Adapt-IT were lucky enough to be given an OrCam Read to trial so let’s discuss the device and our experience with it.

OrCam is a range of revolutionary devices for the blind, visually impaired and people that struggle to read, distinguish colours or make out faces. The range includes the OrCam Read, OrCam MyEye Smart and OrCam MyEye Pro.

The OrCam Read is one of three levels of devices which all have a standard feature and depending on model gain access to more advanced features. None of the devices require connectivity to work. Each device is developed to support users with differing requirements and has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity enabling connection to headphones, hearing aids and the internet.

A hand holding the OrCam Read

What’s in the box?

  • OrCam Device
  • Protective case
  • Wired headphones
  • Charger and fabric-wrapped lead
  • Neck strap
  • Instruction manual (Multiple languages)


  • Full Page Capture: Unlike all other devices where you must scan word-by-word, OrCam Read captures full pages.
  • Two intuitive laser guidance options:
    • Capture a specific block of text or choose where to begin reading.
  • Reads text including:
    • newspapers
    • books
    • menus
    • signs
    • product labels
    • screens.
  • Smart Reading: Simply ask for the text that interests you. 
    • “Read the headlines” 
    • “Read amounts”
    • “Start from” a specific section.
  • Bright LED Light: Makes reading easy in dimly lit environments.
  • Easy-to-use: Intuitive device, simply point and click, that’s all there is to it.

Features on the Device

On the top of the device is:

  • Circular activation button
  • + and – buttons to control volumeand scrolling through the menus
  • Main power button which needs to be pushed and held to cycle the power
  • Battery charge indication LEDs
  • Charging port (Micro USB)

On the bottom of the device:

  • Power indication LED
  • Speaker and microphone 
  • 3.5 mm Headphone socket

We’re super excited to receive it and try it out so let’s get on with the test!

Test Summary

The first thing we noticed was how comfortable it was to hold and use. At only 44g, it is a light device. But it doesn’t feel cheap or flimsy. However unlike the MyEye, the OrCam Read is a handheld device so if you have trouble gripping devices, the OrCam MyEye would be the better option with its mounting ability.

The controls are easy to use and intuitive, needing only to use two buttons on a regular basis and one of those is to turn the device on and off. If you don’t want to press the button or can’t due to the size the “Hey OrCam” command is really useful. (This doesn’t come configured as standard and the user needs to activate this).

On the bottom of the device is a power indication LED and the speaker. The speaker is clear and reasonably loud given the size of the device. If in a noisy location you may wish to connect a pair of headphones, this is done through the standard 3.5” socket or Bluetooth.

It is so quick and accurate. You simply point the device at the page or text you want to read and press the activation button. You have two pointer options a red arrow pointer or a laser frame appears on the page, align it with the text and let go. As you can see from the image above, the lasers are bright.

We were interested to see how the OrCam would work with magazines as they tend to have a lot more contrasting colour and things going on. Again, the OrCam worked really well. We did find that you had to hold the device closer to the page to increase the accuracy of the words and separation.

The pointer or frame is larger the further from the page you are. We found that 12” or approximately 30cm from the page was a good distance for regular sized text. Of course, this needs to be adjusted for the frame. For smaller text we had to be a bit closer, but the device tells you if it has trouble reading the text.

Once taking the image after a couple of seconds it starts to read, the full page or area selected. You will hear a camera shutter and a couple of seconds later the text will be read aloud.

The voice can be swapped between a female and a male voice as well as the ability to alter the speed of the narration.

Different Media Types

We wanted to try the OrCam with as many media types as possible to test the accuracy of the reading and it didn’t disappoint.

We tested textbooks used for GCSE chemistry and given the technical content of chemistry, the OrCam wasn’t phased. Even when differing colours were used for the backgrounds. Wild!

We also tried with multiple computer screens and even an iPad but despite the shiny surfaces, OrCam still performed. It does begin to struggle when there are bright lights or reflections on the screen, but our eyes would struggle with that too.

The device was great for reading product labels but did struggle with a couple of things such as Pepsi Max, mushy peas and Marmite. They say you either love it or hate it and well, OrCam didn’t like it! Reading the price worked well with the device recognising the pound sign (£) in most instances; this is down to the closeness to the label and of course font and quality of print.

For the final test… comics! We are big nerds here in the Adapt-IT office. The text on these books is generally quite small and use strange font types amongst generally dark images. This was going to be the ultimate test. This was where we found the limit of the device; the gloss finish of the paper didn’t help either. The device worked ok, the text would occasionally be wrong, but you could enable some interpretation. An example was instead of cold it said Colorado. Also, it reads as would be expected in a linear fashion, so if you try to read too much the text is out of sync. But if you held the device closely enough you could narrow this down.


The OrCam Read is an incredibly powerful tool and can bring exceptional capability and independence to the visually impaired or people who struggle with reading or character recognition.

Through the tests we found the device very accurate and convenient to use. However, due to it needing to be held this may not be the most convenient for shopping or when out and about but the neck strap can help with this. The device is not water resistant or proof, so you shouldn’t use it in the rain or a wet environment. The device was able to read nearly everything we aimed it at and the “Hey OrCam” was super useful.

The device also needs no connectivity to operate, so it doesn’t matter if you are in a supermarket or the middle of a desert; it will work.

OrCam Read ProsOrCam Read Cons
Incredibly easy to use
The OrCam Read is compact and light at only 44g
Its accuracy is exemplary and read nearly everything we put it against
It is quick to transcribe the text
Can be voice activated
It doesn’t need any internet connectivity to work
The verbal narrative is clear and loud
You can connect wired and Bluetooth headphones
It has to be handheld (need OrCam MyEye for mounting on glasses)
The buttons are small for people with larger hands or dexterity challenges
It doesn’t read comics (this is minor depending on user)
It doesn’t recognise colours or faces (need MyEye Pro)
Doesn’t recognise products directly (need MyEye Pro)
Not water resistant or waterproof