Is OrCam Read the Right Reading Pen for You?
Here are 5 things you should consider before deciding whether the OrCam Read reading pen is right for you. No fluff, just facts!
- Who is OrCam Read designed for?
- What are people saying about it?
- Where/when can you use it?
- Why buy?
- 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.
“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.
“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:
“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.
“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: nocamels.com)
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?
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.
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.
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
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 $1,895 (regularly $1,990). For more details, you can visit our product page or request a consultation.
Is it worth the investment?
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:
- They do not have adequate battery capacity for all-day access to printed information
- Require the use of both hands and above average dexterity
- 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.
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:
- Free, personalized product training
- Free tech support
- 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.
By Bethany Wyshak. Reviewed by Stuart Flom.
Hi i would like a free use period before i make a payment
Hi Ben, thanks for dropping by. While we don’t offer a free trial at this time, do offer free training. You can check out the details of our training and return policy here: https://lowvisionsource.com/game-change-guarantee/
Is the app only available for iPhone? My husband has a samsung? I have an old iPhone 5. Would it work with it?
Hi Terry, thank you for your interest. Unfortunately, the app is currently only available for iPhone and iPad users. It requires iOS 13.0 or later. We did a little research, and it appears that the iPhone 5 does not support the latest versions of iOS. Hopefully this information is helpful to you.
My daughter lost vision of one eye unfortunately by accident when she was young…now she is married have kids .. will any of your device help her as she drives car …pl answer if it will definitely work for her and is really helpful….. thanks
Hi Nasim, unfortunately none of our products are intended for use while driving. The OrCam products are helpful for many other daily tasks, both in and outside the home.
My husband has macular degeneration in both eyes. Would this benefit him? His vision is 21/100. Thank you.
Hi Ruth, the Orcam READ has helped many people with macular degeneration. It works by reading text aloud for a person, converting text to speech. Please feel free to contact us with any additional questions.
My husband has aphasia from a stroke. He was an avid reader and misses his daily newspaper or reading a book. I often have to read him the daily newspaper and I know he would love to be able to get this information by himself. Do you think Orcam reader would be good for him?
Hi Denise, thanks for your inquiry. The OrCam Read might be a good option for your husband. In order for us to provide more personalized advice, we suggest setting up a free consultation using our appointment request form: https://lowvisionsource.com/scheduler/
Thank you for the wonderful OrCam. I have reading fatigue and this allows me to read for hours. I have contacted the Doctor in my city, who tests learning disabled children. She is very keen. I want one in every school, to start! Thanks Fran
Hi Frances, thank you for stopping by and sharing your feedback on the OrCam Read! So glad it has made a difference for you.
Is there a Spanish speaking option or version coming out soon? My wife, a Colombiana, has a blind cousin this would be a great gift for him.
Hi John, yes, the ORCAM READ Smart standard version has a Spanish option. We can set it up to make Spanish the primary language.
I am interested in purchasing the reader but wish to know if it would link up to my blue tooth head phones.
Hi Lee, yes, the device will connect to Bluetooth head phones.
Are there different voices that it reads in that are real life so you do not fatigue listening to long books?
Yes, there are different voice options with OrCam products. The voice quality is excellent. You also can change the speed and volume of the voice.
How long does it take to receive device once ordered?
Hi Connie, it takes around 6-11 business days for the device to arrive once it is ordered, depending on where it is being shipped. Expedited shipping is available on request. For more details, please see our shipping policy page (https://lowvisionsource.com/domestic-shipping-policy/).
Why doesn’t this expensive device have any long term warranty
Hi Marcelo, OrCam Read has a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty. We have updated the article with this information.
I will need orcam read as I am blind so it came read letters
Hi Teresa, thanks for your comment. We will follow-up with you by email.
Are the different voice sound options to choose from, for example an English accent make and female voice?
And can you alter the speed of the voice sound, so you can slow down the play back if too fast?
Does it learn new vocabulary and and how well can recognise scientific language in medical text books and journal papers?
Hi Sarah, thank you for your message. In answer to your questions: 1) Yes, there are different sound options and accents to choose from. 2) Yes, you can adjust and slow down the speed of the voice according to your preference. 3) Although the device does not learn new vocabulary, we have sold devices to physicians, scientists and veterinarians. The device tends to be fairly accurate with medical and scientific terminology though not 100% accurate.
I hope this helps answer your questions. If you have any additional questions or would like to set up a free demo, please let me know.
Costs more in U.K. £s than in $US
Thanks for sharing this info.
I can not afford these products and yet I need them desperately.Is there any way to get financial help. or maybe 2 nd hand store.
Hi Susan, thanks for reaching out. Here are a few suggestions.
1) Contact your state agencies (often referred to as the state’s Association for the Blind or Division for the Blind & Visually Impaired).
2) Research grant opportunities, such as the Assistive Technology Fund organized by the Association of Blind Citizens. https://blindcitizens.org/assistive-technology-fund/. State agencies may be able to point you toward additional resources.
3) Look for local Lions Clubs. https://www.lionsclubs.org/en/start-our-approach/club-locator
4) Consider setting up a Go Fund Me page. https://www.gofundme.com/
We hope these are helpful to you.