Scanners – The more you know, the better your buy

Question: How do I know which scanner is right for me?

Answer: I understand your dilemma. With something new coming out every
six months, it makes it difficult to commit to buying something, which
in a few months might do more for less. The prices for scanners, like
most hardware in the industry, are dropping faster than they can be
sold, while the advances in what they can do are on the increase. This
leads to a flood of new products in the market, while the old products
are still in the warehouse. This is wonderful for us, the consumers ó we
get lower prices!

As with most purchases in the technology field today, “The more you know
about your needs, the better your purchase decision will be.” Here is
some information to help you buy the right scanner.

Resolution and DPI (Dots Per Inch) are basically referring to the same
thing. The higher the DPI, the better your image will look. However, the
file size on your hard drive will also be much larger with higher DPI.

Flatbed vs. Sheet-fed vs. Handheldó These are the three types of
scanners available today. The flatbed works like a copy machine and can
scan anything that can be placed on its glass. With a sheet-fed scanner,
whatever you want to scan must fit in its feed slot. It is then pulled
through by rollers and dropped out on a tray. It works very much like a
printer. The handheld scanner is the smallest and also the most
difficult to use. It works by dragging the scan-head across the object
you are scanning. However, the speed at which you drag can distort your
final output if you’re not smooth.

SCSI vs. Paralleló This term refers to the type of interface the Scanner
has with your computer. A SCSI (Scuzzy) interface is the most common and
easiest to set up under Windows 95ô. If you already have other SCSI
devices in your computer, some scanners can use the existing SCSI card
you already have. The parallel interface works by plugging the scanner
into your printer port, and then plugging your printer into an adapter
or into the back of the Scanner itself.

Single Pass vs. Triple Passó This term refers to the number of times the
sensor has to pass under the object you are scanning. A single pass may
have less resolution optically, but is much faster.

Softwareó All the scanners on the market today come with software. The
quality or quantity also figures into the price of the unit. Adobe
Photoshopô and Text Bridgeô OCR are some of the best.

OCRó Optical Character Recogni tion. This software enables you to scan
documents and forms into your computer as “editable” text. You can then
change or redesign the item to suit your needs.

Color Depthó Just like your monitor, color depth (bits) allows more
colors to be represented and increases the accuracy of the colors being

Costó The cost of the scanner is not the most critical component of the
formula anymore. The same scanner that cost $1000 just two years ago,
now only costs about $400. Naturally, cost must figure into your
decision, but quality and features should be your first priority. HBM

If you have any other questions, or would like some help selecting a
Scanner, you can contact Gary Dyer at The Dyer Group, 514 S. Blanchard
St., Findlay, OH 45840, by phone at (419) 422-7515 or by email:

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SMBReviews is committed to providing small and mid-sized business owners with the information and resources they need to select the best service or product for their company.

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