Plustek MobileOffice AD450 review
Speedy, but wonky scans, a picky sheet feeder and poor software let the side down badly
Review Date: 15 Sep 2010
Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray
Price when reviewed: £184 (£216 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
Despite the promise of a paper-free world, bills and all kinds of important documents are still printed, sent by post and, God forbid, even faxed. That's why there's still a market for sheet-feed scanners such as the Plustek MobileOffice AD450.
Once you have it set up (a tortuous process), you can use it to digitise and archive all kinds of printed media, from bills to business cards. It sports an impressive list of features, with duplex scanning as standard, a fold-out 20-sheet document feeder, a slot at the rear for scanning credit cards, three user-definable shortcut buttons on the front-right edge and, usefully, the ability to run on USB power.
A padded bag in the box shows Plustek wants you to use the AD450 as a portable scanner, but we're not convinced it will stray far from a desk. It's bulky, measuring 289 x 98 x 75mm (WDH) and quite heavy at 1.3kg.
The AD450 isn't a high-resolution device. It's a document scanner and its maximum of 600ppi is good enough. It is, however, pretty quick. Top speed is quoted at 9ppm at 300ppi in greyscale and 6ppm in colour (this falls to 4ppm when powered over USB), which means in duplex mode you'll be able to process up to 18 sides per minute. That's impressive, and was pretty much spot on in our tests, scanning nine pages in duplex mode in 1min 2secs.
What isn't so good is the inflexibility of the sheet feeder. Although it handled thick media well, in our tests it repeatedly jammed on thinner media and fed two sheets at once, despite being rated for paper stock down to 50gsm. And almost every scan we made came through slightly skewed.
The supplied software is just as hit and miss. Some of it is terrible: the business card reader is so dated we wouldn't inflict it on our worst enemy. And the less said about the Presto! ImageFolio 4 document-management application, the better.
On the plus side, the button configurator and bundled Abbyy FineReader Sprint Plus software are useful. The former allows you to customise each of the device's three buttons, specifying everything from application destination to the resolution to scan in.
You can set the PDF button to automatically OCR your documents, for instance, turn them into searchable PDFs, and save them in a predefined folder. FineReader isn't the most advanced OCR application in the world, but it does give you more control over the recognition of complex documents and lets you convert to text, Word and even Excel spreadsheet file types.
Overall, though, we're disappointed with the Plustek AD450. Despite a good turn of speed and reasonable list of specifications, it just doesn't hang together, and the inconsistent feeder and poor software offering undermine it badly. If you're after a fast, compact sheet-feed scanner, the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 makes more sense.
Author: Jonathan Bray
- Apple tells developers: optimise your apps for iOS 7
- Google recalls melting HP Chromebook 11 chargers
- LG Chromebase: an all-in-one running Chrome OS
- Whitman's HP salary bumped from $1 to $1.5 million
- Free Skype group video calls for a year
- Microsoft considered 100 candidates for CEO role
- BT dismisses backdoor claims as "conspiracy theory"
- Windows Threshold (8.2): what we know so far
- GCHQ should have more oversight of Huawei
- Two charged over abusive tweets
- Play it again: Berlin's Computer Game Museum
- Switching from iPhone to Android: what I miss, what I don't
- Tech City: Easy to score when you move the goalposts
- How to remove SkyDrive from the Windows 8.1 Explorer
- Switching from iPhone to Android? Switch off iMessage
- Why is Google pumping more money into Firefox?
- Sky Broadband Shield review
- Samsung Galaxy S4: how to double your battery life
- Motorola Moto G review: first look
- IBM Watson meets Willy Wonka
- Backup your life: how to keep your data safe
- Best gifts for Christmas 2013: tech gifts for less than £200
- Online "experts" are full of hot air
- Best tablet PCs to buy in 2013
- Closer to reality: photorealism in computer graphics
- Windows 8.1: Top 10 advanced features
- Securing the Internet of Things
- Internet of Things: five unlikely hacking risks
- Life behind the wall: censorship in China
- 42 best Android apps
- Jon Honeyball's money's-no-object Christmas gift idea
- The importance of load balancing
- Windows Phone App Studio: an easy way to create your first Windows Phone 8 app
- The end of Windows XP support: what it really means for businesses
- Don't rely on Chrome's password vault
- Using Buffer to manage your social media
- Microsoft needs its own Steve Jobs
- Forget credit cards: hackers want your Facebook account
- Can't get fast enough broadband? Here's what to do
- Leap Motion and the battle against UI stagnation