February is an excellent month to take advantage of sales on electronics, home theaters, romantic gifts and more.
According to the scanners reviews that we read, consumers typically expect two things from cheap scanners: excellent images and fast results. Additionally, scanner reviews indicate consumers also want a scanner that's easy to set up and easy to use.
Scanner Image Quality.Image quality is the most important performance attribute on a scanner. If your scanner doesn't deliver excellent scans, what's the point of having one? Flatbed scanners are primarily designed for photo scanning; they handle documents, as well, but only one page at a time. Most of the low-price scanners we researched proved their mettle with documents quite well, so the quality of photo scans is the thing to focus on. Here, too, scanners reviews say low-priced models are very good at this task. Bottom line: you won't need to spend a lot to get a lot.
The Epson Perfection V300 garners rave reviews from a variety of sources. It ranks as a 2009 Editor's Choice in PCmag.com, where the scanners review notes the Epson Perfection V300 is particularly adept at scanning transparencies. Test scans of prints that were then printed out show a bit less detail in bright areas but more in dark areas compared to the original, , and this expert scanners review further adds that the Perfection V300 handles light-duty text scanning without difficulty and does a good job on optical character recognition. PCWorld.com likewise applauds the Epson Perfection V300's image quality and singles out the sharp detail and color accuracy for praise. Users posting scanners reviews on Amazon agree and say scan quality is excellent, even when copying slides.
Canon's CanoScan LiDE 100 and CanoScan LiDE 200 also earn a thumbs-up for image duplication in scanners reviews. A scanners review of the LiDE 100 posted in PCmag.com notes that the scanner's color restore spiffs up faded photos and photo scans look oh-so-close to the original. Users commenting in scanners reviews on Best Buy about the CanoScan LiDE 200 say it produces high-quality reproductions of photos; one scanners review on Amazon reports using the LiDE 200 to scan 100-year old photos. An expert scanners review on Macworld.com of the CanoScan LiDE 200 hedges a bit, saying scan quality is generally good, although detail in the scans isn't quite sharp enough.
Another cheap scanner, the Visioneer OneTouch 9520, also garners positive assessments from consumers. Scanner reviews on Tigerdirect.com assert the resolution and contrast for photos, slides, and documents are pretty good given the price, although one user would prefer sharper output and a few found software installation to be tricky. Scan quality, even on 40-year-old slide, is good enough with the Visioneer OneTouch 9520, say scanners reviews on Amazon, although some users gripe that the machine doesn't come with a printed instruction manual.
Sitting at the high end of the Cheapism niche, the Canon CanoScan 5600F is lauded for the excellent quality of its image scans. Several users posting scanners reviews on Newegg.com are particularly impressed by the CanoScan 5600f's ability to reproduce black and white images. It's another Editor's Choice in PCmag.com, which writes in a scanners review that the strength of the CanoScan 5600F is its performance with prints, slides, and negatives, which should make serious amateur photographers happy. OCR (optical character recognition) is adequate for short documents, the scanners review continues, and in a test it accurately read font sizes of 10 or 12 on two popular fonts.
Users and experts offer mixed assessments of the HP ScanJet G3110. PCmag writes in a scanners review that the ScanJet G3110's print scans are generally OK, and the color restore and dust removal features are praiseworthy; on the other hand, artifacts (such as streaks) occasionally pop up. Macworld.com is more impressed with the HP ScanJet G3110, citing its very good color accuracy and fine detail in scanned photos. A few consumers posting scanners reviews on Amazon also like the ScanJet G3110's picture quality, but most are disappointed with creaky software that slows the process and generates mediocre results, especially with film.
Scanners Speed.Good scans don't happen instantly, but scanners reviews indicate that users appreciate a scanner that takes care of business fairly quickly. A fast scanner should be able to scan a document in just a few seconds, and a high-resolution, high-color depth photo in less than a minute. The process moves along faster if you've got a scanner that uses LED lighting rather than CCFL because the former need no warm-up time and generally ensures consistent scan speeds on each job. PCmag.com likes the LED lighting on the Epson Perfection V300 and approvingly notes that pre-scanning and scanning both prints and slides come in at well under 60 seconds. Image scanning speed of the Visioneer OneTouch 9520 impresses users posting scanners reviews on Amazon. And several experts (including Macworld.com and PCWorld.com) and consumers (as seen on Newegg.com) likewise compliment the Canon CanoScan LiDE 200 for its quick work.
Not all the cheap scanners we researched proved to be speed demons, however. Users and experts have mixed opinions about the performance of the Canon CanoScan 5600F. A scanners review in PCmag.com reports a slow two minutes are needed for slides, and users' scanners reviews at J&R.com report similar creaky performance; consumers commenting on Newegg.com view the matter differently, and say scan speeds are fairly fast. There are no mixed opinions about the HP ScanJet G3110's scan speed. This model is panned in several scanners reviews -- on MacWorld.com and Amazon, for example -- for being a pokey performer. The Canon CanoScan LiDE 100 also gets dinged for sluggishness in a scanners review by PCmag.
Don't Bother Cheap Scanners
HP ScanJet G3110
Painfully slow scans with occasional "artifacts" keep this scanner at the bottom of our list. Most photo scans turn out well, but scanning film produces iffy results.
Canon CanoScan LiDE 100 Review
Canon CanoScan LiDE 200 Review
Visioneer OneTouch 9520 Review
Epson Perfection V300 Review
Canon CanoScan 5600F Review
Game on! Grab some deals before kickoff this sunday! Here are our favorite Super Bowl deals and sales.
January brings deals on linens and electronics -- and, in much of the country, winter weather that can disrupt power. ...