Time is money.
We've all heard that phrase and where computers are concerned, that saying
rings loud and clear. The last thing I want from a new product is poor or
outdated performance. Aside from image quality, the table below denotes how
long each scanner and interface took to grab a standard 8.5" x 11"
@ 24-bit color cropped page.
Above is the Achilles
heel of the 4600. Similar to the slothful speed of the V6USL, this unit takes
up to 300% longer when doing 100 or 600 dpi scans. That can be a lot of wasted
time sitting around hoping the machine will hurry up and finish its task.
If time isn't on your side, then the Microtek won't be either. The Visioneer
7600 USB has been the speed king for over two years, but that's the only area
in which it slaughters the 4600 USB.
Usually, this isn't a
category where scanners are concerned as they have all been moderately to
extremely quiet. Microtek needs to find another supplier of their stepper
motors as this one is slow and moderately noisy. While never obnoxious, resolutions
at 100dpi an under (like the preview mode) bring forth all sorts of rattles
and squawks. Some people may actually return this model because it sounds
like it could be dying. Let me reemphasize that this noise is not heard to
any appreciable level at scans made at 150dpi and above. In fact, the higher
the resolution, the more softly the Microtek speaks.
Before you download the
scanned comparison images, don't forget to calibrate your monitor and video
card. Remember that 9300K color temperature is meant for fluorescent lighting
and 6500K is meant for incandescent lighting. If these are reversed, your
picture will be dramatically shifted into the red or blue range. One of the
best utilities I've found for proper monitor calibration can be found here.
Recently, I purchased
a new Visioneer 7600 USB to check the status of speed and picture quality.
I was greatly dismayed at the color saturation and apparent blurrieness, but
the swift scanning ability remained. Also, the price is about half of what
it was two years ago ($80 or less). Picture quality is where the 4600 "smokes"
the competition. Without clicking on the two images, one can easily see that
the Microtek is light years beyond the cheaper Visioneer.