But: does it work?
August 29, 2005 12:55 AM   Subscribe

I found this nifty device: it's a pen that scans text and lets you load it up to your computer.

Looks very handy, but... does it work? Will it recognize the characters (text exclusively, but sometimes on not-so-great copies)? Is it fast enough, or will I give up scanning and start copying quotes again after a while? Please share your experiences.
posted by NekulturnY to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
I bought one a few years back so presumably it was an older model (sorry I can't remember which model but it was the same brand). It sounds great on paper but in practice? Hmmm.

If you can get a loan of one before purchase, do. I gave up and passed it on to my brother (he was a student at the time) but he too abandoned it (sold it on Ebay I think).

I'm sure that some people find them very useful (they're still making them after all!) but I don't think they're for everyone.
posted by ceri richard at 1:05 AM on August 29, 2005

OCR is still iffy (actually, it works very well for most purposes, though it'll require a good proofread), but I would imagine the handheld aspect might muddle things some. Are you looking to use it specifically as a 'highlighter' of sorts (to get brief snippets from printed material) or on big chunks of text at a time? If the latter, most desktop scanners come with OCR software rolled in — and I would imagine the scanning process would be much quicker and simpler for doing a whole page at a time.
posted by rafter at 1:21 AM on August 29, 2005

I'm with ceri richard on this one-- I bought that very brand when I went back to graduate school and used it exactly once.
posted by NYCnosh at 1:30 AM on August 29, 2005

Response by poster: It's for highlights - quotes from books and photocopied news/magazine articles mostly.
posted by NekulturnY at 1:58 AM on August 29, 2005

That's exactly what I needed it for nekulturnY - I'd hoped to grab urls, short paragraphs etc. to investigate when I got to a computer but it was quicker to jot the information down with notebook and pen. Thinking back though, I think the embarrassment factor was an element in my ditching it - they were relatively new on the market and I had some odd stares from fellow commuters.

Can you buy one from somewhere that offers a full refund if not satisfied? If you're really motivated to use one, maybe you'll have more luck.
posted by ceri richard at 2:25 AM on August 29, 2005

I used a pen scanner for some time. It was decent for scanning quotes out of books, but it is almost more trouble correcting the mistakes made by OCR than just typing the quotes to begin with. I wouldn't but another one.
posted by phewbertie at 5:16 AM on August 29, 2005

Another cool one is the DocuPen R700.
posted by webmeta at 5:47 AM on August 29, 2005

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