Is OrCam Read the Right Reading Pen for You? Stick figure graphic representing a person thinking of questions about OrCam Read and a mobile phone

Here are 5 things you should consider before deciding whether the OrCam Read reading pen is right for you.  No fluff, just facts!

  1. Who is OrCam Read designed for?
  2. What are people saying about it?
  3. Where/when can you use it?
  4. Why buy?
  5. How much does it cost?

Who is the OrCam Read reading pen for?

OrCam Read is for anyone experiencing difficulty reading, including those with mild low vision, dyslexia, reading fatigue, or those who read large amounts of text. It reads aloud any printed or digital text at the touch of a button, and can be used with or without earbuds.  Here is our video demo, in case you’d like to see the product in action:

What are people saying about this reading pen?

OrCam Read Reviews

Low vision users and industry professionals are impressed with OrCam Read’s accuracy and convenience factor.

Awarded Top 75 Occupational Therapy Blog Medal


“Having trialed and texted many devices and apps with text to speech capabilities to support client needs, the OrCam Read device using standard typed text is the best I have experienced.  Its speed of processing was fast, accurate with a point and shoot type of control.” — Carol Leynse Harpold, MS, AdEd, OTR/L, ATP, OT’s with Apps and Technology


Award-winning freelance writer and disability blogger Chloe Tear, who typically uses a combination of enlarged text, digital magnifiers and a screenreaders to access written information due to visual impairment, felt that the OrCam Read increased her sense of independence.

Chloe Tear


“It fills a massive gap in the market for a wide range of people and is such a clever and portable design. It is hard to find faults with this OrCam product and it is able to aid independence in many areas of daily life.

I believe this product has potential to massively help my own independence. The simple things like going to a shop and stocking up on essentials, that most people probably don’t give a second thought, would be made easier. Not only that, I know this product can benefit others.” — Chloe Tear

Chloe also remarks that the OrCam Read is quicker, clearer, and more convenient than free mobile reading apps.  Overall, she feels is it worth the investment.

The folks at Gadget Speak tend to agree:

Gadget Speak Logo

 “While you might consider this a high price to pay for a rather unimpressive looking device, you need to consider the internal technology it delivers to the user especially those with impaired vision.  It may be possible to download a Read Text app from the Play Store that can capture and read back the text content, OrCam Read can do far more for those who could benefit from its functionality.”

Sam Seavey (The Blind Life) says it’s just the right complement to magnification, and comes the closest to perfection of all the many OCR devices he has tested.

The Blind Life Logo

“I am loving this little thing here.  I am just blown away, guys.  I’ve always been impressed with OrCam, and in fact, I’m going to go on record and say I think they have the best OCR in the game right now.  It’s fast, it’s reliable, it’s accurate, it doesn’t have to be connected to internet…  So convenient, I can just have this, pull it out of my pocket, or, have it hanging on the lanyard around my neck, click, scan; within a few seconds, I’m listening to it.  I get the information and then I can carry on with my day.” — Sam Seavey, The Blind Life

And, the device has gained international attention.  Here is a brief clip from a tech reviewer talking about the OrCam Read on an Australian morning show:

“It’s unbelievable that with the touch of a button, it can read text.  It’s amazing technology… the kind of thing that will breathe life into people who can’t see.” — Trevor Long, Australian tech expert and critic (Source:

Where can you use OrCam Read?

Anywhere!  It’s a reading pen that does not require an internet connection, so you can read offline at home, work, school, running errands or wherever the day takes you.  You can connect Bluetooth headphones or simply use the device’s built-in speaker for your audio.  It reads any printed or digital text (such as text on a smartphone).

When can you use it?

orcam reading pen

Anytime.  You can use a reading pen at home for reading books or magazines, or for following recipes while cooking.  The device can also be used as a tool for quickly identifying household objects such as spices, cleaning products and personal care products.

If you have low vision and are out shopping, you can use the OrCam Read to read shop names, identify products on the shelf and read price tags.  This is especially important in the age of COVID-19, allowing you to inspect products before touching them.  You can also use the device to help navigate stores safely by asking it to read social distancing signage.  Again, it does not require internet, so there is no need for WiFi to operate the device.

Man in store looking at items on shelf

OrCam Read also reads digital text (such as text on a computer, smartphone, or tablet) with accuracy and efficiency.  Say you are out and about, looking for a local coffee shop.  You can run a search on Yelp using your smartphone and have OrCam Read quickly tell you the search results.

Why buy?

OrCam Read

OrCam Read sets itself apart as the only portable, wireless, personal AI reading device that reads full pages of text in real time.  Essentially, it transforms any printed or digital text into an instant audiobook.  It’s discreet and easy to use with very little learning curve.

Not your average reading pen

Typical reading pens (jumbled puzzle) vs. orcam read (complete puzzle)

It is worth noting key differences in the technology.  Other reading pens read text line-by-line.  The reader holds and moves the device manually over the text, scanning each word.  Words and sentences are often fragmented, muddying up the context.  On the other hand, OrCam Read’s laser beam scans an entire page of text with the click of a button, instantly reading text aloud to the user.  The text becomes easier to understand, reading comprehension is gained, and the entire experience is more enjoyable.

Interactive reading and more

Another unique feature of the OrCam Read is the new Smart Reading feature.  With Smart Reading, you can use simple voice commands to locate information in a document.  Find a word, headlines, amounts, dates, and more on any printed or digital reading materials such as books, bills, correspondence, newspapers, magazines, catalogues and menus.

Furthermore, in the current health crisis, OrCam Read can help low vision users stay safe, improve mental health and reduce social isolation.  You can have more confidence venturing out, knowing the device will help you navigate social distancing signage and identify products on the shelf without touching them.  While home, you can use the device to stay active with hobbies like reading and cooking.

How much does it cost?

OrCam Read Price

OrCam Read Smart is currently on sale from AdaptiVision for $1,850 (regularly $1,990).  For more details, you can visit our product page or request a consultation.

Is it worth the investment?

Credit cards

Many people wonder whether a dedicated reading pen like OrCam Read is worth the investment, given that there are free mobile apps available that can scan and read text aloud.

Microlink compared one popular app, Seeing AI, with OrCam MyEye (another OrCam product that was available before OrCam Read hit the market).  Although apps like Seeing AI certainly have their benefits, they are mainly geared toward casual or infrequent users.  Mobile devices present a few challenges that are important to address:

  1. They do not have adequate battery capacity for all-day access to printed information
  2. Require the use of both hands and above average dexterity
  3. May already be in use for other purposes

In Microlink’s assessment, a dedicated reading device is essential for someone in a professional, employment or educational setting, or for someone requiring all-day access to printed information.

Dopa Solution raises another valid point: quickly launching and operating the camera on a mobile device can be cumbersome for people with low vision.  On the other hand, the OrCam Read has a fast, intuitive, and tactile point-and-click operation.

Finally, smartphones rely on internet connectivity, as opposed to OrCam Read, which does not.

Why purchase from AdaptiVision?

AdaptiVision is a small, family-run business committed to providing personalized service with every sale. 

Additionally, we know that purchasing assistive technology is an investment of time and financial resources, and with many options on the market, finding the right solution is not always easy.  Our goal is to narrow the field by researching, testing, and offering only the best, highest-quality products that use advanced, innovative technologies to help low vision users regain their independence.

Signs reading Help, Support, Advice, Guidance OrCam Read is backed by a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty.  If you choose to purchase the OrCam Read from AdaptiVision, you will also receive the following benefits:

  1. Free, personalized product training 
  2. Free tech support
  3. Free shipping

Finally, you will know that you are purchasing a high-quality product based on our extensive research and experience in the field.  We stand behind everything we sell, and our foremost goal is to help you achieve greater independence.

Last updated January 18, 2023.

Author Information

By Bethany Wyshak. Reviewed by Stuart Flom.

A lighting industry specialist, Stu Flom worked at Dolan-Jenner, a leader in fiberoptic lighting, for 15 years before launching his own company in 1994. As product manager, Stu helped find lighting solutions for clients in such diverse areas as photography, microscopy, robotics and automotive manufacturing. He was also involved in supplying the fiberoptics illuminating the Hope Diamond exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. A member of the International Society for Optics & Photonics (SPIE), Stu was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and is the author of several publications, including Integrating Optical Fibers in Machine Vision (Proceedings), Designing Fiber Optic Lighting for Machine Vision (Society of Manufacturing Engineers), and Light Up with Fiber Optics (Vision). Prior to his work in lighting, Stu was a special education teacher. Stu’s expertise in lighting and background in education form the backbone of his company. As AdaptiVision’s founder and president, Stu is dedicated to applying advanced lighting technology to assist people struggling with low vision, teaching them how to use technology to achieve greater independence.