Plustek churns out a pretty crazy number of scanners in any given year,
with the MobileOffice AD450 portable scanner being a prime example. The
AD450 is a compact, duplex, color scanner with several tricks up its
First, it offers ADF (automatic document feed) for up to 20 sheets. That's rare in a portable scanner.
Second, it can be powered off either a standard wall wart or two USB cables (attached to powered USB ports on the host machine). That's also rare, yet amazingly handy and practical.
Third, it offers a variety of scanning features, including the ability to scan business cards and credit cards via a pass-thru slot in the back -- no need to open the automatic document feeder!
Here's the contents of the box: bag, scanner, software & manuals, 2 USB cables (one A>B and one A>power), and a power wart.
The bag is actually pretty nice. It's just a zippered nylon material, but it holds all the important bits in a no-nonsense fashion and adds some (minimal) padding. The handle is fairly substantial, too, which is good because the AD450 isn't exactly lightweight (Plustek's specs claims it's just under 3 lbs...but it honestly feels like more).
This video, produced by Plustek provides a lot of the visual overview and hawt scanning action, so I'll continue below with my experience using the AD450 and overall impressions.
The installation instructions are not particularly helpful. While the "manual" that came with the AD450 is 124 pages long, each language only gets 11 pages, which barely covers setup and the minimal amount of button description. Playing with the software that came with the AD450 is the only way to actually get familiar with how things work.
However, as with any electronics sourced from abroad, you have the opportunity for some interesting translations into English. For example, in the setup software for the AD450 is this warning: "Your system is lack of the scanner calibration data required for ADF scanning. You are strongly recommended to calibrate the scanner now."
Speaking of software, the AD450 comes with five components: a button profile configurator (more on this below), an unbranded business card management utility, an unbranded scanning utility, and a couple of document & image management apps (from Newsoft). All in all, the included apps aren't spectacular, but likely adequate for most needs.
The button configuration utility was pretty full-featured and very similar to the app that came with the last Plustek scanner I reviewed. However, unlike that D28, the AD450 only offers a choice of three scanning modes accessible from the unit itself: PDF, BCR (business card reader), and Scan (general purpose). For most uses, especially mobile ones, I can imagine three profiles being enough. But, it would be nice to switch between some common settings, such as simplex/duplex and color/grayscale/mono, without having to dive into the software to change it...and then change it back later.
The configurator lets you set up several different profiles linked to combinations of physical buttons and content type, although I didn't see where I could let the scanner decide automatically what kind of content it was scanning.
One app that actually did impress me was the included business card manager (below). It seemed highly accurate at recognizing and cataloging various bits of info off the cards I scanned; I only had to correct one thing on about a dozen cards.
Scanning performance was pretty good. To scan a duplex 8-1/2" x 11" sheet to grayscale at 200 dpi took just 12 seconds. Scanning a business card using the default settings (duplex color, 300 dpi) took 14 seconds. Scanning a photo at max res (600 dpi) duplex color took a whopping 1 minute and 3 seconds, so I definitely would not recommend this to archive your boxes of old photos (get a fast, stationary scanner for that).
First, a scan of a 4x6 photo of my daughter at Halloween. This was printed at home, so the visible artifacting in the full-sized image (25 MB) is in the original photo.
Here's part of a business card that had a misfeed evident in part of the image. This had to be rescanned for the business card software to read everything properly. I only had one misfeed, so it wasn't a regular issue.
In conclusion, the AD450 is a highly functional portable duplex scanner with several features uncommon for its class. Street prices run from the low $200's and up, so it's not exactly the cheapest scanner, but it may be the least expensive portable duplex scanner with a whole lot of nifty built in.