IRIScan Book 5 WiFi Scanner REVIEW Quickly digitize your books and papers
Growing up, my family had odds-and-ends and knick-knacks galore. As I moved away to college, moved from dorm to dorm, then to an apartment, then to my first home and ultimately to my current home, I finally realized that I was tired of moving/storing stuff. I had somehow amassed a large collection of personal and educational papers, textbooks, yearbooks, and numerous decorations, gadgets, and gizmos. My wife has always been a more basic, low-clutter individual and like her, I have grown to dislike clutter. Unfortunately, her recent guitar lessons and my banjo lessons have caused an overabundance of paper, sheet music, and books. Knowing that I can essentially expand my digital storage ad infanitum, I wanted a system that could easily convert paper to digital files. When combined with my fathers day present, the iRig Tablet Page Turner Bundle, the IRIScan scanner should help us to eliminate our physical sheet music.
The IRIScan Book 5 WiFI arrived in an attractive 12 3/8 inches long by 5 1/2 inches wide by 2 inches thick retail package. The cover displayed a slightly raised 9 inches long by 1 3/16 inches wide photographic black image of the IRIScan Book WiFi device. The white and grey cover background provided a useful canvas for the aqua colored accents. Beneath the main image, the company provided a one-inch wide rectangle, which detailed the features of the product. The label detailed the blazing fast speed of the worlds fastest book scanner at one page per second, the ability to eliminate the need to tear/remove pages, a fully independent WiFi Mobile Scanner, the ability to create PDF files in a snap without a computer and the Portable Scanner/OCR software and the ability to use the product with Windows, Mac, iOS and Android equipment. The white-colored right side panel displayed six aqua-colored icons, book, magazine, document, contract, invoice, drawing and within the negative space of the lower aqua rectangle, “IrisScan Book 5 WiFi.” The inversely colored left panel provided a three-step instruction manual. Plug your device into your computer and load your scans. Plug the scanner into the computer or connect via WiFi and scan whatever you desire. Remove the data with the included Readiris (OCR Software), edit them, compress them, and store them as a word, PDF, Excel and others. The top panel provided useful photographic quality images of the device screen and scanning an image.
The lower panel was very busy, listing the scanner specifications, minimum system requirements, company email, QR code, standard product packaging labels and a SKU sticker. The panel stated that the IRIScan would scan high-resolution color in four seconds, black, white high resolution three seconds, low-resolution color in two seconds and low-resolution black/white in a second. After reading the small print, I immediately felt that this was an example of the need to read the small print. The scanner will scan in 300, 600 and 1200 DPI and can save to JPEG, PDF, and multi-page PDF. The included LiPo battery is supposed to be able to scan up to 400 pages before needing to recharge. The device had a 1.5-inch color LCD screen to display the status of the device and can utilize WiFi 802.11 b/g/n. Nearly everyone should be able to use this device since there is no driver setup needed. All you need is 512MB of RAM, 1GB of hard space, Windows 7/8/10 or Mac OS X10 or newer and a single USB port. The back panel was just as busy as the front panel, providing nine bulleted sentences in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. The back panel also discussed the included micro-SD card, the ability to assess your scan with the small LCD, the compact design and the power of the included software. Most of the information that was provided was repeated and thus did not provide much additional information.
Inside of the box, I found the 10 1/4 inches long by 1 1/2 inches wide by 13/16 inches thick black IRIScan device and 39 1/2 inches long micro-USB to USB A cable resting atop a clear plastic tray. Beneath the tray, you will find four 5 inches wide by 7 1/4 inches tall pages, a 4GB micro-SD card with micro-SD to SD adapter, and an 11 1/2 inches long by 2 1/2 inches wide nylon drawstring bag for the scanner. One of the included panels provided the software serial number for the Readiris Pro 15 for Windows and Mac and the Activation code for the IRISCompressor Pro as well. The second panel provided a quick-use information guide. Navigate to www.irislink.com/start to learn more information. The third panel provided the steps to link the scanner to your computer and to your mobile device. Navigate to the iOS App Store or Google Play Store and download “Instant Result WiFi 2” app. While connected to the App and scanning, your phone cannot connect to other WiFi internet sources. You can connect the device to your computer/laptop via a cable or you can utilize WiFi connection. Similar to the mobile version, you will not be able to connect to other WiFi sources if you utilize the device’s WiFi connection. The last panel was actually a small multi-lingual “Read Me” booklet.
Despite having a MacBook Pro 15″ at home, I wanted to test the device solely with mobile devices. I navigated to the iOS App Store on my iPad Pro 10.5” and downloaded the free App. When I opened the app, the screen immediately rotated to vertical mode and displayed “No scanner can be found.” Pressing the power button for two seconds, the device powered on. The screen flashed IRIScan, and then a red battery icon flashed on the screen alerting me that the device needed to charge. Navigating to the irislink website, I perused the useful online tutorial. I plugged the USB-A end of the cable into a 5V wall charger and the micro-USB end of the cable into the IRIScan Book device. A red LED illuminated along the top right of the device (your upper left) and the screen remained off. While the device was charging, I plugged the 4GB micro-SD into the side of the device and then further reviewed the instruction manual and device functions. There were six buttons on the top of the device, a WiFi button, Scan/Power/Enter button, a menu/trash button, a playback, back, right button, a DPI up button and a JPG/PDF/ Down button. I loved the idea that you could adjust all of the settings from the surface of the device. Change the save file type, change the DPI, press the menu button and then change from black and white to color. Before using the device, plan on needing about 80 minutes to fully charge it.
Once charged, I wanted to scan a few pages in black and white and a few in color. Hold the scan button for two seconds and the screen will illuminate and display a picture of the SD card. Press the scan button again to go to the main screen. The button layout was very straightforward and easy to understand. You can press the DPI/UP button and change from 300DPI to 600DPI to 1200DPI and back again to 300DPI. Or, you can press the JPG/PDF/Multi-Page PDF button and adjust the file type. If you press the menu button, you will be taken to another three-paneled section. You can select the SD micro card or press the down button to change from black and white to color, press down again to adjust the DPI, press down again to change from JPG to PDF to Multi-page PDF to JPG, press down again to encrypt a file, down again to format the memory card and then one more time to adjust the date/time. The decision tree was easy to navigate and the button combinations were very intuitive. Press the enter button and you will move towards the right. The up/down buttons will move you up/down in the menu and the back button will take you back. If you forget to press the menu button first and if you press the scan button first, the screen will say “SCAN.” You will need to press the scan button again to stop the scan. I will be honest, this process did take some time and repetition to improve the quality of the final product. I scanned the cover of a Game Informer magazine at 1200 DPI and the screen read “ERROR.” In black and white, 300 DPI, mode, I was able to scan the image by quickly sliding the scanner down the page over ~1–2 seconds. The image would appear on the screen and I was able to scan another page without any delay. To scan the color page at higher DPI, I halved my arm speed and enjoyed a very clear picture of the cover of the magazine.
Even though document scanning was very easy, getting the data onto my iPad Pro 10.5″ device was a little more difficult. With my test pages scanned, I short pressed the WiFi button, navigated to settings, WiFi and then selected the IRIScan Book-cba9″ and had to enter a password. Luckily, the password was easily found inside of the above link, by simply searching for Password. For the convenience of future IRIScan Book 5 WiFi owners, the super secure password was 12345678. Once connected to the device WiFi, you can open up the Instant Result WiFi 2 App on the iPad. Along the bottom of the screen, you will find a house, a page, a download, a wrench/screwdriver and a scan icon. The home icon showed a list of all of the saved files on the microSD card. You can choose the “Select All” icon along your bottom right, select the search magnifying glass along your top right, syncronize by tapping the button at your top left. The scanned items will be listed in order based on time and date and you can select which of the files you want to download. When ready, simply tap the “Download” button and after a short wait, you can select the downloaded icon and see the files. Tap edit along your top right and small check marks will appear. When I selected the checkboxes, new icons appeared along my bottom right. If you select the trashcan icon, an announcement will appear on the screen stating “FILE/FOLDER deleted successfully!” I did not like that there was no secondary step, “are you sure,” message. I accidentally deleted a few files and I could not find a way to get them back. If you select the individual PDF file, you can then select the thought bubbles along your bottom left. From there, you can select “Open In…,” “Share to” or “email.” Having scanned music tablature, I chose to copy to the forScore App.
Whether you are interested in scanning books, magazines, receipts, business cards, photos, drawings or music, the scanner should work well to help you eliminate your paper clutter. I was excited to test the device to get files onto the forScore App, and this actually worked quite well. However, the App had a “Darkroom” feature, which allowed me to directly take photographs and to access photos on my iPad. Even though I was pleased with the speed of the scanner, having the photo taking feature in the app nearly eliminated the need to scan the page, set up the WiFi, transfer the file, etc. I worry that the variable apps on the iOS App Store and Google Play Store combine with the iPad and iPhone to decrease the need for a stand-alone scanner. The device was designed to scan a page from top down or from side to side and worked well for bound materials and single pages alike. If you have ever tried to scan a book on a traditional scanner, the power of the wand style scanner becomes immediately evident. As noted above, it did take a few tries to get a quality full-page image. The most common errors that I experienced were incorrect start/stop errors and dragging the scanner too quickly across the page. It was easy to delete unwanted files and the speedy scanner allowed you to rescan the page. Even though the packaging suggested that you could get roughly 400 scans out of a charge, I found that the battery allowed about half of that number. To get around this, the device can scan while plugged into a USB power source. My biggest complaint about the device was likely the difficulty with getting the margins of pages. If the words were close to the bindings, forget about capturing them.
Since this was a review of the device, I did not get delve much into the available online software. The software dealt more with the way that the file was saved and your ability to edit PDF than the device’s role of capturing the data. The included instructions were lackluster and needed work. The product could have benefited from a quick video tutorial or a few instructional videos.
Originally published at macsources.com on July 25, 2018.