A review of SonoScape’s low-cost mid-range portable ultrasound machine

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The SonoScape S2 portable ultrasound machine

Last week, the FDA approved one of the most aggressively low-priced ultrasound machines we’ve seen hit the market.

By aggressive, I mean it’s a welcome option for consumers, and a very unwelcome option for the competitors.

It’s the SonoScape S2, a portable color Doppler ultrasound machine that challenges the portable market with a very low-priced, high-resolution machine like no other. Its 2D imaging sets a new standard for low-price portables.

In this article, I’ll tell you great things about this machine, however, keep your perspective. This is not going to give you a Ferarri at the cost of a Ford. It’s still a low-cost ultrasound machine with its limitations… you’re not going to get a $30,000+ ultrasound machine out of this, but you WILL get a lot more than you paid for.

SonoScape S2 Feature Review

The S2 is a low-cost color Doppler ultrasound with a 15″ LCD monitor. It has a long list of advanced features, but the two that really differentiate this machine from others in its price range are: Compound Imaging and Speckle Reduction imaging. This is what separates the S2 from its competitors. And in addition to that, it also has Color/PW/CW/Power Doppler, Triplex, Duplex, 3D/4D option, USB ports, Panoramic, DICOM, and it’s fully digital.

Hardware specs include: 15″ LCD Monitor, internal battery, internal hard drive, and two active probe ports in its a somewhat non-traditional portable ultrasound design (the keyboard folds up rather than the monitor folding down). This allows it to have an additional transducer ports and negates the need for docking stations or expansion docks. Instead, it allows more connections for items such as VGA, S-Video, and ECG. Most other machines require expansion modules for these types of features.

SonoScape S2 Ultrasound Machine hand carried ultrasound machine

The keyboard folds up to the console unlike a traditional laptop ultrasound

S2 Feature Performance

That long list are its available features, but I can’t say I’d recommend using this for full-time echo for your cardiology practice nor a dedicated vascular lab. This simply isn’t powerful enough to do heavy-duty Doppler with high frame rates… but that’s not the target market for this machine. The target market for the S2 will find it to be much better than anything in this price range.

How much better? Here’s are two side-by-side images from the SonoScape A6 (SonoScape’s low-cost B&W system) and the SonoScape S2.

The SonoScape A6 compared to the SonoScape S2.

In the image above, the A6 represents most new ultrasound machines in this price range. These are in the same general price range, but the difference in image quality is pretty dramatic.

The s2 User Experience

SonoScpe S2 portable ultrasound machine

The SonoScape S2 Keyboard

To date, this is the easiest SonoScape ultrasound machine on the market. The soon-to-be-released S9 will take another step forward, but this beats the A6 and S8 by a good margin. You don’t need to remember any hidden keyboard commands and the process is very clearly laid out. Creating and saving custom presets is easier and more straightforward.

Controls are clearly marked and there’s not a lot of searching to figure out what you need to do.

As with any machine, you may not love the presets that come with the machine, however, it’s easy enough to adjust the various controls and try and find what’s best for you. It’s not scary, and quite easy. I have a series of articles on optimizing image quality for physicians if you’re not familiar with which controls to use.

Who would buy the SonoScape S2?

The SonoScape S2 is most ideal for those with a limited budget and have some basic Doppler needs. This includes practices such as: needle guidance, small parts, rheumatology, orthopedic, MSK, pain management, anesthesia, or other superficial imaging. It’s also good for general abdominal and most OB/GYN studies and would be a capable unit for the emergency department. The color and PW Doppler functions will be perform for these functions.

Questions or comments about the SonoScape S2? Need help? Drop me a note in the comments below and I’ll answer you here.