Best Portable Scanner Review

Tips when buying a portable scanner for documents and photos. Find the most popular and selling personal handheld scanners such as VuPoint - Magic Wand, Brother... with the review of the best features, pros and cons.

Why buying a portable scanner is a good idea!

A week ago I had a nice experience during the meeting with my mortgage agent. We met at the coffee shop where we were finalizing the deal on the mortgage. I brought all my papers without knowing that he would need all the copies. He pulled out a small HP portable scanner from his laptop case and within minutes he had all the documents scanned and copied for his record. I was able to close the deal. As you can see from this example, mobile scanners are very handy, ideal for professionals who are always on the go.

Back to a buying guide....

A portable scanner, also known as handheld scanner is a mobile device used in converting documents and photos into digital images (JPEG, PDF...), conveniently and on the go. You can carry it easily on the business trip or at the client site, or use it simply as an alternative to your existing, larger printer/copier/scanner.

Buying a portable scanner shouldn't be too complicated. Recommendation is to compare the features between different models, read the user reviews and see what they are saying about particular model, what are the pros and cons...

  • First of all, the scanner should meet the needs of your business. Recommendation is to buy a smaller unit so you can fit it in your laptop case. The portable document scanner should cover different paper sizes, from smaller business cards to the legal size. If using a scanner for images, pay attention on the resolution.

  • Charging method is most often through the USB cable and the battery is rechargeable Lithium Ion. See what is the duration of the battery. AC adapter is also included, and it provides greater scan speed than when powered via USB.

  • Choose the model with the built-in Flash memory, USB port and other so you can save more documents directly on your SD card or USB drive.

  • Check out how the unit scans handwritten documents, restaurant receipts... with the light-colored ink and wrinkles.

  • Find out what are the software and system requirements, does it covers both PC and Mac, is it compliant with the latest Windows version... what are the included accessories and software.

  • And for the end, look for the model with the higher resolution (in DPI) and speed; 600 DPI is good enough for the quality copy.


The best portable scanner comes with lots of neat user-friendly features and functionality. Here are some of the benefits you will experience while using such a device:

  • They are mobile and portable making them very easy to carry and due to its simple design, use. They scan with the touch of a button or application you are working on.

  • Scanned documents can be converted into the TIFF, JPEG, PDF...

  • Availability of different kinds of quality brands and models, including the most popular and selling brands Brothers, Canon, HP...

  • Most mobile scanners are using USB to power, so no batteries or AC adapter is needed.

  • A mobile scanner can scan without being connected to the computer.

  • A good personal scanner can scan and save colored documents and images, which appear very much like the original copy. It can use different paper sizes from small business cards to larger legal size.


  • Most models of portable scanners are due to its small size fragile.

  • The machine is not designed for commercial use.

  • Don't expect the quality to be as perfect as floor standing, commercial type scanners.

Popular mobile portable scanners

When thinking of buying the best portable scanner, recommendation is to review the best selling and popular models, found online, such as those from below:

Brother DSMobile Scanner -DS-600

Brother DSMobile Scanner (DS-600)Brother DSMobile

Brother DSMobile DS-600 is the portable scanner that weighs 12.2 oz only, and with the dimensions of 11x2x1.5" is perfect to fit in your laptop case.

Scanner DS-600 can scan the most common paper sizes 8.5x11", small business cards and receipts, where the max. paper size is 8.5x14". It can scan and save both black and white (with the speed of 5 pages per minute) and color documents and photos, where the quality resolution is up to 600 dpi.

No power source is needed as it powers through the USB cable, when hooked directly to your laptop, which saves scanned documents in the popular formats, such as PDF, TIFF or JPEG.

Pros and Cons. The scanner is very quiet and quality of scanned documents is very good. The unit is slim and super light making it great when traveling, as it fits conveniently in the carrying case. It uses auto-start option for easy feeding multiple pages while scanning multi page documents into one PDF file.

On the other side, some users were having problems with drivers, operating system and its software. Also, there is no indicator that tells you when the device is ON. If you want to scan multiple pages, it will take some time, as you have manually to feed the paper, one page at a time.

Users are complaining that the scanner doesn't have a paper guide, which makes feeding the paper hard. DSMobile unit has a hard time recognizing when the paper is ready for scanning, especially small ones. It provides good quality scans only if it scans documents with the clear letters. The software doesn't have an option to tweak photos.

Brother DS-600 sells for $111. It is rated 4.4 out of 5 max., based on over 50 reviews.

Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300

Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 Instant PDF Sheet-Fed Mobile ScannerFujitsu ScanSnap S1300

Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 is the sheet-fed mobile scanner, designed for PC and Mac mobile users to manage PDF and JPEG files easy and on the go.

With the press of a button, S1300 portable scanner converts scanned document into PDF automatically.

This portable Color Duplex scanner can hold up to 10 sheets in its automatic feeder and with a simple push button it scans up to 8 double-sided pages per minute, with the maximum optical resolution of 600 dpi.

AC adapter is included to power the scanner, but if the electricity is not available, USB is another option. By using the wall socket scanning is faster than if using just an USB.

Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 features several very useful, automatic features:

  • Auto Color detection makes the unit to recognize color, grayscale and monochrome documents.

  • Auto Quality function which increases resolution to Best on documents size A6 or smaller.

  • Auto Paper Size detection allows the unit automatically to recognize the size of each document, from the size of 2x2" to the legal size.

  • Auto De-skew and Orientation is used to detect and correct for skew and to show images in the proper orientation.

  • Auto Keyword Function to extract keywords automatically, when using colored highlighter pen.

You can also set one of the five modes that are producing documents in different speed (pages per minute) and resolution in dpi: Auto, Normal, Better, Best and Excellent Modes.

Pros and Cons.
Based on over 130 online reviews Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 is rated high; 4.7 out of 5 max. The price is in the upper bracket, it sells for approximately $250 and it comes with one year warranty.

Fujitsu mobile scanner is solidly built, which makes a bit heavier than Magic Wand or Brother DS-600. It is fast and very easy to use.

Instruction in the manual and included software is straightforward and recommendation is to become familiar so you can see the power of this small scanner.

As the scanner comes factory pre set, you should spend some time making adjustments as you like. Users like the idea of having several automatic features and that scanner, once it feeds all the sheets, lets you add more for continuous scanning. Some problems reported with the Auto Color Detection where the scanned images are of no use. In general, the most praised is the quality of the unit and the convenience of duplexing, but the price is on the negative side.

Magic Wand

VuPoint Solutions Magic Wand Portable Scanner (PDS-ST410-VP)Magic Wand

VuPoint Solutions Magic Wand Portable Scanner (PDS-ST410-VP)VuPoint Magic Wand Portable is the photo and document scanner that can scan both color and monochromatic documents.

Its default resolution is 300x300 dpi while it can be set to higher 600x600 dpi resolution for better quality copies.

Scanned documents can be saved using the external memory such as Micro SD card, with the memory of 16 GB. Magic Wand sells for approximately $99 and it has decent reviews, 4.1 out of 5 max, based on over 200 online reviews.


A portable scanner is very handy machine for personal and business use, for copying on the spot. Small handheld copiers are helping you to reduce the mess on your desk, or, if on the road, to save important documents in your laptop and use after. These personal scanners will also help you go paperless and there will be less paper to carry. Mobile scanners let you scan and manage a variety of sizes, including standard paper sizes, forms, business cards and receipts.

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