Today, everything is digital and part of the metaverse, the digital universe in one way or another. Products from CZUR help to translate pages into digital format and CZUR Aura Pro aims to speed up the process of scanning books and documents. It’s a great idea in theory, except everything is made digitally first nowadays… Can this peculiar device find a successful niche?
CZUR Aura Pro
At first glance, CZUR Aura Pro looks more like a night lamp than a book scanner. With its foldable arm and thick base, it takes approx the same space as your average lamp. It could actually substitute for one in a pinch too thanks to the dedicated knob which operates the light.
CZUR Aura Pro is a book scanner with an OCR package and some clever tech to turn book scanning into less of a chore. The folding screen consists of a top-down light and a camera to take digital copies of the books, while the top surface holds a screen that comes in handy in aligning the pages. In the package, you’ll also find an extra lamp that deals with light glare and a foot pedal, as scanning books is definitely a 2 hand job!
After installing dedicated software and authenticating the OCR package, I’m ready to try to digitise some books. It’s simple to deploy, and if you really hate the cables, there is a version with a built-in battery as well.
I only have one use for it
It’s been a year since I have replaced my paper notepads with a reMarkable2 tablet (review). Creating notes digitally had been a staple of my work and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Initially, I have taken a couple of pictures from my old notebooks, but the process was clumsy and time-consuming. In all fairness, I didn’t even need most of these notes anyway so I put all my notebooks on the shelf and never looked back.
With CZUR Aura Pro it’s tempting to revisit these and quickly create PDF files of my precious notes so I can sync them back with my reMarkable for the safekeeping. It’s unlikely I’d ever get rid of the actual notebooks as they carry a sentimental value for me, but having all these notes at hand on a single device is tempting. Especially since the process is quick and easy with CZUR Aura Pro.
CZUR Aura app
The software gives you all the tools to deal with imported images to correct the format, colour and crop unnecessary details out of each scan. The tools and options are easy to find and use and the software doesn’t get in the way of the actual work.
With a variety of export options, you can change your scans into text files (text, Word, Excel, PDF) or images depending on your needs. Each scan works quickly and OCR does a great job at least on fonts I tried.
Before each scan is done, you can use alignment tools to account for the bookbinding and let the software figure out the amount of perspective and distortion compensation to turn a typically imperfect book scan into a flat image.
I like the automatic finger removal tool alongside the option to remove the handy yellow clips from the pages. If you use the provided black background, the software will crop the images automatically for you.
One trick pony
I can’t fault the hardware, it does what it suppose to do well. But unless you are working in an obscure library filled with books written in the pre-digital age and somehow not transcribed digitally yet, CZUR Aura Pro fails to offer anything else. Artists working with analogue/traditional mediums would be over the moon, as long as their art doesn’t exceed the A3 format. Even then, it’s an expensive way to digitise art.
I’d hope for the CZUR Aura Pro to work as a sophisticated (and expensive) top-down webcam to digitise and record whatever you are doing underneath the lens. Unfortunately, the camera isn’t suited for that either. The sensor is optimised for taking pictures of books and illustrations not making videos. Recorded videos are in 1080p at about 8 FPS which is useless for anything than basic stuff.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s an incredibly well-made book scanner, but fails to offer anything else. Once you are finished with digitising your life, you can either pass it on to the next person or use it as an incredibly expensive night light.
CZUR Aura Pro has to face the reality. Creating a PDF version of a document/book using a phone is very simple nowadays and often works well. With auto-cropping and perspective filters built into my Xiaomi Mi 11 native camera app – it’s good enough for me and my work needs.
It’s true that the created by a mobile phone PDF often won’t be as pretty, or have the text transcribed on the fly, but I always have my mobile inside my pocket. It will always come down to convenience, but limited in features apps versus professional tools like CZUR Aura Pro.
If I ever have some books to scan, I would definitely pick a dedicated scanner over my phone from a convenience standpoint. For any other reason, my phone is simply handier.
Thanks to CZUR, my readers can claim extra 20% discount by using the code: CZUR20 at the CZUR Store check out.
I genuinely wonder what the demand is nowadays for devices like CZUR Aura Pro. In a world where everything is made digitally first, the need for an optical scanner feels redundant, especially since the average mobile can substitute for one in a pinch. It’s a niche product for someone who needs to digitise contracts or paper-drawn comics and artwork… It’s great at what it does, but it’s probably 15 years too late for the party. Am I wrong? Let me know in this Reddit thread.
🆓📈💵 – See the transparency note for details.