|Name||USB mouse/scanner combo: LG Mouse Scanner LSM-100|
|At a glance:||Functional but uncomfortable mouse,Scanning works well on flat surfaces,OCR is very reliable|
|Summary:||It’s a niche piece of hardware, but some will find it invaluable.|
As a mouse, the LSM-100 is perfectly functional – it doesn’t require special drivers when acting as a normal mouse, tracks fine on any flat opaque surface I could find to test, and includes a couple of buttons and a rubberised scroll wheel that doubles as a third button.
Functional it is, but comfortable it’s not. The mouse has very little contour to the top, and the sides aren’t at all curved to fit the hand – some of this will come down to the size of your hands and the length of your fingers, but I found it couldn’t compare to even a budget mouse with a more ergonomic shape in the comfort stakes. This doesn’t mean it’s unusable: it’s just not ideal for the sort of PC user that keeps their hand on a mouse all day, every day.
You are not going to buy the LSM-100 because you want a $200 wired optical mouse, however. You’re going to buy it because for one reason or another, you have a frequent need to transfer data from paper-to-PC.
To use the scanning functionality, you’ll need to install LG’s software from the bundled CD. That’s a quick and painless process and you should be up and running within a few minutes. Once the software is installed, scanning something is just a matter of setting it down on a flat surface (like your desk), and running the mouse over it in whatever direction you like, back and forth until you’ve covered the area you want. As you drive the scanner around, the image appears on screen, so you can see what you’re doing.
Straight out of the box, my results were terrible, and I was ready to write the Mouse Scanner off entirely. Fortunately, there was a very simple fix: turn up the scan quality from its default ‘Low’ to ‘High’. With that done, the LSM-100 became a reliable and truly useful tool.
Importing contact details from a business card to Outlook becomes quick work, and far less error-prone than typing. Want to quote something from a printed document or magazine? Easy – just swipe the scanner across the page, and paste the resulting text into whatever application you want. The OCR (Optical Character Recognition, for image-to-text conversion) works fantastically on those high-resolution scans, making it a very simple manner to import text from any printed material.
Image scans turn out equally well at high quality. Combined with LG’s social-media-friendly software, quickly ‘copying’ an interesting picture from a newspaper or magazine and ‘pasting’ it into a new tweet takes just a few seconds. Facebook, Flickr and email are also supported, or you can just paste an image directly into any application via the clipboard.
While scanning flat items is easy, I did have trouble trying to scan slightly kinked pages, or near the spine of books and magazines. Lifting the mouse even slightly off the page you’re scanning stops the scan altogether, and you can’t resume from where you left off – so, if you scan too close to the edge of the book you’re quoting, and ‘slip off’, you have to start again from scratch. Annoying, but not insurmountable – practice does help.
Altogether, the LSM-100 provides a nice bridge between printed material and your PC, without requiring a space-consuming flatbed scanner. Sales execs dealing with a constant stream of business cards, designers wanting to take quick clippings of print material for reference, or students tired of typing in quotes from reference books may find the usefulness outweighs the $200 price tag.
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