Do you ever want a gadget to be good, and it’s not good? Like it’s bad? That’s the Dacuda Pocketscan, a $95 handheld scanner that looked like my dream tool. Instead, it proved to be a disappointing hunk of plastic that made me wish I lived 30 years in the future.
Most of the gadgets in my life meet or exceed my expectations. My phone works most of the time. It takes photos that are acceptable and all that. And I guess it makes phone calls. My TV is okay. It works in the way that a TV is supposed to. But the one area of my life that has been consistently subpar is scanning. I’ve never found the affordable gadgets that make my life easier when it comes to scanning. You see, I do a lot of it. I’m constantly scanning old books, magazines, and photos from the archive of weird retro-futurism that I’ve been collecting for nearly a decade. So needless to say I was pretty disappointed when I got my hopes up for the Dacuda Pocketscan and it let me down. Big time.
The Dacuda Pocketscan started its life back in 2014 on Kickstarter. Roughly the size of a pack of cigarettes, it promised to be a simple wireless scanner that would allow you to ditch your old-school flatbed scanner. The idea was to magically wave the device over your photos or pages of text and send that info to your computer, smartphone or tablet via bluetooth. The device maxes out at 400dpi, which is perfectly fine for most uses (though I’d prefer 600dpi for archival purposes) and exports to a number of different file types, including JPEG and PDF. Unfortunately, the device failed to live up to my expectations. In fact, I feel like an idiot for getting my hopes up.
After the Pocketscan arrived, I downloaded the software (which took up about half a gig for some reason) and charged up the device. I was so excited that I just grabbed the book closest to me, a 1962 tome called The Western: From Silents to Cinerama by George N. Fenin and William K. Everson.
Flipping to a random page, I tried my luck. The Pocketscan talks to your computer or phone via Bluetooth, so it was relatively easy to get going out of the box. But my first effort was less than stellar:
Weird, I thought. But I must be doing something wrong. So I gave it another go.
Strike two. Maybe the problem has something to do with text. I’ll try the photo on the following page.
Something is clearly not right. Reluctantly, I turned to a video tutorial for help. The person in the video seemed to be scanning much much slower than I was. So I gave that a shot. Things seemed to be going better at first, but the memory was full before I got to the bottom of the page.
Needless to say, at this point my delusions that this pocket scanner would solve any of my problems had long since disappeared. Even the product’s best efforts, when I would slowly and meticulously try to scan an image, were subpar at best.
I imagined that a pocket scanner would allow me to head off to the library, scan whatever I needed, and get home with some excerpts about flying cars and robot waiters, without having to lug home a bunch of books. And maybe, just maybe, I would be able to get rid of my bulky printers and scan things on the fly. But alas, it wasn’t meant to be.
This is probably the point where I’m supposed to tell you all the things that I like about the product, like the way it feels in your hand or something. But I’m not sure why I’d waste your time. This thing doesn’t do the most basic tasks that are required of it. And strangely I feel betrayed for getting my hopes up that I’d finally found a cool handheld scanner that might make my life easier.
Don’t waste your time. The idea is there. But the technology needs to catch up to make it worthwhile.