The IRISCard Pro 4 is the latest update by IRIS for its portable card scanner and software bundle.

It scans business cards and saves them to the included software, from where you can export contacts to other apps including Apple's own Address Book.

The software includes solid OCR (optical character recognition) that reads the imported business card scans and saves recognised elements to appropriate data fields.

Speedy scanning

To test the bundle, we scanned a backlog of business cards that we had picked up at trade fairs and meetings.

We managed to scan around 14 cards per minute, and the manufacturer IRIS reckons you can scan 600 cards per hour using the bundle, which seems possible if you stick at it, and it's also pleasingly fast.

The cards scan quite clearly and the software makes short shrift of different card styles and shapes. It can be a bit fiddly to insert some cards, but you soon get into the swing of things.

The scans appear inside CardIRIS 3.6, the current version of the IRIS software. Its OCR ability is impressively accurate.

Export contacts

Equally impressive are the export options. You can export data for each contact as either individual .csv files or vCards for dropping into Address Book.

The support is OS level, so you are not just limited to Address Book – you can export to Entourage and Excel, among others.

It's possible to scan a card, import it to CardIRIS, export it as a vCard and drop into an Address Book group in under 30 seconds. It's both quick and accurate.

Great value

The two buttons on the scanner carry no labelling at all, and the user manual is woefully out of date. The software also failed to install on first attempt. The price tag took some swallowing too.

But compared to other IRIS products, which we tend to wrestle with, the value in this card-scanner bundle is obvious.

Now on version 4, it's a mature offering, and will be going along with our laptops to our MacLive Expo visit.