HP adds workgroup muscle to its scanner line

The Scanjet 8390 and Digital Sender 9200c sport hardware, software improvements

OK, let’s just say it: The idea of a paperless office is a pipe dream — at least for now. But that doesn’t mean we can’t find better ways to live with the paper we can’t avoid.

Hewlett-Packard has significantly helped the cause with its release of a new line of workgroup scanners. We looked at two models, and we were impressed with the improvements in hardware and in the bundled software.

The Scanjet 8390 is HP’s flagship flatbed workgroup scanner. The unit offers 4,800-dpi optical resolution and a legal-size scanning plate.

You can immediately tell you’re dealing with an attractively designed workhorse. The black-on-gray case hinges in the back so that you can place single pages, images or the included film trays directly on the platen. And the hinges are solid, indicating they should endure the rigors of workgroup use.

We especially liked two features we didn’t expect to find in a scanner at the price level of the Scanjet 8390, which costs $1,499. First, the 8390 has a built-in 100-page document feeder, a major improvement over the optional 50-page feeders typical in this price range. Second, the unit offers duplex scanning, an important feature because so many documents that are sent to a typical office are two-sided. And the 8390’s 35-pages-per-minute printing speed isn’t bad, either.

You’ll also find three plastic trays conveniently stored in a slot along the bottom front of the unit. These trays are used for scanning slide, film and print images. The trays allow you to scan as many as eight 35mm slides or 16 frames of 35mm film at a time. We found that the provided software makes scanning film easy. The unit automatically screens out empty space, putting its efforts to use only where film is present.

Thanks to the relatively high 4,800-dpi optical resolution, the 8390 did a creditable job of scanning slides. However, if color values in your images are critical, we recommend looking for a dedicated slide scanner.

The 8390 is a business scanner and handles business graphics well. But we had to do quite a bit of color correction to get slides of fine art to look right.

The Scanjet 8390 is delivered with Twain, Windows Image Acquisition, and Image and Scanner Interface Specification drivers, which means it can integrate with almost all software you might have on your computer. HP’s Smart Document Scan Software is also available.

Finally, HP has bundled Kofax’s VirtualReScan, which we found does a surprisingly good job of handling damaged or marked-up originals, along with Nuance’s PaperPort for document management and IRIS’ Readiris for optical character recognition.

Apart from the 8390’s color matching limitation — and this limitation won’t affect most agencies and departments — the only other issue we noticed is that, as with every other scanner we’ve tested, the hardware controls on the unit are not as effective as we’d like. You can perform many tasks directly on the front of the unit, using the provided buttons and getting feedback from the tiny LCD screen. But we found it easier to perform these chores using the provided software.

The software makes scanning jobs easier than ever, providing, for example, customizable processing and batch separation. You can even send scan jobs directly to Microsoft SharePoint portals for your workgroup to access.

The Scanjet 8390 is an excellent deal for its price. In addition to its printing speed, duplex scanning and 100-page document feeder, the unit meets workgroup scanning needs. And with its high resolution, this scanner can do a decent job of quality image scanning.

The Digital Sender 9200c

If you need network and e-mail routing of scans, you’ll want to look at the Digital Sender 9200c. This device costs more than the Scanjet 8390, with a price of $3,695. But it offers some unique features that will attract people trying to work with scans in networked environments.

For starters, you can connect the Digital Sender directly to your network and configure it to do its job without being managed by a desktop computer. By using the built-in software, you can configure the device to automatically direct scanned documents to e-mail, network folders, printers and fax servers. There’s also optional software that will let you direct scan traffic to back-end enterprise applications and provide support for bar code reading and form recognition.

The Digital Sender is a compact 18 x 23 x 13-inch box with a built-in 50-page document feeder that can handle two-sided pages. However, placing items directly on the scanning platen is not an option. And we would have liked to see a 100-page document feeder. Because the Digital Sender can be directly connected to the network, it is more likely to be placed in a more remote location than the Scanjet 8390 and, therefore, it would be efficient for the operator to leave a larger job unattended.

The Digital Sender can automatically process scans using Readiris OCR and convert the files to a variety of formats, including PDF, Extensible Markup Language, Rich Text Format and HTML.

We were also impressed with the Digital Sender’s security features. The unit can encrypt data before it sends it to ensure security during transmission, and you can configure the device to wipe its hard drive after transmission to protect sensitive information.

We found the on-unit controls to be less than intuitive. Remember, however, that you do not have to configure the Digital Sender every day. Once you’ve established your work processes, the Digital Sender is a hands-off device.

HP Scanjet 8390Hewlett-Packard
(800) 727-2472
Features: ****
Performance: ***
Ease of configuration and use: ****
Price: ****
Pricing: The Scanjet 8390 costs $1,499.
Pros: It is well-built and can print 35 pages per minute. It has a 100-page document feeder and a strong software package.
Cons: It should not be used for scanning fine art.
HP Digital Sender 9200cHewlett-Packard
(800) 727-2472
Features: ***
Performance: ****
Ease of configuration and use: ***
Price: ***
Pricing: The Digital Sender 9200c costs $3,695.
Pros: It offers easy routing of scans via e-mail, network files or fax servers.
Cons: Its configuration tools are not intuitive, and it does not have flatbed scanning capabilities. The document feeder is limited to 50 pages.


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