Product Reviews

Product Reviews

In Brief

A snap to install, the CardScan 600c is about the most useful gadget in my office. If you’re tired of typing the info from all the business cards you collect, this is a must have. The software converts the scans into actual text that can be sent to Outlook, ACT, or your Palm Pilot with a single mouse click.


Price

$299

Corex Technologies
Cambridge, Mass.
www.cardscan.com


Competition

Companies are not falling over each other in this market. Corex is far and away the leader in this market. Check out BizCard Reader, NewSoft, and Targus.


Key Specs

4Weight
Scanner: 14 oz.
Power adapter: 9.7 oz.

4USB connection only

46.75" W x 4.75" D x 2" H


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small Office tools

Corex 600c Business Card Scanner

Rating:

By Joel Shore

I have business cards coming out of my ears. Trade shows. Cocktail parties. Speaking engagements. Wherever I go, I come home with dozens of business cards. And if you think I relish the thought of typing all that info into Outlook, well, think again. It’s not that Im lazy; I’m too darn busy.

That’s why I have a Corex 600c business-card scanner. All you do is feed the cards in the front, and the fist-size unit does the rest. It scans the card, uses optical character recognition technology to transform the scanned card into actual editable text, and it tucks all that info into a nice, little database. And with one more mouse click, you can copy all of your new customer prospects into Microsoft Outlook, ACT!, GoldMine, and a gaggle of other address books.

6

The software knows the difference between a company name, person’s name, title, address, phone and fax numbers,
e-mail and Web addresses.

5

Easy set-up. The 600c is a snap to connect, just connect it to any available USB port on your PC. Installing the software takes about five minutes. A calibration card is included to make sure the unit is working without any problems.

Alas, the unit requires a separate power adapter and cord, instead of drawing its operating power through the USB cable. Since the idea is to keep the scanner on your desktop, that extra cord is an unnecessaryand uglydistraction. And Corex hypes the scanner as something to take with you on business trips or to trade shows. Your laptop can run without an electrical outlet, but you can’t do the same with the scanner. That’s a shame; it’s a real missed opportunity.

Corex made a couple of significant changes from its older CardScan 500 model. The 600c supports color (hence the c in the model name). Also, the 600c has only a USB connection: getting rid of the parallel-port connector is one reason the 600c is smaller than its predecessor.

What difference does color make? To me, not much, but if you like, the CardScan software can store full-color images of scanned business cards. I prefer to keep just the text. By the way, those images are stored in a proprietary file format that can’t be read by other programs.

To scan business cards, you start up the software first. The image on your screen looks like an old-style Rolodex card holder. To scan a card just shove it in the front of the CardScan 600c. A tiny motor whirs and pulls the card through the device, and the image of the card shows up on your screen. Just keep feeding cards into the machine.

After you’ve finished scanning cards, you click a button and then the CardScan software processes the cards, interpreting the scanned image and converting that image into actual text that you can edit and store in any address book.

Using the software. The software is smart: it knows the difference between a company name, person’s name, job title, address, phone number, fax number, cell-phone number, e-mail address, and Web address. I’d say the CardScan gets it right about 95 percent of the time. When it gets confused, it’s usually because a weird logo, strange typeface, or use of dark images under the type gets in the way. Make sure that the design of your business cards doesn’t confuse the scanner. You’ll be happy you did.

You should go through each scanned card and make any corrections necessary. When you know a card is accurate, you click a checkbox so you—and the CardScan—know this card’s info is confirmed.

What to do with all the scanned data? You can leave the info in CardScan’s own address book, but I prefer to send all the addresses into Outlook. How tough was that? All I had to do was click one button and within a few seconds it was all done.

CardScan even offers CardScan.net, a Web site where you can store all the business cards you’ve scanned. You can access these cards from a Web browser anytime, anywhere.

You can take away most of the gizmos sitting in my office, but don’t touch my CardScan 600c. It’s just too cool.<

 
Yeas & Nays

Yea:

4Easy installation

4Works with Outlook, ACT, or any other address database

4Converts scans into editable text

4Stores scanned images

4Reads your existing address lists

Nay:

4Requires external AC power supply

4Gets confused by type over graphics designs

4Uses proprietary formats for storing card data and scanned card image


Scanbusters!

Make sure your own business card is scanner friendly. Background graphics, city lists of all your offices, long slogans, and overlapping design elements are almost certain to produce disappointing scans.
 

Not So Fast

The CardScan software builds a database of the cards you’ve scanned. But you’ll still have to check the results to the actual card to make sure phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and Web URLs are accurate.
 

In the Box

Package contents: scanner, power adapter, USB cable, Windows software, printed user guide. and a calibration business card.

   

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