Back in the good old days of my very early teaching career, I had this wild idea that teachers could digitise text from worksheets and link them to a Word Document via the hyperlink option. Students could click on the links and get their work in electronic format. For my master plan to work I needed something to change our grubby old photocopied thousands of times worksheets from 1982 (you know the ones) into digital, editable text. I found a cool program called AABBY Finereader which did exactly that. Several years later, AABBY and I have reunited, although this time their scanner app FineScanner is getting the once over.
I do love an app which streamlines my life and de-clutters it from the hell which is otherwise known as paper, and my current weapon of choice in this crusade is Scanner Pro by Readdle. I was interested to see how AABBY’s FineScanner would stack up against it, given that AABBY have a long and distinguished history in converting paper to digital.
Firstly, the app itself. FineScanner has all of the options that you would expect from a modern scanner app. It links to all major cloud services, it can output in either JPEG or PDF, it has a nifty ‘email scan to myself’ option, where you can enter your email in the settings, click the button and the scan will fly off to your inbox. The user interface is very slick and has the now standard iOS7 flat treatment. There is also an interesting feature where you hold down the camera button to take a scan and the app will wait until your iPad is in focus before it takes the picture. I like the idea here because pressing the button in a normal scanner app sometimes results in a blurred image, although occasionally I did come across rather a large delay between holding the button and the scan being taken.
I have tried a few scanner apps out and as said above, Scanner Pro is still my go-to option, mainly because of its speed and quality, so I thought I would compare the two. Please bear in mind, my test is extremely un-scientific, but it does replicate an end user (in other words I was holding the iPad). Lighting conditions, and position of the document were kept the same throughout.
This is obviously a big one. Scanner Pro on is the left, FineScanner is on the right. Both are zoomed in as far as the app will let me. FineScanner did fine. As you can see from the pictures, the quality isn’t quite the same as Scanner Pro but it’s not far off.
Auto detect edges
Scanner Pro on the left, FineScanner on the right. Again, FineScanner did OK, but you can see the top edge wasn’t quite detected properly. This isn’t a massive issue since you can manually change the edge of the scan. Scanner Pro wins this one again as the auto detect is live while you are scanning, meaning you don’t have to have an extra screen where you sort this out. This is a marginal time saver.
Upload to cloud service
Both apps uploaded a PDF scan to my Google Drive account quickly and with no issues.
Scanner Pro is a better app in my opinion, just because I want to get things done fast and accurately. AABBY FineScanner is not far off though and if there is a significant price difference between the two then it might be worth considering. Also, FineScanner certainly sits a respectable second place in all of the scanner apps I have tried in the past.
However, what I really want to see is an app that combines fast scanning with accurate OCR.
FineScanner is available on the App Store from this link and it is currently free.
Disclosure: I downloaded FineScanner whilst it was free and bought Scanner Pro with my hard earned cash.
Credit to Capcom for the Street Fighter II image and AABBY and Readdle for the app icons.