LG Scanner Mouse LSM-100 review
LG's Scanner Mouse is a wired laser mouse with a built-in hand scanner. It's also much better than other hand scanners we've seen, which have insisted on painstakingly slow and even movements and often produce jagged images. The Scanner Mouse lets you sweep across an area of text or graphics at almost any pace, displaying a live on-screen preview of your scanned content as you go.
Using technology developed by Swiss digitization specialists Dacuda, the Scanner Mouse employs a CMOS chip to take video of the page you're scanning. The video images are processed and aligned with each other in real time by software installed on your PC to make a still image. Once you've finished scanning, it'll even correct the alignment of images scanned at an angle.
The software also has integrated Optical Character Recognition (OCR), so once you’ve completed a scan, you can simply copy its text into any document. We were particularly impressed by the software's ability to turn a scanned table into individual text cells that can be pasted into an Excel spreadsheet. You can also copy and paste parts of the scan as an image and share your scans on social networks. The OCR can handle well over a hundred languages, but can't interpret handwritten text with any accuracy.
The scanner has a maximum resolution of 320dpi as well as 200dpi and 100dpi medium and low resolution modes. The higher resolutions are best for OCR accuracy when scanning small fonts, but scanning at a lower resolution reduces the storage requirements of your scanned image. This is important, as the mouse's PC interface only lets you have a limited amount of memory for each scan. The amount of memory used is indicated by an on-screen progress bar alongside your scanned image as it appears on your monitor, so you know when you're about to run out of room.
The speed at which the scanning application runs is highly dependent on your PC's performance; the video preview was jerky on an AMD E350-based PC but much smoother on an Intel Core i5-2500K. Another limiting factor is the amount of memory allocated to the scanner, which determines the size of the area you can scan. The amount of memory is determined automatically after the scanner software analyses your system, but you can increase this memory allocation yourself - the program crashed when we increased it too far, though.
The Scanner Mouse's biggest problem is that isn't all that comfortable to use as a mouse. It's perfectly functional, and you can get used to it, but its flat sides and shiny surface compare poorly to the ergonomic moulding of other pointing devices. As well as the usual mouse buttons, there are two buttons on the left-hand side. One switches the mouse into scanner mode and the other performs common fourth-button functions such as moving back a page in your web browser. The mouse wheel becomes a zoom control in scan mode.
The Scanner Mouse is the best hand scanner we've seen and its OCR is incredibly accurate, making it a brilliant tool for anyone who wants to scan snippets of text, images, or tables. However, the mouse part of the product seems almost redundant. It saves on USB ports and is handy if you're on the move and don't want to stuff too much kit into your laptop bag, but the LSM-100 would be just as useful if it was a scanner without a built-in mouse.
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