Product Watch: A Scanner Your Parents, Relatives And Kids Will Thank You For - And It's Even Color Coordinated!
Agfa SnapScan Touch Desktop Scanner
Agfa's SnapScan Touch is a USB, landscape-designed flatbed scanner aimed at the home and small office environments. The SnapScan Touch uses a simple push-button system for scanning directly into e-mail, fax or printer. It comes with the ScanWise scanner driver that ships with all SnapScan scanners.
"Perfect for first time users the SnapScan Touch is a welcome addition to the SnapScan family," said Per Save, Vice President of Agfa Desktop Products. "Not only are the operation button simple - but the scanner houses one of the most intuitive software applications developed to date."
The SnapScan Touch is a hybird peripheral - able to perform on both the Mac and PC platforms and comes with six different translucent color handles matching the different iMac colors. On the right side of the scanner is a touch pad shaped much like a paw, which supplies the user with options to email, fax or copy directly from the scanner at the press of a button.
The scanner has an optical resolution of 600 x 1200 ppi (which can be interpolated up to 9600 ppi), 36-bit color depth and a scanning area of 8.5 x 11.7 inches.
The scanner can be connected and disconnected without powering down the computer.
The ScanWise software features a simple interface, which consists of four-tabbed menu cards on the left and a preview box to the right of the screen. The four-tabbed menu cards are logically ordered to lead the user through the simple scan process. The first determines the type of original to be scanned and the second incorporates the destination of the scan. The third menu allows automatic or manual color and tone changes while the fourth provides intuitive size settings.
Novices will appreciate the high level of automation that the interface provides including the "Guide Me" mode, which leads users sequentially through the four menus and provides additional tips for optimum results. More experienced users will benefit from the manual override settings which allow greater control over the whole scanning procedure.
Each time ScanWise is launched, the software locates resident applications with which it can communicate and determines the optimum settings for the scan dependent upon the final destination. ScanWise can communicate with image editors, web browsers, fax, e-mail, printers, word processors and OCR programs.
Users scanning images for e-mails, for example simply select the e-mail application as a final destination and ScanWise will automatically select the RGB color mode, screen resolution, open up the email and pastes the image directly into the application.
What is unique about ScanWise is the level of automated control, which ensures optimum quality without the need for user intervention. The software is able to detect the exact nature of the original and distinguish between color or black and white, text and images and then select the appropriate scanning mode. ScanWise also detects misalignments of originals and rotates the scans to correct this.
A recent MacHome review gave the SnapScan Touch 4 1/2 apples out of a possible 5 and said this about the speakers:
"the standout feature of this scanner § and the reason that it"s called the Touch § is a panel of four, large rubberized buttons. The largest one calls up the scanning software, but many scanners in the Touch"s price range sport such buttons. It"s the other three that are downright revolutionary"
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