Product Review: Scanning Business Cards and Documents with Plustek

A few weeks ago I received a big box. If it was Christmas and wrapped in gift wrap I would have been more excited. However I knew what the box contained – new scanners from Plustek and I was never the less pretty excited about trying these gadgets out.
Inside was a 30 page per minute scanner and a business card scanner – both things every small business should have in their office.
I haven’t looked at scanners for several months (maybe longer) and one thing that I did notice was that these scanners are faster and costs less than what I’ve used in the past. If you have a lot to scan, the increase in speed will save you time and the lower cost will let you spend more money on something else.
As with all scanners, the power of the scanning solution is two fold – the hardware and the software.
First I’ll go over the business card scanner, next the desktop scanner.
The Plustek Opticard 820 is a bit bigger than the scanner I’ve carried around for about 3 years or so. I bought it from a vendor at a technology show. The scanner I’m now using is incredibly slow.
The larger size of Plustek’s scanner doesn’t bother me (in fact it’s a plus) as it’s more than made up in its increased speed of 7 sec in 300 dpi, gray mode and 8 sec in 300 dpi, color mode.
The Opticard comes bundled with a bucket load of useful software including:
NewSoft Presto Mr. Photo 4.0: Which enables audio added to files, enhance and adjust your scanned images, share files through email, upload files to html catalog with a few simple steps, create greeting cards with your own images.
Image Folio 4.5 for editing your scanned images.
Page Manager for managing and sharing documents: For OCR, PDF creation, or format conversion to Microsoft Word or Excel; Instant PDF creation or conversion to Word (maintaining color and images); Network support to share files over a network; Stack associated files together so they can be opened together; scan to application for further image editing and OCR;
As you can see, having scanning hardware is only one part of the equation, good software to empower the scanner is also needed. For some reason, imaging software (not just that provided by Plustek) has a very old interface compared to the neat features of Vista, even XP and “web 2.0” applications.
It would be nice for the software to be “upgraded” with a more modern and easier to use interface. I also wish the bundled software was more tightly integrated and not composed of several different applications.
Plustek’s desktop scanner, the SmartOffice PL3000 is a solidly built, speedy scanner. When you scan you can select from the scanner what you want to do with the scan – copy, scan (for image editing), document storage, fax or email. If you still deal in the world of “paper” but need to interact with businesses who want things digitized, the Pl3000 is a good option.
There’s an automatic document feeder which is nice if you have several documents to scan at once.

There’s a lot of scanners on the market and in deciding which one is for you, consider your needs, which scanner fits those needs and the accuracy of the scanned image.
One decision to consider is if you should go with an multi-function printer which scans, copies and faxes and has an integrated printer. Using a MFP you can work more independent of your computer. If you have a scanner, your computer and scanner work together manage your digital documents.