WorldPenScan X Hardware Review

WorldPenScan X Hardware Review

May 21, 2015

WorldPenScan X is an interesting Kickstarted gadget that brings document scanning/OCR functionality and translation to folks on the go.

In hand, it’s not nearly as thin as (or much longer than) a regular ballpoint pen at 4.52 x 1.29 x 0.88 inches and under 2 ounces; it looks more like a mid-sized temporal thermometer. It’s mostly white, with a hard plastic finishing. The business end (which is initially hidden by a greyish cap) has the image capture hardware assembly, and tapers a bit.

Using the unit first entails pairing it to the host device via Bluetooth. This is accomplished by first downloading the companion WorldPenScan app off of Google Play, and configuring it to find the unit. After that, one has to select WorldPenScan as a current keyboard for it to work. When this is done, the app appears as a notebook-type interface.

Then it’s off to use the scanner. I tried it on several different types of text on different surfaces; boxes, books, flyers and the like. Holding the unit close to upright and dragging it along lines of text like one would use a highlighter is the basic idea, with the incorporated arrow helping the user to keep a straight path. If the scan is going a well, a green light shows at the end, and when the drag is stopped, the unit’s OCR kicks in and the translated text pops up in the app editor, along with a captured interpretation.


In practice, it is pretty interesting.

I did find it to be useful in several scenarios. Looking for and using attributable text, for instance, can be done on the go. Creating bullet points of underscored info from blocks of information is another use case, and even collecting previously highlighted data. It works as a translator too, which is pretty useful when on foreign isles. On mobile devices, one can switch back and forth between 22 languages, including English, Chinese, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Dutch and more. The end result is digitized text. It does barcodes, too.

My biggest gripe has to do with the relative rigidity of usage, as it the environment and the item have to be just right to get the most accurate scans. In our usage, I found good lighting and flat surfaces along with an upright device make for the best data capture experiences. The OCR can be temperamental at times, which makes editing a bit more involved. Having to toggle the app as a keyboard every single time is a bit of drag, but not overly so.

When one considers the ease of use in combination with the functionality, it’s quite easy to fall in love with this product. It has its quirks, but none so painfully present as to preclude effective usage. At $169.95 (on Amazon), it isn’t so expensive that one is tempted to keep it in a safe, either.

Visioneer Mobile Organizer Hardware Review

Visioneer Mobile Organizer Hardware Review

Jun 13, 2014

You know me… if I can do it well on the go, than that’s where I want to do it. In other words, if there is a productivity task that can be done from my smartphone, and it can be done effectively and quickly, than I’d rather d it on the go. Why schedule time to be tethered if I don’t have to?

Such is my view of mobile scanning. Smartphone camera solutions are useful in a pinch, but, as we noted in our Visioneer Mobility Scanner, we don’t mind being spoiled. Thus, we had no doubts it’s cousin, the similarly minded Visioneer Mobile Organizer, would be just fun to look at.

The scanner that makes up the main piece of the review package isn’t too different from its cousin Mobility; they share the same color schemes, and hard plastic finish, but the former looks a bit more angled visually, and the black bottom creeps up higher as well. Dimensions-wise, it is 11.4 x 2.2 x 1.5 inches and weighs less than 1 lb. The box also contains a carrying bag, a RoadWarrior disc (with several software tools and an ebook), USB cable, calibration paper, a cleaning cloth and plenty of documentation.


The scanner works well on its own; it boasts 11 second/sheet one-sided printing of letter-sized documents, and in practice it delivers; it also works with advertised paper ranges from 1.5 x 1.5 inches to 8.5 x 32 inches in size. The unit is powered via USB cable connection to, say, a laptop, so power cables are not needed. Scans produced are impressive, and it even works with formerly crumpled pieces of paper.

What the mobile organizer intends to do is be more than just a scanner, but an organizational hub and paperless lifestyle tutor. The software tools include a data organizer for the scanned data (which then becomes searchable by text). The aforementioned ebook brings core paperless principles to life.

It’s a different device than the Mobility, yes, geared almost to traveling folks who pack a laptop, but in that space, it is an excellent peripheral device.

The Visioneer Mobile Organizer is available on Amazon for $125.

Visioneer Mobility Color Cordless Scanner Hardware Review

Visioneer Mobility Color Cordless Scanner Hardware Review

May 27, 2014

I want to be paperless.

No, seriously… I do. We live in a digital world, and it makes life easier. With different storage options, local and cloud, it just makes sense to make those documents take on a different life. Even if only from a backup standpoint, having digital documents is a must have.

One issue remains though. All that paper isn’t always generated/accumulated at home. One business trip alone can generate lots of paper, and even if one has a traditional scanner at home, manually scanning in stuff is sometimes more than a chore. What folks like me need is a truly mobile scanner. A smartphone might work in a pinch, but as anyone who has had a need to get a professional document digitized on the fly can tell you, sometimes, cellphone cameras simply don’t cut it.

This where the Visioneer Mobility Color Cordless Scanner (courtesy of Xerox) can be of service.

The review unit came boxed with power cord with adjustable prongs, software disk, 2GB microSD card and adapter, cleaning tool, mini-USB cable, and the scanner itself encased in a decent black carry case. First, it is really mobile, coming in at 11.54 x 2.82 x 2.07 inches and less than a pound and a half in weight. The review unit itself has a hard plastic exterior, with glossy white on top over a black body. It looks like a basic scanner would with power and feed buttons to the right, and SD, mini-USB and full USB ports at the back. The entire thing is infinitely portable, and has a nice design aesthetic.


The unit came with what seemed to be a full charge, so I was able to get into using it immediately. The true draw is that it does not need a full-fledged computer to operate; scanning documents is easy and intuitive; with the device on, face-up feeding auto-launches the hardware, and the device stores the scanned documents to the included SD card. It does 300 ppi JPG or PDF too, and it is possible to scan directly in wired fashion to supported Android devices via USB debugging. The replaceable rechargeable battery ensures that wires can be left at home, and it boasts 300 scans before a recharge is needed. The quality of the scans is really good, and it handles paper 2 x 2 inches all the way up to letter-sized sheets.

An added optional benefit that Visioneer advertises that I was able to verify independently is Eye-Fi card functionality. A configured Eye-Fi card gives the scanner enviable wireless functionality that is really hard to beat, and makes it invaluable on the road.

It doesn’t do both sides of the paper at once; and I did feel that holding it a bit too hard could ding it up, but all in all, the Mobility Color is a great device that changes mobile productivity in a positive way. It makes one completely rethink the use of paper, and removes a major barrier to being completely digital.

KickStarter Spotlight: ScanBox

KickStarter Spotlight: ScanBox

May 9, 2012

Scanners are annoying. They’re loud, slow, and take up an inordinate amount of desk space. Plus, there are driver updates and proprietary software to deal with. Most of my experiences when scanning has just been used informally to send a document or a sheet of notes over to another individual. These scans do not have to be professional quality, and speed is really an important factor. Also, if I am on the road or away from my desk, emailing a document is impossible. Well Australian designer David Evans has come up with an unique solution that for some people might totally replace their scanner at home called ScanBox. David’s design is an incredibly simple trapezoidal box with a base that is just big enough for a normal 8.5″x11″ piece of paper. Placing a smartphone on top and centering the camera onto the small slot allows for a steady, high quality look at the paper below. This is obviously for people who have higher resolution cameras and probably will not work for night owls with poor light.

For those who need to send multiple documents a day and need them to be of the highest quality, then ScanBox is probably not a good fit. However, most of us are just looking for a quick way to share that page of notes or a photograph with a friend, in which case ScanBox works great. ScanBox also allows for “scanning” of 3-D objects which is obviously something normal scanners cannot do. No more waiting for a computer to open the scanner software and load the attachment, everything is done instantly with any smartphone. Sending image files is not ideal, I understand. That is why there is a corresponding app, already on the Play Store, called CamScanner which takes those scans and automatically converts them to .PDF form. Also, this app allows for multiple page scanning, advanced image processing, upload to cloud storage, and much more. So ditch that scanner and help David Evans change the way people send documents forever, and like all KickStarter projects, ScanBox cannot become a reality without your help.

Droid Scan Pro PDF Review

Droid Scan Pro PDF Review

Feb 21, 2012

I like overachievers.

I like Alexander the Great, Mia Hamm and Susan Boyle. I like things that help me do more, especially when they help me do more with less. That’s a major reason that I carry a smartphone.

Droid Scan Pro PDF is an application that allows Android owners use their device cameras to scan items on the go. It also allows one to convert the scans to PDF or JPEG. Portability of business functionality is ever so valuable in a ever-increasing mobile world.

It weighs in at 1.13 MB, and less if the user opts to move it to SD card. The application has a fairly direct UI, giving the app user the option of importing, scanning or even sharing from within the app. Now, the UI may not attract effusive circus clowns, but it does work well to add an aura of seriousness to the software. The scans came out better than envisaged; creation of a PDF document was fairly smooth. I especially liked the trimming tool, which allows the user to shape the document with the use of an adjustable edger. I suspect the overall quality of the scans would be a function of your device hardware to a degree; as noted, they looked good snapped with my aging EVO’s camera. Droid Scan Pro completely cedes the image capture process to the device camera, which means you will be using a familiar menu to take the initial shots.

One can also import files to work on. This is useful when having to convert a JPEG to a PDF for example. I found that I could also import files from my preferred word processor, file manager and gallery. The Turbo import feature automates the process of importation into Droid Scan Pro.

The Share function allows one to distribute with a host of built-in apps, including Dropbox and email. The scan jpeg or pdf is also available in the device’s gallery app in the newly created Droid Scan file, so it is not necessary to even open the app to get to the scans in the future. The app’s built-in functionality also extends to compatibility with Google Goggles, which allows one to add business cards to Google Contacts.

I thought the menu could be a bit more intuitive; it is not rocket science, but my admittedly strong urge to tap and hold or use the menu button to navigate did not always work as I would have guessed it would. Using the back button sufficed. Also, the bulk action functionality did seem wonky at first, but was flawless on subsequent tries.

All in all, Droid Scan Pro PDF was functional, sturdy and did not crash on me once. I also note the fact that the developer took the time to include a feedback button as a major part of the user interface. That’s good.

Droid Scan Pro PDF is available for 4.99 on the Amazon Appstore and Android Market.