If you have a stack of old photos you want to archive, you may find the scanner in your all-in-one not up to the task. Some have low resolution and others can’t do the colours justice. A standalone scanner, like HP’s new Scanjet 300, is a dedicated device which will give better results than from a scanner on a budget all-in-one.
Smartly styled, with a white body and black lid, the scanner is arranged in landscape fashion, so it’s wider than it is deep. It's not as low profile as some Canon models, but still takes up little room on the desk. It has extending lid hinges, so you can scan easily from bound documents, such as books and magazines.
Lifting the lid, you wonder which corner to line documents up into, as there's nothing on the glass flatbed surround to indicate it. That's until you notice the huge embossed arrow on the white base of the scanner and visible through the glass, pointing to the top left corner.
It's very important that the plastic moulding surrounding the glass should have exact 90 degree corners, otherwise it's very hard to align documents and get square scans. Although the software includes auto-straighten algorithms, we had trouble physically aligning documents and prints. We also found that thin originals could slip under the plastic surround, so they didn’t sit square on the glass.
Four, thin buttons are arranged along the Scanjet 300’s front edge, though these would be easier to operate if they stuck up through its top surface, rather than out from the front.
Each button is assigned a useful function, so they scan to PDF, to e-mail, to print (for copying) and to file. They work in conjunction with the bundled HP Scanning software and IRIS OCR to give quick and easy ways of creating electronic documents.
The only socket on the scanner is a miniature USB at the back, suitable for the supplied cable. The scanner takes all the power it needs through this single connection, so you don’t need a separate power block kicking around under your desk.