Feeding a single sheet of A4 through the scanner takes around 10s, which is pretty quick. The device starts automatically, when it detects paper, and all scans are performed at 300ppi. This is a comparatively low resolution and may be one of the trade-offs in developing a battery-powered device. Similar portable scanners from manufacturers like Canon and HP offer 600dpi, though require USB power to work.
A clever feature of the Visioneer Mobility is that you can connect several species of smart phone, including Androids, BlackBerrys and Windows smartphones – though not iPhones – to its USB port and use them to display pages you’ve scanned. This prevents making bad scans in the field, which you don’t discover until you get back to your computer.
Scan quality is variable. A scanned page of text was good enough to run near flawlessly through OmniPage, to produce a page of editable text. A page with colour content was good enough for rough and ready archival, too. Scanning photos was less successful, though, and anything more challenging than holiday snaps may suffer from grainy and less-than-precise colours.
The disadvantage with a sheet feed scanner is that it can only scan single sheets, though these can include thin card, such as business cards. It can’t be used to scan material from any bound book or magazine, unless you rip the pages out first. This is true of all portable, sheet-feed scanners, of course, though at one time Fujitsu made a portable scanner where you could remove the A4-width scanner wand and use it to manually sweep over a book or magazine page.
Having a portable scanner that doesn’t require connection to a PC or notebook can be very handy, although the relatively low resolution and variable colour quality reduces the usefulness of the Visioneer Mobility. If you have a smartphone, though, one of the main difficulties of scanning blind is removed.