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Under Scrutiny: Four 1200 dpi Scanners

Conclusion

NameD1250 U2 (*)Perfection 1250ScanJet 4470cAstra 4500 (**)
ManufacturerCanonEpsonhpUmax
Price in US$$199 (*)$99$150$86 (**)
TechnologyCCDCCDCCDCCD
Optical resolution1200 x 2400 dpi1200 x 2400 dpi1200 x 2400 dpi1200 x 1200 dpi
Color sampling48 bits internal/ 24 bits external48 bits internal/ 24 bits external48 bits internal/ not known48 bits internal/ 16 bits external
Surface DementionsA4A4A4A4
InterfaceUSB1, USB2USB1USB1USB1
Bundled softwareScanGear CS-U, ScanGear Toolbox, ArcSoft PhotoBase, Adobe Photoshop Elements, ScanSoft OmniPage Pro OCR, PhotoRecordArcSoft PhotoImpression, Epson SmartPanel, NewSoft OCR, Epson Twain Scanning SoftwareI.R.I.S. OCR, ArcSoft PhotoImpressions, Trellix Trellix Web Express, hp print creator, ACD Systems, ACDSeeMGI PhotoSuite III SE for Image Editing, ScanSoft Textbridge, PaperCom
Size (mm)470 x 256 x 55278 x 67 x 438505 x 305 x 74470 x 440 x 61
Weight (kg)2.7 kg2.5 kgnot known2.4 kg
Adaptor for negativesVersion D1250U2F onlyVersion 1250 Photo onlyYesNo

(*) 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 The driver supplied with the equipment is seriously out of date.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.