Monday, February 10, 2014

Latest isn't Always the Greatest - Ion Air Copy

We love our Portable Document Scanner (called the Docuscan) and our customers seem to love it too. It scans onto its own SD memory card and so is completely self contained. Every now and again you put the card in your laptop and copy over your scans.

But, what happens if you don't have a laptop like many of our customers who are beginning to travel just with their tablets. How can you scan your photos or documents (other than using something like Genius Scan which we reviewed earlier)?

That's where Ion's new, "better" Air Copy scanner comes in. On paper, the Air Copy looks like a big step-up from its predecessor, the Docuscan. It has a rechargeable battery (something the Docuscan was sadly missing), but best of all, it's able to scan wirelessly over WiFi bringing an affordable portable scanner to Tablet's and Smartphones.

Before we agree to sell anything at TechnoRV, we always go through our testing process, and the Air Copy was to be no exception. When it arrived I was excited, it looked good, felt good and appeared well made. So how did it perform?

No Internet While Scanning

Sadly, it failed at pretty much the first hurdle, the way that you connect to it via its own WiFi network. This means that before scanning, you must first connect your device to the Air Copy's WiFi network. If you're connected to the scanner, then you're not connected to the internet and so can't upload what you've scanned using something like DropBox. You have to disconnect from the scanner and then re-connect back to your regular WiFi.

Poor Software

In order to use the scanner, you have to download a free app. This is then what you use to control the scanner. The problem is that I couldn't connect my Motorola MaxHD Droid Smartphone running Android to the scanner's WiFi. If it did connect, it then dropped off. I then downloaded the app on my iPad and it worked fine. Next I wanted to test it on my Windows laptop. I downloaded the software, but when I went to install it, it wanted to install Microsoft .NET Framework. I don't think so, not on my MiFi connection. Okay, so let's try it on my Mac. Oops, even though the manual, box and website all say it supports MacOS, there is no app available, just a Windows 7 one.

No Charger

I know there is always pressure to control costs, but selling a rechargeable scanner without a charger seems, well, just daft. You do get a short (16") USB cable and then are supposed to charge it from your laptop (if you have one) or I guess some other USB charger (my iPad charger worked well).

Summary

If you want a portable scanner to scan photos with your iPad or iPhone, I think you'd be pretty happy with the Air Copy (although some users complain of slow copy speeds on the fine setting). Is it a step-up from my Docuscan as the literature suggests? No, I don't think so. I'm going to stick with my Docuscan for now at least!