Friday, February 15, 2013

ION gadget turns iPhone into a photo scanner


What's the easiest way to turn a shoebox full of old snapshots into digital images? It might be the iPics2Go from Ion.

The portable battery-powered scanner can create high-resolution images from 3x5- or 4x6-inch photos or 35mm negatives. And, it will do the job quickly with a minimum of trouble and bother.

But first you'll need an iPhone 4 or 4S.

The phone does two things. It snaps into a slot on the top of the light box where it shoots a new photo of the old photo or negative. And, it run's Ion's free app that brings the image into sharp focus, balances colors, and saves a copy to the iPhone camera roll, sends it to Facebook or attaches it to an email.

In my tests, I fed the iPics2Go a variety of photos: bleached-out snapshots, black-and-whites from the 1950s and old Polaroid instant photos. All of them came out as clear and crisp as copies I have made using the flatbed scanner on my printer.

But there were a couple of disappointments. One is the digital images are produced in the PNG format. That's fine for online use, but JPG images are much more common. Also, the device won't work with an iPhone 5, or an Android phone, for that matter. The slot for the phone if built specifically for the iPhone 4 or 4S.

But those are minor issues compared to ease and convenience of the iPics2Go - and its attractive price. The device has a list price of $59.99 but sells for less than $30 at


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Follow me on Twitter @ricmanning and read my technology columns at My Well Being.


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