Planon – DocuPen R700 review

pen-sized portable document scanner
Photo of Planon – DocuPen R700
£129 + VAT

A scanner is an A4-sized gadget which sits on your desk and breaks the spine of any book you try to scan pages from, right? It’s permanently connected to your PC and is too bulky to take with you to the library, to customers’ offices or on the road, right? Well, no… not any more.

About the size of a thin stick of seaside rock, the DocuPen R700 is a contact scanner which you roll down the pages of any book, magazine or office document you want to scan. It doesn’t need to be connected to a PC or notebook to do this and it can store up to 100 pages in its own internal flash memory.

When you get back to base, you connect the supplied USB lead into one end of the scanner and download all your images into PaperPort SE, also in the box. You can save images as JPEG or TIFF files straight from PaperPort, or go through the program’s OCR software to produce editable text in Word or other word processors.

A set of green and red LEDs indicates whether you’re rolling the DocuPen R700 down the page at the correct speed, as well as indicating the resolution you’ve set (either 100 or 200ppi) and when the scanner memory is full. It’s surely just what any PhD student or industrial spy has longed for. But there are problems.

As you might expect from such a small scanner, it’s restricted to black and white scans and to a comparatively low resolution of 200ppi. This is barely enough for accurate OCR, even under perfect conditions, and manually scanning the page from a book is hardly ever perfect. In fact, it’s very difficult to get text accurately OCRed from this scanner.

Its very advantage, the fact that you can scan independently of any computer, is also a disadvantage. If there’s a problem with the scan when you come to view it, you’ll have to go all the way back to where you scanned the original to have another go. It could be very annoying and long-winded.

There are other problems, such as the scanner’s delight in turning itself off after two seconds. While this is essential to conserve the battery when scanning in the field, it makes life more awkward when you come to download your images. At this stage, the DocuPen R700 is connected to a USB port and is taking external power, so why not override the auto power off? Details like this make using the DocuPen R700 more fiddly than it should be.

Company: Planon

Contact: 01252 792862


Verdict
This is so nearly a great evolution of the scanner. It's independent, stores images itself and recharges through any USB port. The only problem is that it's hard to OCR images and impossible to know at scan-time if your scans are rubbish.