The Docupen RC800 Review

I have always wondered about these devices and wanted to give one a try. Personally I have no need for something like this, but I can see where such a portable scanner could come in very handy. This is the Planon DocuPen RC800 Portable Scanner.

DocuPen RC800 Features:
– Rechargeable lithium-Ion Batteries
– The DocuPen RC800 uses rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that allows it to remain perpetually charged without utilizing a separate charging unit. Once a user plugs the DocuPen RC800 into a computer’s USB port to download the scanned information, the scanner’s batteries are automatically recharged
– Expandable MicroSD memory slot
– Dual Roller Guiding System The DocuPen RC800 offers a dual-roller guiding system to enhance the user experience by creating a smoother scanning operation and a more accurate scan. The dual-roller guiding system includes strategically placed rollers around the scanner lens to distribute operator’s pressure evenly for smooth and easy scans.
– Optical Registration
– ScanSoft PaperPort SE-PC Software Included
– Stylish zippered sheep skin Leather Case Included
– Using optical registration technology, the DocuPen RC800 can create a highly accurate scan using its optical timing and registration system.

Included in the box is the scanner, a slip case, a quick start guide, and the software CD.

The scanner itself measures 9 inches long while the scanning area covers 8 inches. This is just under the 8.5 inches for a normal sheet of paper. I found it to be rather odd that the scanner was not designed to cover a full sheet of paper width wise; I guess margins are being assumed here.

Notice the rollers on the underside of the scanner, the three roller side ends up being on the lower part of the scanner as it is moved from top to bottom on a page.

Here is the scanner in its case with the USB port exposed.

Extra storage is a must, as the unit only comes with 8mb of memory which gets quickly used up at anything but the lowest resolutions. I slipped in one of my 1gb MicroSD cards.

On the left side of the scanner are the indicator LEDs for resolutions settings, battery and scanning speed. The red X will start blinking if you are scanning too fast and need to slow down. Scanning a document is pretty straight forward. First turn on the scanner and next select the resolution you want to use. Place the scanner on the paper and start moving it down. If you pause for more than a moment the scanner thinks you are done and will begin to transfer the image to its memory. You can see this is taking place by the rapid alternating flashing of the M (memory) LED and the REZ LEDs.

One of the more frustrating issues I had with the scanner was that sometimes memory transfer would start before I was done scanning. Even with plenty of memory left and never pausing. I am not sure why this kept happening but I found it very irritating. When this happens you then have to wait for it to transfer to memory and start over.


The DocuPen takes a noticeable amount of time to transfer to memory. If you are scanning several pages you will have on average about 30 seconds, longer at high resolutions, to wait between pages. This could become rather tedious if you are scanning, say 10 pages. Getting the images onto your PC adds more time to the process.

The software that comes with the DocuPen is pretty simple. Here is the screen where you can configure the resolution settings.

This is the actual interface to retrieve the images. The one scanned image you can see was done at Photocolor Hi-res mode. Notice that 1.17MB is all that is left of the onboard 8MB after such a scan. Again you need to add a MicroSD card if you are going to scan at anything other than the lowest resolutions.

What follows is a series of scans at all the resolutions available. They are of a page from the user manual describing the different resolutions and color modes available.

I honestly think that this many resolutions is over kill, as there are more settings than most of us would ever need.

If the device can’t go beyond a 6.83mb image, then it is incapable of storing its highest resolution images on its own built-in memory. However as I mentioned earlier, even with my 1GB MicroSD card installed, I still experienced the cut off problem.

Overall I wasn’t too impressed. I found the Docupen RC800 awkward to use. One of the other things that irritated me was that when connected to the USB cable and the software on the PC, the device shuts itself off after almost every operation. You have to turn it on again to do almost anything. The included software is rudimentary at best. You cannot delete individual images from the Docupen, you have to clear the entire memory. This to me is a serious drawback as you can’t remove a mistake without clearing everything you have done. The lowest price I found for the unit was $227.95USD, which is way too much in my opinion for what you get.

The Planon DocuPen RC800 Portable Scanner is available from the manufacturer as well as from other retailers.
MSRP: $299.99
What I Like: The small size and ability to scan a document on the road.
What Needs Improvement: The interface on the scanner is clumsy. It is cumbersome changing resolutions. The software to control the device is primitive. Controlling the device from the PC software is sluggish as there is no quick way to clear a bad scan. The time between finishing a scan and having it saved is too long. The most irritating though was getting part way through a scan and having it begin to save before the document was completed.

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