One of the gifts I received this Christmas was the VuPoint Magic Want III portable scanner. Considering I just did a small series of posts on “going paperless,” I thought it would be a good focus of a review oriented towards that role.
The Magic Wand is an extremely portable full-color document scanner that you can use to scan papers, receipts, images into your computer for archiving, graphics, etc. It’s about 1.5″ tall and wide and roughly 10″ long, which is TINY compared to most scanners you’ll come across.
It runs on 2 AA batteries (included) and saves the images is scans onto an microSD card that you supply. It also has a 1″ color display for settings and preview.
Honestly, setup was super easy for me on my Mac. I literally just installed the batteries and inserted an 8Gb microSD and turned it on. I scanned a few sheets then connected it to my Mac using the included cable. The Mac automatically detected the device and offered to import the images into iPhoto. I ignored that and imported into Lightroom instead. Worked like a charm.
This scanner is a manual scanner. Whatever item you want to scan you will place on a flat surface, then place the scanner on top of it, then push the scan button and using your hands, pull the scanner down the page as steadily as you can until you get to the end. It works best on a flat surface and it’s important that you pull very straight, or the image you produce will have some distortion. That may not matter if you’re scanning a receipt or simple document. There are rollers on the bottom of the device that seem to help you pull it straight, so maybe I’ll get better at scanning over time. I’ve only had it a few days, after all.
Each image you scan takes several seconds to scan. The lower resolution scan (which is a usable 300dpi) in color takes about 3 seconds for a letter-sized sheet. 600dpi is 6 seconds. 1050dpi (Fine resolution) is 11 seconds. This isn’t bad at all, but it certainly doesn’t touch the ScanSnap.
I noticed on Amazon that you can buy a “Scanning Stand” for these devices. For scanning photos, I think that would be a good investment (the stand is only $13.75) if you are planning on doing a lot of photo scanning.
It will save your files as JPEGs or PDFs.
Would this be an ideal solution for going paperless in your home office or small business office? After all, that’s the focus of this review. I don’t think it’s ideal, but it would function.
What keeps it from being ideal?
1. It scans a single side of your page at one time. This may not be a big deal for your particular use, but I find that dual-sided scanning accounts for about 30% of my scanning or more.
2. Scanning a pile of documents becomes tedious. Sheet-fed scanners like the Scan-Snap are perfect for scanning a pile of papers. You just load them up and hit the button. With this, each individual sheet (and each side of it) is its own chore.
3. Scan quality is highly dependent on the user. Maybe the scan table would help with this. Also, if you’re scanning receipts, this doesn’t matter one bit, as long as you can read it (which should never be a problem).
Where do I see myself using this in my paperless workflow?
The really cool thing about this scanner is its size. It’s so small, I can see taking it on business trips and scanning receipts at night instead of waiting to do it at home. This will definitely fit in whatever laptop bag you have. Or your purse. Plus, it’s not heavy so why not bring it just in case. For scanning a few items at a time, it works great.
The other thing I think this scanner is uniquely suited for is scanning items in place. For instance, if you want to just scan the cover of a book, you can do that pretty easily with this scanner, whereas you’d have to essentially destroy the book (taking off its cover) to do the same with the ScanSnap. A flatbed scanner will work for that purpose well (probably even better) but takes 4 square feet of your precious desktop space (which is why the ones I own aren’t even in use currently). I can also see utility in scanning items where they lay. Like something hanging on a wall. Or a magazine spread. Or a piece of wood that you’d like to scan for the texture.
Easy Set-Up (it just works!)
Can scan an item where it lays.
Image distortion is common.
Software de-skewing isn’t as good as ScanSnap
Multi-page scans get tedious.