Canon Imageformula P-150 review
This lightweight portable scanner makes sense for business users on the road, but it's a niche product.
Review Date: 30 Jan 2010
Price when reviewed: £252
Reviewed By: Kat Orphanides
Although they aren't designed for family-friendly tasks such as photo scanning, sheet-fed scanners are invaluable for small business users who require a fast and efficient way of capturing multi-page documents. Portable devices like Canon's Imageformula P-150 are great if you need to scan content on the move, whether you're at a conference or in your van.
While it folds down to a tiny 42x282x98mm, the P-150 is has an automatic duplexer and can hold up to 20 sheets at a time. Larger jobs can be collated by its driver. For optimal scan speeds the P-150 requires two free USB ports - one for data, and one for power, although it can run off a single port. A mains adaptor is also available.
A4 pages are fed smoothly, without any issues with alignment, skewing, creasing or paper jams. Scan speeds weren't as fast as those we've seen from some desktop sheet-fed scanners, but are certainly quick. We scanned 10 duplex pages in just one minute and three seconds at the scanner's default 200dpi.
At the P-150's maximum resolution of 600dpi, everything moves a bit slower: 10 single-sided full colour pages were scanned in seven minutes and 39 seconds. A single page took 50 seconds at 600dpi, 11 seconds at 300dpi and just 6 seconds at 150dpi.
Scan quality at 600dpi was excellent, with sharp text and accurate reproduction of colour and shading. Lettering scanned at the default 200dpi was rather fuzzy around the edges, which made reading large blocks of scanned text on screen into a rather dizzying experience. We preferred 300dpi text, which was sharper and more solid, and takes just a few seconds longer to scan per page.
Canon's simple driver interface made it easy to configure scan colour, quality and duplexing settings. The interface also makes it simple to save completed scans as a PDF or image files, open them in other applications, email or print them.
The P-150 comes with a range of software to handle your scanning and document management requirements, including a full version of Nuance's PaperPort 11 document management suite. This can perform Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to turn scanned text into an editable document and create searchable PDFs. Newsoft's Presto! Bizcard 5 business card scanning and contact management software is also provided.
The P-150 is very similar to the duplex version of Fujitsu's ScanSnap S300 in speed, price and quality. However, Canon's scanner has an advantage in that it comes with standard TWAIN and ISIS drivers, while the ScanSnap requires you to use its own proprietary driver and document management software. The P-150's flexibility makes it easier to get it working quickly on any PC with any software.
The P-150 is lightweight, easy to use and demands no more power than a laptop can provide. Although it's too slow and expensive to replace a desktop sheet-fed scanner, this is great choice if you need to scan and file business documents on the move.
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