Best Pen Scanners

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Best Pen Scanners

Pen scanners are tiny, pocket-friendly scanners that allow convenient scanning and easy data transfer to a computer. Scroll below for a round-up of the best models available.

Man hand with Bar code scanner in operation

A few years back, the task of transferring data from one form to another used to be cumbersome. But with the leaps and bounds of technology, one can convert a physical picture into a computer file, a text document into a graphic and other conversions. The scanner, now a fundamental appliance in offices and households, is one such pioneering device. Scan an image or object and it is converted into a digital file, which you can email, transfer to a pen drive, edit – once you have a scanned copy, the possibilities are endless. Scanners started out as huge devices, with a complex working mechanism. But nowadays, their operation is simple or pretty basic and their size keeps decreasing. What was once a non-portable device is now available in different sizes for scanning convenience. One such type of scanner is the pen scanner.

What is a Pen Scanner?

The pen scanner is so named for its diminutive, pen-like compact size. While typical scanners are big devices and most are not portable, this scanner type can be carried around in a pocket or a bag. These scanners run on rechargeable or alkaline AA batteries and are meant for quick scanning on the go. So if you are reading a magazine article or a book, just use the scanner to quickly and easily scan the words, store them on the device and transfer it to a PC for later reference. There is a lot of usefulness behind such scanners.

Some books or objects cannot be folded back or creased in any way or are too big, so fitting them under the scanner’s head is very difficult. Another point is portability. Some library books or documents cannot be lent out but you need them for reference. With a pen scanner, you can easily take a copy, whenever and wherever. Those who travel and require data capturing and transfer, will find a pen scanner, a handy utility to scan in places without scanners, like hotel rooms or airports. Points that make-up the best pen scanner are listed below:

☛ The scanner’s built-in memory or storage should suit your needs. A SD (storage disk) card slot allows increase of the device’s storage capacity, so if you find yourself running out of storage space, this is a useful feature.

☛ The scanner connects to your computer, through a USB connection, so check for compatibility, to ensure your computer’s operating system will accept such a connection and the scanner’s software will work on it.

☛ Pen scanners can act like highlighter pens, while scanning. The sensor is in the tip or small head of the scanner, so highlight the text and then scan. It’s sort of like reading each word and scanning. But some models are entire surface scanners. They are built like wands, where you lay the wand flat on the surface and that area is scanned. This allows complete lines to be scanned, instead of one word at a time.

☛ You can scan a page and it can exist on your computer as an image file or using a program, it can be converted into text. Such software are called Optical Character Recognition (O.C.R.) programs. They can be bundled free with the device or will need to be purchased and downloaded. Their accuracy rate is not 100%, so proofreading of the converted document is necessary.

☛ Perks are Bluetooth, color scanning, conversion of text to audio. Some scanners will scan images and text, some only text.

The Best Models

Below is the best pen scanner models available in the market.

PlanOn DocuPen Xtreme X05

Scan Resolution : 600 dpi
Connectivity : Bluetooth and USB
Memory : 64 MB
SD Slot : Yes
Compatible OS : Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7; Mac OS 10.5/10.6
Price : $300

Features :

  • Rechargeable battery
  • Scan modes – Grayscale/Mono/24bit Color
  • OLED screen displays functions
  • Scans the entire page surface with one sweep
  • PaperPort SE (Windows) program included with pen

PlanOn DocuPen RC805 Series

Scan Resolution : 400 dpi
Connectivity : USB
Memory : 8 MB
SD Slot : Yes
Compatible OS : Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7-32/64; Mac OS 10.5/10.5.8
Price : $160

Features :

  • Rechargeable battery
  • Scans entire page surface at a time
  • Scan modes – B/W/ 12bit/24 bit color
  • OCR built-in software of PaperPort SE (Windows)

Wizcom InfoScan™ TS Elite

Scan Resolution : 400 dpi
Connectivity : USB
Memory : 4 MB
SD Slot : Yes
Compatible OS : Windows XP/Vista
Price : $220-$240

Features :

  • Scans one word at a time with small head
  • Scanned text can be read aloud by device
  • Connect headphone to listen to audio of scanned data
  • Compact, pocket sized device
  • Touch screen with stylus allows editing and adding text to scanned data
  • Built-in dictionary for word meanings

C-Pen 3.5

Scan Resolution : NA
Connectivity : Bluetooth, USB
Memory : 200 MB
SD Slot : No
Compatible OS : Windows XP (SP2)/Vista (32/64 bit)/Windows 7 (32/64 bit)
Price : $200

Features :

  • Rechargeable battery
  • Supports left and right-handed orientation
  • Scans text one word at a time
  • Free apps for download allow text to speech, translate and dictionary abilities
  • Built-in Abbyy FineReader OCR software supports Latin, Greek and Cyrillic text

VuPoint Solutions Magic Wand™ Portable Scanner PDS-ST410A-VP

Scan Resolution : 300 and 600 dpi
Connectivity : USB
Memory : NA
SD Slot : Yes
Compatible OS : Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7; Mac OS 10.4 or above
Price : $100 (approximately)

Features :

  • Supports microSD/microSDHC up to 32 GB (not included)
  • Can scan in high/standard resolution,B/W or color
  • LCD screen shows scanning progress
  • Pre-loaded ABBYY® OCR program(Windows only)

IRIS IRISPen™ Express 6

Scan Resolution : NA
Connectivity : USB
Memory : 100 MB
SD Slot : No
Compatible OS : Windows/Mac OS
Price : $130

Features :

  • Very speedy, scanning rate of 3.15 inches/sec
  • Scans using pen tip to highlight text
  • Button on device has keyboard shortcuts like Tab, Space
  • Connect scanner to any computer and scan data
  • Converts text on paper into text on screen, multiple application support
  • Built-in OCR recognizes up to 128 languages are recognized by scanner
  • Scans in B/W and Grayscale

Even top-grade pen scanner models are not fool-proof or perfect. Some scanners allow only scanning of a flat or level surface, so scanning tightly bound books or raised print is not possible. Compatibility issues are another concern. Pen scanners will only work on computers with compatible operating systems. In your search for the ideal pen scanner, keep budget and specs that suit your scanning use in mind, prior to purchase.

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