Sunday, October 17, 2010

Genius Scan


To many people a scanner is one of those things they either always need and don't have but don't need enough to want to buy. That's what makes cheap all-in-one printers so good useful : ). When you're on the road then you got your iPhone. The Genius Scan utility by Grizzly Software is just that: a portable scanner.

When you start it up, Genius Scan defaults to a documents directory. Here it'll list all your previously scanned documents and give you two options to create new scans. The first is using the camera while the second is using a picture you've taken beforehand. The camera option is just a shortcut to the iPhone default camera interface while the from library is a shortcut to the photo albums directory. To "scan" a new document essentially means to take a picture of the document. The software then applies useful post-processing. As such naturally you'll still need to take care when taking your picture by ensuring the page is evenly lit and positioning it more or less directly facing the camera.

After you've taken the picture, a handy review shows up that provides a shortcut to retake the photo, very thoughtful. If you use the picture or chose a previously taken picture, you'll then go to the orientation and cropping screen. An orange box will overlay your image. Drag the corners of the box such that the box forms a close perimeter of the document. Selecting the use in the upper right corner will perform a crop and perspective correction on the image making the document flat as if it was scanned.

The program by default performs a "color" enhancement on the image which is not very useful since all it seems to do is lower the color bit depth. Selecting the enhancement option black and white applies gray scale and high contrast to the image which is far more useful. It really looks like a scanned piece of paper. Options along the bottom allow you to rotate the image and save it to your photo-albums, as a "document", or to send it instantly in an email as a picture. Sending it as an email bring up the iPhone default send mail interface and automatically attach the image. Saving it as a "document" is even more useful.

Documents in genius scan are basically groups of scans. So if you scan a book, you can group all the pages into one document. In the main screen, you can choose a document then the send button on the bottom right and you'll be given the option to send it as a pdf. This will bring up the iPhone default send mail interface with the pdf automatically attached. In the documents screen you can also rearrange your scans with the edit button on the top right.

There are a lot of scanning applications out there but Genius Scan is certainly among the best. It's very professional, very stable, and completely usable. This isn't an app you will have just for because it's cool. This is an app that really has its uses. It's free, unlike a real scanner, so use it!

Runs on iOS 4.1: Yes
HD for retina display: Yes
Price: Free
Overall rating: Excellent

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