Plustek SmartOffice PL806 Scanner
At a Glance
If you want a low-cost document management system that can digitize both photos and stacks of paper, and convert scans into searchable PDFs and editable text files, too, then the reasonably priced $300 Plustek SmartOffice PL806 may be all you need--if you can put up with its pokey performance, that is.
This 10.5-pound flatbed model comes with a 50-page ADF (automatic document feeder) for scanning multipage documents, and
The PL806's biggest limitation is that it's a simplex (single-sided page) scanner, which prevents it from scanning double-sided pages automatically. Instead, you must scan one side of a stack of pages and then the other side before the unit's scanning software collates the pages in their proper order.
By contrast, the duplex (double-sided page) scanners included in PC World's current document scanners chart (click on the Full Review links) can scan both sides of a double-sided page at the same time, which yields faster results. For example, in its performance tests, the PL806 took a pokey 340 seconds to scan a 15-page, double-sided monochrome text document (at 300 dpi), compared with the 107 seconds it took the $399 Plustek SmartOffice PS252 (a duplex model on our chart) to complete the same test.
Aside from its mediocre performance, the PL806 is an easy-to-use, all-purpose unit. Its front panel sports five convenient function buttons for jump-starting common scanning tasks--such as scanning pages to a file, copying to a printer, and performing OCR (optical character recognition). It comes bundled with a variety of applications designed to meet most general scanning needs, including document management, image editing, and OCR software. The PL806 also delivered good text and graphics in a variety of color and monochrome documents, and its OCR accuracy was also generally impressive, with several converted documents 99 percent error-free.
For undemanding SOHO users who want a low-priced scanner that's also versatile enough to scan both photos and documents, the PL806 is a worthwhile candidate. But if performance is vital, you'd be better off paying a bit more for a speedier duplex scanner.