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TurboScan mini review

June 05, 2015 — BarryK
I own an actual scanner, a Hewlett Packard ScanJet 4200C. I was reading recently about scanner apps for phones, so thought that I would give it a go.

For those who have not been following my blog, I own a 4G 64-bit Mlais M52 Red Note phone, with 5.5 inch screen and Android 4.4.4 (KitKat). I purchased it from China, for about AU$200.

What these scanner apps do is enable you to take photos of paper pages, have them auto-cropped and enhanced for readability, and exported as JPEG or PDF. More or less.

I tried a few, with mixed results. Let's see, my testing included these: Genius Scanner, SimplyScan, Fast Scanner, and PDF Scanner (by Grymala).

With all of these apps, I found it difficult to obtain a sharp image. That is, at night with room light turned on, and using the phone's flash. I did get significantly better sharper images during the day, with light coming through a window, also using flash.
So, some experimentation is needed to get good results.

Some apps have inadequate adjustments, for example one created awfully huge images, like 5MB for one page, with no way to reduce the size. One of them seemed unable to create multi-page PDFs.

I wasn't really enamored by any of them and was about to give up, then I discovered TurboScan, created by Piksoft. There is no free version, it cost me AU$2.99 from the Google Play Store:
...user feedback rates it at 4.6 stars.

Based on my prior experience with blurry images, I chose a feature of TurboScan called SureScan, in which you take 3 shots of a page, doing your best to hold the phone steady -- well of course my hand did move between shots, but I was amazed at the result. The images are extremely sharp. Cropping to page edges was perfect, as well as contrast/brightness -- in fact, no background "noise" or "artifacts" at all.

As well as creating lovely sharp images, the file sizes were the smallest. For example, the page that created the worst-case 5MB file reported above, was now only 455KB.

Creating a multi-page document was very intuitive, and I was able to email a PDF, just a few clicks.

TurboScan created these perfect images without me having to tweak anything. The only thing I changed was "B/W" to "Color" setting.
In fact, these images are better than I obtain using scanning applications such as Xsane in Linux -- where I always have to fiddle with the settings to minimise backround artifacts.

There was no need to read a manual, usage is completely intuitive. I could post some usage photos here, but no need to.

Here is the developer's site. Note, TurboScan is available for the iPhone also:

Another review
These guys compared CamScanner, Scanbot and TurboScan, and rated TurboScan 3rd:

...well, CamScanner is subscription-based, whereas TurboScan is a small one-off price. Scanbot is rated 4.1 stars at the Play Store, and is free but then offers in-app one-time purchase or subscription for full features. Here is the Scanbot developer's site: -- it looks good.
I haven't tried CamScanner or Scanbot.

There are other "reviews", however the ones I found are just superficial abbreviated listing of some of the features, hardly rating as a review.

That $3 was well-spent. SureScan is a winner for me -- I don't know how they combine 3 shots into one, but it works well. I did test single-shot camera mode, and got a sharp image, however SureScan creates a significantly superior accurate reproduction of the original page.


I can no longer recommend TurboScan.

I tried to use it today. It starts OK, but when I choose to take a snapshot of a page, a message pops up "Unfortunately, TurboScan has stopped".

I haven't installed anything since the last time I used TurboScan, haven't changed any settings anywhere.
Rebooting makes no difference.

I looked through the feedback of other users, and soon found one person reporting the same problem (using latest version), but they said that if they kept trying, maybe on the fifth attempt it would work.

Which got me thinking. What is different now is it is evening, the outside light level is low. Previous testing was on a table beside a window with bright indirect sunlight falling on the table, plus room light.
I decided to put more light on the page -- I fetched a lamp and directed it onto the paper.
Note, in all cases I am using the flash.

This time, TurboScan worked!

What seems to be happening here is that the camera is not getting an exact focus, which is a common problem with phone cameras in low-light conditions. Unfortunately, this is causing TurboScan to crash.

Pathetic, but there you are. OK, I have a solution, but I am disappointed. I might look around a bit more, at more scanner apps.
Well, I will let the developers know about this, perhaps they can fix it.

Tags: light