Carrying a scanner around with your PC, so you can scan documents for OCR or archival, is useful, but can be cumbersome. But what if the scanner could store the page images it captures itself? IRIScan anywhere 2 is a portable, battery-powered scanner which stores pages either in 512MB of internal memory, or in any SD card plugged into the slot on its side. There’s a 1GB card supplied.
The scanner has a USB connection, through which it charges when connected to a PC or Mac, and another you can connect a USB drive to, as an alternative to an SD card. The main USB connection also connects it as an external drive, so image files can be dragged and dropped straight into a computer, once scanned.
The batteries take about four hours to charge and are then good for around 100 A4 pages. The single power button has a yellow/green LED to show when the scanner is charged and the button also serves to switch between scanning resolutions.
IRIS provides a very complete software bundle, including its own ReadIRIS Pro OCR software, CardIRIS Pro 5 for reading and interpreting business cards, and Roxio’s PhotoSuite 9 graphics editor.
The scanner is sheet-fed, with a top resolution of 600 pixels per inch (ppi), so easily enough for scanning text for OCR and colour photos from prints. The scan quality, while OK, is not up to handling photos for anything other than screen use. Pages we scanned for text were handled well and produced usable Word files with few recognition errors.
Scanned business cards also produced good images. CardIRIS Pro stores them as images in a simulated business card book, but also attempts to OCR them, though it kept falling over with an ‘IDRSException’ whenever we tried. You can enter the details by hand, of course, but that rather defeats the object of the scanner.
There are two other problems we can see with the IRIScan anywhere 2. Firstly, you can’t scan a book with the device, as the scanner is one-piece, not a scan-head sitting on a powered cradle. Your documents have to be feedable.
Secondly, there’s no way of telling if a scan is successful. If you’re without your computer, which is presumably the idea of having a standalone scanner, you have to wait until you’re with it again, before viewing what has been scanned. This could be awkward if you were on a foreign trip when the documents were scanned.
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