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Friday, January 22, 2016

Mobile Apps for Scanning

There are free mobile apps which can be very useful and handy alternatives to using conventional scanners. We have reviewed the best of the mobile scanner apps, highlighting their features and limitations. We have used the following parameters for reviewing the Mobile Scanning Apps:


  • Quality : The scanned page should be of good quality. This is the highest priority for selection of any good scanner.
  • Multiple Pages : Does the App support scanning of multiple pages or side in one file. (Passport pages, Business card)
  • OCR (Optical Character recognition) : This feature is useful, so that the documents are scanned  as searchable texts rather than just as plain images. This feature  is useful while scanning business cards and can re-use the text\numbers in the scanned contact.
  • Edge Detection: The app should be able to easily recognize the edges of the document or any item being scanned, differentiating the background on which the item has been placed.
  • Perspective correction: The main disadvantage of using a mobile as scanner is that we cannot place the camera upright and in all cases there will be a slight tilt in the final  scan that is captured. The app should be able to correct the tilt and scan the final output as if it has been done upright.


Review Summary :


App NameQualityMultiple PagesOCREdge DetectionPerspective Correction
Office Lens Very GoodYesYesYesYes
Genius Scan GoodYesNoYesNo
CamScanner Very GoodNoYesYesYes
Tiny Scanner GoodNoYesYesYes
Google Drive (only Android has scan) GoodYesNoYesNo
EvernoteGoodNoYesYesYes
ScannableGoodNoYesYesYes



Office Lens from Microsoft :

This app from Micrsoft has Android, iOS and Windows versions. The quality of the scan is good. It has OCR , Edge detection and Perspective correction capabilities.  The only problem is that it does not support multiple pages. You can scan only one page\side at a time, using this app.Edge detection sometimes can skip some parts of the document and select only a portion.

iPhone Screenshot 2

It has different modes : Business card, Photos, Document, Whiteboard to scan different items differently. For example, in Business card mode you can scan the details on card and save it to Contacts (.vcf file is generated for exporting). The scanned output can be generated as word or excel or pdf file or can be simply shared. The only downside to this app is when producing pdf scan output. The app would prompt you to login with Microsoft credentials.  There is one alternative to using\registering a Microsoft account. Save the scan to iBooks in iOS to generate a pdf file. In all other cases the image can be shared in jpg format. The scan quality is as good as using a scanning device. The perspective correction and edge detection are automatic and can be seen while taking the scan, which keeps it ahead of its competitors. It helps online collaboration and the scan output can be uploaded to OneDrive or can be sent to other users using either mailing or messaging apps.


CamScanner

Image result for camscanner
CamScanner has mobile apps for all mobile platforms iOS, Android and Windows. The quality of scan output (pdf or images) is very good. It supports multiple page scanning into one file. To scan multiple pages \ sides of a card ina single file , runt he app in batch mode.It has OCR support and has very good edge detection and perspective correction features. But the edge detection and perspective correction happen only after the scan has been clicked . The free version adds a watermark to the pdf output. The paid version(1.99 USD$)  offers 400MB of cloud storage, ad-free and adds editing capability of the OCR results of any document and exporting as .txt file. It has additional features like setting pdf password, photo edit features, Anti-shake, Send Files to Computer through Browser and direct upload to Box, Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, OneDrive and OneNote accounts.
iPhone

The app is  user friendly and easy to start scanning with no complications. 

Genius Scan

This app is very simple and can do single page or multi page can. It has auto-edge detection after the item has been scanned and is not as good as the other apps offer this features. But we could not find anything related to OCR or search-ability. Interestingly the images can be merged and moved between the files. New images can be added to an existing file.image quality is as good as your phone. It has image enhancement features as well. Genius Scan is available for download in Android, iOS and Windows. It has collaboration features to export to cloud accounts. It does not do perspective correction and cannot import Business card for re-use in contacts. has support for directly downloading the scan from the device to a computer or other devices using Wi-Fi (both devices should be in same wifi) sharing feature through browser.


Tiny Scanner

This is a simple to use mobile scanner app available in free and paid forms. The free app has edge detection, direct widfi download (using Wi-Fi drive feature enabled), filters and muliple page scanning.The paid app, in additiona has unlimited documents upload, batch mode scanning and cloud services. There is no OCR capability or image perspective correction.The scan quality is good and can be edited further by the filter options. To scan multiple pages in free app, after a single page scan click the camera icon with '+' symbol or image with 'plus' symbol to add multiple images to the same file. Free app has limit for  scanning only two files. In paid version, batch mode can be used to scan multiple page\sides .



Other Apps which are worth mentioning are Evernote, Google drive (only Android version can scan), Scannable by Evernote.

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