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The Canon imageFORMULA P-215 Scan-tini Personal Document Scanner

Bottom Line

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating

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Don't quite know where the trend started, or why, but lately I've seen a lot of portable document scanners. Most of them have been decent--they are fast, lightweight and portable, and there's very little to complain about, except that they are typically also light on paper guides, which means that it's easy to get skewed pages. The Canon Scan-tini fixes this problem in a classy way, by offering a fold-out automatic document feeder which can guide as many as 20 pages through the scanner without a single skewed page. It also set up amazingly fast on my Mac--simply plug it in and it works. There are few settings beyond the basics, but those were more than enough to get the scanner up and running in no time.

Speed and Quality

There were no issues at all with speed; the Canon Scan-tini ripped through pages as fast as I could have wanted it to, and since it was scanning both sides of the page at once, I'd say that it was more than adequate in terms of speed. You can slow things down by choosing 600 dpi instead of the low-end 150 dpi, but there's really no point in doing so; but going with the Detect Automatically function ensured high-enough quality for most common uses. (Read more about dpi.)Since you can stack as many as 20 pages into the fold-out automatic document feeder, and the scanner includes a continuous-scan mode, you can certainly increase your scanning productivity.

In terms of quality, I was very impressed with the Scan-tini's results. While I found the similarly sized Brother DSMobile 700D portable scanner to have acceptable results, the Scan-tini's results were almost uniformly excellent (yellow paper tended to look a bit over saturated when scanned, but this can be toned down).

Pros and Cons

imageFORMULA P-215Photo Courtesy of Canon
Let's start with the cons, since there really aren't too many. I think this was the heaviest of all the portable scanners I've tested. It's not particularly heavy, at just over two pounds. But still, the HP Scanjet Professional 1000 or the very lightweight Doxie portable scanners are lighter than this one. And a carrying case or box would've been welcome, since if I were to carry this around in my car on business, I know it would get banged up pretty quickly. And finally, it is one of the most expensive portable document scanners I've tested (it retails for about $300).

But the pros certainly outweigh the cons. It's still small enough to fit into a suitcase for use at a conference or business meeting. It can be powered directly via the included USB cables, so as long as you've got a laptop handy, you've got a fully powered scanner. Speed and quality are certainly above average, and you can easily scan directly to the cloud. I love the fact that I didn't have to install any drivers to make this work out of the box. And best of all, the fold-out automatic document feeder is a winning addition (as are the paper guides, since I've had trouble with almost every portable scanner since I end up with skewed pages if I don't load documents carefully.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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