Devcom’s Black Widow is a pleasant surprise. Built in the UK and claimed to be the only UK-produced scanner *[see below], it produces highly creditable scans and, at the price, is more than a match for other units in its price bracket.
The Black Widow comes in three versions, SCSI, Parallel and USB. The scanners are the same – they just use different connections – and provided you’ve got a USB port then this should be the simplest to install. We chose the USB version and it installed easily. The best feature of USB is that the connections can be made with your machine still powered up. We are running Windows98, which supports USB connectivity; if you’re still using 95 then make certain you’ve upgraded to the version with USB support.
Once the scanner was plugged in, Windows recognised a new USB scanner and asked for the drivers on the software CD. There is a transport lock underneath the scanner – don’t forget to release it before you start. We did (forget, that is) and couldn’t work out why nothing was happening. Once this was sorted out the drivers installed perfectly and we had a new scanner installed as a TWAIN device available to any software that supports it.
On the subject of software, the Black Widow comes with a good selection. The Presto Page manager suite can handle all of your documents; it acts as a central scanning/filing system. Images and text documents can be scanned and held in a desktop that uses folders to hold different categories of document. If you want to edit a picture, simply drag and drop it into the graphics application. Conversely a text document can be dropped into the icon for your word processor, recognised as text and converted to an editable format. A selection of application icons is created during installation but these can be modified to include your specific programs. Additional OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software is provided, ReadIris will intelligently converted scanned documents into your word processor and attempt to maintain layout and column positioning.
One feature that Devcom highlights is the 3D capability of the Black Widow. We scanned a selection of objects with the cover off and the resultant images are in focus as far as five centimetres from the surface of the scanner, which is pretty impressive.
Contact: 01324 825999