The Pentax DSmobile 600 looks like a great idea: a scanner that you can take anywhere, for anyone wanting to digitise documents on the go. When slotted into the handy sleeve, the DSmobile 600 looks exactly like a small umbrella, furled to fit your manbag or handbag and disguised from tech-savvy muggers.
Even if you don't have a laptop and spend more time chained to the desk than on the go, this is great for the workspatially-challenged. Weighing in at only 340g, the scanner takes up no more space on your desk than a packet of digestives and leaves considerably less mess.
It's pleasingly simple to use: there's only one button on the hardware, a satisfyingly large 'on' switch. Plug it into a USB port, press the on button and the software launches. You feed your paper in and hit the big green onscreen 'scan' button, the document scans, and then it opens as a PDF, all in less than 20 seconds. Although the option is available, the DSmobile 600 doesn't usually bother with a preview, and it's not really necessary given the preset document types, quick scanning time and nifty live thumbnail of the document cycling through.
Multiple pages have to be fed manually, but the software gives you that option after every page and it's much less effort to feed in multiple pages than to open a flatbed scanner and switch pages. The mobile scanner draws power from the USB connection and is bundled with TWAIN drivers, so you can use your favoured scanning software, or stick with the simple-to-use out-of-the-box software and its handy presets. The scanner deals well with text documents, but you may have to monkey with the custom settings to get real vibrancy from your colour photos.
The mobile scanner won't kill the flatbed, for the obvious reason that it doesn't work with books and magazines unless you tear the pages out (frowned upon in the library), or photocopy them then scan them. Nonetheless, if you're out and about the DSmobile 600 is great for grabbing copies of notes, letters and documents, and equally good for desktop use. -Rich Trenholm