IntelliScanner Mini, the smallest barcode scanner intelligently interfaced

IntelliScanner is always on the look out for innovative products. A couple of years ago they came with the Scanabout, a USB-dock based Bluetooth barcode scanner, a couple of years before that, they had the PDF417 scanner (which I purchased and still use to full satisfaction today). Last year, IntelliScanner released their Microvision-manufactured ROV IntelliScanner. Early this year, IntelliScanner released the IntelliSCanner Mini, an Opticon OPN-2001 packaged in an attractive metal box, and delivered with an excellent driver and great software.IntelliScanner divides its products between professional and home usage. The new IntelliScanner Mini is a home usage appliance, according to IntelliScanner, but the barcode scanner by itself is quite useful in professional environments as well. Of course, it is not as sturdy as the ROV-scanner IntelliScanner sells as an office device.

The IntelliScanner Mini is a very small laser-based barcode scanner. It fits the palm of your hand and comes with a lanyard—not a luxury if you don’t want to lose it—and a black velvet pouch to protect it from scratches and bumps. The scanner can hold up to 1000 barcodes in its memory, and it has some nice features such as the ability to remove the latest barcode by scanning over it again with the smallest button depressed.
The IntelliScanner Mini or Opticon OPN 2001 doesn’t work on Mac OS X without a driver, and IntelliScanner wrote one that shines. On my Mac OS X 10.5.6 system, the driver never caused any problems and works like an absolute charm. As soon as the IntelliScanner Mini is connected through the USB cable to the Mac, the driver starts a small helper application that enables you to select the IntelliScanner program you want the barcodes to add to. It also has an option to just unload the barcodes in the frontmost application.

The last option is less handy than it seems, as the scanner itself can only batch-unload barcodes. When used together with IntelliScanner software, however, the batch of barcodes are neatly dumped in the applications’ batch dialogue, from where they are handed off to the application for further ‘processing’. The applications that come with the IntelliScanner Mini are aimed at managing the household—ranging from Comic books, to groceries, music CDs, and wine.
In the past, IntelliScanner got negative comments because their software was written in Visual Basic and therefore slow. Well, I can assure you their software—although still written in Visual Basic—is far from slow. Even on my Power Mac G5 the applications felt quite ‘snappy’. The Media application now also recognises European books, although music CDs remain a problem, probably because the barcode scheme for those items is completely different from that used in the US.

The IntelliScanner Mini and its bundled software are worth every penny. The scanner is a great gadget, while the software performs good enough for the use it’s intended for.

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