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October 1996 Reviews TOC

10/96 Reviews HW: Plustek OpticPro 4800P

Plustek Scans Easily for Less

By Serdar Yegulalp

The OpticPro 4800P from Plustek, an under-$400 24-bit color scanner, gets points for being easy to set up and use. It loses a few, however, for image output quality.

The scanner sports a footprint smaller than that of most other full-page scanners, measuring 11.7 inches wide by 16.7 inches deep. Lift off the hinged lid, and the unit easily accommodates books and larger documents. An "action button" on the front of the scanner interfaces with Plustek's Action Manager software to let you automate tasks. A pass-through port keeps your printer available.

Plustek's very basic TWAIN driver lets you select only the type of scanning to be done (line-art, RGB or black and white) and the scanning resolution. It also provides contrast and brightness controls, gamma settings and a preview window. Unfortunately, there's no way to save your settings and reuse them from one session to another, and there are no de-screening controls for removing the artifacts produced by scanning photo-offset images.

It's important to note that the scanner performed well on a system with an enhanced parallel port, but did not work satisfactorily on a system with a more conventional bi-directional port. During our test, the whole system froze during a scan, even when using the 32-bit TWAIN driver.

I used a Ronchi test target, which contains line patterns of varying degrees of resolution, to determine how well the scanner was able to sample at 600 dots per inch. Out of a possible 0.5, the OpticPro 4800P scored only 0.24, a scan quality rating of fair. When scanning in 24-bit color mode, the edges of horizontal black lines showed evidence of a blue shadow. Software interpolation kicks in at scans greater than 600dpi and supports a virtual scanning resolution up to 4800dpi, although the results were usually very muddy. Scans in the 75dpi-to-150dpi range were quite acceptable, and line-art scans were crisp and sharp.

Plustek provides its own TWAIN driver and fax/copier software, CPI's Image-In photo imaging program, and Recognita Plus OCR (optical character recognition). The Action Manager coordinates these basic programs to make scanning as simple as possible.

--Info File--
Plustek OpticPro 4800P
Pros: Small; setup; inexpensive
Cons: Limited TWAIN functionality; mediocre image quality
Platforms: Windows 95, 3.1x
Plustek USA
800-685-8088, 408-745-7111
WinMag Box Score 3.0

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