I first encountered Scanmarkers when I was at university, and elbows-deep in research as I often was, they seemed like a God-send of an invention. Now, more years later than I’d care to mention, the Scanmarker Air has taken everything that was fantastic about this predecessor and improved upon it: this is more pleasant to hold, it works faster, smoother, with greater accuracy, and across the board, it has brought that game-changer from my uni years into the modern age.
For those who don’t know, the Scanmarker is essentially a scanner build into a highlighter, but it’s so much more than that. As you’re reading, you can slide this digital highlighter along a line of text, and the Scanmarker will transpose that text into a Word document or similar. The Scanmarker Air is compatible with any application that deals with text (on PC, Mac, Apple iOS and Android), or you can also scan into the pen’s accompanying app.
This makes a massive difference to work and research: instead of using a regular highlighter to pick out text that you must then write up into notes, the Scanmarker does the whole process for you, all in the same easy highlighting motion. What I love about its design is that it doesn’t introduce a new, complicated or interrupting motion into the moment of reading: you’re able to sweep the Scanmarker over text without needing to stop reading or do anything complicated, and it keeps the experience of sitting and reading feeling the same as ever (if not even more relaxing), even though your progress has been revolutionized.
The Scanmarker is not only useful for quickly recording text as you read: if you are dyslexic or for any other reason would like to hear some text read to you, the Scanmarker can do this. It can also translate over 40 languages for you on the go! If all of that wasn’t enough, its functionality has been made yet more versatile by making it able to read barcodes as well as, of course, letters and numbers.
The scanning has gotten far smoother than it was in my day! The Scanmarker Air can recognise 3000 characters per minute, and can transpose a full line of text within a second. There’s little to no sense of waiting for the app to catch up with you. The pen-tip scanner has a 1cm field of view, which means it can register font up to size 24pt, with a minimum size of 6pt. This is extremely flexible, enabling the pen to deal with most books.
Unlike the regular Scanmarker, which is only available in black, the Scanmarker Air is available in black, blue, cyan, green, white and pink. It looks and feels like a highlighter, and a lovely sleek one, at that. It’s lightweight, wireless (charged by USB) and easy to use – just connect via Bluetooth (I swear you have to install software back in my day!). You will need to check you meet the minimum requirements with your operating system, but these requirements are pretty broad and forgiving: for example, you require a minimum of Windows 7, Android 5, iOS 8, iPhone 4 – aka, Scanmarker has been as inclusive as it can be. Its battery life is about 7 days of use, which is awesome and means it should be unlikely that you’re ever caught out.
The Scanmarker was already an awesome product, but the Scanmarker Air is lighter, more comfortable to hold, more convenient, and unlike the regular Scanmarker, it’s wireless! This is a seriously useful tool for a number of reasons, and now, it’s easier to use than ever, so there’s no reason not to reach for it when you’re working, even if you’re a groggy uni student like I used to be.
5/5, as useful as the cup of coffee that’s keeping you alive as you work
Scans lines of text into any text program/app
Text is editable, not an image
Can read letters, numbers and barcodes
Can turn text into audio as you read
Can translate 40 languages
Light and comfortable
Connects via Bluetooth
Broad device compatability
No disruption to the reading process
Lots of colour options
Your new best friend