I have been playing around with a handy little device called the HoverCam Mini 5. Billed as a pocket-sized scanner, it is actually a 5.0 megapixel autofocus camera that functions as both an overhead scanner and a video projector. You can use it on your desktop, but it is even better suited to use on the road. Capture documents and receipts while traveling or use it to give presentations in the courtroom or in a meeting.
The Mini 5 folds for travel to roughly the size of a king-sized candy bar, making it compact enough to carry in your pocket or briefcase. It unfolds into an adjustable overhead camera. At its base is a fold-down USB plug that connects directly to your laptop. At the top is the autofocus camera and an LCD light for illumination.
When you first connect the Mini 5 to a computer, it installs the software you need to operate it. Installation takes just a moment and the Mini 5 is then ready to use for scanning and video.
To scan a document, just place it under the unit. The software displays a live view of the document. Just click “take picture” and you are done. Scans are captured in an instant and, thanks to the autofocus, are sharp and clear.
Unlike sheet-fed or flatbed scanners, the Mini 5 gives you a live preview of your scan. You can zoom, crop and adjust the image before you scan. Other settings let you choose the resolution and whether to save the scan as a PDF or image file.
For multiple pages or stacks of documents, there is an “auto capture” mode. Place the stack of documents under the Mini 5 and as you lift off each page, it scans the next one automatically.
The Mini 5′s video mode is useful for trial lawyers or anyone who wants to show or annotate documents in live or recorded presentations. The camera and the software let you project or record the video as you mark up documents, point to key portions, and move through multiple documents.
The Mini 5 comes with a carrying case that also serves as an optional USB port and stand. When used this way, the Mini 5 can be plugged into the stand rather than directly into your computer’s USB port, giving you more leeway to position and move it.
The software it comes with includes HoeverCam Memo, for scanning and tracking receipts, and HoverCam Contact, for scanning and managing business cards and contacts.
The retail price of the Mini 5 is $299. It is currently on sale at the HoverCam site for $249. I found it for $239 at Amazon.com.
More information can be found from the HoverCam Mini 5 product page.
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