Planon DocuPen R700
The Planon DocuPen R700 won't win any imaging-quality awards, but if you absolutely must scan documents on the road, this is a handy device to pack in your bag. We have to admit, there are definitely instances where being able to quickly scan a document, transfer it to our computer, and send it off in e-mail would make our working life a little easier. But at $200, the DocuPen isn't priced for occasional use, and its scan quality, even at the 200dpi higher-resolution setting, is average at best.
This silvery, oblong gizmo measures 8 inches long by less than 2 inches wide, and it weighs a scant 2 ounces. A single button on the middle of the DocuPen R700 turns it on: press once and hold it to scan at the standard 100dpi resolution or press it twice and hold for its 200dpi scan setting. The package includes a USB cable for transferring scans off the device, a CD with drivers (Windows only), and a light version of ScanSoft PaperPort optical character recognition (OCR) software, plus a leather carrying case just big enough to hold the device.
Setting up the DocuPen R700 takes little effort--basically, you install the drivers and software from the CD. The R700 uses a built-in lithium-ion battery for power, which charges via the included USB cable when connected to your PC. Once it's charged, you can start scanning, and battery life is actually quite good. Chances are you'll fill the meager 2MB of onboard flash memory before you run out of juice. Mastering the DocuPen takes some practice, but ultimately it's easy to use. It's this simplicity that makes the DocuPen worthwhile for those on the go. Scanning an 8.5-by-11-inch page at 200dpi takes only about 8 seconds and is so undemanding you'll want to scan every scrap of paper on your desk.
At the standard 100dpi setting, the DocuPen can scan and hold 100 black-and-white images, which you can export into different formats including BMP, JPEG, PCX, DCX, and TIFF. But text is practically illegible at this resolution, especially at point sizes smaller than 13. The 200dpi setting produces better results, but 8-point print is still barely legible--not good for capturing the fine print of, say, a contract. If you need only an image of what you're scanning, the DocuPen R700 can produce usable results with patient, practiced swipes. However, don't plan on turning your scans into perfect Microsoft Word docs, at least not with the mediocre bundled OCR software. In our tests, scanned text was completely inaccurate on 10-point type. It improved as the text went up in size, but translations were still inconsistent and would require too much correction to make it worthwhile.
You can access a PDF manual, instructional videos, and support FAQs at the Planon Web site or call a toll-free number weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET. We feel that the three-month repair or replacement warranty should last longer to merit the DocuPen's high price.