About 2 years ago Plustek sent us an OpticSlim M12 scanner to review. At the time it performed really well and had a lot of good uses. Recently Plustek released the new M12 plus. Since they are very similar this review will cover a lot of the same topics. We will see if the new features make a big difference.
- 2 action buttons
- 600 DPI Resolution
- 48-bit Input
- Scanner mount kit
- Scanner carrying pouch
- Scanner base stand
One of the best features of the M12 line of scanners is the small size. Because of this small size you have a lot of flexibility when choosing where you want to store it. The OpticSlim M12 plus comes with several different mounting options including a mounting kit for mounting it to a wall, and a stand for storing the scanner in an upright position. The small size also makes it great for moving it around and for scanning on the go. Plustek anticipated this need and included a carrying bag to keep it safe.
There is not much to do to set up the M12 plus scanner. Installing the software is a piece of cake. For this scanner you are asked to plug it in first, then install the software. Since it is powered by the USB cord, there is only one cord to plug in.
The software that comes with the OpticSlim M12 includes NewSoft Presto! PageManager 6.07, NewSoft Presto! ImageFolio 4, AABBYY FineReader 5.0 and Acrobat reader 5.05. NewSoft Presto! PageManager is a document management software. It also supports OCR and full-text indexing. NewSoft Presto! ImageFolio is the image editing software. You will use this software for touch ups and other editing tasks. Only FineReader and Acrobat Reader are optional.
Once the software is installed you are asked to calibrate the OpticSlim M12. Calibration is a simple task and only takes a minute. The scanner comes with a calibration sheet which is half white and half black. If you insert this sheet into the scanner when you are asked. it will insure that the the scanner is able to scan correctly.
The OpticSlim M12 also comes with a small piece of fabric. This is the sensor cleaning paper. If you notice that your scanner is leaving specks on your scans you can run this through the scanner to clean the sensors. The cleaning process just moves the fabric back and forth a couple times and then pushes it out the back.
The compact size of the OpticSlim M12 Plus is an immediate plus for anyone who travels a lot. It is very light weight, only weighing 330g. Since it is powered by the USB cord it is very nice not to have to worry about a power cord with a clunky brick plug. The M12 Plus is slightly larger than the original M12, which allows it to accommodate a slightly larger paper size.
There are two buttons on the top of the OpticSlim M12. One is for a standard scan and the other is a custom scan. The custom scan uses some software that when configured will perform the same scan over and over. This makes repetitious scans quick and easy. You can use the scan screen to configure the scan button and the custom tab to configure the custom button. The custom button is mainly used for saving to a PDF, in fact that is the only option in custom. Scan is used for everything else.
The only downfall to this design is that you cannot scan books. It would be nice if you could some how separate the scanning head so you could run it over pages and scan books. The size of this scanner would make it perfect for taking it to the library if only it could scan books.
Scanners are not known for being very small so when you see one that is, you immediately have doubts about its capabilities. This scanner may make you think differently. With the ample amount of software that is provided, you can get just about anything scanned and scanned well.
The OpticSlim M12 itself is quiet and quick. I was able to make full page color scans at 100 DPI in about 21 seconds and at 300 DPI in about 63 seconds. I could scan a 4×6 photo at 100 DPI in about 8 seconds and at 300 DPI in 23 seconds. This may not be as quick as a flatbed, but for a scanner this size this is really good.
Because the OpticSlim M12 is so small it has limited space for technology, you are not going to get the same quality as you would from a much larger professional photo scanner. The maximum scanning resolution is 600 DPI with 48 bit output. This combination performs well for most situations. If you are a casual photo scanner, then this will even work for you; however, it was clearly designed for traveling people that need to scan documents at low resolutions. As you can see from the color charts that I scanned, the colors came out good, but the colors were a bit washed out and the dark colors look they have streaks in them.
As you can see from some of my scans, the hardest part of getting a good scan is lining up the paper and the scanner. Because it is a small sheetfed scanner it does not have any guides for helping you get it straight. It ends up being a trial and error process until you get it how you want it. If there was some kind of fold out or snap on guides then this would be much easier.
The OCR software worked well enough. I used the warranty page that comes with the scanner for this test. As you can see it did a really good job at getting not only the text but also the formatting. It took about 23 seconds to scan that page, and I scanned it at 300 DPI.
The new feature in the M12 Plus is the ability to make PDF documents on the fly. The Plus version has a 50 page limitation, but I do not recommend trying to scan 50 pages with this. You will probably want a scanner with an automatic document feeder, otherwise you will spend an hour feeding pages in this scanner one at a time. I did not have any problems saving scans to PDF, the whole process worked really well.
Warranty and Support
The OpticSlim M12 plus comes with a 1 year parts and labor warranty.
The OpticSlim M12 plus is small and that makes it not for everyone. If you are looking for a professional photo scanner then this is not for you. Because it is limited to only 600 DPI it can only capture so much detail. If you are a casual scanner and you have a need to travel with a scanner, then this is more for you. This scanner would be great for business people who go to a lot of meetings and need to scan meeting notes and business cards into their computers. Because it only costs about $179 this scanner will not break your bank. I can recommend this scanner because it is very portable and scans text really well. The OpticSlim M12 actually comes in three versions, to find out which one is best for you check out Plustek’s comparison page. As always compare prices before purchasing.
|JusTech'n editors' rating|