Review: Updated: Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Update: We've updated our Surface Pro 3 review with (brief) impressions of Microsoft's new Surface Hub app. Head on over to Page 3 of this article to see what we think of the new app so far.

Knock it for the Windows 8 launch. Lay into it for how it debuted the Xbox One. But, when it comes to its latest product, the Surface Pro 3, don't pull out the torches and pitchforks just yet – Microsoft is onto something here.

Over the past few years, the Redmond, Wash. Windows maker has proved to be one of the bolder technology companies, for better or worse. Microsoft clearly isn't afraid to fall on its face in the hope of landing on what in the world tech users want next in this turbulent market, and the Surface Pro 3 is – well, it just might be an exception.

The company has been hammering away at what it considers is a problem with tablets for years. Since the launch of the Surface Pro, Microsoft has sought after the ultimate mobile computing device, one that could replace the laptop with a tablet-first approach.

All five versions of the Surface Pro are available now in the US, UK and Australia. They are: 64GB / Intel Core-i3 ($799), 128GB / Core-i5 ($999), 256GB / Core-i5 ($1,299), 256GB / Core-i7 ($1,549) and 512GB / Core-i7 ($1,949).

It's also available in many more countries, including 25 new markets for the first time. According to Microsoft, the device has proved such a popular debutant in those markets that it's struggled to meet demand. "For those of you waiting for Surface Pro 3 (or for the specific version that is just right for you): hang tight, we are shipping in new products as fast as we can," Microsoft wrote in a blog post on September 12. "We should be in a much better position in the next week or two."

The Surface Pro 3 is closer than Microsoft has ever been to making good on its mobile computing vision. After over a week with the slate, I'd go so far as to say that the Pro 3 is closer than any laptop-tablet hybrid released yet.

Microsoft was so sure of itself that not only did it directly compare the Pro 3 to Apple's iPad Air and 13-inch MacBook Air, it gave members of the press pre-release Surface Pro 3 units during an announcement event in New York. Sure, the units have bugs as of this review, but who cares?

Wi-Fi was the most niggling issue, but it looks like Microsoft's fixed it since the device was released on June 20, according to various reports. The most recent update released to fix Wi-Fi related issues was made available to Surface Pro 3 owners on November 19, and it was a big one. Called Wireless Network Controller and Bluetooth driver update, it focused on improving performance when waking from sleep and connecting to a 802.11ac Wi-Fi network. That update also brought improvements around behaviour of the device when waking up from sleep mode using the Home Button or the Surface Pen.

"I forced the giving away of the device, just so you're aware," Surface team lead Panos Panay told me just after the reveal. "I said, 'You know what? I want the product in people's hands.' 'But the bugs are still there. They're not all done until June 20, until it's on market.' I don't care. The purity of the device is still true, and on June 20 there will be more drops."

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 review

One look at the thing might explain Panay's eagerness to get the Surface Pro 3. It's no iPad Air, that's for sure, but the iPad Air isn't packing a 12-inch display.

Yes, Microsoft bumped the Surface Pro touchscreen from a tiny 10.6 inches to a far roomier 12 inches. In the process, the pixel count has been upped from 1920 x 1080 to 2160 x 1440 The result is a modest boost in pixels per inch – 207 ppi to 216 ppi – given the increase in screen real estate.

More important is Microsoft's interesting choice in aspect ratio. Rather than sticking with the Pro 2's 16:9 or glomming onto the iPad's 4:3, the firm went with a 3:2 aspect ratio. The company claims that, with this aspect ratio, this 12-inch screen can actually display more content than the MacBook Air's 13.3-inch panel at 16:10. The move was also made to make the tablet feel more like your average notepad when held in portrait orientation.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 review

Wrapped in a bright, silver-colored magnesium shell that's cool and smooth to the touch, the Surface Pro 3 feels premium in every regard. The tablet keeps the trapezoidal shape of its predecessors, but manages to come in both thinner and lighter than before. Plus, the tablet's upper half is beset by vents on its edges to better dissipate heat pushed out by its fan.

Microsoft also moved the Windows home button to the device's left side of its silky smooth – though, rather thick – glass bezel. This way, it appears on the bottom of the slate while held upright, calling out, 'Hey, hold it this way now.' While it's no doubt the lightest Surface Pro yet, I'm not sure whether I could hold onto it for an entire subway ride home.

Adorning both sides of the Pro 3 are 5MP cameras capable of 1080p video recording. While stills on either shooter won't blow you away, the front-facing lens should do just fine for Skype and the weekly video meeting over VPN.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 review

A tablet wouldn't be much of a laptop replacement without a keyboard, and the Surface Pro keyboard was in desperate need of a boost. Luckily, Microsoft sent the Type Cover back to the drawing board, and what came back is the best version yet. From keys with deeper travel and stronger feedback to a wider glass trackpad that actually clicks, nothing was off the table.

But the most important improvement is the brand new double hinge. Equipped with a strong magnet that latches onto the Pro 3's lower bezel, the Type Cover can now rest with just a portion of it touching your lap or desk. This proved to make writing on my lap much more stable than with previous Surface devices. (Plus, the plush cover comes in five colors: red, blue, cyan, black and purple.)

Tucked beside the Type Cover is also the newly improved Surface Pen. Microsoft made a point of calling its stylus that, because the firm wants it to be seen as and feel like the writing instrument we've all grown up with. With an aluminum finish and a useful clicker up top, the Surface Pen is weighted to better feel like a pen. Using Bluetooth and powered by N-trig, the stylus tracks closer to its physical position than ever before, thanks to some major improvements to the Surface screen.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 review

The new Surface Pro 3 unarguably has the look and feel of a premium product, so it only deserves to be stacked up against the most luxuriously built tablet and laptop around.

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Microsoft Docking Station for Surface Pro 3

Pros Adds connectivity to the Surface Pro 3 with five USB ports, Gigabit Ethernet, and Mini DisplayPort. Easy-latch mechanism. Magnetic stylus holder. Can be used with TypeCover keyboard.

Cons Pricey. No angle adjustment. Limited options for display and sound. Plastic construction. Security doesn't secure tablet. Bottom Line The Docking Station for Surface Pro 3 lets you use your latest-generation Microsoft tablet as a desktop PC, adding plenty of functionality. But it's expensive, and comes with some limitations.

By Brian Westover

When your tablet is your laptop, and your laptop is your desktop, it may not be enough to have one mobile device with limited features. Microsoft's Docking Station for Surface Pro 3 ($199.99) adds both features and functionality to the  Surface Pro 3, giving the latest-gen tablet an array of ports and connections to add USB devices, Ethernet, and external displays, letting you make the most of the Intel-Core-equipped PC as a desktop, as well as your mobile computing device.

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Design and Features
The Docking Station for Surface Pro 3 is an updated version of the design we saw on the original Microsoft Docking Station for Surface Pro, which was made for use with the older 11-inch Surface tablets. With the Surface Pro 3 expanding to 13 inches, the docking station gets an upgrade as well, with a larger, refined design.

The dock itself adds several ports: three USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, an audio jack, a Mini DisplayPort monitor output, and a Gigabit Ethernet port. Those who need a wired network connection now have that available, while most any user can benefit from an assortment of peripherals that can be used, from keyboards and mice to monitors and external storage. The dock also has a security lock slot, but because there's no way to physically lock the Surface tablet into the dock, it only manages to keep the dock itself from walking away and not the $1,300 tablet.

Microsoft Docking Station for Surface Pro 3

The dock has three main parts: a center portion that houses the various ports and connectors; and two extending side brackets that slide inward to lock the tablet in place. The bracket on the right connects the tablet for power and port replication through the fin-shaped power connector, while the left bracket has a magnetized panel to hold the Surface stylus conveniently at the ready. Unlike the magnesium-alloy used on the Surface itself, the docking station is made of black plastic.

Measuring 3.8 by 13 by 4.4 inches (HWD), the dock only comes about halfway up the sides of the tablet, so you'll still have access to the volume control buttons and Mini DisplayPort when the Surface is docked. The dock has a channel running along the bottom of the tablet bay, which holds your Surface in the correct position when opening and closing the dock.

The entire dock stands at an angle, Microsoft Docking Station for Surface Pro 3
leaning back 25 degrees, which puts the tablet at the same angle on your desk. While that will offer good visibility and touch-screen accessibility for most, it removes one of the most versatile features of the Surface Pro 3, the built-in adjustable kickstand. Instead of allowing you the full 22- to 150-degree adjustability offered by the tablet alone, you're stuck with the one position the dock has.

While many users will opt for a second keyboard for use in desktop mode, the Surface Type Cover ($129.99) can still be used when the tablet is docked, in either flat-to-the-table or folded-and-angled modes.

When connected to an external display through the Mini DisplayPort, the dock display output mirrors the tablet screen by default, but it can also be used as a second extended display. The Surface outputs up to 3,840-by-2,600 resolution, so you can use it to enjoy 4K content. Through the Mini DisplayPort, you can daisy-chain more than one monitor, giving you a multi-monitor setup for greater productivity. Unfortunately, the Mini DisplayPort is your only display output, and if your monitor relies on HDMI or DVI, you're out of luck unless you buy additional adapters. Microsoft sells a Surface-branded Mini DisplayPort HD AV (HDMI) Adapter for $39.99, but it doesn't support 4K, and there is no official adapter for DVI.

When docked, the audio from the tablet is silenced, shifting to either the speakers built into a connected display or external speakers connected through the audio jack. While that's great when you have those options, if your monitor has no built-in sound, or you don't have any external speakers, you'll find yourself without any sound at all.

Microsoft covers the Docking Station for Surface Pro 3 with a one-year warranty.

Obviously, the market for Surface docks is just a small subset of the people who own or may purchase a Surface, so this is a niche product. But if you own a Surface, is it worth the extra $200? With the option for 4K output and multiple displays, the addition of wired networking and an array of ports for storage and peripherals, the dock is definitely recommended for business users, letting you easily use the Surface as your primary PC while still being able to grab it and go for mobile use. For the average user who uses the Surface as a tablet first and a laptop replacement second, desktop use is quite a ways down the list of priorities, and the dock may not add a lot to the experience.

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Turtle Beach Earforce Stealth 500X Review | GB

"To paraphrase an old adage, “You don’t miss something till it’s gone” – and that’s exactly how I felt when reviewing the new Stealth 500X headset. You see, this premium headset from Turtle Beach is completely and utterly wireless – and it’s surprising just how liberating it is to be cable-free." (Tech, Turtle Beach) 9.5/10

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Lenovo Erazer X315

Pros Great 3D performance for the price. Expandable. Hybrid hard drive. 12GB of memory. 802.11ac Wi-Fi. Comes with code for three AAA games.

Cons Multimedia performance is little slower than that of the competition. Bottom Line The Lenovo Razer X315 is an entry-level gaming desktop with some room to grow. It's a great choice for the novice player or the veteran gamer who want to play older games.

By Joel Santo Domingo The Lenovo Erazer X315 ($799.99 as tested) is an entry-level desktop PC for budding hardcore gamers. It has the performance to play strenuous gaming titles today, with features that are usually lacking in even midrange gaming rigs, like a gaming–oriented power supply, extra memory, and a discrete graphics card. The system's mix of features, performance, future-proofing, and a nice price earns the Erazer X315 our Editors' Choice for budget gaming desktop PCs. Compare Selected

Design and Features
The black-colored, angled front panel of the Erazer X315 and matching mouse instantly communicate that this isn't a utilitarian midtower for the masses. The top, angled door covers a DVD burner, while the second pops open to give you access to a headphone jack, a microphone jack, an SD card reader, and two USB 3.0 ports (one with sleep-and-charge capability). The back panel holds surround-sound audio connectors, a DisplayPort, a DVI port, an Ethernet port, an HDMI port, two USB 2.0 ports, two more USB 3.0 ports, a VGA port, and the system's external Wi-Fi antenna. The faceted and blue-backlit Power button is shaped like the start button on a sports car.

Inside the chassis, you'll find a single 2TB+8GB solid-state hybrid drive (SSHD) (the 8GB SSD cache speeds operations like wake-from-sleep and reboots), along with an empty drive bay with a tool-less drive sled for another. There are three free SATA ports to service that drive, as well as a single DIMM slot to supplement the included 12GB of system memory. There's one PCIe x1 slot free, but since the system already comes with Bluetooth 4.0, Gigabit Ethernet, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi, we're not sure what you'd need it for. This is still a much more expandable chassis than the one on the Alienware X51-R2, the Maingear Spark, or the former Editors' Choice entry-level gaming desktop, the iBuypower Revolt A960 (AMD A10-6800K).

Lenovo Erazer X315

The system has a 450-watt power supply with two 6-pin power connectors. The included 2GB AMD Radeon R9 260 graphics card only uses one of the power connectors, which begs the question: Can you put a more powerful GPU in later down the line? The answer is yes, with caveats. Nvidia's GeForce GTX 980, for instance, requires two 6-pin power connectors, and a 500-watt power supply. I have a feeling that the Nvidia GTX 980 card will boot fine, but may run into power problems and clock itself down if you tax it.

The chassis is vented on both sides, but you'd hardly be able to hear the fan noise from the system, particularly after you've booted it up. The fans are much quieter than the banshee-like Maingear Spark, for example.

The SSHD has plenty of free space out of the box, but there are a few pre-loaded apps, including Daily Motion, Evernote, Google Play Music, High Tail, McAfee Security Center, Power DVD, TripAdvisor, The Weather Channel, and Zinio. Thanks to AMD, the system comes with a download code for three AAA titles like Just Cause 2, Sleeping Dogs, and Tomb Raider. Though these are aging titles, it still means you're all set to start playing pretty serious games, as long as you have an Internet connection. The system comes with a one-year warranty.

Lenovo Erazer X315 The Erazer X315 comes with a 3.7GHz AMD A10-7850K quad-core processor and the aforementioned AMD Radeon R9 260 graphics card. With this combination, the system excels at playing 3D games. It ran the Heaven test at a rock-steady 60 frames per second (fps) and the Valley test at an adequate 38fps, both at medium quality. That's smoother than the Maingear Spark (42fps on Heaven; 31fps on Valley), and splits the wins with the Alienware X51-R2 (40fps Heaven; 50fps Valley). The system also did well on the 3DMark Cloud Gate (9,332 points) and Fire Strike Extreme (1,752) compared with the competition. It's certainly faster overall on the 3D and gaming tests than the multimedia-oriented Asus A70AD-US003S.

Multimedia tests were a little slower than the competition: 3 minutes 8 seconds on the Handbrake test and 6:35 on the Photoshop CS6 test. In contrast, the Intel-powered Alienware X51-R2 was about twice as quick (1:27 on Handbrake; 3:25 on CS6), although the AMD A8-powered Maingear Spark brought up the rear by a wide margin (6:37 on Handbrake; 9:54 on CS6). The Erazer X315 was left behind on the PCMark 8 Work Conventional test (2,500 points), but keep in mind that you're not buying a gaming PC to do day-to-day work. The system is sufficient for the Web surfing and file downloading that you're going to be doing before and during your game sessions.

The Lenovo Erazer X315 is a very good entry-level gaming rig with the power to run today's AAA games at moderate-quality levels. It's like a set of training wheels on a bike or the tutorial levels on a game: It's powerful enough to get you started and allows you to gauge your interest in hardcore gaming. The things that put it ahead of the competition are its nice price, extra features, and expansion room. Its list price is only $100 more than the Maingear Spark, and soundly trumps that rig on gaming performance and expandability. It's $100 less expensive than the iBuypower Revolt A960 (AMD A10-6800K), has a newer, more efficient A10 processor, twice the hard drive space, 50 percent more memory, and ultimately more space for future upgrades. With all those in its favor, the Lenovo Erazer X315 is our Editors' Choice for budget gaming desktop PCs.

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Canon PowerShot G7 X

Pros 1-inch image sensor. Wide aperture zoom lens. Tilting touch-screen display. Speedy focus system. Wi-Fi with NFC. Raw support.

Cons Pricey. Lacks hot shoe and EVF option. Burst rate slows when shooting Raw. Bottom Line The Canon PowerShot G7 X has a bright zoom lens that covers a lot of range and a large 1-inch image sensor, but just misses earning our Editors' Choice nod for top premium compact camera.

By Jim Fisher It took more than three years for another company to bring out a camera that went toe-to-toe with Sony's excellent RX100 series of compacts in terms of specifications and features. The Canon PowerShot G7 X ($699.99) is the first pocketable compact with a 1-inch sensor not to bear the Sony brand name. Like our current Editors' Choice Cyber-shot RX100 III, the G7 X uses a 1-inch 20-megapixel image sensor with a BSI CMOS design. The G7 X is $100 less expensive than the RX100 III, and its 24-100mm f/1.8-2.8 zoom range is just a bit longer, but it omits the integrated EVF Sony puts in its camera. The G7 X isn't quite good enough to oust the RX100 III from its perch as our favorite premium compact, but it's an attractive alternative for shooters who prefer a longer zoom range over an integrated EVF.

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The pocket-friendly G7 X measures just 2.4 by 4.1 by 1.6 inches (HWD) and weighs 10.7 ounces. It's about the same size as the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II (2.3 by 4 by 1.5 inches, 9.9 ounces). The G7 X is available in black; its body is mostly free of flair, with the exception of two red rings around the base of the shutter release and mode dial.

Canon PowerShot G7 X : Sample ImageThe lens is a 24-100mm (35mm equivalent) zoom with a variable f/1.8-2.8 aperture. It covers a wider range than the 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 zoom used by the RX100 III, and is brighter at the long end than the 28-100mm f/1.8-4.9 zoom that Sony used on both the original RX100 and the RX100 II. The G7 X can focus as close as 2 inches as its widest angle, and the lens has a built-in three-stop neutral density filter. That makes it possible to shoot in very bight conditions at a wide aperture, but you have to manually turn it on or off. Some other cameras with integrated ND filters, like the Ricoh GR, toggle it automatically under bright light, but you need to manually enable or disable the ND filter with the G7 X.

The top plate houses a pop-up flash, the On/Off button, the zoom rocker and shutter release, a standard mode dial, and an exposure compensation adjustment dial. The two dials are stacked, with the mode dial on top, but both can be adjusted comfortably. The EV compensation dial can be set from -3 to +3 in third-stop increments, which is typical, but it deviates from the norm in its orientation. The negative values are located toward the front of the camera, with positive values located toward the rear. Most other cameras with this dial, including the Nikon Coolpix P7800, orient it in the opposite configuration.

Canon PowerShot G7 X : Sample ImageThere's a control ring around the lens; it has detents, so it clicks as you turn it. By default its function changes depending on your shooting mode. If you're in a traditional control mode like Av or Tv, the ring adjusts aperture or shutter speed, but when you switch to some of the camera's more unique modes its function changes. The G7 X includes Creative Shot, which captures five filtered shots in addition to an unfiltered original; the ring adjusts which set of filters will be applied. In Scene mode it changes the active scene, and when set to full auto it becomes a zoom control. The ring's function can be changed via the Ring Func. button, located just under the thumb rest on the rear.

Other rear controls include a dedicated record button to start and stop video capture, playback and menu controls, and a rear control ring. The ring has a center Func./Set button, and four directional buttons that adjust the focus mode, drive mode, flash output, and amount of information shown on the rear display.

Canon PowerShot G7 X : Sample ImagePhysical controls are extended in two ways. Canon's typical overlay menu, which allows you to adjust additional camera settings without obscuring the Live View feed, is accessible via the Func./Set button. The display itself is sensitive to touch, so you can tap an area of the frame to choose a focus point. There's also a control surface at the right side of the LCD that allows you to expand the function of the front control ring on the fly. Tapping that area of the screen shows some additional options that can be adjusted; you'll need to keep your finger on the screen as you adjust the additional highlighted setting option with the front ring, but it can come in handy when wanting to make a quick adjustment. It brings up the ISO in modes where it's available, and also allows for shutter speed or aperture adjustment if you've assigned the front ring to a custom function.

The rear display itself is 3 inches in size with a 1,040k-dot resolution. It's very sharp and bright. I had no issues using it on a sunny day, even when light hit it directly. It's mounted on a hinge and can face all the way forward for selfies. The Fujifilm X30 ($599) also uses a tilting 3-inch display that's sharp at 920k-dots, but it wasn't able to cut through the glare of the sun under the same conditions. The X30 has an integrated electronic viewfinder and a hot shoe, however, both of which are missing from the G7 X.

Canon PowerShot G7 X : RemoteWi-Fi is built in. You can launch the Wi-Fi menu during image playback via the up direction of the rear control dial, or connect directly to a smartphone using a button on the right side. If your phone has NFC, tapping to connect is also an option. You can transfer images and video clips directly from the camera to your iOS or Android device via the free Canon CameraWindow app. Remote control is also supported via the app, but functionality is limited. You can adjust the zoom, set the self-timer, and fire the shutter, but you can't select a focus point or adjust exposure settings. CameraWindow has a location log option; if you enable it, you can use it to add location data to photos on the camera, assuming that the clocks are set the same on the two devices.

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Paramore: Self-Titled Deluxe - Paramore

Opening the iTunes Store.If iTunes doesn't open, click the iTunes application icon in your Dock or on your Windows desktop.Progress IndicatorOpening the iBooks Store.If iBooks doesn't open, click the iBooks app in your Dock.Progress IndicatorParamore: Self-Titled Deluxe by Paramore, get iTunes now.">We are unable to find iTunes on your computer. To preview and buy music from Paramore: Self-Titled Deluxe by Paramore, download iTunes now.

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Formed: 2004 in Franklin, TN

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Although their blend of emo-pop and slick, anthemic rock & roll eventually made them stars on both sides of the Atlantic, Paramore began humbly enough in Franklin, Tennessee, where Hayley Williams met brothers Josh and Zac Farro after moving to town from Mississippi. Already a powerhouse vocalist at the age of 13, Williams joined a band that the Farro siblings had formed with local guitarist Taylor York. She left the group soon after, signing with Atlantic Records as a solo artist instead, but... Full BioParamore: Self-Titled Deluxe, ParamoreView In iTunes $19.99Genres: Alternative, Music, RockReleased: Apr 09, 2013? 2014 Atlantic Recording Corporation For the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States. A Warner Music Group Company

Canon imageFormula DR-C225

The imageFormula DR-C225 ($449) is exactly the sort of highly capable document scanner Canon is known for. It delivers fast speed for the price, scans to searchable PDF format almost as quickly as to image format, offers impressively accurate optical character recognition (OCR), and comes with world-class programs for document management, for OCR, and for creating and working with PDF files. It's a little weak on business card scanning, but even so, it delivers enough to make it our new Editors' Choice for moderately priced desktop document scanners for personal or micro-office use.

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The DR-C225 is closely matched for speed with the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 that it replaces as our preferred pick. The rated scan speed for both is 25 pages per minute (ppm) and 50 images per minute (ipm)—with one image on each side of the page. More important, both essentially hit their rated speeds on our tests, and both also scan nearly as quickly to searchable PDF files as to image PDF format, adding very little extra time for the OCR step.

In areas where the two differ, each has advantages over the other. The Fujitsu iX500 did a better job in our tests with business cards, for example. Also, the iX500 is the only one of the two that offers Wi-Fi as a connection choice or can scan to an iOS or Android device.

The DR-C225's advantages include more accurate text recognition and a more capable set of bundled programs, with Nuance PaperPort 14 (for document management) and Nuance OmniPage 18 (for OCR) in particular delivering more capability than the equivalent programs that come with the Fujitsu iX500. Although the DR-C225's lack of Wi-Fi means you can't connect directly to a mobile device to send it a scan, you can send one just as easily, if not more easily, with the Attach to Email option in Canon's scan utility.

Setup and Software
One welcome touch is that the DR-C225 takes up less space on your desktop than most scanners designed for personal use. Like the Canon imageFormula DR-C125 that it replaces in Canon's line, it measures only 8.7 by 11.8 by 6.1 inches (HWD), and it doesn't need extra room for the output tray.

Paper normally follows a U-shaped path, starting in the 30-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF) in back, moving under the scanner, and continuing up to the output tray, which is parallel to the scanner front. For heavier-weight paper or business cards, you flip a small lever on the side of the scanner so that the paper will follow a nearly straight path, going under the scanner and then forward through a slot near the bottom of the output tray.

Setup is standard fare for a USB-connected scanner. Additional software besides PaperPort and OmniPage includes: Presto! BizCard 6 for business cards; Twain, WIA, and ISIS drivers, which between them will let you scan from almost any program with a scan command; and Nuance eCopy PDF Pro Office 6, which comes with PDF Converter Assistant and PDF Create Assistant, to give you a full suite of PDF utilities. There's also a version of Canon's CaptureOnTouch scan utility included, which is even easier to use than other versions I've tested.

The main screen in CaptureOnTouch lets you scan by choosing one of three predefined profiles, including Scan to Folder, for example. Alternatively, you can choose a type of document to scan, a destination to send it to, and then the Scan button.

By default, the Document types are Business Card, Text, and Full Auto. The choices for destination include each of the application programs the scanner comes with, plus Email, Print, Microsoft SharePoint, and several websites: OneDrive, SugarSync, Dropbox, and Google Drive. These choices may well handle all your scanning needs. If not, you can edit any of the definitions—to change the resolution for scanning, for example—and add more document types, destinations, and profiles as needed.

Scan Speed and Document Management
The DR-C225's 600 pixel-per-inch (ppi) optical resolution is typical for document scanners, and more than you usually need for scanning text. For my tests, I used the default 200ppi and black-and-white mode.

Related Story See How We Test Scanners

I clocked the scanner at 24.2ppm for simplex (one-sided) scans and 48.4ipm for duplex (two-sided) scans. That makes it tied, within the error range of the test, with both the Canon DR-C125 and the Fujitsu iX500.

More importantly, the scanner doesn't take much longer for scanning directly to a searchable PDF file, which is generally the most useful format for document management. With the added text recognition step, it took a total of 1 minute 9 seconds. Here again, that's effectively a tie with the Fujitsu iX500, at 1:05, although it is just a tad slower than the Canon DR-C125, at 1 minute flat.

Being able to recognize text without slowing down significantly can easily make up for the speed advantage of a faster scanner that adds time for recognizing the text. The much-more-expensive Kodak i3200 Scanner, for example, with a 50ppm and 100ipm rating, managed 74ppm on our tests scanning to an image PDF file. However it basically tied the DR-C225 for scanning to a searchable PDF file, at only 1:06.

OCR Performance
The DR-C225 did extraordinarily well on OCR accuracy. The combination of scanner and OmniPage read our Times New Roman and Arial test pages at sizes as small as 6 points without a mistake. It also did as well or better with several fonts that we include in our tests, but don't usually report on because most scanners do so poorly with them that there's little difference from one scanner to the next. The DR-C225 managed to read three of the five additional fonts, including two highly stylized fonts with thick strokes, at 6 points without a mistake and another at 5 points without a mistake. This is the highest level of accuracy we've seen on any scanner.

The only test the DR-C225 didn't shine on was for business cards. The scanner did an excellent job feeding stacks of cards, but the best that can be said for the combination of the DR-C255 and BizCard is that it will save you time over entering information by hand. I saw at least one mistake on every card, and three or more on just over half of them.

If scanning and managing business cards is a key task, or you need the ability to scan to a mobile device using Wi-Fi, the Fujitsu iX500 will be the best fit for your needs. But in most offices, the lack of Wi-Fi won't matter, and the Canon imageFormula DR-C225's higher level of OCR accuracy plus the more capable OCR and document management software will trump any shortcomings for business cards. That gives the DR-C225 a slim, but real, advantage overall and makes it our new Editors' Choice low-to-moderate price personal or small-office desktop document scanner.

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