No matter how good scanner pens are, it's hard not to think of them as a solution looking for a problem. It's easier to use a flatbed scanner to scan a page from a book and then transform it into editable electronic text using OCR software, than get the text into your computer line by line with a scanner pen. The C Pen 200, however, is a lot more versatile than many models we've looked at, and we were impressed by how well it worked.
The unit itself is a bit larger than a chunky highlighter pen and fits nicely in the hand, but because there's no nib it does feel strange at first. Scanning text is a simple matter of switching the pen on and pressing a button as you run it along each line of text. Text recognition was accurate, particularly when scanning articles printed in Times or Arial fonts, and it even coped with white-on-black text.
Text appears on the pen's screen, which can display up to two lines, and can be saved in its 2Mb of internal memory. Text can then be transferred to your PC using an infrared link or scanned into a word processor line by line.
The pen really comes into its own with its 'digital writing' feature.By tracing the pen's movement over a surface, it is able to work out which letter, number or symbol you are 'writing'. We found it tricky to keep to the manual's how-to-write guidelines when drawing letters, but the results were fairly accurate in any case.
The versatility doesn't end there either, adding an optional foreign language dictionary turns the pen into a translator, changing scanned text word by word into your chosen tongue, French, for example. There's also an address book - ideal for scanning business cards and transferring the information to Outlook.
Contact: Megapixels, 01425 674616
Minimum requirements:Windows 95, 10Mb of hard disk space, CD-ROM drive, external infrared adaptor or infrared port for file transfer