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Unfortunately, even though the hardware seems up to the job, the way the software package has been put together isn't. Yes, you can scan lots of pages quickly, but turning them into something useful is an involved process that is unnecessarily complicated. Kodak's i1220 – another document scanner we reviewed recently – was simple, allowing any user to scan and save to searchable PDFs (as well as other word processor files such as RTF) in a single click.
With the Panasonic you have to deal with a TWAIN driver that requires a degree in rocket science to operate. This allows you to import and save pages either to unsearchable PDFs and image files using the bundled RTIV software, or simply straight into the bundled OCR software application (Abbyy's FineReader 7.0 Professional Edition) for recognition and conversion to a searchable format. It works, but it's clunky and doesn't produce results as good as Kodak's simplified approach does, even after lots of fiddling and tweaking.
It's more than simply annoying, though – the complexity of the software means that you probably won't ever have more than one or two technically-minded members of staff able to operate it effectively at one time, unless you spend time and money training people. Kodak's i1220, on the other hand, can easily be used by everyone from the tea lady to the CEO of the company with a couple of minutes’ familiarisation.
Specialist products such as the Panasonic KV-S1025C live and die by how quickly and effectively they carry out a single task – in this case turning hard copy documents into electronic files speedily and without fuss.
Unfortunately, though the hardware is well-designed and has plenty of raw power, the device's software interface hasn't been thought out carefully enough, severely limiting its potential in a business environment. It is cheaper than its rival, the Kodak i1220 at £666, but the money you'd save buying the Panasonic would not be money well spent.
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