Scanners in general have fallen from favour as digital photography has done away with the need to import prints to a PC, but pen scanners still have a niche appeal.

They're designed primarily for those who need to scan in documents on the move: professionals who need to capture business cards, contracts and blueprints, for example.

If you fall into the minority of people who need a handheld scanner, the DocuPen is likely to appeal. For a start, it's the first such product to offer full-page colour facilities. It's also simple to set up. Install the software, plug it into a USB port and start scanning.

It's pretty easy to use, too: you can switch between two resolutions, high and standard, and a button scrolls through mono, colour graphics and photo modes.

The ability to scan in colour images is helpful for photos, and we found that scan results were sharp and colour accuracy was extremely good – even on a less-than-clear image from a newspaper. It also coped well with colour text and was fast, taking around four seconds to scan an A4 page of text.

However, the DocuPen isn't perfect. For a start, getting accurate scans depends on how steady your hands are. We tried many times to get a perfect result, but still our pages ended up skewed at the bottom.

The other problem is the software. The DocuPen includes 8MB of flash memory to store scans, but this quickly fills up with high-resolution images. Unfortunately, every time we erased the card we had to restart the DocuPen software before it would recognise the pen again. You can upgrade the memory to as much as 1GB, which would ease this problem, if not resolve it.

Planon DocuPen RC800: Specs

  • Portable pen scanner
  • 24bit colour scanner
  • max resolution 400dpi
  • rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • USB
  • 8MB flash memory expandable via MicroSD slot
  • includes ScanSoft PaperPort 9.0 software
  • 226x13x13mm
  • 57g
  • Portable pen scanner
  • 24bit colour scanner
  • max resolution 400dpi
  • rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • USB
  • 8MB flash memory expandable via MicroSD slot
  • includes ScanSoft PaperPort 9.0 software
  • 226x13x13mm
  • 57g

OUR VERDICT

The DocuPen RC800 offers simple, fast and good-quality colour scanning on the move, but we had some niggles with it in operation. The innovative features should please its target market, but the price is too high to tempt the rest of us.

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