ScanJet G4050 Review

The theory is that the usual source of white light used for scanning doesn’t offer full-spectrum illumination, so a separate pass with a separate light source and some extra sensors can fill in the gaps and produce a more accurate result.

First impressions are favourable. The ScanJet G4050 is stylish – the ScanJet G4010, though, looks much cheaper – and the construction seems solid. We tried the G4050 with a variety of source materials, and it did well on both colour and black-&-white scans. The differences were most obvious with yellows, which can be slightly pale on conventional scanners, and blues, which came through with a hint of extra impact. Photographers interested in black-&-white scanning can also benefit, with less evidence of subtle colour casts than usual.

So the technology is certainly solid, but HP seems to have dropped the ball with the bundle as a whole. The drivers and software aren’t models of clarity and conciseness, and it can take a while to work out what features are available and how to get them to work. This would almost be forgivable if it weren’t for speed issues that appear at higher resolutions. If you only want quick 300dpi text or illustration scanning, the speed is adequate. But once resolution starts to climb, scanning times get ever longer, especially if extras like
the hardware dust and scratch removal are enabled.

So although many people will be considering the G4050 as a slide scanner, the reality is that the speed at any reasonable resolution – i.e. 4,800dpi optical or better – more or less guarantees that batch scanning isn’t a practical proposition, especially not if you’re in a hurry. This is a shame because the potential is certainly there, and it would be good to see it in a product with faster speeds and better slide ergonomics.


Good colour-quality but slow speeds make this a more compelling proposition for those who occasionally need high-quality scans rather than for professional or semi-professional applications. At the price, there are alternatives that may not quite touch the colour quality, but offer better all-around value.

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