Agfa’s SnapScan Touch scanner combines some trendy design with high scan quality for a budget device. Although it has a cream body, it has a translucent white lid with a coloured insert, which can be changed to any of the six colours supplied. This should keep the iMac fraternity happy, as should the scanner’s USB connection, which is equally straightforward on iMacs and PCs. The scanner’s lid is hinged along its long edge, which means it takes up more room on the desk; this is a feature of dubious benefit.
There’s a cluster of four control buttons on the scanner’s top surface, which initiate some clever software to do things like scanning an image, automatically creating an e-mail and adding the image as an attachment. The buttons call up Agfa’s Windows software to put together these multiple functions.
The software comprises Corel’s PrintHouse Magic and PageKeeper OCR, as well as Agfa’s own ScanWise TWAIN application. This is an good bundle for a budget scanner, with plenty of flexibility for designing all kinds of documents that might include scanned images or documents.
ScanWise itself is heavily geared to the beginner and much of its working is automatic. This is fine for many uses, but the more experienced person will find some of its shortcomings frustrating. There’s no facility for gamma adjustment, for instance, and no scales on any of the control sliders. You’re limited to adjusting the brightness or contrast ‘a bit’, rather than by a specific percentage.
This is a shame, as the scanner is optically very good, given its price. Colour rendition is reasonably accurate, even in the trickier lighter shades, though skin tones can be a little too magenta-rich. Resolution of lines, important when scanning line art and often weak in budget devices, is well above average on the SnapScan Touch.
The scanner has an optical resolution of 600dpi, which is about par for a device in this price range, and scan times were good as long as we kept the resolution down. A 300dpi scan of an 8 x 8 inch print took just over half a minute, while a 5 x 7 inch print at 1,200dpi took just over five minutes.
Agfa has always majored on the optical quality of its scanners and cameras and continues to do so with the SnapScan Touch. At around £100, this is a high value peripheral, which should be more than adequate for many home and business tasks.
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