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Epson Perfection 1640SU

Epson's Perfection 1640SU has little of the fancy detail of some of its rivals, featuring just a power switch and a single button at the front which starts a scan. At the back there are two sockets, one for a USB lead and the other for a SCSI cable, although Epson does not provide an accompanying SCSI controller for your PC.
Written by Simon Williams, Contributor on
7.3/10

Epson Perfection 1640SU

Very good
Pros
  • USB and SCSI interfaces; 1,600dpi optical resolution; fast.
Cons
  • Relatively expensive; no SCSI card or transparency adapter supplied as standard; no document management software.
  • Editors' Review
  • Specs

Epson's Perfection 1640SU has little of the fancy detail of some of its rivals, featuring just a power switch and a single button at the front which starts a scan. At the back there are two sockets, one for a USB lead and the other for a SCSI cable, although Epson does not provide an accompanying SCSI controller for your PC.

There's no transparency adapter provided with the Perfection 1640SU as standard, but this and an auto-document feeder are available as optional extras. However, the cover does support itself vertically when you're positioning originals, which isn't the case with the Acer scanner.

Once you've installed Epson's scanning software, the scanner is recognised with either the USB or the SCSI connection. As well as the generally well-designed TWAIN 5 scanning applet, copies of Adobe's PhotoDeluxe (image editing) and ScanSoft's TextBridge (OCR) are supplied, covering a good cross-section of the tasks you're likely to want to put the scanner to. There's no document management software supplied, though, which Epson might consider adding to the mix.

The Perfection 1640SU has the highest optical specification in this group test, offering a horizontal resolution of 1,600dpi and a scanning motor that can resolve twice that at 3,200dpi. The differences are noticeable on some of our test samples. The line-pair samples, for example, normally show noise having an increasing effect on a scanner's ability to accurately resolve lines as they get thinner and closer together. Although the effect is still apparent on the Perfection 1640SU, it's less pronounced and even the top-level 180 line-pair per inch sample is easily recognisable.

On a more subjective level, the quality of colour scans was very good, with natural rendition of skin tones and good brightness with vivid colours. Blues were a little too subdued in some instances, but the scanner's overall colour balance needed little correction.

We ran speed tests using both USB and SCSI connections, and generally the Perfection 1640SU was slightly quicker using the SCSI cable. Scan speeds were as good as any in this group, and you won't be left waiting -- even for a full A4 scan.

Although the Perfection 1640SU's £212 (ex. VAT) price is higher than most of the other products reviewed here, it has a higher resolution -- and a scanner's optical resolution is an important element (if by no means the only one) in defining its image quality. Quality is certainly not a problem with this Epson product.

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