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Epson WorkForce GT-1500 scanner

The Epson WorkForce GT-1500 is an easy-to-install, 48-bit USB color flatbed scanner. This 8.5-pound unit can digitize documents, books, and photos, and comes bundled with scanning, document management, and optical character recognition (OCR) software.

A quick-start button lets you instruct the GT-1500 to perform common scanning tasks, such as creating searchable PDFs or editable text files, quickly. This US$350 scanner also comes equipped with a 40-page automatic document feeder for handling multipage document scanning.

The Epson is a simplex (single-sided page) scanner with four customizable buttons (for scanning, printing, e-mailing, and making PDFs). Though it isn't as fast as pricier duplex models, which can scan double-sided pages in one pass, the Epson is considerably swifter than the last simplex scanner I looked at, the $300 Plustek SmartOffice PL806. For example, the Epson took 151 seconds to scan a 15-page, double-sided monochrome text document at 300 dots per inch--less than half the time (340 seconds) the PL806 took.

The Epson also delivered sharp text and graphics in various color and monochrome tests, and demonstrated high optical character recognition accuracy (using the bundled Abbyy FineReader Sprint 6.0, the scanner yielded several 97 percent error-free documents).

Anyone who needs a reasonably priced simplex document scanner should give serious consideration to the Epson WorkForce GT-1500.