The best home scanner comes in many form factors today.
Reduced sized scanners have come a long way of late and for this I am thankful. I love scanning and converting scanned in images of copy into an editable document via OCR. We took a look at a the LG’s competent mouse scanner a while back. It proved effective in most situations and was even capable of scanning larger A5 blueprint sheets. But when it came to book page scanning, the device fell a bit flat. Where the page meets the binding was often un-scannable or just to difficult to reach without ripping the binding.
Today we take a look at the IRIScan Book Executive 3 WiFi scanner. It functions with or without a computer and can send scanned images in PDF, Excel or Word documents. It’s a versatile device that has learned to play nice with Windows PCs, Mac, Android and iOS devices. Those latter two work via apps obtained from their respective marketplaces. It’s a cool trick where you can scan a document, store the image on the BE3’s included 1gb microSD card for later use. When ready you can wireless beam the image to your paired WiFi phone, tablet or Wifi-enabled PC/laptop. It’s actually pretty slick, but not without its own hurdles.
The unit is also packaged with a USB cable for tethered transfer of scanned documents. Also included in the package is a set of 4 AAA batteries (alkaline are ceommended for longer use), software install CD, the microSD card and SD card adapter, plenty of literature about IRIS’s other products, coupon for 20% off your next IRIS purchase, voucher for a free year of Evernote, registration card and two card for free IRISCompressor for Mac or PC. It’s a meaty package of mostly with only a mild waste of paper.
Yet for all the card stock and paper stock used, there is no sign of a physical user guide or instruction manual. It took me quite a few minutes just to divine how to open the battery compartment. Luckily there is a very detailed instruction guide on software installation CD. It’s a definitely needed as the device proper only features 3 physical buttons and a single slider with 3 modes. Most users will be at a loss with the guide.
But with it, setup is pretty simple. Insert the MicroSD card. Then press the scan button for 2-seconds to power on the IRIScan BE3. The display will light up. You can use the top Color/Mono button to select if you want JPG or PDF in black or white. Use the bottom resolution button to select from 3 resolutions – low = 300dpi, Mi = 600dpi and Hi = 900dpi. You have to look very carefully. The font size is near-microscopic on the display and barely legible. But once the unit is prepped and set, tap the Scan/power button to place it in Scan mode. Then slowly slide the BE3 down your document. Press the scan button again when you reach the bottom to complete your scan. The image is now stored on your the microSD card and ready for transfer to your computer or mobile device via the USB cable or over WiFi.
The IRIScan Book Executive 3 is not bad at all. I did have a some minor issues getting the Android IRIScanBook app to function properly. You have to move the slider to the middle position. WiFi will light up with a blue illumination. Then you can navigate to your tablet or phone’s available WiFi devices to to select the IRIScan Book unit. Of course this kills your access to the internet. The HTC One found the device no problem but I had to back out of the app a couple times and restart before it registered to show me the saved scans on the scanner. But from there you simply select which ones you would like to download. The process takes mere seconds and you’re ready to edit, crop and or save them as needed. The app could use some sprucing up with a series of 1st time dialog bubbles telling you what each button does. The interface is rather bland as well. But once the scanner is paired it works well enough.
Despite some hard to read display text and a wonky app, the IRIScan Book Executive 3 is a winner. It should be noted a steady hand is necessary for straight even scans. But you probably guessed that. I suggest lining your document up against a straight surface and use that to prevent slippage and uneven scans. Also noteworthy, batteries are not needed on Windows PC. It can sup power via the USB cable. Yet that can further hamper your steady scan if you’re not careful.
Bottom Line: The IRIScan Book Executive 3 is a nice little product. With some of the minor issues in tow, I think a sub-$100 price tag would seal the deal for most. Without that it’s a bit expensive. But it’s a great option to have for quickly scanning book pages, documents and more to be later downloaded to your device of choice.
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