Installation is pleasingly simple with this plug-and-play peripheral. The USB-connected CardScan is compatible with Windows 98, Me, and 2000--but not with Mac OS, although the manufacturer says the software ought to work on Macs using Connectix Virtual PC. A foldout quick-start guide covers the installation in detail, but the setup was simple and involved little more than popping in the software CD and attaching the card reader to a USB port with the included cable. The heavy power brick makes the scanner less portable than we'd like, but at least Corex thoughtfully includes a set of international wall-socket adapters.
It takes about five seconds to run the calibration card (or any blank business card) through the machine, and you're ready to start scanning your business cards. From there, you can feed cards singly or in batches, to be processed after all the images have been scanned. You'll still have to feed them in, but the CardScan has a handy flip-down storage tray to catch and stack the cards as they come out.
The CardScan Executive 600c's software has more than a few impressive features. It lets you set up the scanner to synchronize your contacts with your favorite e-mail program or organizer application, such as Microsoft Outlook, Symantec Act, or Lotus Notes. The CardScan can also synchronize contacts with wireless telephones courtesy of FoneSync. You can store your contacts online at the CardScan.Net Web site, so you can access them from any PC. If you're the handheld type, you can sync with your Palm, Windows CE, or Psion devices. The software can also check for duplicate cards (a feature the competing NewSoft Presto BizCard Reader lacks).
To put the Corex CardScan Executive 600c to the test, we assembled a stack of business cards, both black-and-white and color, some with very unusually designed company logos. The 400dpi (dots per inch) CardScan plowed through the whole bunch, hardly missing a beat. The few simple errors that it did make were easily correctable via the CardScan software's neat Rolodex-style interface. Even for business cards with sideways text, the scanner's accuracy was nearly perfect. The only way we could trip up the system was by scanning a business card with handwriting on it.
Documentation for the CardScan is first rate. A six-panel setup card is more than enough to get you up and running. You can pore through the thick user guide at your leisure, although the software is intuitive enough to figure out most things without having to crack open the book.
But the scanner's one-year parts and labor warranty policy is strictly average, as is its support policies. Should you need to call tech support, it will require a toll call to the company's Massachusetts headquarters, and it's available only on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET. The company's Web site includes both help information and driver updates.
On the road or in the office, the Corex CardScan Executive 600c can eliminate business card clutter and store your contacts on your PC or handheld quickly and accurately. Although it's larger and twice as expensive as the NewSoft Presto BizCard Reader, Corex's superior card recognition and extra features offset the additional cost.