QuickLink Pen

That's what data pens are all about. The QuickLink Pen is portable, about half the size of a mobile phone. It consists of a battery-powered scanner and some memory, together with built-in optical character recognition (OCR) and file management software. You can take the pen with you when you are out on the road, and when some text that you need passes your eyes, you simply scan it into the pen. The pen then converts the data into computer-readable text and "shows you the result on its LCD screen, allowing you to correct or rescan it before saving it as a file. When you get back to your computer, you simply connect the pen and download the data directly into your word processor.

The QuickLink pen is one of the newest such devices on the market and is a clone of its rival, the CPen. Where the CPen has no moving parts, the QuickLink has a roller-based scanning head, which make it appear much more prone to being damaged by misuse. Aside from this, the two units are much the same in appearance. The QuickLink connects to your computer either by serial port or by infrared connection.

The proprietary connection software is well thought out, and installed so quickly that I was downloading captured text within five minutes of opening the box.

The pen comes with 2MB of RAM on-board, which should allow scanning of a fair-sized book before having to download, but can be upgraded with up to another 8MB in the form of Flash Memory cards.

Power is provided by two AAA batteries. All in all, the QuickLink is a reasonable if not overly flashy piece of equipment.

The greatest problem with the QuickLink is accuracy. I found that, on average, each line of text needed at least two corrections and that fixing scanned text in a word processor ate quite noticeably into the time saved by the pen. As far as speed goes, the QuickLink was fast enough, but no world beater, scanning and processing one line of text every 12 seconds. When speed and accuracy are taken into account, the QuickLink suffers in comparison with the CPen.

If you're in the market for a data pen, I recommend playing with both in a shop, and basing your final choice on personal preference.

QuickLink Pen

Price: $399

Distributor: Wizcom Technologies

Phone: 1800 092 000

URL: www.wizcom.com.au

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Alex Rieneck

PC World

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