Scanners are a mature technology. They’re boring, and they clutter up your desk. They sit on desks and get things piled on top of them until they’re forgotten. That’s how most people view them. The new Scanjet 4670 will change all that. It’s great to look at, and easy to store. In fact, most observers probably won’t even know it’s a scanner.
The new design turns conventional scanning on its head by ditching the scanning bed altogether There is a stand included, but the scanner itself is just like a clear glass picture frame.
The scanning head is sandwiched between the glass panes and it can be held over things that might have been awkward to get to the scanner bed. Instead, you take the scanner to the object.
The stand it sits in has two purposes: to store the scanner and to hold papers that are going to be scanned. While you aren’t scanning, artwork can put in the stand and displayed as if the scanner were a picture frame.
Before you start thinking that the scanner is just a novelty item – all gimmicks and no power – it’s a very capable 2,400dpi scanner. It’s just a fortunate offshoot of the design that you can scan your cat with it.
The software supplied ties in with the buttons on the side so you can scan to various applications directly. It’s all Mac OS X-ready, which is commendable, but I still find it a bit clunky.
In an effort to make things simple for beginners, HP has actually made it more difficult for the rest of us, with few obvious controls for more-advanced features.
HP supplies a transparency adaptor, so you can scan 35mm slides. OCR software is also included for getting text files from printed documents. It has everything a consumer or small-business audience could want.
You could easily get a scanner with these specifications but without the cool styling cheaper. So it comes down to how much you value the features of the frame-style model.
It certainly makes it easy to scan large objects in parts, so there’s some justification to pay the extra if you have particular needs. On the other hand, if you’ve bought a Mac already, then you’ll be used to paying a little extra for a thing of beauty.