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HP Scanjet G4050
The new HP Scanjet G4050 is definitely not aimed for a home user, it is (going by it looks and add-ons) better suited for a designer's or a pro-photographer's office/labs.
G4050 is massive at 4.3x11.9x20 inches and occupies quite a bit of desk space. It's got a fat and heavy lid (thankfully with a great handle), that opens up to reveal a clean flatbed glass surface. The top of the scanner has 4 buttons for quick scanning, copying (scanning+printing), scanning negatives and scanning to a PDF file. All these seem like perfectly useful options to have for quick access. The G4050 also comes with templates for negative and slide scanning.
Although I wouldn't put this scanner anywhere close to a home user, HP insists on giving drivers that tries hard to simplify the process of scanning for a newbie, but for someone who knows what he wants, it can get quite annoying for an advanced user. Since the scanner doesn't use any TWAIN drivers, you can't use a program like Adobe Photoshop to directly import the scanned image.
The scanning process itself isn't too spiffy. The G4050 takes around half a minute to warm up, and the rest of the performance depends on the kind of resolution and image processing settings you select. The part to note is that the scanner isn't too fast when it comes to high quality scans, which is kind of expected from a 4800x9600 dpi scanner. However, scanning to PDF format happens in just around 30 seconds.
Color scanning tests were quite impressive on this one. It captured all the special colors pretty well with excellent detail to every slight color gradient. While the scanner does tend to saturate the colors a bit, it's not the harmful kind of saturation that affects the quality of the image in a negative way.
The sharpness and detail levels of the scanner were excellent. When scanning textures, we got an equal amount of detail from the parts that were touching the glass bed as well as the parts that were slightly raised. Its the raised part where most home scanners usually fail, but absolutely no problems here.
The bottomline is that the six color scanning technology, that HP is pushing here, works. The colors have never looked this true to the original or even as lively, and when you compare these scans side-by-side to any other scans, you can tell the difference. The scanner as a whole, however, may not be the best option out there.
As confusing as that may sound, although I totally love the technology it uses, the sluggish performance and the annoying interface of the bundled software keeps it from being 'the' scanner to recommend for a SOHO or any other small business. That's something to think about considering that the G4050 costs Rs. 18,000.