Android is truly the ultimate Swiss Army Knife. Today, I came into the AndroidPIT offices and really needed to get some paper work off to a friend of mine state-side. But of course, our scanner just happened to pic today to kick the bucket. Before I ran out the door to the nearest webcafe, one of my coworkers reminded me that I have an Android smartphone in my pocket! So I fried up the Android Market and started digging. Soon enough I had three free Android apps that promised to replace conventional business scanners. But where they up to the task?
Let's just get the logistical business out of the way first. I tested all of these apps on an Xperia Play of the non-rooted variety, running Android 2.3.4.
Handy Scanner Free PDF Creator
The first app that stepped up to the plate to take care of my scanning and faxing needs was Handy Scanner Free PDF Creator. The scanner app was developed by Halfmobile and promises to turn pictures into print-ready PDF's with a “beautiful finish” The free version has just about all the options you would want in a free PDF creator and, while it is financed by in-app advertisement, the ads are by no means intrusive. PDFs are created either from pre-existing media files from your gallery or using your smartphones backside camera.
The over all UI appearance of Handy Scanner was clean and functional, with just enough Android 4.0 touches to relax the Android geek inside of me.
Also editing PDFs was easy and and the interface really made the experience straight forward and intuitive. While the app didn't go above and beyond the call of duty when it came to sharing options, it did have you're typical options to share created PDFs via Skype, Email or Bluetooth.
But where this app fell down was in the picture quality. Granted it may have been my Xperia play but I just couldn't get high-quality scans out of the app. The image quality alright but print was often blurry or appeared doubled. Of all the apps I tried out today, I liked Handy Scanner's interface the most, but it gets some major minus points for middle of the road image quality.
CamScanner -Phone PDF Creator
Next up, in the battle of the scanner apps is CamScanner from IntSig Information Co. Another ad-driven scanner app, CamScanner doesn't waste much time sprucing up it's interface, but still has all the functionality you'd expect in an Androicd scanner app. As with Handy Scanner, users can either use data from their gallery or use their rear camera to create new scans. While the interface isn't as idiot free as Handy Scanner, it's still easy to use.
What's more, CamScanner also has markedly more sharing possibilities, with greatly speaks in the apps favor.
The final scans also presented the best image quality of all the apps I tested today.
Document Scanner Trial
The last scanner app that was worth writing about was Document Scanner Trial from a developer by the name of Pwn with your Phone. And does Document Scanner p0wn? Kinda... Document Scanner's is a great example of function over form with graphical elements being reserved for buttons and not a lot else.
Using the app was fairly easy and but when it came to cropping the photo, I found the resizing tool to be a bit touchy.
Where this app really scores points is in connectivity. Document Scanner had by far the most sharing options which scores some major points in my book. #
The image quality was also not that bad, but still a little blurry for my tastes.
Iif you're looking for another business tool to add to your Android tool belt or just looking for a quick fix for a broken scanner (like me!) I'd recommend CamScanner -Phone PDF Creator. It's simple to use and free to boot. An unlock code retails for around $5 dollars but in exchange removes document limitations and watermarks.
Now if you excuse me, I got to get a fax to the US.