The Corex CardScan Executive 700c gives you anywhere access--whether you're in front of your PC at home or traveling with nothing but your PDA--to the contacts trapped in that messy pile of business cards accumulating on your desk. This machine is easy to set up and use, and its accompanying software is full featured, but its character-recognition skills are far from flawless. You'll still have to make some text corrections by hand, but overall, this machine will save any frequent card collector time and trouble. For the $250 (as of November 2004) that the CardScan costs, you could buy a scanner or a multifunction machine to scan your cards and a lot more, but the card-scanning process would be more cumbersome and time-consuming. The size of a fat PDA, at 1.75 by 5.75 by 3.25 inches (HWD) and 8 ounces, the sleek gray-and-black Corex CardScan Executive 700c is 50 percent slimmer and lighter than its . This device sits unobtrusively on your desk and is powered via a USB cable snaking to your computer, PDA, or smart phone. An illuminated blue arrow tells you that the CardScan is ready for action. Setup for the Corex CardScan Executive 700c is a breeze. During installation, which takes a few minutes, you can choose to sync the CardScan data with your Palm OS device, Pocket PC, or smart phone. The CardScan supports Outlook, ACT, Goldmine, and Lotus Notes software. You calibrate the scanner by running a blank, white card through it. Do a practice scan and choose a location for the scanned files, and you're in business. You can feed cards into the scanner continuously. When you're done, the software processes the scans. It accepts oddly shaped business cards as long as they're no wider than the 4-inch feed opening. The sleek software interface allows you to sort contacts in a variety of ways, such as by name, company, or phone number. The Find Duplicate wizard lets you automatically delete exact duplicates and compare similar cards side by side to select the one you want to keep. A card-correction utility highlights fields that it suspects may contain errors.
The CardScan also lets you click an address in your contact database to launch a MapQuest map. Better yet, you can store your data on Corex's secure servers for Web access--a great option for jet-setters. The AccuCard service sends your contacts quarterly e-mail to query for changes. Just keep in mind that if you have personal contacts in your database, they may not appreciate the intrusion. Although the documentation for the Corex CardScan Executive 700c claims that you can scan and process 20 color cards per minute, our results were considerably slower. We scanned 20 cards in 3.5 minutes. Corex also claims that the software corrects more than 21 percent more optical-character-recognition (OCR) errors than earlier versions, but we still encountered a fair number of mistakes. Though some cards recorded flawlessly, a majority contained errors in more than one data field. Still, considering all the different formats, logos, and data positions on a business card, the CardScan did an admirable job slotting information into the proper fields. And even with its flaws, fixing errors is much faster than manually entering the information. The Corex CardScan Executive 700c comes with a one-year replacement warranty. For the life of the product, you can get free technical support by making a toll call between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET or by e-mailing the company through its Web site. The well-organized Corex CardScan Web site lists a knowledge base, video tutorials, and extensive FAQs with clear explanations of common error messages. Despite the lack of a toll-free support number or extended calling hours, you can quickly find detailed answers to most common problems through the company's Web site.