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I got it today and together with photoshop it works goog. I red from reviews, how to use and how to install and I dryd scan some watercolor pictures for printing and the quality was perfect. I'm very hapy, I got what I have dreamed. Nearly for nothing.
CRAPPY PILE OF SHITE.MY DOG COULD DO BETTER.BOB IS GAY
If like me you work mainly in A3, I am sure you have discovered that although cheap A4 printers are two a penny, there is a distinct lack of choice of A3 scanners, or at least affordable ones! So with a budget of less than £100, I had a choice of, well, one scanner
.So needless to say I went with that one, the Mustek ScanExpress A3 USB!
Well, although not attractive it is very compact! Only marginally larger than an A3 sheet, I cant see how it could be any more space saving, well other than a vertical scanner I guess!
Although its a new model (based on the Mustek ScanExpress A3, non USB version!) it is only available in computer beige, so Mustek appear to be lagging behind a bit and missing the whole grey computer revelation, which is a bit of a shame when you consider most scanners sit on a desk in full view. Never mind, Im sure it will become retro cool one day!!!!!
As with most scanners, progress while scanning can be viewed via a strip that allows the scanner light to be seen through a green glass, so as the light progresses internally down the scan, it is reflected externally.
Other than that, it is plain, detail free and gives the impression that it is more than robust enough to cope with being dropped!. What more do you want from a scanner!
Price & Availability
Luckily, as this is the only A3 colour scanner available for less than £100, it is widely available, and invariably in stock with most retailers. The only real difficulty with it is its mainly available on-line as apose to kept in store, but most stores will enable you to order them and collect them in store if this is your preference. The cheapest, brand new option appears to be via Amazon, where it can be brought for £79 or if you fancy buying a second hand one, which might be a good chance to try the quality at least then they are available for approximately £30-£35.
What do you get with the scanner?
Well, besides the scanner itself you also get both leads required to start using the scanner, which as my only spare USB lead had already been donated to my new printer (that came without the lead!) this was a god send!. There are also all drivers you require included on CDs and an instruction sheet, although I have to say it is so straight forward without any assembly required that the instructions are really superfluous. In the box is also a one year warranty, so keep hold of that incase you do get any prolems.
This is the part that I think I should give a quick warning, that may well make you think twice about buying the scanner. This is not the first Mustek A3 flatbed scanner I have had, it is infact the second. Although the previous scanner worked perfectly well for about 4 years, the problems started once my computer was upgraded to xp, suddenly the old scanner driver wasnt compatible. Not a problem in itself, but unbelievably no update was ever actually available, to put it bluntly it appears that Mustek had decided they were not going to write any more software to allow the changes in operating software. Personally, I find that pretty surprising especially considering that at the time the same model was available to buy! So, within that one upgrade, my scanner became obsolete and out I went to buy an exact replica, well from the outside anyway just so that it would work with the system! Perhaps with this version of scanner there will be more upgrades available for future progress, but bear in mind that Mustek may well decide not to and lumber you with having to buy a new scanner!
Ok, so outside of that potential risk, installation is very straightforward. Insert the installation disk, follow the on screen instructions and the driver is installed within a few minutes.
As the name suggests, this printer connects to USB ports, so make sure that you have a USB port free to connect to. It is possible to network the scanner via a printer, if you do not have space on your computer for a connection, although of course the printer needs to have space for a scanner to be attached.
So once you have decided how you would prefer to network, plug the scanner in and away you go!
Although the scanner comes with great promise in regards to the specification, the software really isnt up to much. Although it shows great promise by providing options such as image enhance to aid brightness and contrast and filters, the software isnt really sensitive enough to carry out the task. One slight tweak of the brightness and suddenly you get a scan of a white page!
It is however perfectly capable of carrying out tasks such as rescaling the image, which I find useful and providing different scan modes, so its not all bad!. Under resolution you can choose anything between 50dpi to 9600dpi. Of course unless scanning an image the size of a pin head that you want to enlarge later, there really is no need to scan anything above 400dpi, as of course the higher the DPI the longer the scan takes.
If you do have photoshop, then I have found it is best to use the scanner via that, rather than via its own software. It just appears more stable via that method and less likely to crash.
Using the scanner
Well, very straight forward. Chose the settings you require (either via their own software or via photoshop, which automatically installs the dirver too), press preview and a basic scan of the image will appear. Then by dragging the fence, you can adjust the scan to cover just the area you require. Then simply press scan and away it goes, well thats the theory!
In practice, if you have not used the scanner for a while it requires a 40 seconds warm up time, which can be avoided by just pressing skip on the box that appears on screen, as I generally do! To be honest having tried both pressing skip and leaving it for the 40 seconds I really do not know what the difference is, either way it seems to produce the same quality of scan and to be honest I am not convinced that during those 40 seconds anything actually happens other than the seconds count down annoyingly slowly on your screen! There are no noises, no lights, no nothing, so skip it!
As the scanner is top loading and opens via portrait rather than landscape it is pretty easy to position the image on the glass. There are also guides to help you to check if it is straight, so that you can get it as straight as possible before asking it to preview.
The length of time it takes to scan, very much depends on the size of the image and the DPI you are scanning at. Of course the smaller the scan, the quicker it is, and the same with the resolution.
While the scanner is in use, it tends to freeze your computer momentarily, but as this is only for part of the scan rather than the whole scan it isn't such a problem.
Sound wise, its pretty quite and hard to really hear over any bustling office, or at home behind the whiring of a computer.
Well, having used both expensive scanners and cheap ones I still find it to be that you very much get what you pay for. This scanner is cheap, and therefore the results are not incredibly sharp and can be subject to contrast problems. But, both problems are easily fixed by either getting used to the scanner and pre-empting how it will react to images by adjusting the contrast, brightness etc. Or by using a programme such as photoshop to do the final touches.
I have generally found that it scans better in colour than it does in greyscale, why who knows but it does also mean that it is also better at images than it is text. But as I say, if you do have software to correct things such as this, then do not be put off.
Overall, I am happy with the scanner. I wait to see what happens when new operating systems come out, but to be honest even if it does become out of date and only stays current for the next few years it is still good value for money for an A3 scanner. If however you only really ever scan up to A4 then I would still say you are better off with a slightly higher spec A4 scanner than you are with one of these.
Cheap, cheerful and readily available this scanner is still a pretty good buy.