SAN FRANCISCO (05/01/2000) - Business cards, memos, charts, magazine articles--you want the information you collect while away from your desk, but you don't want to lug a notebook or all that paper back to the office. Wizcom Technologies Ltd. offers a better way to capture and organize text information: the $130 QuickLink Pen Personal Scanner, a compact and practical handheld text scanner with built-in optical character recognition capabilities. The pen's internal memory can store up to 1000 pages of scanned text for eventual transfer to your PC. And unlike many pen scanners, it doubles as an address book and syncs easily with desktop PIMs, browsers, word processors, and spreadsheet apps.
The included Wizcom software, which communicates with your PC via the bundled serial port interface or infrared, makes syncing the unit to your PC simple.
The pen itself can be hot-plugged, so you don't need to reboot each time you attach it. If you buy the QuickLink Pen directly from Wizcom's Web site, the company will throw in a $30 USB adapter free. The pen integrates 2MB of flash memory, which is user-upgradable to 4MB for $50 or to 8MB for $79. The 3-ounce pen scanner runs on two AAA batteries.
The device takes some getting used to. In my first tests with a shipping unit, the error rate was unacceptably high for a portable device equipped with few buttons for making changes. But with some practice, I reduced the error rate to less than 5 percent--fine for any OCR package.
If you collect a lot of text material away from the office, the QuickLink Pen can lighten your load and help you get that information organized.
Wizcom QuickLink Pen Personal Scanner
PRO: Very light, syncs well with PC.
CON: Not cheap, takes user a while to get the hang of scanning.
VALUE: Nice option for frequent, on-the-go scanning needs.
Street price: $130