Road warriors looking to maximize productivity even while holed up in a two-star motel room in Nebraska will swoon over Visioneer's new Strobe XP 100 ($200 street), a sheetfed color scanner that checks in at less than 11 ounces. They can quickly capture the day's contracts, business cards, briefing papers, and expense receipts. The rest of us will probably find value, too, in this USB-powered device (no bulky transformer needed) that takes up no more space on your desk than an empty paper-towel roll.
Despite its remarkably compact size, just 1.5 by 11.4 by 2 inches HWD'"the XP 100 equals or betters the specs of its 2-pound, transformer-powered siblings, the USB/serial Strobe Pro and parallel-only Strobe. The XP 100 delivers 600-dpi resolution at up to 36-bit color depth. The most dramatic improvement: The XP 100 scans color photos several times faster than the Strobe Pro in USB mode.
Setup and use of the XP 100 is a paragon of simplicity: Load the software, plug the 5-foot USB cable into your laptop or PC, and slide a document (face-down) into the front lip of the scanner. Scanning a typical black and white document takes about 10 seconds, and each page uses 20K (sparse text document at 200 dpi) to 100K (densely packed spreadsheet at 300 dpi) of disk space.
The bundle includes PaperPort 8.0, the most current version of the document-management software that Visioneer developed and then sold off to Scansoft. You see each document or stack of documents in thumbnail form, and you can designate folders for expenses, news clippings, bills, and so on. Clicking on the thumbnail shows the entire document.
Missing is the auto-straighten feature from earlier PaperPort versions, which quickly fixes skewed documents. Visioneer says the XP 100 does a better job keeping documents straight. We found fewer documents were crooked, but it was still enough to make the absence felt. Thick, slick, or previously folded sheets are the most challenging to keep straight. It helps if you keep gentle pressure on thick documents going in and pull lightly on crinkled documents coming out.
But most other useful PaperPort features remain, particularly the FormTyper utility, which automatically finds the blanks on scanned forms you need to fill in; a printer driver that lets you print any document or Web page to PaperPort; and background OCR that lets you find any document based on its content. The XP 100 also does a capable job scanning color photos, although you occasionally have to rescan when the picture doesn't feed correctly.
The Visioneer Strobe XP 100 may be more expensive than the average flatbed scanner, and it can't scan from books or magazines unless you tear out the page. But it is an impressive design achievement for users who want to keep a scanner in their laptop bag or who want an unobtrusive desktop companion.
If you would like to find out more about the Strope XP 200 and other great Visioneer products you can visit thier website at: www.visioneer.com