Cast your mind back to the days when Facebook didn't exist, DM referred to a boot rather than a direct message and no one had a digital camera. Remember? Chances are that it's hard to forget, as you've probably got shoeboxes full of old photos to remind you. That's where the Veho Renovo photo scanner comes in. This gadget lets you turn your 6 x 4-inch photo memories into JPEGs so that you can file your nostalgic family prints away on your hard drive for future generations or simply annoy your friends by posting dreadful, old pictures of them on Facebook.
The Renovo scanner is pretty compact, measuring in at just 157.4 x 43 x 54.4mm and tipping the scales at a lightweight 230g. The white plastic finish actually looks fairly slick close-up, and the unit is reasonably sturdy too. The feeding slot for the photos stretches across the front of the device and it features a paper guide on the right to make sure that your photo fits snugly. Next to the main slot you'll find the power button alongside an indicator light that tells you whether the scanner is on, if there's a memory card inserted and if there's any paper jammed in the scanner.
Unsurprisingly, there's a fairly sparse collection of connections round the back of the scanner which are limited to a power socket, a multi-format memory card slot and a Mini-USB port for hooking the scanner up to your computer. And of course, there's the back of the feeding slot, where the photos come out after they've been scanned.
Setup couldn't be easier - all you need to do is pop a memory card in, hook the power cable up to the mains and turn it on and you're ready to go. The memory card slot supports pretty much every format under the sun including SD, xD (H-type and M-type), MS, MS Pro and MMC. Be warned that there's no memory card supplied, so you'll need to sort one out for yourself.
All you need to do is carefully feed your photos, one by one into the slot, where they'll be automatically picked up and fed through the scanner. For your older, more fragile photos, the instructions suggest that you use the somewhat amusingly named anti-curl sheath that's supplied in the box. This keeps the photo flat and protected while it goes through the scanner so that it doesn't get caught and damaged and so that it can be scanned evenly. It's also a good idea to use it with any photos that have been in a photo album that uses glue so that none of the gummy remnants come off the back of the picture and end up in the scanner.
To view the photos, you can then either remove the card and plug it into a card reader, or just hook up the scanner directly to your computer using the supplied USB cable. This also enables you to scan directly to your computer. The scanner also comes bundled with a disc containing software that will work on Windows 2000, XP, Vista or above, although not on a Mac. We were expecting some sort of photo-editing options, but all the software does is enable you to set the default location that the photos will be scanned to, whether that's the memory card or a folder on your computer.
Scanning takes about 5 seconds, so even if you've got a collection of hundreds of snaps, it shouldn't be too arduous to work your way through them and after a few snaps, you should be able to build up considerable speed in terms of loading the photos in.
Considering the original picture quality of the photos, the scanned images are pretty sharp. You might get a slightly more refined image by using a more high-end flat-bed scanner, but the pictures are only ever going to be as good as the originals (until you tinker with them on Photoshop). We also tried scanning a postcard, but the scanner isn't really built for scanning printed images, such as clippings from magazines (or in this case, postcards) - and the results are rather grainy.
The only real downside is you can't scan anything bigger than 6 x 4 inches. While it's true that this has been the standard size for snapshots for some years, it doesn't help us much when it comes to our collection of 7 x 5-inch photos. For anything bigger than 6 x 4 inches you'll need a flat-bed scanner or a portable device that's slightly bigger than the Renovo, such as the DocuScan.
Overall, we were impressed with how easy the Veho Renovo scanner was to set up and use and we were also happy with the picture quality of the JPEGs that came from it. It would have been nice to include the capability to scan larger, 7 x 5 photos but we can't complain too much about this, as the Renovo is very clear about what it offers. The price tag of £79.99 seems a tiny bit steep for such a basic device, particularly as once you've scanned all of your old 6 x 4 photos you won't really have much use for it anymore. However, if you need a compact scanner to sort out those shoeboxes full of snaps then the Renovo fits the bill.