A wonderful alternative to flatbed document scanners, but it might not replace your phone
Reviewed in Canada on 23 September 2020
I estimate that I scan over 2000 pages a day, and for a long time I used to use flatbed scanners, then switched to scanners with auto-document feeders, then ultimately settled on simply using my phone as it offered the greatest versatility, convenience, and portability.
I think the CZUR Shine 500 PRO is ideal for someone who wants to replace their flatbed scanner or needs advanced OCR.
This unit is marketed as being a "portable" scanner, and while I agree that it's way more portable than some of the thicker flatbed scanners, I'd still opt for a thinner scanner (roughly the size of a laptop) over this design if my intention was to move it around from place to place.
That said, when not in use, the Shine 500 Pro takes up very little table space and the upright design uses only a very small footprint.
Included in the box is a USB cable to power the unit, a foot pedal (optional, but can be handy), a special scanning mat (really just a mousepad with some crop marks and cut so it fits around the base of the scanner), a software DVD, and instructions. I opted to download and install the software (approx. 500mb download) as the laptop I've been using this scanner with has no DVD drive.
The software is quite powerful and it allows you some pretty standard (cropping, image adjustment, etc.) and value-added features like powerful OCR (export to excel, searchable PDF, etc.).
You can set the software to scan manually, either by pushing the scan button on your PC or by pressing the foot pedal, or you can set it to scan when it detects a page-turning.
On your computer monitor, you will see a live feed of the scanning surface and as you place a document down you'll notice a yellow outline where it detects your document and where it ultimately crops it. I find that this happens instantly and the results have been far more accurate than most phone-based scanner apps.
You can batch scan as many documents as you like, and even scan the front and back of a document on a single page (2-up), but there are no options to stitch a long page together.
Scanning happens pretty fast and you can adjust the amount of light shining on your document using a physical knob on the scanner base. For most documents, this works just fine, but glossy pages are problematic as the reflections are quite noticeable. If you are scanning mostly standard paper documents, the Shine 500 Pro should be no problem. If you are scanning lots of glossy print, then I do suggest looking elsewhere or turning the built-in light OFF and using enough ambient light to brighten your pages.
Once you've scanned your documents, you have the option to export them as a PDF, searchable PDF, Word document (with OCR), Excel (with OCR) or a Tiff. JPG files are created when you scan, so no other "save" button needs to be pressed for that. At 5MP resolution, I find that the scan quality is excellent. If you are scanning photos or need extremely detailed scans, CZUR does have a 13MP model.
As I do not tend to scan books, I can't say how well this works for thicker objects.
Where the Shine 500 Pro lacks compared to using a phone-based scanner app, is the ability to quickly share/export scans to online services. For example, there is no export/share to Evernote, which is a software I use quite often. Some apps allow you to create a "watch folder" that you can save scans to and they should be automatically imported into your software, but not all of them do and this creates several extra steps.
Overall, the Shine 500 Pro is a high-quality, powerful document scanner that comes with a small footprint and is easy to move around. Where it really excels is OCR and if you are looking to convert documents into searchable/editable text, then it's a great option.