Portable scanners have created their own niche in the market, with the feasibility and ease of scanning that they provide on the go. iBall recently launched their ClickScan A3, a portable smart scanner that looks like a pretty neat contraption, but is it as useful as it looks? Let’s find out.
A 5mp camera
Design and Build Quality
The ClickScan A3 is by no means portable, light weight or compact. It’s got an incredibly heavy base and frame to be labelled as any of those. Plus, it requires connectivity to a computer, a Windows PC in particular, for it to be able to work. The ClickScan comes in a black casing with a matte finish and might suit your office desk more than an outdoor field trip. The build quality is good enough with the support panels that need to remain steady while capturing a photo and the frame is pretty rigid and tough.
The base is pretty sturdy but limits portability
This portable scanner comes with a rotating head that houses a camera with a 5 mega pixel CMOS Active Pixel image Sensor and eight LED lights. It’s got a manual focus ring as well and an adjustable height for different image sizes. The USB port and LED button is located at the base of the device and it comes with a mat with different sizes on it. The ClickScan is made out of pretty durable materials, so as far as the build is concerned, you’ll be rest assured that the ClickScan isn’t going to break down any time soon.
The soft pad
The ClickScan A3 is a document scanner that captures any document up to A3 size at high resolution. Besides documents, it can be used to capture objects up to A3 sizes too. A video recording function is possible as well and you can record the progress of any operation or demo you plan to undertake under that camera. The scanner also comes with an Optical Character Recognition feature that helps you convert images containing text into characters that you can edit on your PC.
A3, A4 and A5 sizes available
The scanner supports up to A3 size of images with a resolution of 2592 x 1944 pixels with a variable frame rate (depending on screen size) for video recordings. It uses the USB 2.0 interface and supports a wide variety of image formats including JPG, BMP, TIF, PDF, GIF, PNG, TGA and PCX. The ClickScan comes with a 3G1P + IR lens and works on DC 5V power supply.
Setting up the ClickScan is pretty easy. Plug in the USB, install the software from the bundled CD and you’re good to go. However, it’s important to mention that there is no software at the moment for Mac users. Pretty loaded in features, but does it match up in performance? Let’s find out.
The scanning software
Now, this is the section where we were absolutely disappointed with the ClickScan. Firstly, it leaves too much work to the user. You have to manually adjust the paper on the soft pad, which itself gets creased, leaving a lot of adjustment related problems. Secondly, you need to get the orientation correct for it to come on your computer screen properly. And thirdly, you need ample amount of light to fall on your subject, because the camera sensor is definitely one of the poorest we have seen. Images captured had either a yellow or purple hue to it, or were overly bright and if you’re doing something as simple as scanning, you don’t need to adjust and edit a lot.
Not an easy job
The software is essential and without connecting the ClickScan to your computer, it’s pretty much just paperweight. The software in itself is pretty buggy and not user friendly. The images appear pretty choppy and with a slow frame rate video recording is definitely a no go. Also, the OCR software didn’t work the way we hoped it would. Text wasn’t captured properly again leaving a lot of editing and checking at the user’s end.
For the images that did get scanned, detailing was good enough but nothing worthy of that price tag. The manual focus works in case images appear blurry but the overall photo had a lot of grain in it. A big performance let down.
A table lamp?
The iBall ClickScan is priced at Rs. 9,990 (MRP). It’s an extremely expensive device for a scanner considering you get a simple AIO for as little as Rs. 5,700. Take for example, the Canon Pixma E500. Though it may not be ‘portable’, we’ll assure you this one isn’t either. Portable alternatives include the Portronics Scanny series. The Portronics Scanny 3 is a pretty good device and is cheaper as well. As far as the ClickScan is concerned, we’d recommend you’d give this one a miss.
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