How to Use the Hand Scanner in Starfield

Anastasios Antoniadis

How to Use the Hand Scanner in Starfield (1)

Starfield immerses players in a universe teeming with exotic alien life, astonishing flora and fauna, and a myriad of enigmatic mysteries waiting to be unraveled. As adventurers embark on their journey with Constellation, stepping into the vast expanse of the Frontier, they are greeted with a continuous array of intriguing points of interest.

These can be explored at their own pace, offering a rich tapestry of discovery. Yet, amidst this abundance of wonders, players might ponder how to identify and keep track of all these marvels. Starfield elegantly addresses this challenge with a pivotal game mechanic: the scanner. This tool is a gateway to understanding and interacting with the game’s diverse universe, ensuring that players are fully equipped to delve into the depths of its captivating world.

The scanner emerges as an indispensable companion for players in Starfield, guiding them through each world and encounter. This dynamic tool evolves alongside the player, growing increasingly useful with each use and allowing you to fully scan a planet’s resources, fauna, flora, and points of interest.

Not only does it aid in navigation and discovery, but it also becomes a subtle yet dependable means of generating income using planet Survey Slates. This guide delves into how the scanner can strategically elevate your Starfield adventure, transforming it from a tool to an essential ally in your interstellar journey.

How to Use the Hand Scanner in Starfield

How to Use the Hand Scanner in Starfield
Image: Bethesda via Meta Game Guides

In Starfield, the Hand Scanner introduces an entirely new dimension to gameplay, revolutionizing how players interact with and perceive their surroundings. Engaging with the scanner is straightforward: Players activate’ Scanner Mode by pressing the “F” key on your keyboard (or its equivalent).

This shift transforms the HUD, transitioning from a clear view to a specialized circular scanning interface. This new mode offers a unique lens through which the game world is explored, adding depth and interactivity to the Starfield experience.

Hand Scanner Interface
Image: Bethesda via Meta Game Guides

The scanning window in Starfield is a powerhouse of information, offering players a comprehensive understanding of their environment. Here are some of the scanner’s key functionalities:

  1. Planetary Overview (Survery Window): Upon activation, the scanner presents a survey box on the left side of the screen. This box is a treasure trove of information about the planet you’re on, detailing the local flora, fauna, and available resources. In more barren landscapes, like Earth’s moon, the details might be sparse, reflecting the minimalistic nature of such environments.
  2. Detailed Analysis of Entities: The scanner doesn’t just stop at a broad overview; it delves into specifics. Each object or lifeform encountered can be scanned to uncover detailed information, sometimes requiring multiple attempts. This feature allows for an in-depth understanding of the elements of the Starfield universe.
  3. Planetary-Wide Scanning: For a more macroscopic view, the scanner extends its reach to a planet-wide scale, accessible via the Starmap. Players can obtain a comprehensive planet summary by entering the planetary view. This data is conveniently displayed in an information box on the left side of the screen, giving players a broader perspective of their exploration territory. Full Planet View

Points of Interest: As players traverse on foot, the scanner becomes invaluable in identifying nearby points of interest. Icons representing these locations will appear on the scanner’s display. Simply hover over an icon and press A to scan it, uncovering details about the location type.

Fast-travel: The scanner also facilitates outdoor fast-travel. By activating the scanner and selecting either your ship or previously visited locations, players can quickly travel to these points. Note, however, that this feature is unavailable in indoor areas or locations that require a loading screen for entry.

Surface Map Access On the Go: The surface map is readily accessible while on foot through the scanner. Players can open this map by pressing RB, integrating seamless navigation into their journey.

Discover Loot and Enemies: With the scanner active, players can easily spot NPCs, enemies, and collectible items. This feature is particularly handy for uncovering hidden chests and safes, ensuring that no valuable is left behind.

Navigate to the Object Marker with Precision: The scanner reveals the world around you and guides you to your objectives. When used, a trail of arrows appears, highlighting the most efficient route to your selected destination. This pathfinding feature is a boon for players seeking direction in the expansive universe of Starfield.

How to Upgrade the Hand Scanner Using Science Skill Trees

Scanning Surveying and Astrophysics Skills
Image: Bethesda via Meta Game Guides

As you make progress in Strafield, you can enhance the capabilities of your Hand Scanner or exploration and planet surveying in general by investing in skills in the Science Tree. Here are the key skills to invest in.

  1. Surveying: Located at the end of the first tier in the Science skill tree, this skill significantly improves the hand scanner’s range and zoom capabilities, making distant objects more accessible and easier to examine.
  2. Scanning: By advancing this skill, players enable their scanner to detect a wider array of inorganic materials, including some of the rarest and most valuable in the game.
  3. Astrophysics: This skill is essential for upgrading the ship’s scanner. With this enhancement, players can access a broader spectrum of information, enriching their exploration and discovery experience.

Investing in these skills will not only streamline the scanning and surveying processes but also unlock new possibilities and deepen the overall gameplay experience in Starfield.

Anastasios Antoniadis
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