Canon's imageFORMULA P-208II Scan-tini

Personal Document Scanner

Canon imageFORMULA P-208 II Personal Document Scanner
Scan anywhere, any time with Canon's latest mobile scanner. Canon

Just as each major printer manufacturer typically offers at least one mobile printer at a time to market, each company also provides mobile, or portable, scanners that allow you to scan documents and photos to your PC, your mobile device, or the cloud from nearly anywhere. And, as is the case with most miniature printers, miniaturized scanners tend to cost more than some of their full-featured, full-size counterparts with comparable features. The question is, are they worth it?

The answer? As with most niche products like these, such as Epson’s $179.99 (MSRP) WorkForce DS-40 Color Portable Scanner, as well as the topic of this review, Canon’s $199.99 (MSRP) imageFORMULA P-208II Personal Document Scanner, it depends on your application—and, of course, whether you actually take it out of your bag and use it.

Design and Features

Appearance-wise, most portable scanners look alike—typically long, narrow devices that look much like mobile printers. In any case, at 12.3 inches long, by 2.2 inches wide, and about 1.5 inches high, the P-208II is about 6 inches longer than Epson’s DS-40. And, at 1.3 pounds, it weighs slightly more, too, by about two-tenths of a pound. It has no control panel, and, according to Canon, you don’t even need drivers. Just plug it into your PC or your mobile device’s USB port and then click or touch scan, or physically press the Scan button on the P-208II.

Just as it’s important that the scanner hums along without jamming or other mishaps, the bundled software also adds significant value to these types of products. This scanner uses, depending on what kind of PC or mobile device you’re scanning from, one version or another of CaptureOnTouch—the full PC version, CaptureOnTouch Lite, and CaptureOnTouch Mobile—for instant interfacing with the scanner. And, of course, an optical character recognition (OCR) program for converting scanned text to editable text.

Here is a short list of the most useful features:

  • Powered via a single USB cable connection (which helps reduce cable clutter).
  • "Plug-and-Scan" capability. CaptureOnTouch Immediate scanning without installing drivers or imaging applications software
  • One-touch access to repetitive tasks
  • Scan to third-party cloud applications, such as Evernote, Microsoft SharePoint, Google Drive, SugarSync, OneDrive, and Dropbox Windows ISIS / TWAIN drivers, Mac TWAIN driver for easy integration with capture and content
  • Scans up to 8 pages per minute in B&W, grayscale, and color- both sides of an item in a single pass
  • Can handle a variety of document types
    • Thick or thin documents
    • Plastic or embossed cards
    • Can detect double-feed occurrences

Oh yeah, and if you want to connect wirelessly or scan when disconnected from AC power, Canon offers an optional WU10 Wireless Adapter and Battery Pack for P-Series Mobile Document Scanners—for a whopping $150 (or thereabouts).

This bumps the purchase price beyond $300, which is steep for this product.

Performance

Canon claims that the P-208II scans 8 pages per minute (ppm) simplex, or single-sided, and 16 images per minute (ipm) duplex, or double-sided. In addition, the scanning mechanism itself is “single-pass,” which means that it has two scanning heads, one for each side of the page being scanned, which is much faster than double-pass scanners where the document must be pulled back into the scanner, flipped over, and then the other side is scanned.

In any case, as I’ve said about these mobile devices many times, not everybody needs one. By the time you equip it with the wireless/battery pack, you’re looking at a sizeable commitment. If you can live without this expensive accessory, though, this is a quick, accurate little scanner.