We’ve been discussing your options for scanning physical photos and converting them to digital files. It’s a great way to back up or to share a collection of family images. I’ve already mentioned Google’s Photo Scan app that uses your phone’s camera as a portable scanner. Another portable option for a project like this would be a wand scanner.

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While certainly far more portable than a flatbed scanner, these aren’t exactly pocket-sized but would fit in a briefcase or a large purse.  I selected VuPoint Magic Wand Wireless Portable Scanner with Wi-Fi, PC and Mac, Mobile/Portable PDSWF-ST47-VP for this article. As of this writing, it was less than $100 and had some excellent reviews.

This scanner is designed to work as a document scanner as well so you could find many uses for it.  It will scan photos, receipts, business cards, and documents. The included OCR software will translate scanned documents into editable text.

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The maximum image resolution is 1050 dpi. The images can be saved as PDFs or JPGs. When shopping for wand scanners, you’ll want to check the maximum image resolution available. Some are much lower than this device. If you’re looking for really high-quality scanning, you’ll probably want to stick with a flatbed scanner. To scan, simply slide the device over the item you wish to scan. It can handle documents or photos up to 8.5 inches wide and 125 inches long.  The device itself weighs just over a pound and is 12″ by 5″. You can expect other wand scanners to be of similar size.

As with many wand scanners, you scan directly to a memory card in the device (up to 32 GB). You can then transfer the images to a computer via a USB cable or use WiFi to transfer to a computer or mobile device.  Use the VuPoint app to upload directly to Facebook, Evernote, Dropbox and Google Drive.

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The device is rechargeable using a USB cable. It works with PC, Mac, or mobile apps. However, the OCR software only works with Windows. Not all wand scanners are rechargeable, some operate on replaceable batteries. I’ll warn you, scanning can burn through quite a bit of battery power. Rechargeable is probably a good idea.

You can click here to check out this device on Amazon.

You can also click here to look at other wand scanners ranging in price from $30 for a refurbished model to $200 for a scanner with a stand.