I have to admit that I was excited about the Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner from the moment I read about it in the October 2011 issue of Money Magazine. There was an article about Gordon Nuttall who was laid off from Hewlett-Packard after a 31 year career with the company. Instead of retiring, he chose to create and develop the Flip Pal product and start a new business. Flip Pal is a portable, battery operated scanner that stores images on a flash memory card and is geared toward the more than 17 million strong group of scrapbooking hobbyists.
I could clearly see that this scanner would be perfect for genealogy research trips too. I had contemplated bringing a laptop and flatbed scanner on trips to libraries and courthouses, but what a pain that would be to lug all that equipment around. Also, having to find an outlet to power the scanner is not a given. What is really needed is a battery powered scanner to copy records and pages from books right on the spot and bypass the copier machine altogether.
Flip-Pal scans documents directly into high quality (300 dpi) JPEG images and stores them on the included memory card until you are ready to transfer them to your computer via USB. It may concern you that Flip-Pal runs off batteries, but I think that is actually one of the key features of the device. Not having an A/C power supply in the device allows it to weigh only a few ounces even with the 4 AA batteries installed. Also, there is no requirement for an outlet to be located near you or power cords to deal with.
According to the User’s Guide, alkaline batteries should get about 150 scans. Lithium batteries should get about 450 scans and rechargeable NiMH batteries 500 scans. If you plan to use the device extensively, it is probably a good idea to invest in rechargeable batteries. Always have some extras on hand so your device does not run out of juice at the wrong moment.
One really unique feature of the scanner is that you can remove the top cover, flip the scanner over and copy sections right out of books, documents, photo albums or just about any media source you can think of. The clear viewing window on the bottom of the device allows you to properly align and see what you are scanning. You may think that taking a picture with your cell phone is sufficient, but pictures can introduce distortion to the image, may not render colors correctly due to the flash and lighting conditions, and pictures taken with the phone are more difficult to transfer onto your computer.
How many times have you been at a relative’s house, looking
at family photos, wanting desperately to capture a high quality image of the
photograph? With this device, there is
no need to “borrow” the pictures to be scanned on a flatbed scanner or copied
at the drug store. You don’t even have
to take the pictures out of the album to get a quality scan, just put the Flip
Pal directly over the page and let it do its thing.
Although I am extremely satisfied with my Flip Pal scanner, there are a couple of things that I found about the device to be a bit inconvenient. First, you have to keep track of batteries that the device consumes. Second, the scanning surface is 4x6 inches and will not scan a full 8.5x11 inch page in one pass. You can make multiple smaller scans and use their toolbox software to stitch together the images into one single image.
After purchasing a Flip Pal for myself and using it quite extensively, I consider it a “must have” for those doing field family research. The Flip-Pal is also the perfect gift for the genealogist who has everything. It can be used as a home scanner, but the tool’s real value is in its mobility.If you are interested in purchasing a Flip-Pal scanner, then click on the link below: Flip-Pal mobile scanner PLUS
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