Plustek MobileOffice S400

Scanners were a great invention when they came along. Like with any great invention, their evolution not only makes them better at what they do, but also it makes them smaller. Sometimes, though, the obsession with size can have an adverse effect on quality.

With Pulsek’s MobileOffice S400, listed at $120, the case resembles that of a company overreaching its capabilities. However, perhaps they realize that there’s a small niche of people out there who will resort to the cheap, less-capable option, prefering portability over functioning.

This small scanner is a tiny little thing. It measures 1.3×10.8×1.9 inches, making it the smallest portable scanner on the market. It’s cylindrical, black body looks tough, and once in its soft case, can be carried in a briefcase without its 11.2 ounces making much of a difference.

The S400 is not meant for big jobs. In fact, big jobs would be impossible and an incredible waste of time. Short pages are the S400’s forte, as the manual feed and 3 page per minute speed rating is otherwise damning.

However, with the capability to plug into a USB connection to get its power, the S400 redeems itself, at least partially. That is, the S400 falls short of the mark once more with the inability of users to scan a double-sided sheet. Duplexing should definitely be included, even at this price.

Users will not have any problems setting up the software. Once the Twain and WIA drivers are downloaded, any scan-enabled program can work with the S400. Users will also find a healthy amount of software, some useful a ndsome not. The DI capture 1.0 is Pulsek’s custom file management program, and works well enough with its own machine. The NewSoft Presto! PageManager 7.1 also works, but to a lesser extent. The optical character identification program Abbyy FineReaderSpring Plus 9.0 seems to want to annoy users with its incapability.

Photos shouldn’t be scanned in the S400, which can damage them. This advice makes the NewSoft Presto! ImageFolio 4.5 photo touch-up software useless. The S400’s business card scanning is horrific, and so the program Hotcard Business Card Recognition 3.0 is another bummer.

Files that are created with the S400’s scanning are difficult to exploit, making it hard to use them in external programs. The included programs are insufficient, to say the least. The business card program is a good idea, but the scanner fails at scanning cards without errors in the image’s translation.

The two buttons on the machine make setup easy enough, and the customizable configuration of the image capture is warranted, but the system’s functionality does not match up. That is, a 600 pixel per inch resolution makes single sheet text recognition functional, but without ADF, the S400 struggles to deliver.

Its only saving grace is the ability to scan into a searchable PDF format directly, which makes organizing files simple.

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