HP Scanjet N8460

  • Editors' rating
    7.5 Very good

Pros

  • High-capacity document feeder
  • High-speed scanning
  • Duplex scanning
  • Excellent software bundle
  • Barcode scanning
  • Oversize flatbed

Cons

  • No network connectivity (relies on a connected PC)
  • Large desktop footprint
  • Heavy
  • Control panel lacks usability

Document scanners come in many shapes and sizes, and HP's Scanjet N8460 is one of the largest and strangest-looking desktop models we've seen.

Based on a flatbed design with a large 100-sheet capacity automatic document feeder, the Scanjet N8460 can run unattended while converting your paper documents into digital scans at a rate of up to 35 pages per minute (ppm) in black-and-white or 20ppm in colour. It can also handle automatic double-sided scanning and has many sophisticated post-scanning options. Adding to its flexibility, the flatbed platen is large enough to cope with oversize documents of up to 216mm by 356mm, so you can scan larger documents such as magazines and photos.

An excellent software bundle includes full versions of highly respected applications such as ScanSoft (now Nuance) PaperPort, I.R.I.S. Readiris Pro OCR and Kofax VirtualReScan. Since this is a professional-level product, there's no annoying trial or reduced-functionality software.

The inclusion of these packages means you can easily incorporate the Scanjet N8460 into existing electronic workflow systems. For example, you can scan documents directly into a Microsoft SharePoint Portal. Your scans will also be automatically optimised to deliver the best quality for the minimum file size; the package also includes a full archival document management system.

Our tests confirmed HP's claimed scan speeds, once scanning has commenced — although having pressed the scan button there's usually a delay of several seconds while the PC software is loaded up and the scanner initialises.

Unlike some document scanning solutions, the N8460 offers only USB (2.0) connectivity and must therefore remain tethered to a PC when in use. The attached PC must also be used to distribute any scanned documents around the company network.

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In fact, the N8460 is a relatively dumb device: despite a selection of control buttons and a small LCD status panel, almost all of the smart processing is performed on the PC using HP's supplied software.

Even so, sophisticated scan jobs can be initiated directly from the scanner once the host software has been configured: four programmable buttons are available which can be customised according to preconfigured scanning profiles. A selection of these have been pre-installed, which you can easily modify to suit your own needs. For example, button one could be configured to scan single-sided at 150dpi in greyscale, while button two could initiate a double-sided OCR scan.

Advanced options give you control over all the parameters needed to ensure that a scan delivers a finished document requiring no further tweaking. These options include automatic rotation, blank page removal and barcode recognition, to name but a few.

The system works well once it has been set up, but the control panel isn't very helpful: dark grey buttons sit on a dark grey background, and each one is labelled only with a number so you have to remember how each one has been programmed. The single-line LCD isn't backlit and is often too small to convey the information needed, resulting in a message that scrolls slowly across the screen, slowing down menu navigation.

HP's attempt to bring together all the software functions of the scanner in a single control panel isn't an unqualified success: on a clean installation of 32-bit Windows Vista we encountered a few seemingly random glitches, and the software generally fails to give you a good sense of what's supposed to be happening. For example, starting up the scanner tools software brings up a screen displaying the message 'scanner not found', which remains for several seconds before the on-screen is menu populated.

These are idiosyncrasies you'll learn to work with, although the uninitiated may occasionally wonder whether the system is working properly. In an office environment, where many employees are likely to need to scan documents, we'd like to see a more obvious method of control where anyone could walk up to the scanner, find the correct scan button intuitively and walk away confident that their document is being processed correctly.

The Scanjet N8640 is fast and flexible enough to handle a variety of documents and comes with a very capable software bundle. However, the system as a whole would benefit from a usability makeover.

 

Specifications

General
Max Supported Document Size 8.5 in x 34 in
Power Device
Nominal Voltage AC 120/230 V
Frequency Required 50/60 Hz
Type external power adapter
Media Handling
Max Document Size 8.5 in x 34 in
Supported Document Size Details ADF - up to 8.5 in x 34 in
Supported Document Type Plain paper, card scanner
Feeder Capacity 100 sheets
Document Feeder Type Automatic
Miscellaneous
Cables Included 1 x USB cable
Environmental Standards
ENERGY STAR Certified Yes
Software / System Requirements
Software Included ScanSoft PaperPort, Kofax VirtualReScan
Interfaces
Interface USB 2.0
Connector Type Type B
Scanner
Optical Resolution 600 dpi x 600 dpi
Interpolated Resolution 600 dpi
Type flatbed scanner
Scanner Speed Details 70 ipm
35 ppm
Interface Type USB 2.0
Input Type color
Scan Element Type CCD
Document Size Class Other
Max Supported Document Size 8.5 in x 34 in
Max H-Document Size 8.5 m
Max V-Document Size 34 m
Grayscale Depth 8-bit (256 gray levels)
Color Depth 48-bit color
Max H-Optical Resolution 600 dpi
Max V-Optical Resolution 600 dpi
Max H-Interpolated Resolution 600 dpi
Supported Document Type business card, plain paper
Document Feeder Type automatic
Feeder Capacity 100 sheets
Duty Cycle 1500 scans per day
Compliant Standards TWAIN
System Requirements
OS Required Microsoft Windows 2000 / XP Professional, Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition, Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition
Environmental Parameters
Min Operating Temperature 50 °F
Max Operating Temperature 95 °F
Humidity Range Operating 15 - 80%
Header
Brand HP
Product Line HP ScanJet
Model N8460
Packaged Quantity 1
Compatibility PC
Supported Document Size Details
Scanning Mode ADF
Max Document Size 8.5 in x 34 in
Scanner Speed Details
Speed 35 ppm, 70 ipm
Cable Details
Type USB cable
Included Qty 1
Software
Software Included Kofax VirtualReScan, ScanSoft PaperPort
Dimensions & Weight
Width 24.6 in
Depth 16.3 in
Height 10.4 in
Weight 33.07 lbs
Service & Support
Type 1 year warranty
Service & Support Details
Type limited warranty
Full Contract Period 1 year

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