This product exceeded my expectations right from the get-go. For the price ($99.00 + whatever you pay for the not-included microSD card) I was pleasantly surprised. The unit uses standard AA alkaline batteries, which are included. Also included is a USB cord for downloading images onto your computer, a functional slip-on flexible plastic carrying case for the scanner, and a CD containing a simple image-to-text conversion program that you install on your computer (more on that in a moment). The instructions for the initial, one-time calibration of the scanner are simple and easy to follow. The short calibration process is necessary to "teach" the scanner what a solid white background looks like. A slick, white piece of paper is included with the scanner kit for this purpose. As I stated at the beginning, you will need to purchase a microSD card. The scanner instructions will walk you through the initial formatting process for the card (also a one-time operation), which is done with the card installed in the scanner. After you have formatted the card, calibrated the scanner, and installed the image-to-text software, you are ready to go.
The scanner has a choice of two resolutions: 300 or 600 dpi, and two modes: color or b&w. Operating the scanner is simple. The same button acts as an on/off switch, as well as tells the scanner when to start and stop the scanning process. A quick tap on the button tells the scanner that you are beginning or ending a scan, while holding the button down for about two seconds turns the scanner on or off. Another rocker switch type button controls b&w/color selection, and 300/600 dpi selection.
For scanning text that you want to be able to edit, 300 dpi is more than adequate. I would also set the scanner to b&w for that process. Scanning the page of an ordinary book is a fairly speedy process. Experiment with how quickly you guide the scanner down the page. If the scanner detects that you are going too fast, a small red light will come on. According to the instructions, you can scan an average printed page in about two seconds. The instructions also list approximate times for other images/material you may have occasion to scan.
The image-to-text software program is fairly simple to use. Basically, you download the scanned image to your computer via the included USB cable, then pull the image into a photo program or image viewer program. The image-to-text program gives you several options according to what type of text you are working with (i.e. an entire web page or other large body of text, or just a selected area of the screen). Another choice is where you want the converted text to be sent to. You can choose any of these combinations: text, table, or image, to be sent to: Word, Excel or the clipboard.
The clarity of the original text you are scanning will greatly effect the accuracy of the image-to-text conversion process. I've found that for printing that has less than ideal image quality, pulling the image into a photo program first (I use Picasa3, a free download on the 'net) and doctoring the image so that the background is as junk free as possible, and the text is as clear as possible, that I get better accuracy over just converting the raw image.
When scanning any type of image or text, only very slight pressure on the scanner is necessary for a successful scan. The scanner has four small rubber rollers on the bottom which will help you maintain a straight scan down the image. Also keep in mind that you will need to move the scanner more slowly over pictures than you would if you were scanning a printed page. Again, experimenting will give you an idea of how fast you can go before the red light on the scanner says that you have broken the speed limit.
Hope this review has been helpful. If you are looking for a portable scanner, this one is the most versatile, in my opinion. You won't regret the $$$ you spent.
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