The Xerox Duplex Travel Scanner ($119.99) is similar to the Editors’ Choice Visioneer RoadWarrior X3 in features and functionality, except that the former can scan two-sided documents without you having to turn them over manually. Otherwise, both portable document scanners work without power cables, and they’re both exceptionally easy to use. There are some other much more sophisticated portable document scanners out there, such as the $300 Epson WorkForce ES-300W Portable Wireless Duplex Document Scanner, but if all you need is to scan relatively short documents to your laptop on the road, the Duplex Travel Scanner is a terrific alternative to the RoadWarrior X3—especially if those documents are two-sided.
Aside from its color scheme (a two-tone, off-white chassis with a dark blue front panel), the Duplex Travel Scanner looks a lot like the Visioneer RoadWarrior X3—which isn’t surprising, since Visioneer makes Xerox scanners. The Travel Scanner measures 1.6 by 2.6 by 11.5 inches (HWD) and weighs 1.1 pounds, making it a tad larger and heavier than the X3. The Epson ES-300W, on the other hand, is significantly bigger and heavier, but then it comes with a large battery, a 20-page automatic document feeder (ADF), and it supports wireless networking, as does the Canon imageFormula P-215II Scan-tini Personal Document Scanner (another top pick), though it lacks a battery and Wi-Fi networking. Both the Epson and Canon models support two-sided scanning, though.
The Travel Scanner’s daily duty cycle is 100 scans, compared with the more-expensive ES-300W’s 500-scans-per-day rating, the same as the P-215II’s, whereas the X3’s daily rating is the same as the Travel Scanner’s. The Travel Scanner has, aside from a power button, no control panel. Scans are initiated by inserting a page in the front of the scanner, which in turn feeds the page between the two scanning sensors, and out the back of the device. You then insert the next page, the next, and so on—a simple, but potentially time-consuming and tedious procedure if you have a lot of pages to scan in one sitting.
In addition to the scanner, install disk, setup instructions, and a USB 2.0 cable, you also get a vinyl drawstring canvas bag for toting the Travel Scanner, similar to the one included with the IRIScan Anywhere 5 Wi-Fi.
Simple Setup and Strong Software Bundle
Aside from unboxing the scanner itself and installing the drivers and accompanying software, all that’s left is to connect the scanner to your PC with the included cable. You don’t even have to turn the scanner on. The software bundle is mostly the same as the one that comes with Xerox’s and Visioneer’s full-featured sheet-feed document scanners, such as the Xerox DocuMate 6445.
The bundled programs include Nuance OmniPage Pro (a full-featured, industry-standard optical character recognition (OCR) program for converting scanned text to editable text), Nuance PaperPort (a popular document management application), Nuance Power PDF (a PDF creating and editing program along the same lines as Adobe Acrobat DC), and Visioneer OneTouch with Acuity (the primary scanning interface utility).
This version of OneTouch with Acuity has all the same features as the iteration that comes with Xerox’s professional-grade scanners, except that it includes a workflow profile called Paper In that’s preconfigured for working with this single-sheet portable scanner. The “with Acuity” part means that OneTouch is combined with Visioneer Acuity, a utility similar to Kofax VRS that enhances scans to improve clarity, thereby improving scan quality and increasing OCR accuracy.
As I’ve said before about OneTouch, it’s powerful on the backend where you configure your workflow profiles’ resolution, destination, format, and so on, but the scanning interface itself is very easy-to-use. In fact, OneTouch is probably overkill for this very basic scanner; even so, it’s quite simple to master. Nuance OmniPage Pro, while not quite as robust as the OmniPage Ultimate iteration that comes with Xerox’s higher-end scanners, is nonetheless a highly capable OCR program. Nuance PaperPort sorts and archives your documents, making them easier to keep track of and to find specific documents when needed.
And, finally, Power PDF allows you to do more with the PDFs you create with the scanner than simply view and read them. You can, for instance, edit text, add and remove photos and graphics, and make several other significant changes to your portable document format (PDF) files— edits you can’t make with Acrobat Reader.
The Mac software bundle, though, is significantly less comprehensive. Mac users get ICA, TWAIN, and Visioneer Scan Utility drivers.
Low Volume, and Then Some
If speed is one of your criteria for picking a portable scanner, my advice is that you look elsewhere. While, as you’ll see in the next section, the Xerox Travel Scanner is highly accurate, it certainly takes its time, which, frankly, for a scanner rated at 100 scans per day, isn’t all that relevant. I should add, too, that since so much of what this machine does depends on the user’s ability to align and insert pages into the scanning mechanism, one after the other, as one page finishes, it isn’t really possible to come up with a scientific, or controlled sample, speed rating.
The good news is that, unlike the Visioneer RoadWarrior X3 and the Anywhere 5 Wi-Fi, with the Travel Scanner you feed a page only once to scan both sides. For my tests, I used six pages (12 sides, or images) from our two-sided 25-page test document, with the scanner connected to our standard testbed PC running Windows 10 Professional and the OneTouch interface utility set to the Paper In profile. Without the lag time (the time between when the last page is scanned and the software subsequently processes and saves the file), I clocked the Travel Scanner at about eight pages per minute (ppm) in simplex (one-sided) mode and 16 images per minute (ipm, where each page side is counted as an image) for two-sided pages.
Again, that speed is somewhat indicative of how efficiently I fed the scanner another page after the one before it cleared the machine, and that requires one’s full attention to the task at hand. When scanning to image PDF, the Travel Scanner’s speed dropped to 5.5ppm and 10ipm. That simplex speed is the same as the one PC Labs got while manually feeding the Visioneer RoadWarrior X3, and somewhat slower than the IRIScan Anywhere 5’s 7.5ppm. The Apparent Doxie Q, with its 8-page ADF, scanned and converted the same document pages (in simplex mode) to image PDF at 8.9ppm.
The Epson ES-300W, with its 20-page auto-duplexing ADF, on the other hand, churned out image PDFs at 27.3ppm and 54.5ipm, and the Canon P-215II managed about two-thirds of that. Again, while these numbers for the manually fed single-sheet scanners are only generally accurate, when scanning and saving to searchable PDF, the Travel Scanner did so at about 20 percent slower than when scanning and processing image PDFs, roughly 8ppm for two-sided pages. As I said earlier, if speed is an important factor when choosing a mobile scanner, a manually fed model is not your best choice.
When Accuracy Counts
Although the Xerox Travel Scanner doesn’t scan quickly, among all the portable scanners we’ve tested lately, it is significantly more accurate than most of them. Most of the scanners discussed here, except the Apparent Doxie Q and Canon P-215II, scanned our Arial font test page without errors down to 8 points. Those two models managed a respectable 6 points, but the Travel Scanner was accurate down to 5 points—a terrific score for any scanner.
All but the Travel Scanner and P-215II in this group scanned our Times New Roman font page at 8 points without errors, whereas my Xerox test unit was accurate down to 6 points and the Canon model managed a marginal 12 points. While scanning speed is often important, in many scenarios, accuracy will save you more time (with fewer errors to correct) than scanning page after page in rapid succession.
Sometimes Simple Works Best
The Xerox Duplex Travel Scanner is a somewhat slow but highly accurate portable document scanner designed for low-volume scanning on the road. While it’s a manually fed single-sheet scanner, the fact that it can handle two-sided pages automatically, without the user having to flip them manually, gives it a potent edge over competing models such as the Visioneer RoadWarrior X3. If you need fast, relatively high-volume scanning away from your home or office, you should consider the Epson DS-300W or the Canon P-215II.
Though I’m not thrilled with its slightly high list price, the Travel Scanner comes with a near-complete software bundle (it lacks a business card-archiving program). It’s worth noting, though, that at the time of this review, it was available widely at a discount that put it much more in line with the price of the RoadWarrior X3. This software suite, along with its ease of use, above-average accuracy, and ability to scan two-sided pages in a single pass, is enough to elevate it to Editors’ Choice for manually fed portable document scanners.