Atiz Scandock - Robot Atiz Scandock scanner

Describe :
Introducing Scandock, the best way to scan without the need for a PC. Scandock turns your phone into a professional level scanner.

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Scanning

Once you have the unit put together, it offers an elegant designer look to complement your décor. The only additional setup step is to plug in the power adaptor for the LEDs and download the Scandock app from the Google Play Store.

I ran into some problems with the Scandock for Android app running on a Samsung Galaxy S III phone. Scanned images don't always show up where they're supposed to right away for example. To get to them, you have to leave the app and relaunch it. It also crashed several times during my tests. However, this sort of bugginess is typical for 1.0 versions of any software, and Atiz is working on fixing bugs as they show up.

The app also has a noticeable learning curve, which is another issue that Atiz says it's aware of and working on. Once you get familiar with it, however, it's acceptably easy to use, as long as you don't need to do something it isn't designed for, like moving a batch of scans to your computer.

One of the more sophisticated features in the app is automatic color correction. The Scandock hardware includes a strip at the top with blocks of color and levels of gray. The software knows what those colors and gray levels are supposed to be, and can, in theory at least, use it to automatically adjust color in the scanned image. If you prefer, you can also turn processing off and use the raw scan instead.

One potential issue for the Scandock is that because there's a fixed distance between the platform where the phone is and the scan bed below, any given phone may or may not work with it, depending on the phone's field of view. In my tests, the Galaxy S III worked nicely, but neither a Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX nor an HTC Droid Incredible could see the entire scan bed.

Performance

Scan quality with the Scandock will depend partly on your phone and partly on the Scandock app. The app did a good job with both cropping and color with some of the photos in our standard test suite. However it had problems with others. In particular, on photos with dark areas along one or more edges, it couldn't find the edges of the photos to crop them, and colors came out dark and oversaturated, to the point of being a little muddy. If you run into that problem, you can turn the automatic processing off and use the app's manual cropping feature, but it's not easy to crop the image well on such a small screen.

The app doesn't include an optical recognition (OCR) feature, so any results for OCR will vary not just with the phone you use but with the OCR software you pick. For my tests, using our standard OCR test documents, I moved the files to a PC (with some effort) and used Abbyy FineReader 9.0 to recognize the text.

The results were much worse than with most standard scanners, with the combination of Scandock, phone, and FineReader failing to read either our Times New Roman or Arial test pages even at sizes as large as 12 points without making at least one mistake. On the plus side, it made only a few mistakes at 12 points in each font. But if I needed to correct the mistakes as part of the OCR step, I'd definitely want to be typing on a full-size keyboard on a PC rather than be stuck with the small smartphone screen the Scandock app assumes you'll want to use.

Whether you'll like this overall approach to scanning will depend both on how you like to work and what you have to do with the scans once you have them. If you like the basic approach, the Atiz Scandock for Android will certainly be of interest. The app needs some work, and I look forward to seeing later, better versions. The good news is that the hardware side of the package offers a solid foundation for Atiz to build on.

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