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The Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner - a Great Holiday Gift for Scrapbookers or Family Historians

Updated on November 13, 2013

I have always been fascinated by hearing my grandparents tell stories from when they were a child. Some of my fondest memories of my childhood were visiting my grandparents and looking through their old family photo albums, while listening to their stories of how things were when they were kids.

Now grown with kids of my own, I longed to copy all those old family photos and document those stories. I want my kids to know where they came from and a bit of their family history. My grandmother didn't want me to take the albums out of her house though (understandably) and it would be a huge hassle to take a laptop and our flat-bed scanner over to her house. So I never seemed to get around to doing anything about preserving those memories - that is until my grandfather passed away last year. Suddenly it became imperative that I got those family photos copied and my grandmother's stories written down before they were lost forever.

One purchase that I made to help me with this process was a Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner. Most scanners need to stay hooked up to your computer to work, but the Flip-Pal is different. It runs on batteries and is small and light enough to carry with you. It saves all your scans to a memory card. I was able to copy my grandmother's photos right at her house.

A cousin who is into genealogy had recommended this portable scanner to me. She got a Flip-Pal to take with her when she does genealogy research. Since most genealogy libraries don't allow you to remove materials, she is able to scan and save the information she needs to a memory card.

One great feature of this scanner is that it is so versatile. Unlike traditional flat-bed scanners, you aren't limited in just scanning photos and documents. By removing the lid, you can scan so much more. I have scanned photos while they were still hanging on the wall. I also scanned a bit of a quilt that my grandmother had made, so I could make it into patterned paper for a scrapbook page. The possibilities of what you can scan with the Flip-Pal are endless.

In the interest of being honest, there are a couple of downsides to the Flip-Pal too. Since it is run on batteries, I have to mention that it does go through batteries quickly. I think I got about 200 scans out of a set of batteries. My solution to this was to start using rechargeable batteries. I highly recommend carrying a spare set with you.

The other downside to the Flip-Pal when compared to other scanners is the small scanning area. It's perfect for 4x6 inch photos. However, for larger documents, you will need to do multiple scans and then stitch them together using the included software. This isn't a huge problem, it just takes a little bit of time.

All in all, I have to say that I love my Flip-Pal scanner. I was able to make quick work of scanning all my grandmother's photos and am in the process of putting them in a scrapbook. I've had my Flip-Pal for over a year now and have scanned thousands of pictures and family documents. I am so happy to be able to preserve these precious memories for my kids!

If you are looking for a holiday gift for that special scrapbooker or genealogist in your life, I highly recommend you look into the Flip-Pal. You won't be disappointed!

While the Flip-Pal Mobile scanner is good to go on its own right out of the box, there are a couple of things that I recommend to go with it that will protect your purchase and enhance its function.

Flip-Pal Deluxe Carry Case with Pocket - Blue
Flip-Pal Deluxe Carry Case with Pocket - Blue

Chances are you want a Flip-Pal to copy a relative's pictures or to take with you when you are doing family history research. If this is the case, you will want something to protect your scanner when you are on the go. This scanner case is padded and will help protect your scanner from damage. I also love that it has a pocket on the front so you can store extra batteries and memory cards. I have a purple one, but the carrying case is available in a variety of colors.

Flip-Pal Cleaning Cloth
Flip-Pal Cleaning Cloth

To get good images, it is important to keep the scanning surface clean. A quick swipe with this microfiber cloth will ensure clean crisp scans.

Sketch Kit
Sketch Kit

When I first got my Flip-Pal, I visited a relative and scanned about 300 pictures. Unfortunately 2 months later when I got around to doing something with the images, I had forgotten who some of the people in the photos were. The Flip Pal Sketch kit allows you to write on an acrylic sheet and include that information right with your scans. Problem solved!


Want to see all that you can do with software that comes with the Flip-Pal? Here are some wonderful videos to help you learn how you can edit your photos.

The scanning surface is only 4x6, but that doesn't mean that you can't scan larger photos. Here are some tips for scanning larger photos.

After you have scanned a larger photo, this tutorial will help teach you how to use the included software to stitch it together.

The Flip Pal mobile scanner comes with some great photo editing software. This video will help you learn how to use it.

Why do want a Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner?

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Is a Flip-Pal on your wish list this holiday season? Do you have any questions or comments? Feel free to leave them below. I've had my Flip-Pal scanner for over a year now and would love to help you out.


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    • profile image

      DebMartin 4 years ago

      Oh this one is definitely on my "to-buy" list.

    • KarenTBTEN profile image

      KarenTBTEN 4 years ago

      It would be cool to have one. I will be scanning (again!) at the downtown Seattle library this week. While it is very nice to be able to do that, it would be handy to have a scanner of my own... one that's petite like my other electronic equipment and fits easily in my living quarters.

      For those who can't take their materials to a library scanner, equipment like that is indeed necessary for the preservation process.

    • ComfortsOfHome profile image

      ComfortsOfHome 4 years ago

      I've heard this is a great gadget for people who do family history research in libraries where you can't check out the books - much faster than taking notes, as well as the benefit of scanning any pictures. Thanks for the firsthand report. :)