Review of the DocuPen RC800 Pen Scanner

I’ve been using the PLANOn DocuPen RC800 for about a month now, so I thought it would be a good time to post my final review. If you have any questions after reading the review, please post them back as a comment.


I’ve organized my review into Pro / Cons, two sample workflows, and then provide some links at the bottom for you to view some sample scans.





  • Storage Card — I purchased my scanner with a 256mb card and I have yet to fill up even half of it. A 200 dpi color scan takes up about 1mb of space. A 400 dpi color scan takes up about 2.5mb of space. Based on my usage, I could have gotten away with the 128mb card, but I love having the flexability.

  • Battery life — I can’t exactly tell you how long a charge lasts, but I’ve used the scanner about 2 — 3 times a week for the past month and I’ve only had the battery go dead on me once. The USB cable for transfering images acts as a charging cable as well, but I’ve primarily only used the cable for transfering pictures and not for charging the scanner. All of that to say — I’ve been very pleased with the battery performance.
  • Weight — The scanner is very, very light. I was very surprised at how light it was. I keep it with the usb cable in my bag.
  • Mode Switching — Switching between scanning modes (b/w, color, photo) and resolutions (low / high) is very simple. Once the scanner is on, the left button rotates among modes, the right / on / off button rotates between resolutions.









  • I found their support to be very responsive. One phone call and I was speaking to someone who knew the product backwards and forwards.

  • When scanning, there is a red X that flashes if you are scanning too fast. That is a very nice cue to slow down so the scan is the best result possible
  • The software based DocuPen Profile Manager allows you to set the low / hi resolution settings per mode (see image to the right). For example, for b/w mode, I can set the low resolution to 100 dpi and high res to 200 dpi. Then set the color low res to 200 dpi, high res to 400 dpi. I really like that customization. For my purposes, I have them all set to low: 200 dpi, high: 400 dpi.










  • Scanning something small, like a business card or a receipt is very difficult, because there is nothing to grab a hold of at the top of the document and then hold on to as you scan with the other hand. I found the scanner to work better with full / half pages. Anything smaller than a half page is almost to difficult to do. I’ve experimented with laying a business card on a table and then scanning it without holding the card, but then the rollers move the card. You really need to hold your document from the top or side to scan it well.

    In addition, I’ve found it difficult to get the top of a page scanned. I’ve found that I’ve had to start the scan almost off of the paper in order to include the top in the scan.

  • I can scan a page in about 5 — 10 seconds (depending on mode); however, it takes another 20 — 30 seconds for the scan to get saved to the storage card (200 and 400 dpi settings) .  The sales verbage on the PLANOn website is just not accurate — they need to include the time it takes to actually save the image to the storage card – so you can can pretty much count on 30 — 45 seconds per scan — not 5 — 10 seconds.

    After saving, the scanner turns off. To scan another page, you have to press the power button to turn it back on — it is pretty quick, but kind of bothersome. I would prefer to have 30 second time out for the scanner to auto-turn off. The time it takes to save the image to the storage card and then having the scanner turn the scanner back on after saving is just a bit frustrating if you are scanning multiple pages.

  • This is not a good solution for scanning books. It works best for scanning items that are flat, like letters, magazine articles, etc. It won’t handle the crease in a book very well.
  • Not really a con, but the overall message on the PLANOn website is that you can store it in your shirt pocket. It is just not the case. The scanner is too tall to fit in a shirt pocket, the ideal storage place is in a small bag or compartment.
  • The standard color scans are not the greatest, but they work to get what you need. I’d suggest using the 24 bit color if you want color and using B/W for the rest.
  • Since the scanning is done with your hand, you have to be very careful not to scan at an angle. I have found that I have a tendency to pull the sanner to my right.
  • It took about 5 minutes to transfer 30mb of scanned images to my computer using the USB cable.
  • The Control Panel is a bit cumbsersome and could use some definite UI improvements (see image to the right). To delete images that you have transfered, you have to open the Control Panel again and press the Trash Can button. There is also no way to select the individual images that you want to delete from the scanner. It is either all or nothing.








A majority of the scans that I do are in black and white mode and I’m primarily using OneNote for my storage. If I scan something that needs to be in PDF, I’ll use PaperPort to import it.

Here is the work flow using the built-in software (PaperPort and Control Panel)

    • Scan documents during the day
    • Connect to computer with usb cable when ready to import
    • Start up PaperPort and press scan.
    • The Control Panel opens up.
    • Turn on the scanner and press the Connect button
    • Wait for the images to come be transfered from the pen to a hold area.
    • Select all or just the images you want to import and press Transfer.
    • All the selected images get transfered to PaperPort in the method you want: PDF, JPG, etc
    • Now, to erase the images from the scanner, you have to press Scan again, then Press the Trash Can button to erase the images from the scanner.

Here is the workflow using OneNote 2007 and the Control Panel

    • Scan documents during the day
    • Connect to computer with usb cable when ready to import
    • Within OneNote 2007, go to the Note page that you want to import them, then go to Insert / Picture / from Scanner.
    • Choose Print Quality (for optimal OCR results) and Custom Insert
    • The Control Panel opens up.
    • Turn on the scanner and press the Connect button
    • Wait for the images to be transfered from the pen to a holding area.
    • Select all or just the images you want to import and press Transfer.
    • All the selected images get transfered to the Note page in OneNote 2007 that you were on.
    • Now, to erase the images from the scanner, you have to go to Insert / Picture / from Scanner, Custom, then press the Trash can.


Overall, I have to say that I’m very pleased with the scanner and I’m still happy that I purchased it. I’m finding it to be an indispensible tool, especially as I use it in conjunction with OneNote 2007. Being able to scan, import, store, search these documents is a huge productivity boost. Never underestimate the power of having all of your documents with you in one place. Being able to scan these documents while on site, and then using my tablet pc to work with the document, take notes on it and then have that available to me later is a mobile professionals dream. I wish it were faster at saving the images, that I found better success with smaller documents, and that the UI were better designed, but overall, I’m very pleased. I’m finding it to be a good tool to have on the road and I’d highly recommend it.

Scan Samples

Pricing and Availability

The DocuPen RC800 by PLANOn is available for $299 and available in various colors. It comes with PaperPort for importing the scans into PDF, JPG, BMP, and Tiff. It also comes with 8mb of internal storage. 128mb storage cards are $34.99. 256mb storage cards are $44.99.