Scanning pens vs. scanning apps: What are the pros and cons?

Featured in

    Learn all about scanning pens vs. scanning apps, their pros and cons, and which tool is best for you.

    Scanning pens vs. scanning apps: What are the pros and cons?

    People with learning disabilities often have reading difficulties. Fortunately, improving reading comprehension can help make studying easier and faster. Technologies like Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and smartphones have done wonders in the field of accessibility.

    Using the right tech can equip people with user-friendly assistive aids for learning, entertainment, and leisure. Scanning pens and scanning apps are two of these helpful modern technologies.

    Although they perform similar tasks, their usability and execution differ. Understanding how they work is crucial to selecting the best technology for your needs.

    What are scanning pens?

    A scanning pen or reading pen is a device about the size of a highlighter. It uses optical character recognition or OCR technology to take pictures of written text and turn it into digital text.

    Users can edit, translate, or have the text read aloud based on the scanner software behind the pen. This software is one of the most important features, especially for kids or students with dyslexia. A USB cable is generally enough to quickly upload these digital files.

    The pros and cons of scanning pens

    Stand-alone scanning pens have advantages and disadvantages.

    Pros include:

    • Discrete – Reading pens usually have sleek, modern designs. They’re easy to use and conceal, and some even come with headphone jacks for read-aloud applications. The design makes it simple to use without alerting others of having reading difficulties.

    • Portable – The small size and light weight allow users to carry scanning pens in their pockets. They can take the pens anywhere and use them in various situations.

    • Integrated text to speech – Pens with built-in text to speech improve reading comprehension in people with reading difficulties like dyslexia.

    • Accuracy – As technology advances, scanning pens can recognize words with greater accuracy. That means people with dyslexia can read more complex texts on the fly.

    Cons include:

    • Requires strong motor skills to use – Each pen requires a steady hand and a bit of skill when pulling it across paragraphs and images. Good motor skills are necessary to get more use out of scanning pens.

    • Issues with some fonts and non-Latin alphabets – Not all fonts or alphabets are compatible with modern scanning pens. Examples of alphabets that may cause problems include non-Latin characters like Cyrillic and Japanese kanji.

    What are scanning apps?

    Scanning apps are apps you can install on mobile devices. Like scanning pens, they rely on OCR technology to recognize typed and written words. The apps can scan hard-copy texts and convert them into digital text like Microsoft Word docs.

    The pros and cons of scanning apps

    To better understand which you should choose between pens and apps, here are the pros and cons of scanning apps.

    Pros include:

    • Accessible to anyone with a smartphone – Anyone can use a scanning app if they have a smartphone. There’s no reason to buy secondary devices to assist in reading complex texts. The biggest advantage is that you can use apps designed for Apple iPhones and iPads, Android, or Windows devices. This eliminates compatibility issues.

    • Cost-effective – Some scanning apps are free, which isn’t the case with scanning pens.

    • Integrated text to speech – Many scanning apps come with built-in text to speech technology. They contain entire libraries of voices and enable users to personalize the narration.

    Cons include:

    • Fewer features than scanning pens – Not every scanning app has a wide range of features. Traditional scanning apps perform only a few tasks very well. Thus, users may need advanced text to speech readers to improve their reading comprehension.

    • Not usable by those who struggle with smartphones – People who struggle with mobile devices may not find scanning apps very helpful. Some may require additional assistive technologies to benefit from using the app.

    • OCR tech relies on working camera – Good quality cameras are necessary to unlock the full potential of OCR technology. Without it, users can’t scan the text.

    Speechify – Use text to speech on your desktop or mobile device

    There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes which reader pens and apps you should use. Each user may have particular needs that one device fulfills best. However, text to speech readers may be the ultimate solution for improving reading comprehension.

    Speechify is a text to speech reader available on most desktop and mobile devices. It works on iOS and Android smartphones, Windows, and various browsers. Similar to a scanning app, Speechify uses OCR software to convert physical text into digital text in multiple file formats for note-taking ease.

    However, Speechify goes above and beyond to generate human-like narrations using artificial intelligence algorithms. It has many voices and accents and supports various languages, improving accessibility to a global user base.

    With its controllable playback speed, reading accuracy, and scanning speed, Speechify can help everyone, from students to people who want to experience easier reading. The app can read anything, from tutorials to Excel spreadsheets to emails and study materials. Additionally, its uptime only depends on your device’s battery life.

    You can try Speechify for free to check out its premium features on all supported platforms. Turn your reading time into an immersive and interactive experience.

    FAQ

    Are scanner apps as good as a real scanner?

    Actual scanners create high-quality digital documents compared to scanner apps. However, a traditional scanner does very little to improve people’s reading comprehension without assistance from text to speech apps. Document scanners are better to back up files, but apps can improve workflow due to their ease of use and portability.

    What are the pros and cons of optical character recognition?

    OCR can potentially digitize any text and make it easier to read, edit, and store. However, OCR systems aren’t always accurate and can make mistakes, especially regarding handwritten texts. It also depends on camera quality and the legibility of the physical text.

    What are some good scanner apps?

    Omnipage Ultimate, OCR Scan-Image to text, and OnlineOCR are quality, user-friendly scanner apps. However, many users may prefer Speechify as a complete text to speech solution when it comes to scanning and processing text from physical documents.

    What are some good scanning pens?

    There’s no shortage of scanning pens on Amazon and similar websites. The C-Pen Reader, ScanMarker Air, and others can help users read complex texts aloud and digitize physical documents.

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.

    Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify

    Recent Blogs

    • How to download YouTube audio
      How to download YouTube audio
      Arrow
    • Voice API
      Voice API: Everything You Need to Know
      Arrow
    • Text to audio
      Best text to speech generator apps
      Arrow
    • The best AI tools other than ChatGPT
      The best AI tools other than ChatGPT
      Arrow
    • Top voice over marketplaces reviewed
      Top voice over marketplaces reviewed
      Arrow
    • Speechify Studio vs. Descript
      Speechify Studio vs. Descript
      Arrow
    • Google Cloud Text to Speech API
      Everything to Know About Google Cloud Text to Speech API
      Arrow
    • Source of Joe Biden deepfake revealed after election interference
      Source of Joe Biden deepfake revealed after election interference
      Arrow
    • How to listen to scientific papers
      How to listen to scientific papers
      Arrow
    • How to add music to CapCut
      How to add music to CapCut
      Arrow
    • What is CapCut?
      What is CapCut?
      Arrow
    • VEED vs. InVideo
      VEED vs. InVideo
      Arrow
    • Speechify Studio vs. Kapwing
      Speechify Studio vs. Kapwing
      Arrow
    • Voices.com vs. Voice123
      Voices.com vs. Voice123
      Arrow
    • Voices.com vs. Fiverr Voice Over
      Voices.com vs. Fiverr Voice Over
      Arrow
    • Fiverr voice overs vs. Speechify Voice Over Studio
      Fiverr voice overs vs. Speechify Voice Over Studio
      Arrow
    • Voices.com vs. Speechify Voice Over Studio
      Voices.com vs. Speechify Voice Over Studio
      Arrow
    • Voice123 vs. Speechify Voice Over Studio
      Voice123 vs. Speechify Voice Over Studio
      Arrow
    • Voice123 vs. Fiverr voice overs
      Voice123 vs. Fiverr voice overs
      Arrow
    • HeyGen vs. Synthesia
      HeyGen vs. Synthesia
      Arrow
    • Hour One vs. Synthesia
      Hour One vs. Synthesia
      Arrow
    • HeyGen vs. Hour One
      HeyGen vs. Hour One
      Arrow
    • Speechify makes Google’s Favorite Chrome Extensions of 2023 list
      Speechify makes Google’s Favorite Chrome Extensions of 2023 list
      Arrow
    • How to Add a Voice Over to Vimeo Video: A Comprehensive Guide
      How to Add a Voice Over to Vimeo Video: A Comprehensive Guide
      Arrow
    • How to Add a Voice Over to Canva Video: A Comprehensive Guide
      How to Add a Voice Over to Canva Video: A Comprehensive Guide
      Arrow
    • What is Speech AI: Explained
      What is Speech AI: Explained
      Arrow
    • How to Add a Voice Over to Canva Video
      How to Add a Voice Over to Canva Video
      Arrow
    • The Ultimate Guide to Speech AI
      The Ultimate Guide to Speech AI
      Arrow
    • Fan Fiction Audiobooks: The Fusion of Storytelling and Fandom
      Fan Fiction Audiobooks: The Fusion of Storytelling and Fandom
      Arrow
    • Everything to Know About AI Spotify Ads: The Power of Artificial Intelligence in Audio Advertising
      Everything to Know About AI Spotify Ads: The Power of Artificial Intelligence in Audio Advertising
      Arrow
    • Everything to Know About AI Spotify Ads: The Power of Artificial Intelligence in Audio Advertising
      The Best Celebrity Voice Generators in 2024
      Arrow
    • Everything to Know About AI Spotify Ads: The Power of Artificial Intelligence in Audio Advertising
      YouTube Text to Speech: Elevating Your Video Content with Speechify
      Arrow
    • Everything to Know About AI Spotify Ads: The Power of Artificial Intelligence in Audio Advertising
      The 7 best alternatives to Synthesia.io
      Arrow
    • Everything to Know About AI Spotify Ads: The Power of Artificial Intelligence in Audio Advertising
      Everything you need to know about text to speech on TikTok
      Arrow
    • Everything to Know About AI Spotify Ads: The Power of Artificial Intelligence in Audio Advertising
      The 10 best text-to-speech apps for Android
      Arrow
    • Everything to Know About AI Spotify Ads: The Power of Artificial Intelligence in Audio Advertising
      How to convert a PDF to speech
      Arrow
    • Everything to Know About AI Spotify Ads: The Power of Artificial Intelligence in Audio Advertising
      The top girl voice changers
      Arrow
    • Everything to Know About AI Spotify Ads: The Power of Artificial Intelligence in Audio Advertising
      How to use Siri text to speech
      Arrow
    • Everything to Know About AI Spotify Ads: The Power of Artificial Intelligence in Audio Advertising
      Obama text to speech
      Arrow
    • Everything to Know About AI Spotify Ads: The Power of Artificial Intelligence in Audio Advertising
      Robot Voice Generators: The Futuristic Frontier of Audio Creation
      Arrow
    • Everything to Know About AI Spotify Ads: The Power of Artificial Intelligence in Audio Advertising
      PDF Read Aloud: Free & Paid Options
      Arrow
    • Everything to Know About AI Spotify Ads: The Power of Artificial Intelligence in Audio Advertising
      Alternatives to FakeYou text to speech
      Arrow
    • Everything to Know About AI Spotify Ads: The Power of Artificial Intelligence in Audio Advertising
      All About Deepfake Voices
      Arrow
    • Everything to Know About AI Spotify Ads: The Power of Artificial Intelligence in Audio Advertising
      TikTok voice generator
      Arrow
    • Everything to Know About AI Spotify Ads: The Power of Artificial Intelligence in Audio Advertising
      Text to speech GoAnimate
      Arrow
    • Everything to Know About AI Spotify Ads: The Power of Artificial Intelligence in Audio Advertising
      The best celebrity text to speech voice generators
      Arrow
    • Everything to Know About AI Spotify Ads: The Power of Artificial Intelligence in Audio Advertising
      PDF Audio Reader
      Arrow
    • Everything to Know About AI Spotify Ads: The Power of Artificial Intelligence in Audio Advertising
      How to get text to speech Indian voices
      Arrow
    • Everything to Know About AI Spotify Ads: The Power of Artificial Intelligence in Audio Advertising
      Elevating Your Anime Experience with Anime Voice Generators
      Arrow
    • Everything to Know About AI Spotify Ads: The Power of Artificial Intelligence in Audio Advertising
      Best text to speech online
      Arrow
    • Everything to Know About AI Spotify Ads: The Power of Artificial Intelligence in Audio Advertising
      Top 50 movies based on books you should read
      Arrow
    • Everything to Know About AI Spotify Ads: The Power of Artificial Intelligence in Audio Advertising
      Download audio
      Arrow
    • Everything to Know About AI Spotify Ads: The Power of Artificial Intelligence in Audio Advertising
      How to use text-to-speech for Quandale Dingle meme sounds
      Arrow
    • Everything to Know About AI Spotify Ads: The Power of Artificial Intelligence in Audio Advertising
      Top 5 apps that read out text
      Arrow
    • Everything to Know About AI Spotify Ads: The Power of Artificial Intelligence in Audio Advertising
      The top female text to speech voices
      Arrow
    • Everything to Know About AI Spotify Ads: The Power of Artificial Intelligence in Audio Advertising
      Female voice changer
      Arrow
    • Everything to Know About AI Spotify Ads: The Power of Artificial Intelligence in Audio Advertising
      Sonic text to speech voice generator online
      Arrow
    • Everything to Know About AI Spotify Ads: The Power of Artificial Intelligence in Audio Advertising
      Best AI voice generators – The Ultimate List
      Arrow
    • Everything to Know About AI Spotify Ads: The Power of Artificial Intelligence in Audio Advertising
      Voice changer
      Arrow
    • Everything to Know About AI Spotify Ads: The Power of Artificial Intelligence in Audio Advertising
      Text to speech in Powerpoint
      Arrow
    footer-waves