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Comparison: Low-Price Multifunction Devices

Scanner

The scanner tests were run successively at 75, 300, 600 and 1200 dpi, some with and some without descreening, along with color chart tests. But here we are short of space, so we shall give a one-page summary with the results obtained in the most usual resolution: 300 dpi.

Canon F20Epson CX 3200
hp psc 1210Lexmark X5150

The Lexmark scanner stands out like a sore thumb: it is a lot more yellow than the others, and moreover, every scan shows the same flaw. The reds all turn orange. This is the least satisfactory of the four scanners. It is also has the most disappointing descreening results (digitization and automatic processing of a magazine photo): the image turned out completely blurred.

Next in the "least satisfactory" ranking is HP. You can see raster in the photos, the moiré of magazine photos is not as well processed as on the Canon and Epson, and the driver still has the annoying habit of shutting down after each scan and warming the scanner lamp again every time you rerun it. This is particularly nerve-racking when you are scanning a series of photos.

Canon turns out fairly good images, though they are still a bit too dark.

The Epson scanner comes out the clear winner when you take speed into account. It is three times faster than the others and has the best colors. The only weak point is that its images are a little short on clearness.

However, none of these scanners is really excellent, as you can see in our marks at the end. Their color quality is not really up to standard and there is often a lack of detail. As the manufacturers have not really worked on this, it also has negative effects on the photocopy results.