Sheet feed business scanners lead a very different life from their home and photography counterparts. They have no glass flatbed, but instead work by feeding single sheets through at high speed, for archival and Optical Character Recognition (OCR).
Kodak's ScanMate i1120 is a mid-range business scanner, rated at 20ppm and duplex, capable of scanning both sides of the paper in a single pass. It has a conventional design for this type of scanner, with a near-vertical tray at the rear and a near-horizontal one at the front. There are just two buttons on the front panel, one to start a scan and the other, linked to a seven segment number display, providing 'SmartTouch' facilities - described further on.
The final button on the front panel, more of a catch, releases the scan head, which swings forward in case of paper jams, though we had no problems with jams during our review. At the back are sockets for the external, black-block power supply, a pity this couldn't be internal, and USB, to connect to a local PC. There's a power switch here, too.
Set up is pretty straightforward after you've clipped in the input and output trays. Paper feeds from the rear to the front of the scanner in a similar way to many inkjet printers, though it makes a fairly sharp turn out of the bottom of the scanner and onto the output tray. This means there's quite a bit of friction between each new sheet feeding out and the ones already resting on the tray, which leads to scruffy spreads of paper.
Loading paper is a little less intuitive than you might expect, too. The ScanMate i1120 considers the front of each page to be the one facing the back of the scanner, while the back of each page is the one facing forwards. Until you get the hang of this, you may end up scanning a lot of blank back sides ??" fairly sure there's a better way of putting that…
Kodak bundles a lot of industry-leading software with this scanner, including Nuance Paperport 11 for document handling and Omnipage 15 for OCR. This is the latest version of Paperport and the latest-but-one version of Omnipage, so you get nearly all the benefits of the latest feature-sets. There's also a copy of Presto! Bizcard 5, which handles the scanning of business cards and maintains a contact database of their details. At typical retail prices, this trio of support software alone would cost around £120, so you're getting a lot added value here.