Corex's CardScan 600c is a business card scanner that's clearly aimed at the executive market -- that much is evident from its sleek grey design to its £228.94 (ex. VAT; £269 inc. VAT) price tag. For that kind of money -- more than some handheld computers -- you'd expect to get a bit more than the average. And to its credit, the CardScan 600c's performance is impressive.
The CardScan 600c has been redesigned from the ground up and includes a number of new hardware and software features. Just about anything you could ask for in a portable businesss card scanner seems to have been built in: it can scan both sides of a business card in colour, delivers scans quickly, synchronises with popular organisers and even has a card-catcher built into the rear.
The scanner connects to the host PC via a USB cable, and is simple to install and set up -- everything is pretty intuitive, and we were able to get started without even referring to the manual.
The CardScan software is designed for scanning batches of cards: you just start up the software, initiate scanning via a menu, and begin feeding in the cards. This is where the unit really shines: scanning is very quick --under two seconds in greyscale mode -- and you should be able to process a large batch in a surprisingly short time. The vaunted card-catcher isn't too impressive, though, as it only holds about 10 cards at once. A bonus is that the CardScan 600c is whisper-quiet -- something your office colleagues will appreciate.
Once a business card has been scanned, the optical character recognition (OCR) software kicks in. This seemed a bit slow to us, and there were also a few glitches -- some fonts seemed to be almost illegible, and in one case the software got the card orientation upside-down and produced gibberish. A translucent card also caused trouble.
These problems were exceptions, however: most business cards needed no editing at all, with phone numbers, email addresses, titles and Web sites correctly identified with few typographical errors. The software displays an image for each field so that you can correct any mistakes. We found that batch-processing cards worked better than processing a single card at a time, allowing you to feed a large number of cards in at once and then do something else while character recognition takes place.
Version 6 of the CardScan software includes conduits for most popular organiser software, including Outlook and Palm Desktop, and this feature worked well. The software even prevents duplicates when the same contacts are exported more than once.
On the downside, although the CardScan 600c is apparently aimed at workers who travel a lot, the unit is larger and heavier than others we've seen - mobile professionals will not necessarily want to add this unit to their travel kits.
Then there's the price tag: £269 (inc. VAT) is a lot of money just to get business cards into your PC, and even the lower cost monochrome CardScan 500 at £199 (inc. VAT) seems pricey. But if you often need to digitise business cards, and you want all the bells and whistles, this may be one for your Christmas list.
Tags: Scaners Hardware Computers