Big color with a tiny footprint – Visioneer PaperPort Strobe sheetfed color scanner – Hardware Review – Evaluation
If you’re looking for a sheetfed scanner that can handle color documents with aplomb, look no further than the Visioneer PaperPort Strobe. For scanning photos, business cards, magazine articles, as well as text documents into your PC, this scanner gets our vote.
We connected the Strobe to a desktop computer and then to a notebook, and in both cases setup went without a hitch. The scanner plugs into a parallel port, and if you lack a free one, Visioneer includes an adapter that lets you daisy chain off one that’s in use. After we installed the driver, it calibrated a test page, and we were off and running.
Before scanning a magazine article with text and color images, click the Settings button and choose between faxing/filing, color photos, or other options. Which scan you choose depends on the image quality you want. The color option is more time-consuming (it took us about five minutes to scan a full page of images at 300dpi resolution), while the faxing/filing option will quickly scan any text/photo document at 2,400dpi. In both cases, the Strobe’s image quality is impressively sharp-right up there with any midpriced flatbed scanner.
We were especially struck by the color richness the Strobe achieved when scanning 24-bit color images. The resolution and color quality were apparent even when looking at the thumbnails on the bundled software. The Strobe’s software also features basic image editing tools, such as brightness, focus, and contrast adjustments, as well as red-eye reduction.
We had mixed results, however, when printing out scanned-in magazine articles and text pages with simple graphics on an Epson Stylus Color 500 ink-jet printer. Photographic images appeared slightly grainy at maximum resolutions, but computer graphic images were sharp and bright.
While it’s possible to misfeed an image, the Strobe won’t jam up like a printer. Instead, it shoots out the image from the front, much like a vending machine rejects a dollar bill. The Strobe’s clever design lets you position the rear tray so that images can either pass straight through or curl upward toward you. The straight pass is obviously meant for preserving photographs, so you’ll feel safe handling important photos.
The Strobe’s compact 2.5-by-2-by-11.5-inch size is great for small workspaces, and the onscreen image clarity of scanned-in color photos and documents is excellent. If you can’t fit a flatbed on your crowded desk, and won’t be scanning anything too large, we strongly recommend this product.
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