PLANon DocuPen RC800

by K. Samwell on April 18, 2007 in Peripherals

There is a new DocuPen model added to PLANon’s ever-growing lineup. The RC800 is a full color document scanner that can store up to one hundred pages on its internal memory. If you have the need for a portable scanner, you won’t want to miss this one.

Page 4 – Further Testing, Final Thoughts

Finally, I wanted to test this DocuPen out with something a little tough, and see if it can jump thru my flaming hoops. Final test, highest resolution, highest scan mode on a photograph. I realize this is not really its intended use, however, it is an exercise I personally would expect it to be able to complete.

The results were honestly, quite better than I had anticipated, as I have seen scanned photos and they are normally pretty grainy, but this one actually comes out quite well. You can clearly see that I have simply placed the image on a blank piece of paper and scanned it as such, and in doing so, my Docupen was a little crooked, but the PageViewer software has an easy solution to just that dilemma, you simply draw a line along an edge that is supposed to be vertical or horizontal and select the straighten image option. Voila! Of course the edges will then become a little ragged, and I wasn’t off by much, but this does allow you to be rather askew in your scan and correct it in the software.

Now that the DocuPen has proven itself quite nicely in my eyes, lets see what other tricks it can do. Here I have scanned a floor tile (on the left) and was surprised at how brown the scan turned out to be, while the actual tile is blue/green. I have also scanned a piece of fabric, which proved more difficult and resulted in several failed saves, however the one good scan wasn’t just good; it was excellent.

Wrap it up!

So what was my overall impression? Global espionage capabilities aside, I can see the use for a portable scanner, particularly in situations where you do not have permanent access to what you are scanning. However this does seem rather specialized, and those that find themselves needing to scan on a regular basis, while travelling, will be very willing to dole out the $300US for this scanner.

The student and the hobbyist will have a hard time justifying the price tag for infrequent use. Now bear in mind you can find deals online, however $280US was the lowest price I saw, and $400US was the highest, so do your shopping carefully. I was, however, unable to find this item in any of my local tech stores such as CompUSA, Best Buy, Fry’s or Circuit City. Perhaps its portability is a detrimental factor to displaying it in a store.

I completely understand the need to save energy on portable items, however this little device shuts down much too quickly. I scanned the photograph shown earlier, waited till the green lights stopped flashing (saving image mode) and the pen shut off as expected. Apparently it needs to shut down after every scan, and sometimes in the middle of a scan, and quite often several times during the transferring of documents to your computer, and again when trying to view those documents, and as soon as you unplug it from the USB port and pretty much every 15 seconds whether you want it to or not.

In my opinion if this device is connected to the USB port and subsequently being charged, it should not have to shut down at all, let alone quite so quickly. The ability to set the time before shutdown was not apparent anywhere in the device configuration.

While the fact this scans colour is very nice, most of the practical uses of this pen do not necessarily require colour, such as receipts, documents, books, business cards, blueprints, etc. That being said, it was definitely a bonus to be able to scan the photograph and retain the colour information. It is definitely an improvement over previous portal scanning products both by DocuPen and its competitors, so if you’re going to get a scanner pen, this is the best one you’re going to find, and the only one I found with expandable memory.

It has many more resolution and colour depth options than anything else comparable, it is very, very easy to use and the documents are simple to manipulate. It is, as far as I know, the only document scanner that is not held like a pen. Whereas most alternatives are held pen-like and only scan a few lines at a time, this DocuPen is unique in its ability to scan an entire page in seconds. It’s ten times the scanner at less than twice the price of the closest competition.

It does what it is advertised to do and it does it exceptionally well. While there is some room for improvement, it is definitely a technological leap in the field of scanners.

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