobility, it operated smoothly. It took 8 seconds to scan a 8.5 x 11 document and 9.5 seconds to scan an 8.5 x 11 color photo. Scanning a business card took just 6 seconds, which is on a par with the Strobe 500, and the scanner had no trouble detecting items of any size.

Quality varied depending on the document scanned. Black-and-white text pages came out accurately. A color PDF scan of the Visioneer instruction manual had slightly muted, bluer tones than the original, but offered plenty of detail. Our scanned business card contained the correct colors, though we noticed some streaking. Scanning images in black and white was another story: A color image of a car on a highway was almost impossible to make out, as the scanned copy came out mostly black. Scanning this same picture in color gave us much better results; the image was much more detailed, though the colors appeared slightly washed out.

Warranty

The Visioneer Mobility comes with a one-year warranty, which includes web support and phone support from 7 a.m to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Verdict

The $199 Visioneer Mobility scanner lives up to its name: At 1.4 pounds, it can fit in your carry-on to serve all your on-the-go scanning needs. Moreover, the Mobility is extremely easy to use, with no software required and only three modes to choose from. Those who need to scan full-size photos or longer documents will be better served by the Visioneer Strobe 500 ($349), which includes a duplexer and an optional dock with a paper feed. But for those on the go who just want a hard copy of simple items such as a business card, receipt, or magazine article, the Mobility is a great choice.

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Laptop Mag & Tom's Hardware
Accessories Type Scanners
Battery Type/Life
Size 11.5 x 2.8 x 2 inches
Weight 1.4 pounds
Company Website http://www.visioneer.com