The disclosure relates to battery powered hand-held data entry terminals wherein a peripheral module may contain an automatically operating full image reader and a wireless communication unit. The reader reads at least one full line of indicia and may comprise a laser bar code scanner or a flash type image reader. Preferably the reader has uniform resolution in orthogonal directions in the field of view so that an area image can be read at any arbitrary angular orientation and re-oriented as a stored digital image to a normalized orientation before decoding. The user interface may lie in a first longitudinally extended layer and the peripheral module may lie in a second longitudinally extended adjoining layer. In normal reading disposition of the automatic reader, the user interface may be close to its normal orientation for user interaction therewith to provide for smooth transitions between reading and user interaction operations. A hand grip portion preferably underlies the user interface for comfortable support thereof during manual actuations. The peripheral module and hand grip portion may be used entirely separately from the user interface and may have a wireless link with the user interface. The user interface may comprise a digitizer/display with resolution for accurately digitizing and displaying a person's signature. Signatures may also be digitized via an optical full image reader for immediate verification.