The Pandigital Handheld Wi-Fi Wand Scanner (S8X1102WH) isn’t the first wand scanner with Wi-Fi, but it is the first with both Wi-Fi and the ability to scan impressively quickly, making it unlikely that you’ll wind up with a scan error because you swept across the page too fast. The combination makes it a potentially attractive choice, but less attractive than it would be if it came with more robust software. As with other Pandigital scanners, including, for example, the Pandigital Handheld Wand Scanner (S8X1101BK)) it will be most appealing to people who already have all the scan-related programs they need.
Like all wand scanners, the S8X1102WH offers the advantage of scanning without a computer. It saves the scan to its 128MB internal memory or to a microSD card if you choose to plug one in. Unlike most—with the notable exception of the Editors’ Choice VuPoint Solutions Magic Wand Wi-Fi PDSWF-ST44-VP—the S8X1102WH also gives you a way to check the scan while you’re still near the original and can rescan if you have to.
Connect by Wi-Fi to your smartphone or tablet, and you can see the scan to confirm its quality. The Wi-Fi feature is less useful than it could be, since you can’t scan while you’re connected, and it takes a substantial amount of time to connect. That leaves you with no easy way to check each page immediately after scanning. However, you can scan some number of pages, and then connect by Wi-Fi to check them all at once. I’d call that a second-best workaround, but it’s still a lot better than having to wait till you get back to a computer to check scan quality.
Basics and Setup
The S8X1102WH is a touch bigger and heavier than the PDSWF-ST44-VP, at 1.3 by 10.2 by 1.6 inches (HWD) and 9.2 ounces, but still eminently portable. As with most wand scanners, it includes two sets of rollers on the bottom, and lets you scan by starting either at the top or side of a page, and then scanning down or across in a single sweep. Unlike some wand scanners, it has no problems scanning across thick 4 by 6 originals.
As is typical, set up is trivial. Simply insert the rechargeable battery it comes with, connect the scanner to a computer by the supplied USB cable or connect its power block and plug into a power outlet. While you’re waiting for the battery to charge, you can install the programs the scanner comes with, including NewSoft Presto! PageManager for document management, Magix Photo Designer 7 for photo editing, and Magix Video Easy SE, which will let you convert scans into a video.
Using the S8X1102WH is simple. The top panel offers four buttons. One turns the scanner on and doubles as a Scan button; one chooses between color and black and white mode; one chooses between 300 pixels per inch (ppi), 600 ppi, and 1200 ppi; and one chooses between JPG format, PDF format, and JPG format for stitching multiple scans into a single image. The last choice creates a new folder for each set of files to stitch together. The default whenever you turn the scanner on is color, 300 ppi, and JPG. Simply change one or more settings if you want to, press the Scan button to start the scan, sweep over the page, and hit the Scan button again to end the scan.
As is typical with wand scanners, I didn’t have any trouble getting good scans from the start at 300 ppi. Less typical is that I didn’t have any trouble at 600 ppi or 1200 ppi either. With most wand scanners it’s easy to go too fast and get an error message at higher resolutions. With the S8X1102WH, I had to get up to an unusually fast speed to get a blinking error light at 1200 ppi. At 300 ppi I couldn’t make the error light show up even with unreasonably fast sweeps. The resulting scans with the fastest sweep speeds were a little shortened in the sweeping direction, but still usable.
The software that comes with the S8X1102WH was suitable for just three tests from our standard suite: for photos, optical character recognition (OCR), and document management. The S8X1102WH didn’t score particularly well in any of these categories, but except for photos, the issues are mostly due to the software it comes with.
The Magix photo editing software is fairly capable. However, any scanner with rollers loses points for the damage it can do to the originals. In addition, I saw a noticeable loss of detail in both dark and light areas of an image, and a slight, but noticeable color shift. Overall, the photo scans qualified as acceptable for what you might think of as snapshot quality, but nothing more than that.
For both OCR and document management applications, the combination of scanner and PageManager did reasonably well recognizing text. When sending the result to a text file, however, PageManager did such a poor job with formatting that I couldn’t tell whether it read all the words in any given font size on our test pages without a mistake. In addition, although PageManager can combine multiple scanned pages into a single PDF file, it won’t do the same for text files. Each page goes to a separate file, leaving it to you to copy and paste the pages into a single file.
I also ran one additional test, with the stitching module in PageManager. Stitching lets you do multiple partial scans of originals that are bigger than the scanner’s 8.5-inch width, and then stitch the pieces together into a single image. In some cases the stitching worked as promised. However, the software is a little fussy about the originals, and in some cases simply refused to work. Worse, in those cases it gave me an uninformative error message, leaving it to me to guess what the problem was.
Ultimately, the Pandigital Handheld Wi-Fi Wand Scanner (S8X1102WH) consists of an attractive piece of hardware held back by less than impressive software. As shipped, it’s best described as usable, but limited. If you already have better OCR and document management software than in comes with, however, or you’re willing to buy some additional programs, it’s potentially a highly attractive choice.
More Scanner Reviews:
|Automatic Document Feeder||No|
|Maximum Scan Area||Legal|
|Maximum Optical Resolution||1200 pixels|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc