This article first appeared in HWM July 2012.
Portable scanners make it easy for business travelers to keep their documents, receipts and business cards in order, by keeping them in digital format. Canon aims to bring portability and convenience in a single package with its ImageFormula P-215.
The P-215 weighs a kilogram and may be a little on the hefty side when it comes to size and weight, so Canon has included a few features such as one-pass duplex scanning to make up for the additional bulk. There’s a built-in automatic document feeder (ADF) that stores up to 20 sheets of paper, as well as a built-in card scanner that scans plastic cards like driver licenses or identification cards.
Setting up the P-215 is simple; as there’s no dedicated power adapter or power brick to deal with, plug in the supplied USB cable and you’re set. Power comes via USB, though Canon does throw in another cable which is meant to supply more power; it has one end connected to the P-215’s power supply connector and the other end to a second USB port on the computer. Canon says that using both USB cables together will result in a faster scan speed, though we see no discernible difference in our tests. Do take note that different USB ports supply varying levels of power, so you may or may not see a difference by using both USB cables.
Using the P-215 is also a breeze as you can still operate the P-215 without installing the bundled software. The computer will identify the P-215 as a USB drive when it’s connected, and you will have to run the utility to start scanning. Of course the bundled Canon software provides more control over the scanner settings, but still it’s very handy to be able to scan something in a scenario where you’re not using your own computer or do not have the software CD on hand.
The P-215 allows for scanning to searchable PDF files as well as image PDF files, in addition to the standard JPG and BMP image formats. The default resolution is 200 pixels-per-inch (PPI) though the P-215 offers a maximum resolution of 600 PPI. Scanning was pretty quick, and we didn’t encountered any paper feed issues.
All in all, the P-215 is a handy portable scanner that’s fast at its job, and is able to scan to searchable PDF, something most of us will find very useful. In addition to that, it sports a built-in automatic document feeder (ADF) and card scanner. It’s also capable of duplex scanning and thus doesn’t only shine as a portable scanner, but can also do a decent job when desk-bound.