There are many apps that let you use your smartphone camera as a scanner to create PDF files and share those files. Which one is best?
Over the next two weeks, I’m reviewing several popular apps on Android:
- Adobe Scan
- Doc Scanner
- Genius Scan
- Google Drive
- Office Lens
- Simple Scanner
I’ll update the list above with links to the individual reviews as I post them, so check back soon if I haven’t reviewed your favorite app yet.
In a hurry? Here are the review summaries, all in one place.
Adobe Scan is easy to use. It has the basic features needed to scan and share PDF files. It requires that you use the Adobe Cloud system. It doesn’t have any compelling features that make it a standout. It’s advertising-free and doesn’t nag you to upgrade. If you need a free and easy to use scanner app, if you don’t mind sharing your files with Adobe, it’s a reasonable choice.
I personally don’t like it enough to give up that much control. I’ve uninstalled it from my phone.
Clear Scanner is a workable app and has enough features to be useful. The ads in the free version are annoying, but the paid version is only $2.49. For the price, it’s a reasonable choice. OCR is handy, but the attached notes feature seems useless. I found the two-step capture annoying. Clear Scanner is based on a suite of open source libraries, and looks fairly generic.
Doc Scanner does the standard PDF creation task well. It also has a basket of features that seem unrelated to business use, such as cute stickers, overlay effects, doodles and QR code functions. The ads in the free version aren’t too annoying, and you can upgrade for five bucks. It’s not my first choice, but social media users might find it handy.
FastScanner is a mediocre scanner program, with a user interface that a little non-intuitive. There are far too many ads for my taste, and the program doesn’t justify buying the Pro version. It supports signature embedding and does an average job of the standard functions. It’s not what I’d recommend for most people.
Genius Scan really shines in the capture and editing process. The Magic capture method is very nice. Editing is streamlined and doesn’t have unnecessary features. The limited sharing methods in the free version is a prompt to purchase Genius Scan+ for $4.99. The banner ads are unobtrusive and didn’t bother me. If you are satisfied with email sharing and need a quality scanner app with excellent capture capabilities, Genius Scan is above average.
Simple Scanner in many ways resembles TinyScanner. The user interface is quirky. The recropping process is harder than it needs to be. It has the ability to capture signatures, and that feature alone might make it your choice. I doesn’t have a viable free version, and to fully use all the menu options you’ll need to buy a couple more companion apps. If you need signatures, check it out – but if you don’t, you’ll find other apps more fun to use.
TinyScanner is a mediocre scanner program, with a user interface that a little non-intuitive. The recropping process is harder than it needs to be. It has a unique web server sharing feature that might be great for some users. If you plan to use it, you’ll need to spend five bucks and get the full version. It’s not my first choice or what I’d recommend for most people.
TurboScan is a solid program and it’s nice to be able to fully exercise the app without pop-up ads or restricted features. The SureScan 3x feature is unique and works well. I wish the page detection and auto-cropping worked better. I couldn’t find any glaring flaws or reasons to avoid it, but it didn’t wow me either.
If you use it long-term, you’ll need to spend five bucks and get the full version.