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Hands-on Gear Review
VuPoint Solutions Magic Wand ReviewPrice: $70 List | $50.18 at Amazon
Pros: Has a cool name
Cons: Poor scan quality, very difficult to use, no character recognition
Bottom line: Offers no advantages over a $4 phone app
Weight (pounds): 1
Resolution (dpi): 601 x 600
Manufacturer: VuPoint Solutions
While this model is temptingly cheap and portable, we found the VuPoint Solutions Magic Wand to be so difficult to use that we would not recommend buying it. Unless you have the steady hand and patience of an aged and wise kung fu master, chances are your scans are going to come out looking wavy and weird. It is nice that this scanner can handle pages from books, something most document scanners can't do, but its downsides far outweigh that small advantage. You would be much better off getting the $4 Scanner Pro App than using the Magic Wand.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Magic Wand does not deliver on the ease and whimsy inherent in its name. Instead of a charmingly simple and effortless experience it delivers one of rage and expletive laden rants, therefore we would not recommend it.
The Magic Wand earned an all time low overall score in our testing, as you can see in the table above. In the following section we detail the experiences that led to that low score, and why you'd be better off with a $4 phone app.
The Magic Wand earned the worst score of 3 out of 10 in our scan quality testing. This is a product of the Magic Wand's scanning technique, which requires the user to slide the scanner over the document. If you've steady hands like the Sundance Kid, that can result in a fairly good scan. If you move the scanner with anything less than machine-like precision, however, the scan comes out with distorted waves in it, often making entire line of text illegible. Compare this with using the Scanner Pro App and your phone's camera to snap a shot of a page and ending up with a near perfect PDF, and you'll wonder why anyone would ever use the Magic Wand.
We gave the Magic Wand a score of 1 out of 10 in our speed testing. We were never able to get an actual speed reading from the scanner because we were never able to get to the end of our 10-page speed test document without at least a few of the pages looking totally unreadable. With the Scanner Pro App we were able to consistently scan 3 double-sided pages a minute, and the scans looked great.
The Magic Wand earned only a 3 out of 10 in our software testing. First of all, the software does not have any kind of optical character recognition, so you cannot create PDFs that have searchable text. Secondly, you'll have to use third party drivers if you want to use the Magic Wand with a Mac, and thirdly it is very difficult to figure out where your PDF files are being saved. The Scanner Pro App is order of magnitudes better, with very accurate character recognition and easy file management.
As we mentioned above, actually getting a quality scan from the Magic Wand is an exercise in patience, fine motor control and anger management. Accordingly, it earned a low score of user friendliness score of 3 out of 10. By comparison, the Scanner Pro App was as easy as snapping a few photos and maybe cropping them if the automatic cropping didn't work.
The Magic Wand lists for $70. Seeing as we found it almost unusable, we would consider this a very poor value.
The Magic Wand provides a very poor user experience and it is very difficult to capture high quality scans with it.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata
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