capsule review

HP Scanjet 5530 Photosmart

At a Glance
  • HP SCANJET 5530 PHOTOSMART SCANNER 4800DPI 48BIT USB 2.0 (HP (Hewlett-Packard)-Q3871AA2L)

HP Scanjet 5530 Photosmart
Photograph: Rick Rizner

The HP Scanjet 5530 Photosmart has the same automatic photo feeder as the Scanjet 5500e model it replaces. The feeder holds a stack of up to 24 prints (either 4-by-6 or 3-by-5 inches). New to this Scanjet model is ArcSoft Collage Creator, a software application that can be used in tandem with the photo feeder to organize scanned images, to add creative effects, and to provide predesigned layouts for printing. Another notable enhancement is an automatic photo restoration feature, which did a respectable job of correcting faded photos and improving the lackluster color of our test images. This time-saving feature is added to the HP Scanning driver, which provides a basic interface for beginners and easy access to advanced features, such as color and tonal adjustments. Making such adjustments during the actual scan generally results in a crisper and cleaner-looking image than what you might be able to accomplish using photo editing software to correct a post-scanned image.

The photo feeder on the lid contributes to the scanner's total weight of 12.1 pounds (it's 7.2 pounds without the feeder), which is a little on the heavy side compared to most of the small-office scanners we've reviewed in the past year. Like its predecessor, the 5530 comes with 10 shortcut buttons for quickly launching common scanning tasks, and with a transparency adapter that can scan up to three 35mm slides (or a single filmstrip) at once. In addition to common quick-start buttons such as Scan, E-mail, and Share-To-Web, it also offers photocopier-like controls for scanning directly to your printer: You can choose color or black-and-white, plus the number of copies (via a two-character LCD). These features contribute to the 5530's somewhat high price of $230.

The USB 2.0-equipped 5530 placed first overall among our May 2004 batch of small-office models for scanning speeds and performed almost identically to HP's $299 5550c. It scanned a 7.5-by-10.5-inch, black-and-white document at 300 dpi in just under 18 seconds and handled a 4-by-5-inch monochrome photo at 600 dpi in 22.50 seconds--trailing only HP's Scanjet 8200 corporate scanner.

Our image-quality jury awarded the Scanjet 5530 a rating of Good for its overall image quality. It earned high scores for its printed version of a 600-dpi, 4-by-5-inch black-and-white photo. It did a fine job of reproducing the original's contrast, brightness, and shading. But other test results, including prints made from the 5530's color and black-and-white line art scans, were judged average or below average, due to the lack of detail.

The Scanjet 5530's easy-to-use software and photo feeder will suit people who have scads of snapshots to scan, but occasional users may prefer a less expensive model.

Richard Jantz

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At a Glance
  • HP SCANJET 5530 PHOTOSMART SCANNER 4800DPI 48BIT USB 2.0 (HP (Hewlett-Packard)-Q3871AA2L)

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