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9/96 Reviews HW: Storm Primax EasyPhoto SmartPage

Listing of September 1996 Reviews

Smart Scanner Picks Up Pix

By Jim Forbes

Once upon a time, adding color photos and graphics to your documents meant a trip to the service bureau or a major investment-or both. The EasyPhoto SmartPage requires neither: It's easy to use and costs far less than traditional flatbed color scanners.

The EasyPhoto SmartPage package comprises a sheetfed scanner bundled with photo scanning and editing software. Mustek supplies the scanner (although this may change); the software is Storm Primax's second-generation image application.

The 24-bit color scanner has a maximum 300-dot-per-inch optical resolution, which can be software-enhanced to 1200dpi. This is a chubby little unit at 7.5 by 10.3 by 6.5 inches. A 10-page automatic sheet feeder is standard equipment, and the scanner will accept photos (or other documents) up to 8x10 inches.

You're likely to be tied exclusively to one desktop system when you use the EasyPhoto SmartPage, because the scanner uses a proprietary interface card that's included with the package. The scanner employs that connection to sip the juice it needs from your system.

Installing the software from the CD-ROM was easy. Installation copies the appropriate drivers as well as the EasyPhoto application. An online overview, Getting Started, is excellent. It describes the software and its installation and also links to an instructional video. Help is also provided to load the included Xerox TextBridge OCR software.

Storm Primax offers a number of techniques to improve scan quality. The company's ClearScan technology automatically brightens dark areas on the source photo, and its ClearPrint algorithms enhance color printing. Scanned photos are stored in standard JPEG format.

The software's basic set of image-editing tools lets you crop, rotate, resize, enhance and otherwise manipulate scanned images. You can also use the software to compensate for your photographic deficiencies or improve the condition of the source photos. For worn photos, you can remove scratches and other blemishes; you can also remedy the very annoying "red eye" effect that often mars portraits.

In most cases, the software's automatic adjustments were sufficient for the photos that I scanned. All I really had to do was resize and crop the images.

SmartPage is OLE 2.0 and TWAIN compliant. When you're working with other OLE-compliant apps, adding scanned photos to documents is as simple as drag-and-drop. With non-OLE programs, you can add your scans by cutting and pasting.

The EasyPhoto SmartPage is a triple treat: It's simple to use, offers very good quality output and is modestly priced.

--Info File--
Storm Primax
EasyPhoto SmartPage
Pros: Color or monochrome scanning; TWAIN and OLE 2.0 compliant
Cons: Uses proprietary interface card
Platforms: Windows 95, 3.1x
Storm Primax
800-275-5734, 415-969-9555
WinMag Box Score: 3.5

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