Gadgets 933

Published on April 3rd, 2010 | by Greg


Camera, Scanner, Presenter: The HoverCam X500

We can appreciate ancient history as much as the next guy but at some point, something’s gotta give. We all remember the days of overhead projectors and the inconvenience of heavy and stationary flatbed scanners. Fast forward to the present and straight from CES2010, we present the HoverCam X500 USB Scanner.

The HoverCam X500 can be summed up in three words; fast, straightforward, and flexible. Instead of waiting for your personal flatbed scanner to warm up and decide if it’s on vacation time and then slowly wave the monotonous wand up and down, we had nearly instant results. The X500 has a five megapixel sensor mounted to a swing arm that can either scan and recognize the picture or keep close watch on anything on the surface area underneath the camera. We found that copying important receipts and documents was done in a matter of seconds and with the touch of a button. We appreciated the built-in anti-skew program and were impressed that documents of almost any size or thickness could be scanned and trimmed without hassle (when using the included rubber mat, a bit of a pain but optional).

Images can be dragged and dropped into folders of your choice with PDFs magically appearing, and Google’s OCR is used to help take that mess of text and make it editable in the word processing program of your choice. Harry Houdini would be flabbergasted. We also appreciated that the Hovercam helped to eliminate clutter- and we hate clutter, especially desk clutter. This scanner folds up neatly, stores easily, is reasonably portable and provides a realistic solution to the olden days of paper pushing and filing. The scans aren’t as sharp as some other scanners we’ve enjoyed- it doesn’t handle photos as well as some nor the text support of others.

While we wouldn’t quite volunteer to scan loads of documents- the lack of an automatic feeder means that stacks of paper aren’t scanned particularly quickly. But on the upside, there is an interesting added bonus. Because the system is based on a typical digital camera, it can also be used to capture live video. Now, the quality isn’t great, especially for moving objects, but the goal isn’t to grab action. With a few simple steps (and their free software based on Adobe AIR), you can easily setup a full screen presentation.

There is a built-in microphone, which serves in a pinch but certainly isn’t a substitute for a good one. We also found ourselves wanting some lighting, preferably some LED’s to accompany it and help even out the uneven lighting conditions in the real world.

This version works well for the office and the sister version (the HoverCam X300) was designed more for personal use with an 150dpi equivalent versus the HoverCam X500 (5MP) which has a 600dpi equivalent. You can purchase online at Amazon for under $200, a pretty good bargain for an interesting scanner. Digitize and archive your old files and watch the paper trail fall away- perfect for tax season. But as always, TrulyObscure would like you to recycle.

About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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