Sometimes technology just makes sense — traveling great distances was possible before airplanes came along, but only through flight could the time spent be compacted. So it’s not just about something you can use, but something that makes sense to you. For example, a waterproof watch is great to have if you’re always walking through the rain, but living in the desert, not so much.
But show me someone who doesn’t have a few grocery or gas receipts, somebody’s business card or a paid slip for some gizmo at the dollar store in their back pocket or purse and I’ll show you a consumer who isn’t doing their part to spend us out of this recession. OK, maybe that’s a bit harsh but if you’re like me, by the end of the week your pocket looks more like the invoice box of a Target store. If only there was a way to copy these slips of paper right then and there, “on the fly” as it were, so that it didn’t matter if they got all smushed up or the ink ran or they got lost even. Oh I guess there is. And it’s one thing that I don’t mind carrying in my wallet because it puts all the credit cards there to shame.
The SlimScan SS100 (I’ll call it the SlimScan moving forward) fits in a credit card sized slit in a wallet or can be tossed in a pocket or backpack or purse. The only real thing to remember is that the protective plate covering the sensor section at its bottom has to be removed before use. Well, duh! It comes off quick but since it has side mounted tabs, you should take your time in order to line it up properly before pushing it up against the sensor. Even with the plate attached, the weight of the SlimScan is negligible.
To use the SlimScan, the most important thing is to have it facing you with the mini-LCD panel on the left. Of course you’ve already plugged it into a USB socket from a computer or otherwise for about an hour earlier so it can charge up, right? Me, I always end up with bank slips that are unreadable — thanks to my putting them into a back pocket and forgetting to remove them until the pants are to be washed — sometimes they go through the cycle so you know what condition they’ve ended up in. Using SlimScan, I can just make a copy of the bank slip moments after it has been spit out of the ATM. Here’s what I do — go ahead and time me.
I put the bank slip on a flat surface and pop off the plate covering the SlimScan’s scanner end. A long press of the center tab of the vertical three to power it on. Using the tabs above the center one and the two horizontal tabs above the LCD panel, I select Scan from the onscreen menu and press the center tab lightly to bring up the folder menus to select a folder to save the scan in — in this case “Expense” (other choices could have been “Pictures” or “Biz-Cards” or “Articles” or “General”). Placing the scanner end of the SlimScan against the end of the paper closest to me, I push down and run the scanner away from me. I can see a light coming from the SlimScan’s end so I know it’s working.
Once I reach the far end, I lift the SlimScan off and let it save the image and tell me when I can continue to do another scan. But since I’m done, I switch to “View” and look at what’s been captured just to be sure. It’s fine and I notice in the menus that I could have zoomed in to fill the entire LCD screen with the image or panned around if necessary. So now I just press and hold in the center tab to turn it off, put the plate back on and stow the guy away.
Now you want to transfer what’s been scanned to your computer for storage or printing out, whatever. Better be a PC because the software doesn’t work with Macs. And where’s the disc that the QuickStart Guide in the package is talking about — it’s not there! Good thing I’m intelligent enough to know to go to their website to find it. But first I check out the “Support” area and see there’s a firmware update. So I download it and install it — obviously the SlimScan’s already attached via USB.
Turns out the RMS management program is inside the scanner so you can access it once the SlimScan’s connected to the PC. The software lets you access and control what’s been scanned — organizing and categorizing the contents for you for use with Excel and MS Word and Outlook, etc. Or using any saved images which are in the JPEG format. Using it is straightforward and simple enough that a detailed description isn’t necessary.
Bottom line: For $139 retail, you’re getting a pretty sophisticated little scanner — 300 dpi resolution and 24 bit color is nothing to sneeze at for text as well as for color graphics. Plus a soft pouch, a little brush for keeping the sensor section clean with a few flicks and a USB cable to leave at home. Having a LCD panel menu screen may seem overkill, but the convenience it offers for organizing the scans as well as after-scan viewing is welcomed. Good job.
- Up to 600 scans in memory
- Preview what’s been scanned
- Software included
- PC software bundle online at additional cost
- Recessed tabs tough to access for big fingers
- Combined On/Off/Select tab can cause accidental shut down
Marshal Rosenthal is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and journalist specializing in technology, consumer electronics and pop culture.