I've had my Snapscan Touch for a little while now, and I've been very pleased with it. The interchangeable handles are a bit gimmicky, but look great! NB - This unit should NOT be confused with the Snapscan standard range. The 'Touch' version is higher spec. It scans fairly quickly, and the ScanWise software that comes with it is very very easy to operate. There are even some user-customisable buttons on the unit itself so you can scan direct to fax, to email and to text file. My only quibble is that the OCR software which came in the box is deeply unsteady. If you have started up ScanWise first (which launches itself if you've pressed the 'preview' button on the unit, the Caere OCR software regularly crashes if you try to start it afterwards. However, there is a way round this. Start the Caere package FIRST, select 'acquire image', and then ScanWise will boot itself up and you're away. Hasn't crashed once using this method. And once you get going with it, the OCR software is EXCELLENT. Caere is a market-leading package and comes free in the box. I've used it on all sorts of things including CD cover notes, and it handles them with ease, even pale writing on a dark background. the only time it stumbles is if the text is a similar colour to the background. Back to the scanner itself - highly recommended. Took about 10-15 minutes to plug in and install the drivers, and I haven't had a single problem with it since. And I do a LOT of scanning. It even works with my *ancient* SuperFax software, I simply defined the SuperFax software as a printer, and it scans the piece of paper/photo/whatever directly into the fax software. Which is 16 bit. Which is at least 5 years old. Impressive. I'm running it on a 466MHz laptop with Windows 98 and 64Mb RAM, and I still get fast results.
Agfa's SnapScan Touch scanner combines some trendy design with high scan quality for a budget device. Although it has a cream body, it has a translucent white lid with a coloured insert, which can be changed to any of the six colours supplied. This should keep the iMac fraternity happy, as should the scanner's USB connection, which is equally straightforward on iMacs and PCs. The scanner's lid is hinged along its long edge, which means it takes up more room on the desk; this is a feature of dubious benefit. There's a cluster of four control buttons on the scanner's top surface, which initiate some clever software to do things like scanning an image, automatically creating an e-mail and adding the image as an attachment. The buttons call up Agfa's Windows software to put together these multiple functions. The software comprises Corel's PrintHouse Magic and PageKeeper OCR, as well as Agfa's own ScanWise TWAIN application. This is an good bundle for a budget scanner, with plenty of flexibility for designing all kinds of documents that might include scanned images or documents. ScanWise itself is heavily geared to the beginner and much of its working is automatic. This is fine for many uses, but the more experienced person will find some of its shortcomings frustrating. There's no facility for gamma adjustment, for instance, and no scales on any of the control sliders. You're limited to adjusting the brightness or contrast 'a bit', rather than by a specific percentage. This is a shame, as the scanner is optically very good, given its price. Colour rendition is reasonably accurate, even in the trickier lighter shades, though skin tones can be a little too magenta-rich. Resolution of lines, important when scanning line art and often weak in budget devices, is well above average on the SnapScan Touch. The scanner has an optical resolution of 600dpi, which is about par for a device
in this price range, and scan times were good as long as we kept the resolution down. A 300dpi scan of an 8 x 8 inch print took just over half a minute, while a 5 x 7 inch print at 1,200dpi took just over five minutes. Agfa has always majored on the optical quality of its scanners and cameras and continues to do so with the SnapScan Touch. At around £100, this is a high value peripheral, which should be more than adequate for many home and business tasks. Verdict Agfa's budget SnapScan Touch may take a little more room on your desktop, with its strange layout, but it will earn its place over and over. It's scan quality is high and the only slight reservation is lack of manual control in its TWAIN application. It cries out for 'advanced' as well as 'beginner' modes. I would sugest that if you are looking for an easy to use scanner and a good quality product, then this is the scanner for you. I would recommend this to anybody without any reservations.
When I first opened the box, my eyes were greeted with the good-looking Agfa Snapscan Touch. I connected it up with the easy to use USB and to the power; it was detected and installed by windows 98. Moreover, 10 minutes later I was scanning things in, however that is where the problems began. Green lines appeared all over the scanned in pictures. However, a quick re-install of the drivers fixed the problem, now the pictures were a bit grainy and of acceptable quality. After about 3 months, the green lines were back! I phoned the technical support line, and they swapped the scanner for another, anyway another scanner later and it was working. The third scanners results were a lot better than the first, pictures were as sharp as you like. The supplied TWAIN interface was easy to use, but also allowed access to the more advanced functions easily. The supplied OCR software is a little poor, and worth upgrading. This scanner is perfect for the beginner, but more advanced users may find the lack of a transparency unit or ADF off-putting. Overall a good scanner let down by the supplied software.
I bought my Agfa SnapScan Touch scanner to go with an i-mac, but it works with any USB PC. And it's so simple to use. It's an A4 600x1200 dpi scanner with removable handles in i-mac flavours. Four large buttons on the top allow you to open up the scanning software, scan to e-mail, scan to printer or scan to a file. Literally on-touch scanning that is simple for anyone to use - child or grandma. For the price - between £100 and £125 - it makes good scans for home use, such as web sites, printing photos and storing magazine articles. It comes with unsophisticated OCR technology, and I'd recommend upgrading that to TextBridge, Pagis or OmniPage, but this scanner is perfect in every other way!