Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Product review: TaoTronics® Business Card Scanner Colour USB Handyscan

This mini scanner scans images the size of a business card. It can scan small photos or small sections of text. If you need to scan full pages in a book or legal size sheets of paper a flat scanner is better. However, if you need to scan business cards or receipts this small scanner will do a nice job.

In order to work the scanner needs to be attached to a computer running Windows (USB cable is provided). The software package that comes with the mini scanner is used to configure the scanner, put the scanner into "scan" mode, and post process the image (save the image or run OCR software). To scan the image you need to pan the scanner device by hand over the text you want to scan. As you pan you need to hold down a "scan" button on top of the device. The package includes a tray which makes it easier for a business card to stay in place while you are scanning. When the scan is completed the image will appears on the computer screen. Once you see the image you can choose your next step: save the file or OCR (optical character recognition). OCR converts the image to a text file you can edit.

I found that the image scanning software works very well. The OCR software is not as good as the other OCR packages I have tried. It does not auto-rotate so you need to put the scanned image in the orientation it expects otherwise the recognition does not work at all. Even when text is oriented correctly the recognition it is not 100% if the text uses script font or has non-white background.

In attached video I show the installation of the mini scanner software, and then using it to scan two business cards. After scanning each business card I post process both with the OCR software. The first business card is white with simple font and OCR generates accurate results. The second business card is yellow and uses a script font. The resulting text has many errors.

Manufacturer of this mini scanner asked me as one of the reviewers who have a history of writing informative reviews to test this scanner and post a video review to make it easier for future potential customers make their buying decisions. I was asked to write an honest review whether positive or negative and I have included both positives and negatives of my experience with the scanner. I am not paid to review, however the manufacture provided this product free of cost for testing purposes.

This scanner is most useful for scanning business cards and receipts, especially if you need to keep track of these things while you are travelling where its small size is a big asset.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

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