capsule review

IRISPhoto 4 scanner

At a Glance
  • IRISPhoto 4

    Macworld Rating

The IRISPhoto 4 scanner from IRIS scans 3.5-by-5-inch and 4-by-6-inch photos, at either 300 or 600 dots per inch (dpi) with 24-bit color depth. It’s a small device, with a built-in rechargeable battery and 512MB of internal memory. Unfortunately, the photo scans from the IRISPhoto 4 tend to be a bit under saturated and contained visible image noise, though scans have good detail.

The white scanner stands at 2 inches tall, 6 inches long, and 2.5 inches wide. Its small size, along with its built-in software utilities, makes it easily portable.

The IRISPhoto 4 doesn’t have to be attached to a computer to scan. It sports a built-in battery, and scans are saved to its built-in memory. If you need more storage capacity, the scanner has a memory card slot that supports SD, xD, MMC and MS cards.

When the device is powered on, a green light near the power button blinks five times. When the light stops blinking, the IRISPhoto 4 is ready to scan. To scan a photo at 300 dpi, all you have to do is place the photo image picture side up into the device’s feeding slot. The scanner grabs the picture and pulls it through the front and out the back, saving it as a JPEG file.

If you want to scan a photo at 600 dpi, you must insert the photo into a provided plastic sheet before you place it into the scanner. At the top of the sheet is a bar code that, when read by the scanner, switches a scan from 300 to 600 dpi.

During my tests, the IRISPhoto 4 took 10.4 seconds to scan a photo at 300 dpi. It took 34.3 seconds to scan a photo at 600 dpi; scanning at the higher resolution requires more time, but the scanner also takes a few seconds to recognize the barcode and switch dpi modes.

Once you scan your photos, you can transfer them to your computer by connecting the IRISPhoto 4 via USB, which also recharges the battery (if the computer’s USB port is powered). A folder with all your photos automatically mounts on the desktop. The IRISPhoto 4 includes ACDsee Express 2, a photo-organizing application that allows you to rate, share, and view your scans. If your Mac has iPhoto or some other photo management software, there really isn’t a reason to install ACDsee.

The IRISPhoto 4 can scan business cards, but it’s not really designed for that task. Scans are saved as JPEGs, but the IRISPhoto 4 doesn’t include optical recognition software. If you’re looking for a small business card scanner, the company offers a line of IRISCard scanners that include the proper software.

Both on-screen and printed scans from the IRIS Photo 4 appeared washed out when compared to the originals. The 600-dpi scans were a little more saturated, but still washed out. All scans had visible noise, looking similar to the noise found when using high ISO settings with a camera. Many people may find the image quality to be perfectly acceptable, but users with more discerning eyes would probably prefer the results from a higher-end flatbed scanner with better optics and with customizable controls.

Macworld buying advice

The IRISPhoto 4 Scanner is a fine choice for folks looking to digitize large stacks of 4-by-6 photos, and who favor speed and convenience over superior scan quality. However, if you’re hoping to digitally preserve the beauty of high quality photos, the IRISPhoto 4’s washed out and noisy scans isn’t the device for you.

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At a Glance
  • Macworld Rating

    Pros

    • Rechargeable battery
    • 512MB internal memory for storing scans

    Cons

    • Slightly washed out scans
    • Limited in terms of supported photo sizes
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