Plustek has been manufacturing digital imaging products since the mid-80s. Their latest group of scanners are part of the Mobile Office line, the one we are looking at today: the Plustek MobileOffice AD450. An automatic document feeder (ADF) scanner capable of 600 DPI resolution and 20 sheet capacity.
The AD 450’s design stays true to Plustek’s typical styling of two-toned silver and charcoal gray. The finish is matte, so it doesn’t get gummed up with fingerprints. First impressions are that it’s quite large for a mobile scanner, being almost 4-inches tall giving it a boxy look. It won’t easily slip into your laptop bag, but it does have it’s own carrying case and could be thrown in a backpack or small carry-on luggage.
Three buttons are present on the front of the AD 450. One for scanning directly to a searchable PDF file. BCR, is for scanning business cards through the dedicated business card feed, giving you the ability scan up to 0.76 mm thick plastic cards. The third button is just to scan various other image formats, including TIF, PCX, BMP, TGA, JPG, PCD, WMF, and PNG.
The ability to scan plastic cards will appeal to mobile business professionals, thick bank and credit cards, ID cards, or other types of travel cards pass through with ease. Plustek did this by creating a small channel on the scanning bed area to pass thicker items through.
In the software front you are getting quite a nice selection from Plustek. AbbyFinereader is one of the best OCR software’s on the market. You get the light (sprint plus) version, but it still does the basic essentials. NewSoft Presto! Is used for scanning and managing the files, it’s quick and very straight forward. TWAIN drivers also let you tap into thousands of scanning applications already on the market.
You get the following:
NewSoft Presto! ImageFolio 4.5
NewSoft Presto! PageManager 7.10
Hotcard BizCard Finder 3.0
ABBYY FineReader 6.0 Sprint Plus
Plustek DI Capture
Plustek TWAIN Driver
Plustek’s AD450 has a maximum resolution of 600 dpi. Sufficient for most applications, here is a 300dpi sample scan 100% cropped from a magazine print ad. Power can run off two USB 2.0 ports, or a single USB 2.0 port with a power adapter. Scanning with dual USB will be slower according to Plustek, so if speed is your need then having it plugged in to the wall is your best bet.
The following scan times were achieved in the test:
8.5×11 double sided 300dpi 24bit – 11 seconds
8.5×11 single sided 600dpi 24bit – 43 seconds
8.5×11 single sided 150dpi greyscale – 9 seconds
10 page stack single sided 150dpi greyscale – 41 seconds
100% Crop Magazine Ad Scan (2.97 MB)
The Plustek AD450 priced at $239.99 ($299 MSRP) is an efficient, reliable and fast scanner. Being part of Plustek’s MobileOffice line I would have liked it to be a bit more compact. Performance was satisfactory, and with 48-bit color depth you can get good reproductions even from photographs. Default settings did give a more contrast result, it can be adjusted in the software. The ADF did struggle at times, paper needs to be precisely aligned or it may grab a sheet and feed on an angle depending on weight. A single thin sheet of magazine paper had trouble keeping aligned, larger stacks and thicker stock paper are the way to go. Lack of Mac support is disappointing, only Windows XP, Vista, 7 supported here but the software that does come bundled is the best you will find out there.