Sheet-feed scanners come in very useful when scanning multi-page documents, and portable models are useful when working away from home.
Canon's ImageFORMULA P-150M is small and light enough to fit in your bag; it's powered by USB and is plug and play, with no driver installation required.
You just run the CaptureOnTouch Lite application from the virtual disk that mounts when you connect the scanner to your Mac. The P-150M can scan anything from A4-sized documents to business cards. It can be powered from a single USB port, but if you connect the supplied USB power cable to either a second USB port or the mains via an adapter (sold separately), it runs faster.
It can scan in black and white, greyscale or colour, to JPEG, TIFF or PDF, and if you need to scan double-sided documents, its Duplex feature allows you to do so in a single pass.
When powered by two USB ports, at the default 200dpi setting the P-150M scanned a single A4 text page in black and white in just 10.7 seconds. Although the characters were a little pixellated, the results were readable.
Ramping up the resolution to 600dpi, we got a smoother, clearer document, but it took 28.6 seconds. With only one USB port used, it was only a little slower. But for all its speed, ease of use and scan quality, the P-150M lacks reliability.
We tested two separate units, and when scanning documents printed on ordinary, 80gsm photocopier paper, both proved prone to misfeeds, paper jams and pages in the sheet feeder not being recognised. Canon claims it has a 20-page ADF, but it seldom got through this quantity without pulling a page in sideways and jamming at least once.
It performed better with photographs and thinner paper, and also with pages that had been flat for a while and therefore lacked the slight curl found when fresh out of the printer or photocopier. Yet it's difficult to recommend a document scanner that struggles with freshly printed documents.
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