IRIS IRIScan Pro 3 Office Scanner Is Terrific for OCR
At a Glance
It's no surprise that the $400 (as of February 1, 2011) IRIS IRIScan Pro 3 Office portable scanner is one of the best models for optical character recognition tasks, since IRIS has been one of the leading OCR vendors for several years. This IRIScan scanner is a smart choice if your scanning needs involve a lot of OCR work, since it comes bundled with the full-featured Readiris Corporate 12 OCR application; that app produced excellent accuracy when we scanned a variety of test documents.
In addition to the full version of Readiris, the IRIScan Pro 3 Office ships with IrisFile Pro 12 for document management and Cardiris Pro 5 for business-card recognition, both of which performed impressively during our review.
The IRIScan hardware itself is a two-in-one, 600-dpi sheetfed scanner with the same basic hybrid-style design as the Visioneer Strobe 500 and iVina BulletScan S300. Out of the box, the complete unit measures 11.7 by 4.8 by 4.7 inches (width by depth by height); it requires a bit more space with its extendable input and output trays unfolded. When detached from the automatic document feeder docking station, the scanner module alone measures 11.7 by 3.3 by 2.8 inches, and is about as large as a box of gallon-size storage bags. A power supply, power cord, USB cable, and USB power cord are also included.
The IRIScan Pro 3 Office was the third-fastest scanner overall among our recent test group (using default settings). It took just under 12 seconds to scan a single-sided monochrome page at 300 dpi--the fastest score for that particular test. Running on USB power, the IRIScan required just over 62 seconds to scan two color and two monochrome (both single- and double-sided) pages, achieving the second-fastest score for USB-powered tests. In almost all other tests, however, the IRIScan ran at least a few seconds slower than the two fastest models (the Strobe 500 and the BulletScan S300), and its cumulative score put it in third place.
The IRIScan received a rating of Good for its image quality. Its color-document scans sported solid, readable text, although some color shades appeared lighter and subsequently looked somewhat duller than the tones in the original materials. Similarly, its scans of monochrome and grayscale documents generated easily readable text, but also had a slightly lighter appearance that didn't match the original images as accurately as the best models did.
The IRIScan is nearly as easy to use as most of the other scanners in our latest roundup. It has the same quick-start buttons and front-panel dial (for scanning to six selectable destinations) as the other models with the same basic design. One noticeable difference, however, is that the IRIScan scanning software doesn't include a one-click option for creating searchable PDFs, a handy feature that all of the other scanners in this group provide. Instead, you have to launch the Readiris Corporate 12 application and use its OCR options to produce searchable PDFs, which involves more steps but ultimately produces the same end results. If you need to use a basic image editor to polish your scanned images on occasion, you'll like the fact that IRIS also includes a copy of Roxio PhotoSuite 9 in the bundle.
In the end, the IRIScan Pro 3 Office is a great choice for OCR tasks, but it's not the fastest of the hybrid-style portable scanners and its image quality isn't top-notch.