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Contact Snapper is an easy way to turn business cards into contacts

Mel Martin

Contact Snapper for iPhone is the most clever app I've seen for the purpose of turning a business card into an editable digital contact.

The app, which you can test for free, has several in-app purchase options I'll discuss later in this review. Contact Snapper is simple to use, and that is the most powerful aspect to the app.

Hold a business card up to the iPhone camera while the app is running, touch the screen, a picture is snapped and the recognition engine goes to work. If the app is confused about any of the words they appear in red text that you can correct. Then poof -- the card is in your Contacts database.

Contact Snapper handles double-sided cards, and depending on the version of the app you purchase, it can grab a photo of the card and add it to to your contacts. The app recognizes the usual contact info, plus websites, email and SMS info. Contact Snapper can even provide geolocation of your contact addresses and also recognizes QR codes. It does not require a data connection, as the text recognition engine is built into the app.

I gave Contact Snapper some tough assignments in my testing: vertically oriented cards, a card with a dark green background and orange text and one with a photo. In each case, the recognition was perfect. In one instance, Contact Snapper missed a letter, but it turned out the card wasn't fully centered in the camera view and the letter had been inadvertently cropped.

There are other apps that recognize business cards, but I haven't seen one with such a wide feature set, such accurate recognition and such perfect linking of text to the correct contact fields. Contact Snapper also supports LinkedIn integration and works in 200 countries, allowing for differing regional contact formats.

Gallery: Contact Snapper | 2 Photos

The one negative of the app is its confusing pricing structure. You can try Contact Snapper for free and save up to three contacts. After that, you need to spend some money, and I think there are just too many available options. There are six in-app purchase options, including photo and text at US$5.99, picture and text with unlimited country coverage at $7.99, text only for $2.99 and other variations on that theme. This should, in my view, be simplified dramatically. There are also an assortment of upgrades from one level to another for a total of 10 options. Most people will probably choose a price option between $2.99 and $5.99.

Contact Snapper is a terrific app. It does what it claims to do quickly and accurately. I'd like to see the in-app purchasing simplified, but don't let that stop you from grabbing this app if you are constantly being handed business cards and are tired of typing them manually into your iPhone. Contact Snapper requires iOS 5 or greater.

If you'd like to try something free, check out the ad-supported CamCard. It gets good reviews from users, but has some limitations on the number of cards you can scan. SamCard is also free and gets positive reviews.

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