Under Scrutiny: Four 1200 dpi Scanners


Name D1250 U2 (*) Perfection 1250 ScanJet 4470c Astra 4500 (**)
Manufacturer Canon Epson hp Umax
Price in US$ $199 (*) $99 $150 $86 (**)
Technology CCD CCD CCD CCD
Optical resolution 1200 x 2400 dpi 1200 x 2400 dpi 1200 x 2400 dpi 1200 x 1200 dpi
Color sampling 48 bits internal/ 24 bits external 48 bits internal/ 24 bits external 48 bits internal/ not known 48 bits internal/ 16 bits external
Surface Dementions A4 A4 A4 A4
Interface USB1, USB2 USB1 USB1 USB1
Bundled software ScanGear CS-U, ScanGear Toolbox, ArcSoft PhotoBase, Adobe Photoshop Elements, ScanSoft OmniPage Pro OCR, PhotoRecord ArcSoft PhotoImpression, Epson SmartPanel, NewSoft OCR, Epson Twain Scanning Software I.R.I.S. OCR, ArcSoft PhotoImpressions, Trellix Trellix Web Express, hp print creator, ACD Systems, ACDSee MGI PhotoSuite III SE for Image Editing, ScanSoft Textbridge, PaperCom
Size (mm) 470 x 256 x 55 278 x 67 x 438 505 x 305 x 74 470 x 440 x 61
Weight (kg) 2.7 kg 2.5 kg not known 2.4 kg
Adaptor for negatives Version D1250U2F only Version 1250 Photo only Yes No
(*) only sold in North America in the D1250U2F version, with a PCI USB 2 card and an adaptor for transparencies
(**) Not available in North America

Scanners are currently in an awkward position, because they are swiftly being overtaken by multifunctional equipment, and this is happening at the very moment when new interfaces are being introduced. Only Canon has reacted promptly, by offering an economical and innovative product that is USB 2.0-compatible. The D1250 U2 is thus the hands-down winner by virtue of its extremely fast processing speed combined with its accurate digitization. As long as you purchase a separate USB 2.0 PCI card, you will have the best value-for-money scanner on the market.

Second in line is HP's ScanJet 4470c. We were particularly impressed by the high quality scans at 75 dpi. Unfortunately, it's quite slow at 600 dpi and over. Furthermore, it would have been a good idea for HP to develop its driver a little more. The driver supplied with the equipment is seriously out of date.

Epson's Perfection 1250 is rather deceptive. We still remember the Perfection 640U. The 1250 does not do much more, although it is slightly faster at scanning images. In other tests, the 640 was generally, and by a wide margin, much faster than this new scanner and despite its lower resolution, just as accurate.

The Astra 4500 is the least expensive but also the most limited of the four models. It would be better to leave it for routine work at 300 or 600 dpi. The scanning process, however, is quick, but it is rather disappointing because it is less accurate that that of its rivals. Furthermore, scanning with the test model tended to veer into the red. Despite all this, it is not a bad buy when compared to the others. You will save a few pennies and have a scanner that is perfectly good in the lower, more frequently used resolutions.

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