The dream of the paperless office is ever present, but the reality is that most of us spend plenty of time dealing with paper. Portable scanners are popular with mobile professionals, but finding a sheetfed, duplex scanner that's light and versatile is not easy. Canon's imageFORMULA P-215 could fit the bill nicely.
The imageFORMULA P-215 isn't an insignificant addition to the travel bag, though: it weighs 1kg and measures 285 by 95 by 40mm.
The scanner draws power from a notebook via a powered USB port — an AC adapter is an optional extra. There's no internal battery. Scanning speeds are improved if you use two USB connections — one for power and one for data.
The imageFORMULA P-215 opens up very cleverly, with the front short edge and top edge folding out to form a paper tray and two further arms sliding out from the top edge to provide additional paper support. The tray can hold up to 20 sheets.
There's no output tray, but if you're working on a desk paper should fall neatly in front of the scanner. If you like to scan business cards, the dedicated slot on the front of the scanner for this purpose will appeal. Cards pop in, are scanned, then pop back out again rather than feeding through.
It's simple to perform a scan: there's a button on the scanner and another on Canon's supplied CaptureOneTouch software. A lite version of the software is usable without installing the TWAIN driver from the CD, which also contains the full version of CaptureOneTouch.
It's nice to have the lite version in case you need to use the imageFORMULA P-215 with a computer that lacks a TWAIN driver while you're out of the office. Most people will want to use the full version though.
The duplex capability is welcome, and the scanner can detect automatically when to scan both sides of a sheet rather than needing to be told. Canon has thought carefully about what you might want to do with scans: from within CaptureOneTouch they can be saved as PDFs in single or multiple pages; printed; attached to emails; uploaded as Google Docs; or sent to SharePoint.
Available for around £230 (inc. VAT) the Canon imageFORMULA P-215 is a neat little scanner that ought to cover most mobile professional requirements. It's on the heavy side, though, and you'll probably want to invest extra in an AC adapter.