Given its user-friendly operation, range of features and high-quality photo scans, the 48-bit, 1,600dpi Epson Perfection 1670 Photo offers good value for its price, especially if you already have a good image-enhancement program such as Adobe Photoshop. If you prefer a hefty software package over film- and slide-scanning capabilities, the cheaper Canon LiDE 50 may be a better fit.
Epson dresses up the completely bland, light-grey, textured-plastic skin of the Perfection 1670 with a darker grey base and a slim, shiny, metallic-plastic control panel. The panel contains four clearly labelled buttons, one each for scanning, emailing, copying and sharing images. Inside the scanner's lid, the padded document mat slides out to reveal a built-in transparency unit for scanning slides and film negatives. A black-plastic film and slide holder is included to position those media types underneath the transparency unit. The holder has room for one negative film strip (six exposures) and two slides.
The Perfection 1670 is USB 2.0 enabled, and it comes with a USB cable, a power adapter and a power cord, making it simple to set up. Epson's scan driver, EpsonScan, offers users three scanning modes -- Professional, Home, and Full Auto -- and its installation is intuitive. With Professional mode, users select all of their own settings; Home mode allows you choose some settings; and Full Auto mode automates the entire scanning process. The Perfection 1670 also comes with Epson Smart Panel software, a program for organising scanning tasks; Abbyy FineReader 5.0, an OCR (optical character recognition) toolset; and ArcSoft PhotoImpression, a limited set of image-manipulation tools.
Best of all, the Perfection 1670 skilfully scans colour photographs and black-and-white documents. Viewed on a 19in. Samsung SyncMaster 957MB monitor, the 1670's colour scans looked bright and crisp with little or no scanner-induced interference. Black-and-white documents showed good detail and a high level of shading subtleties, and text scans came out nicely dark and sharp.
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