IRISPen Executive Review

Written by: Dave Cryer

Categories: Reviews

irispen.pngThings that save me time are always high on my list of priorities. When presented with a device that could turn typed documents into useful pieces of text I was up for taking a good look. The product is the IRISPen Executive, which is a small handheld pen type scanner, with a small scanning head that captures three or four lines of text at a time.

From the offset, the IRISPen may not sound that impressive, but it is the usefulness of this little device that wins me over. More often than not I find myself reading something in a magazine and wanting to quote it in an article I am writing, or perhaps email it to a friend or colleague. Under normal circumstances I would have to type it, or scan it and send as an image. With IRISPen I can slide the scanning head over the text and, voila! The text is transferred into MS Word or my email application (for example). This alone saves me so much time.

The pen itself is very light and compact. It connects to your PC or Mac via a USB connection and after a quick install of the included software you are good to go. The printed Quick Start Guide talks you through the simple installation, followed by calibrating the pen scanner. There is also a proper printed and fully illustrated manual, which is great, as so many products nowadays rely on PDF manuals. This is a nice inclusion.

The pen has two buttons on it that can be assigned to various functions, plus the tip is pressure sensitive, so when you push it onto a page and scroll to start scanning, it senses this automatically. Scanning is simplicity in itself. You position your cursor on-screen where you want the scanned text to appear, then start scanning. The text is pulled straight into the application. It is pretty quick and can handle scanning 3.15-inches per second. Accuracy is excellent. The software claims to recognize up to 1,000 characters per second. I had no way of measuring this, but testing scans from various magazines and books I completed twenty scans. During this test I had only three incorrect words, which were easily corrected.

The software has some great features on top of the simple scanning. Things like the ability to read and retype barcodes, recognition of hand written numbers, and even setting pre-defined characters to be automatically erased or replaced in a document.

Now, I am going to be honest here and let you know my initial impressions before I knew the IRISPen was on its way to me. I thought long and hard about how and why I would recommend such a device. It is not cordless and seemed just to simple to have any real use. Well, what a revelation, the only way I can describe the major selling point of the IRISPen is as follows: If you want a small, lightweight scanner, that will save you hours and hours of retyping material that is already printed, buy one. If you often need to quote things you have read, buy one. If you need a flexible, time saving device, that will not break the bank, buy one. Enough said!

Product: IRISPen Executive
Price: $199.99
Supplied by: I.R.I.S. s.a
Contact: 800-447 4744

There are 7 comments on IRISPen Executive Review:

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  1. rick | Jan 19 2007 - 12:26

    Nice review, Thanks! I guess you did not have the chance to test the “non executive” version, but I would be interested to know if the accuracy is the same in both. And I guess installing and using the software in your mac went without any glitches?

    For a future review, I would be interested in the Zoom H4 mobile digital recorder.

  2. Dave | Jan 19 2007 - 12:30

    Hello Rick, Thanks for the feedback. I did not test the non exec version, but on the accuracy front it should be the same. Installation was also straightforward with no hitches. Hope this helps. Dave.

  3. Nintapple | Jan 19 2007 - 01:06

    This kind of device has existed for years. I remember a classmate using this 6 years ago and being lectured by a teacher on how that was an inadequate way to take notes.

    It’s nothing new and the one you reviewed is far too overpriced to have any kind of mass market appeal.

  4. Dave | Jan 19 2007 - 01:33

    I stand by the review, that for me, and others, it will prove to be a great timesaver, maybe not for everyone.

  5. Steve | Jan 19 2007 - 02:42

    I own one, and was equally excited at the prospect of organizing my printed journal articles. In practice, however, the bulky hardware, cumbersome proprietary software (and inadequate plug-in), as well as the fact that it requires a computer when scanning, made it very inconvenient for daily use.

    For use in quotes, it also poses a peculiar situation: Using this device is cumbersome for quotes that stretch more than 3-4 lines. For any longer lines, it’s easier to either find a PDF file or use a scanned copy and OCR. And for quotes that are only 1-2 lines, typing it yourself will be much faster.

    It may be interesting if it had an on-board memory to store images, but a phone cam can already store a legible copy of a document away from my computer. So adding this feature will not confer any advantage to the device.

    All in all, selective OCR may sound like a good idea at first, but its use in real life is severely limited. Please be warned.

  6. Tom | Jan 19 2007 - 07:21

    Thanks for this review. Will save me the trouble of placing a full-size scanner in my briefcase. Could have used one just this afternoon.

  7. Nathan | Jan 23 2007 - 02:09

    This thing is ugly! I know OCR can be very time saving, and time equals money, and this thing is expensive, but if I was going to spend that much money on something, I would like it to look better than that thing! You can’t just slap the word “Executive” on the end of a product name and expect it to be Professional. It looks very blue-collar, like scanner device for a POS at your local convienient store. Also it needs to be portable. Put some flash memory and a rechageable lithium ion on it. For $300, there should be Bluetooth on it as well. I would rather see it the size of a cell phone rather than have a wire hanging off of it, constantly in my way, like the pens at the bank.