- Comprehensive software bundle
- Accurate OCR using Readiris
- 600ppi maximum resolution
- Can't scan books or magazines
- Business card OCR not perfect
- No way of monitoring scans
- Review Price: £178.00
- Auto-sensing feed rollers
- USB and SD card storage supported
- Quick single page scans
- Scans pages, photos and business cards
- Quiet enough for library use
The IRIScan Anywhere 2, a battery-powered, sheet feed scanner, is aimed at a third category of customer, someone who needs to scan documents sheet-by-sheet, while away from a PC.
This scanner, while not quite pocket-sized, could certainly be squeezed into a typical laptop bag. It’s not much wider than the A4 sheets it’s designed to scan and is about the size of a squared-off, half baguette. It’s encased in black plastic with a silvered plastic top and is completely self-contained, with a rechargeable lithium polymer battery with enough power to scan about 100 pages.
Apart from the single slot running through its middle, which automatically senses the presence of a sheet of paper and starts the feed rollers, there are two sockets on its front: one for a USB drive and the other for an SD card. The scanner comes with a 1GB card and in normal use will either scan to this or to 512 MB of internal memory.
On the end of the scanner is a miniature USB socket. This can be used to connect it to a computer, to recharge its battery and to download images. The only other feature on the case is a single, illuminated power button, which is also used to switch the scanner between its default resolution of 300ppi and its maximum 600ppi. A coloured LED bar behind the button shines green or orange to show the resolution setting. Various other status indications are provided by these lights and the combinations take a while to learn.
Using the IRIScan Anywhere 2 is pretty straightforward, as you feed a sheet of paper, a photo print or a business card through from the rear and the scanner automatically stores the image. Getting it from there to your computer is a function of the software supplied by IRIS.
This is a pretty comprehensive trio of Readiris, Cardiris and Roxio PhotoSuite. Readiris is IRIS’s OCR software and Cardiris is a similar program for business cards which preserves a bitmap image of the card, as well as extracting contact details and adding them to its own database. Roxio PhotoSuite is a bitmap editor, ideal for tidying up photos.
IRIS uses the tagline ‘Scan Anything’ in its marketing materials for the IRIScan Anywhere 2. Whis is pretty silly, as there’s a whole class of documents the device can’t handle. Any bound document is beyond it, as it’s a sheet-feed scanner which can only take single sheets of paper. It precludes scanning from books or magazines or even a photo album, unless you extract the prints and scan them individually.
What it can do is scan an A4 pages in black and white, greyscale or colour, and at 300ppi or 600ppi. It does this pretty quickly and our 300ppi test scan took just 11s, with a further 2s for the OCR operation. The finished RTF document was pretty accurate in both content and layout. There were a couple of minor glitches in some heading fonts, but for archival purposes, it would be fine.
Business card scanning was less successful. Although the image of the card was captured well enough, there were a few problems with translation of the contact details into the program’s database. They would be easy enough to rectify, but you’d be advised not to scan cards as a batch job, without first checking the conversions.
A 15 x 10cm photo, scanned at 600ppi, took 19s and was recognisable, but rather grainy. For permanent conversion of legacy photo prints, you’d be much better off with even a fairly inexpensive flatbed scanner.
This is a clever, portable scanner which really can be used completely autonomously. By scanning to the supplied SD card, you have plenty of capacity to record page images when you’re away from your computer. It’s simple and effective and the software suite is well above what we’d normally expect with a portable scanner. The only problem is not being able to check what you’ve scanned on the fly.
Score in detail
Scan Speed 8
Scan Quality 7