Canon imageFormula P-208 review

Price when reviewed

Portable duplex scanners usually come with a price premium attached, but Canon’s little P-208 offers this and more for a lot less than the competition. What’s more, this compact scanner trumps lighter simplex scanners by cramming in a 10-page ADF.

At 600g, the P-208 is almost twice the weight of Brother’s compact simplex scanner, the DSMobile 600, but the payoff is versatility. The Canon’s ADF might comprise of nothing more than a couple of flimsy linked arms protruding from the flip-down front panel, but it still manages to feed documents effectively.

The P-208 also has another handy trick up its sleeve: flick the rear switch to the Auto-Start position and it appears as a USB storage drive on the host PC. Run the CaptureOnTouch Lite app directly from the drive, and you can use the scanner without loading any drivers whatsoever. This means you can whip out your scanner at a moment’s notice and scan documents directly to a client’s system without leaving a software footprint.

Canon imageFormula P-208

The Lite version of the software is limited to scanning to a local folder and choosing from PDF, TIFF, JPEG, PPTX or BMP formats. To get support for scanning to email, Google Drive, EverNote and Microsoft SharePoint, you’ll need to install the main CaptureOnTouch app plus the scanner drivers.

If you’re using the full package it’s essential to ensure that the Auto-Start switch is off otherwise the software won’t see the scanner. The backlit Start button can be assigned to one specific scan task and we had no problems sending documents as email attachments or to our Google Drive account.

On a Windows 8 host we achieved superior speeds to Canon’s claims – instead of the quoted 8ppm for mono and colour duplex scans at 200dpi, we achieved 10.6ppm. Colour speed at 300dpi dropped to 6.5ppm whilst scans at 600dpi returned 1.3ppm.

Canon imageFormula P-208

Paper handling is good with even tissue thin courier receipts scanned without damage. The anti-skew works well and the P-208 can also scan credit cards. Drawbacks are that Canon doesn’t include any OCR software and the BizCard Reader app has mediocre card scanning abilities.

Scan quality was fine with our documents, bank statements and till receipts reproduced well at 200dpi. Colour photos at 600dpi showed plenty of detail although we had to use the advanced settings to adjust the overly dark contrast.

At £126 ex VAT, this portable duplex scanner is good value and extremely easy to use. The software bundle is a little frugal, but Canon’s P-208 shows that good things do come in small packages.


Scanner type Handheld

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