vp_scannerThere aren’t many computer products around these days that don’t need serious installation of software and reading of the manual to get you up and running. But this portable scanner was a real cinch to get going. I unpacked the device, installed the memory card and batteries, switched the unit on and started scanning!

What was even more impressive was the fact that when I plugged the USB cable into the computer it recognised it and asked what to do with the images I had scanned – with not a stitch of software installed! It does come with simple OCR (optical character recognition) software called ABBYY Screenshot Reader – which will suffice for the occasional OCR you might need, but for serious OCR you still need something like Omnipage.

The scanning process is very easy, position the Magic Wand where you want to start scanning and click the scan button, drag the device across the page and click the scan button to stop the scanning. If the scanning is really bad the red error light will come on and you will need to rescan what you are scanning. Very simple. You then repeat the process as often as you want until the memory runs out. The MicroSD memory card is not included with the unit, but is easily available from any computer or retail electronics outlet.

The battery life seems fine, but I have not done a huge amount of scanning. I was really impressed with the way it scanned an image through glass, perspex and laminated pages.


A sample scan on colour/low resolution.

What are the real applications that make this a great addition to the law office?

• When doing research, you can scan the appropriate articles from the book
• When viewing written evidence, you can scan it into the Magic Wand
• Sending signed documents back to the office while out in the field
• Great for scanning images or text that cannot be put into a flatbed scanner.

What does this device not do?
• A high resolution scanner
• A high speed, high volume scanner
• An OCR solution.

A great tip for when you are in the field – and you use a BlackBerry phone, you can scan all of your pics – remove the memory card from the scanner and insert it into the BlackBerry and send your images from the BlackBerry!

Model PDS-ST410A-VP
Sensor – A4 Colour Contact image Sensor
Resolution – Standard Resolution: 300x300dpi (default); High Resolution: 600x600dpi
Memory – Support Micro SD card up to 32GB (Micro SD card not included)
File Format – JPEG
LCD Scanning status display
Auto Power Off 3 minutes
Approximate scanning speed (standard letter size)
-High res. with colour – 13 sec. – Standard res. 3 sec.
-High res with mono – 6 sec. – Standard res 2 sec.
Auto White Balance
USB Port USB 2.0 high speed
Power Source 2xAA Batteries
Battery Life Approx. 180 colour or 200 monochromatic scans
Dimension 254 x 30.48×27.97mm (LxHxW)
LCD Display Size 27mm x 15mm
Weight 17g (with batteries)
Support System Driver free to download for Windows® XP SP2/ Windows® Vista/ Windows® 7TM and Macintosh 10.4 or above (direct plug-in, driver installation not required)
USB cable, 2x AA alkaline batteries, OCR software CD, Pouch, Cleaning cloth, user’s manual

For mobility and the scanning from the field, this device is a must for your office – the price of the unit is R1295 ex VAT and the memory card will cost you around R100 for a 2Gb MicroSD card.

It is available from Powerhouse Dictation Systems. You can contact them on 011 887 1056 or email them at info@speech.co.za.

I will be happy to offer my unit on loan to anybody who would like to try it – you will need to cover the courier or mailing charges.

Contributed by:
Malcolm Pearson



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