FINANCE PenPower WorldCard Pro Business Card Scanner (Win/Mac): Electronics

I've been intrigued with business card scanners for many years. I finally bought this one, on the basis of favorable reviews. I've scanned 15 cards (I probably have 1000), and it works OK, but it's nothing to write home about. So far I've relied on the minimal Quick Guide and the online help to figure out how to use it. An online manual is included, and I'm planning to read it.The unit is small and installs pretty easily. It didn't work for me until I registered my purchase (not a great scheme, since I might be returning it).After I figured out how to scan cards, I scanned some. My cards are from the hospitality and hotel industry, so they feature a lot of graphics and stylized logos as part of the company names. This scanner did NOT handle them well. Usually it just disregarded them.There's a LOT of editing required with the OCR on my cards. Sometimes the OCR is perfect, but usually it messes up the company name and/or address. I will keep it for a while and read the manual, but for now it looks like I will return it to Amazon. I want to keep track of my business card collection, but I'm not ready to spend a lot of time correcting faulty OCR on the information that's on them. It wouldn't be so bad if it got the company names right, but far too often it doesn't.This thing is pretty slick, but it isn't accurate enough for my needs, at least at my present low level of skill in operating it.UPDATE: The day after the above, I looked at the manual and fairly carefully tested the unit on 20 cards.The 80-page manual is highly detailed and reasonably helpful, but hard to find. It appears when you click Index under the Help menu. Pretty strange, IMHO. The content is intelligible English, with a bit of Chinese English thrown in.Card scanning and OCR is only marginally effective. Of 20 cards scanned,

only 7 produced good, clear images. Another 8 produced questionable images, typically very low contrast on cards printed in light-colored ink. Five produced illegible images. Yesterday's scans produced 15 good images out of 15. That may have had something to do with my procedures -- today I "calibrated" the scanner, while yesterday I didn't. I regard the scanner as having failed my tests for imaging.OCR isn't very good, either. It works after a fashion, but isn't nearly reliable enough for my needs. Out of 20 cards scanned (some producing sub-optimal images), it correctly OCR'ed 11 names and put them in the correct field in its database. Two of these had minor spelling errors. Out of 20 cards scanned, it only got 3 company names right. Eight more were partially right, and 9 were missed completely. This mostly had to do with company names being part of logos, expressed in graphics rather than standard fonts, etc. Again out of 20 cards scanned, it correctly OCR'ed and categorized 13 addresses; 11 cities, states, and ZIPs; 13 phone numbers; and 10 email addresses. The accuracy of the phone numbers and emails seemed to be good, but I didn't do any testing.The bottom line for me is that this scanner partially does the work of scanning and OCR'ing business cards, but it isn't accurate enough for my purposes, at least at my present level of skill. I am going to send it back. If you really need a business card database and have the time to correct a lot of OCR errors, it might be a pretty good tool. I am a very busy person without any administrative assistance, so using this device is just out of the question for me.

A final word about the the built-in database: I didn't work with it much, but it seems to be flexible and powerful. Apparently it works with a lot of different languages, including those not expressed in Roman alphabets. The problem is populating it with accurate data.

Category: Business card

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