Optical Character Recognition (OCR) For Samsung Galaxy Note II 

Today, let's explore the app called Photo Reader and what makes this app  so special.  This app extends the features of Samsung Keyboard and the Gallery app in a really interesting way.  It may also prove to be a crucial tool to have in your pocket when you're traveling to a foreign country.

So here is the app called Photo Reader.  It's an app that will turn your text on paper into characters for input.  But that's not what makes this app special.  It's special in the way it expands the features of some of your Samsung apps on the Galaxy Note 2.  We were able to successfully install it on the Note 2, unfortunately at this time, it doesn't work on the Note 3, although there are signs that Samsung, the makers of this app, are still working it.  More on that in a little bit.

Main Features: Document Translation

When you take a picture of a document, or you have a screenshot of some text and hit menu, you will see a new option there called "Detect text".  Make sure you have the right language selected.  You can make edits as necessary.  You can even share it to Google translate and get a translation of that.

Another thing this app does is it extends the functions of your Samsung keyboard.  Say you wanted to paste text of something you were looking at onto something like S Note.  You can do it by long-tappng on this button next to the space button.  And you will now see the camera with the T on there.  Select that it will activate the camera.  You can scan something with text, snap the image.  Hit the check button, and now it's on your S Note.

Other Features

A practical feature you might find useful is this Dictionary mode which offers a live foreign dictionary.  If you've ever tried filling out a form in a foreign country, this might be a lifesaver.  Or if you were looking at a restaurant menu.  You have to make sure you have downloaded the right dictionary for this to work though.

In the mode called Direct link, it will recognize phone numbers, email addresses, and web addresses, to create links for you to make calls, send email, or check out that website.  I think this feature would be nice if it worked quicker and more reliably when, for example, grabbing a link from your computer monitor.  It seems to struggle with this especially because of how camera sensor bands subpixels together.  It certainly helps when you get a little further away.  Also, it seems to cut off the link when there is a question mark in the link which is unfortunate because most links today do contain question marks.

Tips for OCR

A couple of tips.  Since getting a clear image is key, you need to make sure of a things.  Make sure the picture you're taking is shot with good lighting, make sure it's in focus and the lens isn't smudged, and make sure the text is upright to the orientation of the app.

As mentioned, it doesn't seem to work on the Note 3.  I side-loaded the latest version of the app because I couldn't install it through the Google Play store.  It used to crash but now says my device doesn't have free space, which is not true.  I can access it through the gallery app, but cannot access the other functions shown in this video.


Photo Reader is a powerful app that comes with unique ways to extend the functionality of your Samsung apps and then some.  There aren't many other apps that extend the functionality of Samsung apps in such clever ways but if you do find one or know of one, make sure you share that info in the comments below.  Also, we hope that Samsung updates this app to make it work with the Note 3 because it really is a great tool to have in your pocket for those who need it.

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