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Plustek SmartOffice PS282

>> Friday, January 9, 2009

One of the PS282's nicer touches is its small size. At just 5.8 by 10.4 by 5.0 inches (HWD) with the output tray folded over the front panel, this scanner shouldn't be hard to find room for on your desk. Installation is easy too. Plug in the power cord and supplied USB cable, and then let Windows start the setup routine from the distribution disc. It tested the scanner using Windows XP.

Plustek says the disc also includes drivers and a full set of software for Windows 2000 and Vista. Plustek has made a few minor improvements in the software since the PS252, but it hasn't addressed some of the most troublesome issues. In particular, the only way to start a one button scan is by choosing from the numbers 1 through 9 showing in the LED display on the scanner or in the pop up window in the scan utility.

Unfortunately, neither option gives any hint of the type of scan that goes with each number, so unless you memorize the list you have to look up the definitions each time you scan a step that largely eliminates the convenience a one button scan feature is supposed to give you.

The scanner also comes with a photo editor (NewSoft Presto! ImageFolio 4.5), an optical character recognition (OCR) program (Abbyy FineReader Sprint Plus 6.0), and three document management programs (NewSoft Presto! PageManager 7.1, Plustek's own DI Capture 1.0, and Hotcard's BizCard Finder 2.5).

Each of the document management programs has its own strengths. DI Capture offers the fastest scan speed. The business card program can create separate databases of business cards, text documents, and photos. PageManager makes it easy to send a scanned file to a program, printer, or other destination.

That's something the other two programs can't do because they store data in their own folder systems. Unfortunately, the separate folder systems also keep the programs from sharing information easily, so you're pretty much forced into choosing one of the three programs and ignoring the other two. Unlike most document scanners, the PS282 is much slower than its claimed speed.

It tried scanning to a PDF image file with several different bundled programs and settings, but the best speed I managed to get was 11.1 ppm in simplex mode and 4.3 ppm and 8.7 ipm in duplex mode. As a point of comparison, the somewhat more expensive HP Scanjet N6010 claims maximum speeds of 18 ppm and 36 ipm, and delivered 15.6 ppm and 30 ipm on our tests.

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