Price: £469 plus VAT
The dual-interface (USB and SCSI) HP Scanjet 7450c is a versatile one-stop scanning station: It features an automatic document feeder with a 50-page carrying capacity, as well as an add-on transparency adaptor for scanning film. It also boasts 48-bit colour, 2,400-x-2,400-dpi optical resolution, and lightning-fast performance. When we tested it using its SCSI interface, scans at 75dpi, 300dpi, and 600dpi were either the fastest or among the fastest scores for those categories. For example, the 7450c scanned a 5-x-7-inch colour photo at 75dpi in a brisk 9.5 seconds, compared with 27 seconds for Microtek's ScanMaker 5700, which we tested using a IEEE 1394 (FireWire) connection. At maximum resolution, the Scanjet proved its throughput power as well, capturing at a rate of 861KBps, second only to the Epson Expression 1680 (1311KBps). The unit’s transparency adaptor has just a 5-x-5-inch working area, in contrast to the 8-x-10-inch scanning areas of the Microtek ScanMaker 8700 and Epson Expression 1680 Professional. If you want a SCSI interface that gives you fastest capture speeds, you must purchase the 7490c, which is the same model but with a SCSI card and cable included. The Scanjet 7450c’s architecture is unique: it features two charge-coupled device image sensors instead of the single sensor found in most scanners. HP says the 600dpi CCD captures larger pixels quickly, while the 2,400dpi CCD is supposed to capture smaller pixels with greater detail. In our tests we rated the 7450c’s image quality just a hair short of the colour accuracy and sharp details captured by the top-performing Microtek ScanMaker 8700. Both skin tones and the background in our colour image tests were a slightly more reddish than the original, but these are minor gripes. The 7450c boasts a legal-size scan bed and a handy assortment of push buttons on the front panel for quick-starting common tasks, as well as for specifying the number and quality of copies and other options.