WizCom QuickLink Pen Text Scanner review:

WizCom QuickLink Pen Text Scanner

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CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Cordless design; full-featured menus; big, easy-to-read screen.

The Bad A bit heavy and bulky; text-recognition delay can slow scanning.

The Bottom Line While its brief recognition delay and slightly oversized design are somewhat discouraging, the QuickLink Pen's flexibility and extra touches make it the best pen scanner we've seen yet.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

6.5 Overall
Editors' note: We have updated the ratings of this product to reflect changes in this category. (5/3/04)

The QuickLink Pen from WizCom Technologies is for people who need flatbed-scanning capabilities in a device the size of a highlighter. This may be a tall order, but the $159 QuickLink fills it. Whether you're a student trying to capture relevant facts from a textbook or a businessperson who's stumbled across the perfect quote while on a plane, this device is a far better solution than a desktop scanner combined with pricey optical character recognition (OCR) software. The QuickLink Pen from WizCom Technologies is for people who need flatbed-scanning capabilities in a device the size of a highlighter. This may be a tall order, but the $159 QuickLink fills it. Whether you're a student trying to capture relevant facts from a textbook or a businessperson who's stumbled across the perfect quote while on a plane, this device is a far better solution than a desktop scanner combined with pricey optical character recognition (OCR) software.

Portable and Powerful
The unit measures a manageable 1.5 inches in width, with a thickness of 1 inch. Despite its size, the QuickLink Pen accepts flash memory cards that store an astounding amount of text and that add features such as dictionary lookup for scanned words. The device itself ships with 2MB of onboard flash memory that can be updated with new features, some of which WizCom expects to post freely on the company's Web site. Additionally, the QuickLink Pen's screen is sizable compared to those of other scanners: nearly 1 inch high by 2.5 inches wide. You can even adjust the QuickLink so that the screen will invert to make it usable by lefties.

The QuickLink works like all pen scanners: you slide the pen across lines of text on a page, and the pen converts the scan into editable text. We found that the QuickLink did an average job of character recognition; every once in a while, we discovered a line of text that the pen couldn't seem to recognize. In the worst cases, for text that won't scan, you can correct text directly on the unit using an awkward but functional menu.

Transferring text is done either with an infrared (IR) connection to your laptop, PDA, or PC or via a serial port connection to your PC. We had no trouble with the serial port connection, and the bundled desktop software makes quick work of moving software from your pen to your PC. We had trouble using the IR transfer to send text to our Windows CE handheld, but otherwise, it worked fine.

Full of Features
As far as features go, the WizCom is the most functional pen scanner we've seen. Its best trait is the table function, which lets you scan cells of information in a table and preserve the layout when you transfer the data to your PC. Business types in particular should like this function, which quickly takes you from printed page to spreadsheet. In addition to basic text capture, which allows you to store scanned text in named files called notes, the pen offers convenient built-in functions, such as an address book (essentially a form-based wizard for scanning business cards) and a place to store Web addresses.

Of the handful of pen scanners we've seen, the QuickLink Pen is the best yet. If WizCom could make it a little smaller and lighter, the device would be even better. But as it stands, it's a great choice.

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