Epson's Perfection 1670 Photo has a transparency adapter built into its lid, so it can scan both opaque and transparent media. It was a fast performer in our tests, earning an overall score that placed it just behind HP's front-running Scanjet 5500c and 5550c. In scanning a page of black-and-white line art, for example, the 1670 Photo took a brisk 18 seconds, a little more than 1 second longer than the HP Scanjet 5500c required to complete the same test, and faster than the 5550c. The Perfection 1670 Photo took 12 seconds to scan a color photo at 100 dpi, 6 seconds faster than the other small office scanner we tested in October 2003.
Epson Scan, Epson's TWAIN driver for this line has been updated. It now has an automatic color restoration and dust removal feature called Easy Photo Fix. We tried out the feature using some old photos with faded colors and color-cast problems. Epson Scan did an admirable job of restoring the images' original colors. The dust removal feature also functioned well, though it works only when scanning transparencies, not prints. Epson Scan now includes Color Smoothing, which gives images a posterized look, like many of Andy Warhol's prints.
Epson Scan offers three different user modes--Full-Auto, Home, and Professional--to match your level of scanning experience, and the degree to which you want to adjust settings manually. Many users will appreciate the Full-Auto mode, in which the scanner automatically scans, crops, color-corrects, and saves a batch of photos with just one click. For novice users who want to digitize stacks of prints quickly, this mode could be especially useful. All in all, Epson Scan is among the best scanning drivers on the market. Its features, plus the 1670 Photo's 1600-dpi optical resolution, provide a lot of value for $129.In our image-quality tests, the 1670 Photo yielded average results. It did best at scanning a 4-by-5-inch color photo (at 100 dpi) for on-screen viewing: Color was fairly realistic and shaded areas had good detail, but the resulting image wasn't quite as vibrant or as well-saturated as the corresponding images scanned by models such as Canon's CanoScan 5000F and CanoScan Lide 50. The Epson's printed output was less impressive than that of some other small-office scanners we've seen. In its 5-by-7-inch gray-scale photo printout, for instance, the 1670 Photo earned lower scores than some other models due to its lower contrast, which in turn yielded less detail in both shadow and highlight areas.
Four handy buttons--Start, Copy, E-mail, and Scan to Web--provide quick access to common scanning tasks. To use the Scan to Web feature, you must first register at the Epson PhotoCenter, a free online photo-sharing site. The software bundle contains an image editor (ArcSoft PhotoImpression 4) and an optical character recognition application (Abbyy Fine Reader Sprint 5.0), but no separate document management package. Also included is a revamped version of Epson Smart Panel, which organizes various scanning activities according to task. This version of Smart Panel is better-organized than the previous one, but it no longer allows you to scan to a PDA. Instead, it includes a new Scan to Business Card option, which uses the same engine as NewSoft's Presto BizCard Reader to efficiently digitize stacks of business cards. (NewSoft also developed and provides support for Epson's Smart Panel software.)