So I was standing in my kitchen having a beverage while an epic Battleship battle was going on in the next room. I said to my wife, “I’m going to be testing a scanner tomorrow and I am pretty sure I am not going to like it.”
I then went on to list the reasons why this was the case, but I have to admit: the Mustek iScan Air surprised me quite a bit.
But First, A Rant
It is always a letdown when you unpack a new device, go to use it, and… you have to let it charge for a 4 hours. This is the case with the iScan Air, and it is unfortunate.
I’m sure there is a good technological reason why you need to do this, but it is still a bummer.
All Wireless, All The Time
Many manufacturers call their scanners “wireless”, but Mustek is not kidding – the iScan Air has no internal or external storage. It is purely a wireless scanner.
First you install an app to your Mac, PC, iOS device, Android device, or Windows Phone device, and you scan directly via wi-fi to that app. No physical connection to your computer required.
To accomplish this, the scanner creates its own private Wi-Fi network and you connect your computer or mobile device to it.
Once you’ve connected, you fire up the app and hit the Scan button in the app. The scanner won’t scan anything unless it has that connection.
This approach can be a bit of a pain since you have to jump on and off your own wi-fi network, but the advantage is that you don’t need to mess around with routers and firewalls. You are connected directly to the scanner.
iScan Air App
The iScan Air app is extremely simple. You can set the resolution to Regular (300dpi) or Fine (600dpi) and that’s about it.
Once you scan your document or photo, you can either hit Cancel or Save it.
On a mobile device, the scans are saved as JPG to the camera roll. You can then take that image and open it in another app or share it.
On Mac and Windows, you can either save it as JPG or as PDF.
There is no OCR capability, nor is the ability to “staple” or manipulate the scans as with the Doxie.
The iScan Air software does do some basic cleaning up of images after you scan. Here are some images that I scanned while cramped at this small Starbucks table.
Judge for yourself, but I would submit that the Air does a better job scanning photos and color images than black & white documents.
Size & Weight
The iScan Air weighs 580g (1.28 lbs) and measures 273 x 70 x 50 mm (10.6“ x 2.8” x 2"). When you pick it up, it definitely feels on the heavy side. I suspect that’s because of the battery.
As mentioned, I went into this review not expecting to like the scanner, but I was pleasantly surprised. The direct wireless scanning works well, and you can seamlessly switch from device to device.
The main improvements need to be made on the software side. If they can enhance the scan management functionality (Doxie is the winner here), I think this could be a good scanner for the price, which is currently $150 on Amazon.