When I reviewed PLANon’s DocuPen R700 portable scanner almost one year ago, I immediately realized how handy this device could be to a wide variety of people. Having a full page scanner that can easily stow in a gear bag was quite liberating. The only problem with the R700, was the fact that it scanned only in Black and White, and didn’t really do that great of a job. Luckily, PLANon, didn’t stop with the R700. They now have the RC800, which can scan in full 24bit color.
Four scanning modes: B/W (1bit), Grayscale (4/8bit), Standard color (12bit), Hi color (24bit)
Resolution: 100 to 400 dpi
Memory: 8mb of on-board flash memory and MicroSD slot
Rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery which is charged via the USB port
Size: 8.9 x 0.5 x 0.5 in (226 x 12 x 12 mm)
Weight: 2 oz. (54g)
Leather zippered case
Driver and Manual CD
The overall size and shape of the RC800 is pretty similar to the R700. But now instead of having just one button, there are 2 side by side. One button controls power and resolution, while the other toggles between B/W and color options.
The shell is made of Blue and silver plastic. The Blue is dark enough to not be too flash for corporate use.
On the bottom of the scanner you will find the dual roller guides.
Setting the various scan modes on the RC800 is easy due to the icon panel on the left end of the scanner. There is a whole row of icons that light up when the device is powered on. At a glance you can tell if your next scan will be in color, if you have adequate memory left and how the battery is doing.
Let’s take a look at the icons from left to right. The first icon (X) will blink in Red to warn you that you’re dragging the scanner across the page a little too fast. The next 3 icons signify the color modes. The first one is for black and white mode. The next two are for color. The intersecting ring icon is for Docu-Color and the person shaped icon is for Hi-Quality color. The next 2 icons that look like dominos or dice, are for Standard resolution and High resolution scanning. The M is the status icon for memory and the icon on the far right is for battery capacity. Both will turn Red when you need to charge and / or offload scans.
To change modes, you use the two buttons in the middle of the scanner. The left button toggles between black/white, docu-color and hi-quality color modes, while the right button is for Power and toggling between standard resolution and high resolution modes.
To scan a page, you just position the scanner along the top edge of the page that you want to scan, press the power button and then roll the scanner down the page. If you roll too quickly the X icon on the will start blinking Red. I found that scanning a Black and White image is the fastest. You can quickly pull the scanner down the page without the X blinking at all. For color scanning, you will need to slow down quite a bit though.
After you complete a scan (or multiple scans), you then need to get the image out of the scanner and into your computer. You do this via a USB cable which plugs into one end of the scanner. You’ll also need to install the driver for your Mac or Windows XP computer.
The PenScanner Control app on the Mac is very simple to use. There are options to download all the images from the scanner, calibrate the scanner, erase the images in the scanner and export a selected scan as a .tiff file. Small thumbnails of the scanned images appear in the control app, making it easy to see which scans to export. Also, since the driver is a twain compliant, you can import images directly from inside applications like Photoshop.
To give you an idea of what the scans look like in their different modes, click the thumbnail images above to see the full sized scan. I did resize all of the full size images down to 1024 x 786. These scans were all from a Java for Dummies Book. From Left to Right: B/W standard rez, and Docu-color standard rez.
Now for an example of a color scan, I scanned a page from Laptop magazine December 2006 issue in Docu-color standard rez.
If all you do is scan in black and white standard mode, you can get a lot of scans stored in the RC800 before you run out of memory and need to download them to a computer. Color scans take a lot more memory. I was able to scan only 2 copies of the magazine image that you see above in Docu-color standard and hi-rez before I ran out of memory. In Hi-Quality standard and hi-rez formats I the built in memory would only accommodate 1 full page scan before running out of space.
The RC800 has 8mb of built in memory. Nope, that isn’t much when you plan to scan a lot of color images. Luckily, there’s a MicroSD flash memory slot under the right end of the scanner. Pop the flash card in there and you increase the amount of scanned pages that you can store.
The only problems that I had with this product had to do with trying to scan images in magazines and books. It’s pretty difficult to scan pages when they are not completely flat. Sometimes the RC800 would think I was finished with the scan before I had even rolled it halfway down the page. To get around that problem, I learned to scan the pages from the spine outward, instead of from the top of the page downward. Other than that issue, I have found this product easy to use and very handy. Yes, the price is pretty steep at $300. But I’m not sure there is another full page color scanner on the market that is this small and portable.