Canon DR-C125W £420
20th Mar 2013 | 08:00
Wi-Fi connections for any portable device
Canon's latest high speed scanner, the imageFORMULA DR-C125W, is its first desktop scanner to incorporate Wi-Fi and designed to connect to any desktop or portable device. It also boasts a small footprint and a maximum throughput of 25 pages per minute.
One of the main problems with the traditional desktop scanner these days is that not many businesses exclusively use a desktop. Most have a selection of devices from laptops to smartphones to tablets, and not all of the devices have operating systems designed with peripherals in mind.
The imageFORMULA DR-C125W gets around this by creating its own scanning hotspot, to allow any Wi-Fi enabled device to connect and use it. Alternatively, the Wi-Fi can be switched to connect the scanner directly to the business's wireless network so it can be shared by multiple devices in a small workgroup.
Unfortunately, the theory behind the Wi-Fi connectivity is a lot better than reality. Recognising the scanner on our test laptop was not a trivial process and needed far too many visits to the manual to work out which buttons needed pressing.
We managed to get the scanner to successfully connect directly to a laptop using an 'AP mode' connection, but had significant problems getting it to work in 'station mode' so it could be used as a shared network device. Luckily, the scanner also includes a standard USB port so it can be used as a dedicated standalone unit if required, and we were able to connect first time using this method.
The imageFORMULA DR-C125W is Canon's first generation scanner with built-in Wi-Fi functionality and inherits many of the features from the imageFORMULA DR-C125: it takes up the minimum amount of space possible - just 300(w)x220(h)x156(d)mm when in the most compact path mode - and features a J-shaped paper path to minimise the footprint required. It ejects the paper into the vertical paper slot at the front.
In straight path mode it takes up slightly more space, 300(w)x339(h)x235(d)mm, and it simply throws out the scanned images into a pile in front of the scanner. The J-shaped path also restricts the thicknesss of the paper that can be scanned: in compact mode the limit is 128gsm paper; in straight path mode the maximum thickness is 209gsm.
Another consequence of the small form factor is that the sheet feeder is limited to just 30 pages of ordinary paper, which means that when printing longer reports someone has to be on hand to add pages while it's in progress.
The Canon comes with the ControlCenter4 suite of software which includes: Presto! BizCard business card scanner; OmniPage SE4 OCR software; PaperPort file management application; eCopy PDF Pro Office to create PDFs; and Presto! PageManager photo and document management software for Mac users. There are also Canon ImageFormula drivers and the Windows and Mac versions of CaptureOnTouch scanner software.
As well as the included software there's also Android and iOS versions of the mobile capture application, CaptureOnTouch Mobile, which lets users scan and send documents wirelessly to smartphones and tablets from the scanner, and then share the scans to cloud storage applications such as Evernote or Google Drive.
The app includes most of the main scanner features including double sided, high quality colour image capturing and image processing features such as automatic document size detection, de-skew and blank page deletion.
In tests we found the scanner was true to its boasts and at 200dpi the scanner was capable of around 24-25 pages per minute. There was no difference in speed when scanning either in one sided or two-sided (duplex) mode. The surprise was that even at the maximum rating of 600dpi and 24-bit colour resolution the device still managed a healthy 15 pages per minute.
We did have a few problems with page jams on long reports, particularly ones that had been well thumbed, but it was normally confined to just one or two pages sticking out of 50-60 and it was easy enough to clear and restart.
The quality of the scanning was good, producing very readable scans on a couple of 65 page reports at 200dpi, and very clear scans on 600dpi. Pictures scanned at full quality were generally good and colours were lifelike.
One of the boasts of the new scanner is the addition of an improved de-skew functionality that straightens pages by analysing the angle and the content from the fed document simultaneously, but we failed to see the impact of this new technology and skewed pages still seemed to make up 3-6% of the scanner's output.
The scanner certainly lives up to its specification when it comes to the speed and the quality of the scans, but where it falls down is the Wi-Fi connectivity, which needs some work to make it more intuitive to setup.