* Prices may differ from that shown
Now it is fair to say that computer hardware has tumbled in price in recent years and this is as evident with scanners as it is with other hardware. When I first started out in the world of PC`s I bought a scanner which was frankly poor by todays standards for nearly £200, although it is still working well enough the speed at which it scans coupled with the poor resolution it offered meant that replacing it had become a priority. Browsing a local newspaper a few weeks back I stumbled upon a double page PC World advert with many a special offer available throughout the bank holiday weekend, and nestled amongst the laptops and printers was a Xerox scanner for a penny less than £35. The scant details offered in the advert showed that it was far superior to my current scanner so I headed wallet in hand to my local PC World to procure the item without delay. Now therein lays my first mistake, after a twenty minute wait the sales assistant reappeared to inform me that they had sold out there allotted shipment of scanners and that he had no idea if or when they would be getting more in. Exit me in a fowl mood vowing never to go near PC World again (a vow I make at least once a month) and without the scanner I set my heart on.
No matter thought I, Ill simply do a search for the Xerox 2400 flatbed scanner on the internet and buy one that way. However the cheapest price I found it available at was, youve guessed it, at PCworld.co.uk. This wasnt a problem though, I like PC Worlds stock its just the staff that let the place down, by buying from their online store I would be cutting out the morons and getting the scanner I wanted. A few mouse clicks and a credit card later I had the scanner on order for the same price of £34.99 with a £2.99 delivery charge thrown on top, cheap at half the price. Four days later the scanner turned up without problem or delay and I set about unpacking the box to discover the joys of my latest computing toy.
Whats in the box?
Well, apart from the scanner itself the box contained a power lead and the USB cable necessary to link it to the computer. An A3 sized piece of paper gave installation instructions in twelve languages and two CD-ROMs containing the software and drivers needed to get the scanner up and running. A one year warranty should problems occur completes the package with telephone and email support concisely detailed. The Xerox 2400 scanner itself is black and silver with five buttons to the front of the unit, unlike other flatbed scanners this ones top opens not from the narrowest end but along the longer side, a far more handy idea in my opinion.
Installation and Setup
Installation of the Xerox 2400 scanner is a pain free operation that takes little more than five minutes from beginning to end. The scanner has to have the Paperport software installed before it is connected and this is the first piece of software that is loaded when CD1 is inserted. Once Paperport is loaded you are asked to plug the USB cable into the scanner and computer at which point installation continues with the relevant drivers being loaded automatically along with the other two pieces of software Textbridge Pro 9 and Ulead Photo Express 3. A restart of the computer concludes the installation process with the scanner ready to use. On each subsequent start up the scanner switches itself on automatically but it can be turned off by clicking the icon in the start-up toolbar.
The Xerox 2400 scanner is supplied with three programs to help deliver the very best from the hardware, PaperPort helps you manage and use scanned documents and photos, any number of operations can be carried out including dragging and dropping of files to be scanned, printed or emailed. Textbridge Pro is an ingenious program which enables the user to scan printed items into a word processing program such as MS Word or Notepad to be altered and reprinted as necessary. Photo Express 3 is a capable photo editing application which enables scanned pictures to be edited and saved at will. Personally I do not use Paperport or Photo Express 3 as I much prefer Paint Shop Pro 8 which I have been using - and thus am used to - for some time, but new users should be happy with the bundled software as it is more than up to the task in hand.
Operating the Scanner
Operating the scanner can either be initiated through the graphic or text program you are using or by pushing any of the scanners five buttons. The first button is entitled Email and is easily configured to scan a picture or document and automatically email it to whomsoever you wish. To test this function I placed a black and white A4 document in the scanner, from pushing the button to the operation being complete took fifty-five seconds which I thought was reasonable. The scanned document or image is added to a blank email as an attachment with little left to do save for adding the email address of the recipient. The OCR button enables text documents to be scanned directly into a word processor program, I have this option set to use MS Word and a push of the button delivers the scanned document in little over a minute. To test this function I scanned the instructions that came with the scanner, they were clearly displayed with no misreads or spelling mistakes at all. From her I could alter them as I see fit. The Scan button is simple in that it opens your graphics program of choice where you can edit freshly scanned images as you see fit. The Print button is handy for simply copying a picture or document that does not need editing or touching up. Pushing the button scans your chosen image and sends it to your printer, on my system I went from button push to freshly printed document in just under ninety seconds. Last but not least there is the Custom button which can be programmed to operate any program for scanning, I have this set to open Photo Express 3 although I rarely use it.
Well, there is little doubt that this is a decent scanner which is more than capable of performing any number of tasks. It is fast thanks to its USB connectivity and quiet as well as being nice looking. The 1200 x 4800 dpi (dots per inch) scanned image quality is clear and detailed and offers 48-bit true colour to reproduce every conceivable colour in glorious detail. I have had no problems with any of the scans I have carried out with no misreads using the OCR scan to word processor program. All of the colours in pictures I have scanned have been true to the original with no flaring of the image. Online help looks to be clear and concise with troubleshooting and FAQ sections. All in all this is a fine scanner at a fine price, four stars out of five from me.