The paperless office has yet to become a reality, so for road warriors who need to send electronic documents or receipts back to the home office, a portable scanner can be as important as their laptop. But a good scanner needs to do a few things well: It has to be small yet sturdy, be ready to go in a flash, and, of course, scan documents quickly and accurately. A bonus is software that can organize the documents and pull out important information. We put five of the latest portable scanners—most of which cost less than $200--to the test by timing how long it took to scan a business card, a black-and-white letter, and an 8.5 x 11-inch color photo. Which model deserves that precious space in your travel bag?
Epson WorkForce DS-30
The WorkForce DS-30 marks the Epson's first foray into the still portable scanner market. As the new kid on the block, Epson has to tangle with some already established names, specifically Neat Receipts, Plustek and Xerox. So does the DS-30 have what it takes to shake up the portable scanner market?
The smallest scanner the company has ever made, Fujitsu's $199 ScanSnap S1100, fits perfectly into tight spaces and has a unique paper output tray that guides documents over the top of the scanner back to the user. And with some of the fastest scanning speeds in our roundup, the ScanSnap S1100 has everything a road warrior needs.
Neat's super portable NeatReceipts NM-1000 scanner is designed for mobile workers looking to cut down on stacks of paper. The device is small enough to fit into most laptop bags, and features Neat's unique Neat 5 software package that helps make organizing documents quick and painless. But is the $179 NeatReceipts NM-1000 the best in its class?
Plustek's MobileOffice S410 seeks to provide customers with everything they could possibly need from a mobile scanner. The unit comes with a host of software options ranging from basic scanning to full-on file management programs. And with a price of $160, the S410 undercuts many of its competitors, too. But is the S410 the right scanner for your needs?
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.
See how each of these scanners fared when scanning a black and white document, a business card and an 8.5 x 11-inch color photo.
Daniel P. Howley, LAPTOP Senior Writer
A newspaper man at heart, Dan Howley wrote for Greater Media Newspapers before joining Laptopmag.com. He also served as a news editor with ALM Media’s Law Technology News, and he holds a B.A. in English from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.