A lot of talk is made about how this is the digital age and nothing from before matters. Photos are a strong example, since more people shoot using their cell phones or on a digital camera and totally ignore film. That’s all well and good for whatever is being photographed today, but what about the scrapbooks and photo albums of one’s parents or grandparents — do they just lie in shoeboxes and on shelves forgotten? Not if the Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner has anything to say about it.
So the Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner is a digital solution to the past, because it’s literally a portable scanner for turning analogue into digital. About the size of an average laptop, not weighing all that much more than one either, it’s portable because it runs on batteries. But more to the point is that it resembles a flat-bed scanner because…that’s what it is. And by being a reflective scanner, anything placed beneath its 7- x 7-inch (aprox) lid can be turned into a digital file: photos or text or even real-world objects like cloth or jewelry or coins (providing they’re flat or at least relatively so).
The Flip-Pal has been simplified to the point that it takes more time to explain how to use it than actually use it. Place the desired to be digital under the lid, work some quick controls (like setting the resolution to either 300 or 600) and a few moments later the in-place SD memory card has the file stored away. That 4GB SD card that is already inside the scanner is provided gratis, but of course you can replace it with one that has more storage or use multiples as needed. The AA batteries are included too, but considering how cheap these batteries are, plan on buying some spares to have on hand for when the juice goes low. Because you’ll be using the Flip-Pal a lot.
Since the lid can be removed, larger real-world things can be copied by upending the scanner onto it. Go ahead — nothing will break or fall out, and the viewing window will show how well it’s been positioned. Speaking of which, the LCD color review screen removes any question of how the scan went. Isn’t tech grand?
The portability of the Flip-Pal really drives the value of this scanner home ($149.99 retail). Not that there isn’t plenty of things at home to scan — an old wedding album for example and some treasured rock concert tickets being examples — but relatives really grooved on being able to view their treasured pictures on their phones and tablets. And the ease and speed in which the scanner works makes the “chore” of transferring photos from analog to digital for Mom and Dad, and Aunt Judie and cousin Alice a lot less annoying than when having to fix their computers or set up their phones. And using StoryScan, images become talkative and can be sent to others to enjoy. The talk is that an app will soon appear to enable doing this from phones (using the mic) so lets get that out there soon, okay?
Now if the Flip-Pal didn’t do anything but simple scanning it would be enough. But also included is both stitching software (for when you have a few images on a page, for example, to put together, as well as color correction software. Both run on computers (not the scanner) and can be downloaded and are activated using the scanner’s serial number. So that means you need to transfer from the SD card to the PC or Mac. Fortunately the company takes that into account, and so adds a SD to USB adapter so that you can “move” files to your computer. But they also know that some might want to go the “wireless” route and so allow for upgrading through the addition of a Mobi EyeFi card (basically this is a SD card with built-in WiFi so you can use it to send images from the scanner to a computer via one’s home network or through a direct wireless connection between the card and an app). This becomes even more convenient when the scanner is being used at other locations too.
The Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner benefits from one of the optional cases (both hard and soft available), but can easily fit into a large briefcase or knapsack or messenger bag. Taking it with you will become second-nature, because there’s so many uses for it outside the home. But take care of your own stuff first — that’s why you got the Flip-Pal, right?