IRISPen Air 7 Smart Wireless Pen Scanner

6.3 IRISPen Air 7 Smart Wireless Pen Scanner

Pros

  • When it works, it works well
  • Easy setup
  • Works with mobile and desktop platforms

Cons

  • Difficult to use
  • High priced
Ease of Use
Design
Price
Packaging

Handheld scanner great for portability, but leaves user frustrated

In this increasingly digital world, we are finding less and less paper hanging about. It is unfortunate that there is some information that is just not found anywhere else but on paper. For me, that is a negative because of two reasons, one I hate killing trees for paper and two the clutter having a bunch of paper around drives me batty. So, I’ve been trying to find technology that allows me to scan what I need so that I can throw away (or recycle) the paper I don’t. The IRISPen Air 7 seems to be a good option for those times that I simply have to scan a piece of paper on the go.

IRISPen Air 7 Smart Wireless Pen Scanner REVIEW

Details

The IRISPen Air 7 is a cordless, digital pen that weighs merely 28 grams. With it, you can copy/paste text from books, magazines, etc., straight to your smartphone or computer. To use it, you simply run the pen over the text you want to scan and press so that the red light appears. IRISPen can scan any kind of document. It will use its OCR technology to recognize the text and then turn it into audio so you can simply listen to your scanned text. IRISPen can also translate text into 40 different languages, plus, it will recognize over 130 languages when it scans. In addition to text, the pen can scan small graphics and even barcodes. It’s programmed to recognize MICR CMC-7 font barcodes, which is what is used for bank codes, account numbers, and check control indicators. The IRISPen is compatible with mobile and desktop systems alike.

IRISPen Air 7 Smart Wireless Pen Scanner REVIEW

System requirements include:

For Windows

  • Intel® Pentium® based PC or equivalent recommended
  • Microsoft® Windows® 10, 8, 7.
  • 1GB of available hard-disk space
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • At least one USB port available
  • Internet connection for activation/ translation/text-to-speech

For Macintosh

  • Mac® OS X (10.8 or above) –
  • Intel Core 2 Duo 1.4 GHz (MacBook Air 3.1) or Intel Core Duo 1.8 GHz (MacBook Pro 1.1)
  • At least one USB port available
  • 2GB of RAM –
  • 1GB of available hard-disk space

For iOS devices

  • Hardware: iPhone (6S, 6S Plus, 6, 6 Plus, 5S, 5C), iPad (Air 2, Air, Mini 3, Mini 2, Mini)
  • iOS: 7, 8, 9 & above

For Android devices

  • OS: KitKat 4.4.2 and above
  • Hardware: see compatibility list

IRISPen Air 7 Smart Wireless Pen Scanner REVIEW

User Experience

The IRISPen comes in a heavily branded, lightweight box. To be honest, the packaging was a little tough to get through. I like that you can see the product through the packaging, but think it could be a little more user-friendly. In addition to the pen scanner, Iris includes a USB/Micro USB cable for charging, a Bluetooth dongle (for PC & Mac under LTE), activation number and getting started guide. In order to get started, you have to first download the appropriate software to your system. I chose to use my iPhone so I downloaded the app from the App Store. If you want to use the desktop systems listed, you will have to download the software from Iris’s website.

After I installed the app on my iPhone and the IRISPen was charged, I had to connect the two. IRISPen connects through Bluetooth and in order to have it recognized by your phone, you have to click the scanner against a surface for approximately 3 seconds and then tap ‘connect’ in the app. You will then be instructed to select whether or not you will be using your left or right hand and you will be walked through a quick practice scan. If you move too fast or too slow, the app will give you a warning that your movements aren’t correct. I had to adjust my speed and steadiness quite a few times.

IRISPen Air 7 Smart Wireless Pen Scanner REVIEW

As my main test, I pulled out my copy of Steve Jobs by Walter Issacson. I opened the book to a random chapter and tried to scan the title. You can see from the screenshot that it did not scan very well. I don’t know if this was due to my personal movements or the scanner but it just didn’t turn out very well. After I got the hang of how the pen wanted me to scan, I tried a few lines of text from the book. The first test was from the same page as the chapter title. I got some ‘unsuccessful scan’ errors and some inaccurate text interpretations along with good scans. The lines of text I was trying to scan read:

BUILDING THE MAC
Competition
Reflecting its cheeky confidence, Apple took out a full-page ad in
The Journey is the Reward

What I got was:

IRISPen Air 7 Smart Wireless Pen Scanner REVIEW

After this test, I decided to open the book to a different page — the foreword — and try scanning again. My thought was that maybe it would be more accurate if the text had more blank space on the page then it would be able to interpret easier. Unfortunately, I had some errors again. I have a picture below of the passage I was attempting to scan alongside the screenshots from the app of how the scans turned out. The first time I scanned the passage, I did it out of order. The second time, I tried to go straight down the page. I found that you have to start the scan just before the first letter of the first word you want to scan and not leave any blank space otherwise it won’t pick up the scan at all.

IRISPen Air 7 Smart Wireless Pen Scanner REVIEW

Conclusions

As much as I like the flexibility of having a portable scanner in my pocket, the IrisPen Air 7 is a little inconvenient because of its inconsistency with the quality of scans. If you need to have something like this for a very quick and easy scan job, it works fine. And, I also feel that with practice, one can improve their technique with the IRISPen. But, don’t expect this to be a replacement for larger, more details scanners. I found myself getting frustrated with the learning curve and that tainted my overall experience. Even though there really isn’t anything to compare it to product-wise, I think this is priced a bit high.  It’s a good option for traveling emergencies because when it works, it works well.

For more information, visit irislink.com.
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