In the age of digital photography, the work of a scanners seems to be a lot less. They still have their place in your computer set-up though. Scanning in high resolution photos is essential if you are reproducing anything in print. If you combine this requirement with the need to scan lots of documents, then you need to look at something a little more capable though. I was lucky enough to be sent an Espon GT-1500 scanner to review and this smart device sits in the business category, but could find its way as a very useful addition to the SOHO sector too.
The GT-1500 is not a lot larger than a regular flatbed scanner. The clue is in the height though, where you find a very useful and robust-feeling Automatic Document Feeder or ADF for short. The unit is made really nicely, it feels like a premium product. Even though it is primarily a plastic affair, it certainly feels solid. Setting up is really easy and installs Epson's suite of software, as well as Twain compatible plug-ins to the likes of Photoshop.
Using the unit as a standard flatbed scanner takes advantage of the full 1200x2400dpi optical resolution. I was impressed by the preview speed, as well as the actual final scan speed. For my tests I mainly used Photoshop, but using the EpsonScan software produced almost identical results. Colours in photographs remained true and had good depth and detail. Black and white photos were very neutral with a very slight green tinge. Scanning white sheets of text and business graphics resulted in crisp text scan, with hardly any shading.
The ADF on the top of the GT-1500 was my area of interest here, as this is what you are paying extra for. Using the ADF you can scan up to 600x1200dpi. The scanner head is simplex, so you can only scan one side at a time, but you can load up about 40 pages (though I did manage 50) and leave this baby doing its thing. It automatically de-skews wonky scans well, and a few that I noticed fed a little off-line wre fine in the resulting scan. I love the ability to scan direct to PDF files, as the results are easily filed and searchable, it is a very useful feature. Epson quote 12ppm in colour and 18ppm in mono, this is pretty accurate. The actual scanning I acheived was 10ppm in full colour and 17ppm when doing text based pages. This is only scanning time though, so if you have a really slow computer it'll take a little extra time to process the scans. My 2.4GHz iMac flew through them though, so I was very happy at the end of my testing.
At just over £200 you are paying about an extra £100 over a standard flatbed of comparable quality for the ADF function. Add to this that you get a one year on-site warranty. Throw into the mix all that added functionality and you can see that the GT-1500 offers very good value for money. The ADF really is the icing on the cake and gets my thumbs up.