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Scanner Buying Guide

Sep 11, 2008
Scanners allow you to turn a physical document or picture into its digital equivalent. With a scanner, you can archive all of your family photos and important documents digitally, where they will never fade or lose quality.

Below you will find a list of things our product specialists recommend our customers to look at when buying a scanner.

Type of Scanner: Though flatbed scanners dominate the market, there are other options available. There are scanners available that work with a document feeder, and even pen sized scanners that allow you to scan while on the go.

DPI Level: If you want a scanner that will accurately copy your documents or pictures, consider the DPI level. The higher the DPI level on a given scanner, the more accurate your scans will turnout.

Color Depth: If getting the most realistic colors from your pictures and documents is of major importance to you, then look for a scanner with a high color depth. The greater the color depth is, the more realistic the colors from your pictures and documents will appear. The color depth refers to the amount of colors that can be added to each pixel in an image.

Scan Area: If you plan on copying larger images or documents, you should consider the size of the scan area. Budget or base line scanners will usually come with a scan area of about 8x11, where some of the more expensive models come with scan areas of 8x14. Think about how large the documents you plan on using with the scanner are, and narrow your search accordingly based upon your needs.

Connection: You should consider how the scanner would connect to your computer. Most scanners available on the market today connect to your computer via USB. There are even some models that power off the USB connection itself, allowing you to take the scanner along with your laptop computer without the need of an extra power cable.

Document Feeder: Some scanners come with a document feeder, which makes scanning a large number of documents an almost automatic process. If you plan on using the scanner to scan a large amount of files on a regular basis, you should consider getting a scanner with a document feeder.

Controls: Consider the controls that are available on the scanner itself. These include buttons for things such as simply scanning an image to e-mailing a document. Having the right buttons on the scanner itself can make things a lot more efficient for you or your business.

Definitions:

Flatbed Scanner: A device that scans images in a manner similar to a photocopy machine; the original art is positioned face down on a glass plate.

Color Depth: Number of bits for each pixel in an image. The higher the bit depth, the greater number of colors there are. This is also sometimes referred to as bit depth.

DPI (Dots Per Inch): A measure of the resolution of a printer, scanner, monitor, or mouse. It refers to the number of dots that are fit into a one-inch line. The higher the DPI, the more accurate the image/information will be.

USB (Universal Serial Bus: Connection port on a computer that is universally compatible with many types of electronic devices.
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