You may have heard of or seen the small portable scanners on the market today, but are they worth it? Portable scanners are targeted towards professional and amateur researchers, especially those who need to scan public records or library reference materials. If you frequently visit the same research location and don't have an urgent deadline, you may find it more convenient to carry a fully detached scanner - after all, if your scan results are not satisfactory, you can always rescan the document. However, if you cannot easily rescan your documents, you may want to use a portable computer scanner to ensure high-quality scanning.
There are two different variants of portable scanners: very small computer scanners and fully detached scanners. Small computer scanners may be cheaper, but they require a connection to a computer in order to function. This reduces their portability, as you would also need to carry some form of mobile device, possibly at least the size of a tablet, in order to check the image quality without zooming in and out too much.
Fully detached portable scanners do not require any external connections to scan, although most of them do require additional storage cards (usually SD cards), which increases the cost. With these, you can scan photos or documents and then download them to your computer. Some types of portable scanners have a small single-page feeder mechanism, so you can insert the page, press the scan button, and it will feed the page onto the imaging device. This ensures good scanning results but limits the maximum document size you can scan.
Other portable hand scanners, primarily of the fully detached type, require you to manually sweep or roll the scanner over the page. This may cause distortion if you don't move the scanner in a straight line, but it also has an advantage: if you use specialized software (called photo stitching software) after downloading the images to your computer, you can combine multiple scans of different parts into a single full-size image of the same large document or poster.