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Convergence is the cornerstone of modern technology. We have monitors with integrated webcams, cellphones that function as PDAs and digital cameras, and biometric mice. Following that lead, the Canadian company KeyScan is releasing the KS810, a keyboard with an integrated scanner. Since is a sheet-feed scanner (just like a fax machine) it isn’t suited for digitalizing books or magazines; the KS810 only scans loose sheet, photos, flyers, business cards etc. If that meets the user’s necessities then the hybrid can solve problems like lacking table space for a regular scanner. Let’s examine the KS810 and its installation process and then check out its scanning capabilities.
The KS810 is larger than a regular keyboard. It has six function buttons on the top left side (to start internet applications) and the sheet-feed slot that occupies the better part of the top of the keyboard. The opening features four quick scan keys to capture documents, copy, send by email or fax. Behind the KS810 there are two spare USB ports, a B-type plug USB output and an entrance for the A/C power adapter.
[nextpage title=”Installing and Testing the KS810″]
First of all, do not connect the power adapter to the keyboard before running the install disc. The user has to connect the keyboard to the PC through the USB cable like any other regular keyboard and then run the installation application. When a green LED starts blinking near the AC power adapter entrance you should finally plug the KS810 to an outlet. Beware that the device supports only 32-bit operating systems; it didn’t run under our 64-bit Windows XP and we had to install it on a 32-bit machine. The company said that they’re working on supporting 64-bit systems and it should be released in a few months from now.
The KS810 worked fine as a keyboard. Unfortunately it has no backlit keys like the gaming-grade keyboards but that’s not its job description. It features two spare USB ports where you can plug a mouse and other stuff. As we previously noted, it’s a sheet-feed scanner – so unless you’re fine with ripping pages out of a book or magazine, you won’t be able to scan them.
You just have to feed the slot to begin the process. If it’s something small (like a business card or photograph) it pops back out the top; if it’s a big document it will come out the bottom of the KS810. The application scans and converts the document to several different file formats, including Microsoft Word, PDF, email attachment, Photoshop, Paintbrush. The output resolution goes from 50 up to 4,800 dpi. The user can choose from basic scanning to more complex image adjustments. The Autoscan mode allows immediate scanning when you feed a document, remembering the last chosen settings. TWAIN protocol makes possible to use applications like Photoshop to interact with the scanner. One of our tests involved scanning a fast food flyer with several rich color images over a glossy paper – the resulting document was faithful to the original. Overall, scanning took us about 12 seconds per document.
One of the main features of a scanner is OCR (optical character recognition) technology. We got mixed results from that. Our newspaper clipping was converted to a jumble text, but a printed PDF document was scanned to a cohesive text.
The Keyscan KS810 main specifications are:
- Keyboard with integrated sheet-feed scanner
- Bi directional document release
- Two USB spare ports
- Six function keys and four dedicated scanning buttons
- Output resolution: 50 dpi to 4800 dpi
- Color scanning mode: 24/48 bits color level
- Black & white scanning mode: 8/16 bits gray level
- Only compatible with 32-bit operating systems
- Dimensions: 19.1" x 7.7" x 1.2" (48.5 x 19.5 x 3 cm) (L x W X H)
- Weight: 2.95 lbs (1.3 Kg)
- Power adapter: A/C 100~240V
- More information: https://www.keyscan.com
- Average price in the US*: USD 146.00
* Researched at https://www.shopping.com on the day we published this review.
Since it has a sheet-feed slot, the KS810 is limited to scanning loose sheet documents. If you have a brand new machine, the device won’t work but the company promised to extent the support to 64-bit environments. Being a hybrid, we approved it as both a nice keyboard and a fast scanner, although we hit some snags with the OCR function. The device requires a spare A/C outlet which means more cable thrown into an already convoluted workspace.
- Fast scanning
- Simple and effective application
- Autoscan feature helps scanning several documents in a row
- Converts image to several formats
- Built-in USB hub with two spare ports
- Not compatible with 64-bit operating systems
- Doesn’t scan open books or magazines
- OCR needs fine tuning
- Requires A/C power adapter