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Holiday Buyer's Guide 2006, Part 5: The Mobile Stuff

Holiday Buyer's Guide 2006, Part 5: The Mobile Stuff
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Your friends at MobilityGuru bring you a bunch of the hottest, coolest and most unique gifts for friends and family on the go. Pour yourself a glass of good cheer and see what Ed, Justin, Barry and our favorite model Sarah have in store.

CardScan Executive

CardScan, the company formerly known as Corex Technologies, Inc., has long been a leader in the specialty business-card scanning market. In a nutshell, what a business card scanner does is suggested in the category name, but working with such products quickly proves their value to those who collect those little rectangular slabs of cardboard on the job.

The CardScan Executive is a classy gray and black, with sleek dimensions (5.8" x 3.5" x 1.8") and 600 dpi resolution to grab maximum detail from the business cards that it is fed. Setup is also easy, and requires only that you install the software then plug the device into an unused USB port on your desktop or notebook PC.

What makes the product really shine, however, is the software it includes. The scanned image can be integrated not only with Microsoft Outlook, Act!, GoldMine, and Lotus Notes, it also works with many PDAs right out of the box. Our testing with Outlook 2003 worked flawlessly from the get-go with the Executive dropping data from cards right into our address book without a hitch. You can even use the database that the CardScan software itself builds as-is, and search it for names, phone numbers or other field values by itself. However, we found the Outlook integration so compelling, we'd buy the product just to take advantage of that capability alone.

The only downside to the CardScan Executive is a pretty minor one: it doesn't offer a document feeder, so you must feed it your business cards by hand, one at a time. Once you've finished loading up card data, select the Process menu entry to instruct the device to recognize the content on your business card images after which you can go through them to check and correct any errors. Mark each card as verified when you're happy with it. Of the 100 or so business cards we fed the CardScan Executive during our initial testing, there were scanning errors on only three of them and all of those were minor. The scanner handled colors, odd fonts and small type with relative ease otherwise.

At an MSRP of $250 or so, with discounts occasionally available (NewEgg offers this model for under $230), the CardScan Executive makes a pretty pricey stocking stuffer. But it's a gift that any hard-working professional who collects business cards on the job will come not just to appreciate, but to love!

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