Umax Astra 6450

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  • Editors' rating
    6.3 Good

Pros

  • IEEE 1394 interface and adapter;
  • transparency adapter supplied.

Cons

  • 600dpi optical resolution;
  • noisy;
  • long warm-up time.

Umax's Astra 6450 is the only product in this review group to use an IEEE 1394 connection, also known as FireWire. More often seen in higher-priced scanners, an IEEE 1394 connection makes for potentially fast data transfer to a PC or a Macintosh. The controller card provided has three sockets on the back panel, so you will be able to connect other FireWire peripherals as well as the scanner.

The Astra 6450 comes in an attractive two-tone finish, with a neat transparency adapter fitted in the lid and three one-touch buttons -- for scanning and copying, plus a third function of your choice. The scanning head moves from back to front, so you position originals the right way up on the bed.

Umax supplies its own VistaScan software with the Astra 6450, and although (like several others) it can be run in beginner or advanced modes, the advanced mode still doesn't enable you to set resolution or colour depth explicitly. You can't enter height or width values for the scan area either; instead, you have to adjust a selection marquee while watching the co-ordinates under the preview pane.

Scanning is a noisy business -- the Astra 6450 sounds like a vintage limo turning over on an early electric starter -- and requires a warm-up period before each scan that can take up to 15 seconds. This rather negates the fast data transfer rate of which the IEEE 1394 link is capable.

With an optical resolution of only 600dpi, you'll be pushed to get satisfactory scans of transparencies from this scanner. Tests with closely printed parallel lines showed poor definition, and this will be especially noticeable with high-resolution originals such as photographic slides or negatives.

Colour quality is generally fair, with well captured tones in both pastels and more vivid shades. Scans are dark by default, though, with our grey strip sample veering off towards black much sooner than with the other scanners. Although this can be compensated for with gamma adjustment, many people will use the scanner on automatic settings and may suffer dark scans as a result.

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We weren't over-enamoured by the Astra 6450, despite its low price and IEEE 1394 interface: unfortunately, it's also noisy and hampered by a low optical resolution. Scanner vendors will insist that resolutions of 200-300dpi are all that's needed for general work, but this isn't true for transparencies -- and the inclusion of a transparency adapter does imply that Umax expects you to try and use it.

Specifications

General
Max Supported Document Size 8.5 in x 11.7 in
Expansion / Connectivity
Interface Provided 1 x IEEE 1394 (FireWire) - 6 pin FireWire
Power Device
Voltage Required AC 110 V
Voltage Required Margin ± 10%
Frequency Required 50/60 Hz
Type external power adapter
Interface Provided
Gender male
Connector Qty 1
Type IEEE 1394 (FireWire)
Qty 1
Connector Type 6 pin FireWire
Media Handling
Max Document Size 8.5 in x 11.7 in
Supported Document Type Transparencies, plain paper, slides
Document Feeder Type Manual
Miscellaneous
Color white
Color Category white
Software / System Requirements
Peripheral / Interface Devices CD-ROM
Software Included Drivers & Utilities, Adobe PhotoShop LE, Presto! Page Manager, Adobe Acrobat Reader, VistaScan, Recognita OCR, VistaShuttle
Scanner
Optical Resolution 600 dpi x 1200 dpi
Interpolated Resolution 9600 dpi x 9600 dpi
Scan Scaling 1000%
Type flatbed scanner
Interface Type FireWire
Form Factor desktop
Scan Mode single-pass
Scan Element Type CCD
Document Size Class A4/Letter
Max Supported Document Size 8.5 in x 11.7 in
Max H-Document Size 8.5 m
Scan Speed 24 sec/page (color)
Max V-Document Size 11.7 m
Grayscale Depth 14-bit gray
Color Depth 42-bit color
Max H-Optical Resolution 600 dpi
Max V-Optical Resolution 1200 dpi
Max H-Interpolated Resolution 9600 dpi
Max V-Interpolated Resolution 9600 dpi
Lamp / Light Source Type cold cathode fluorescent lamp
Supported Document Type plain paper, slides, transparencies
Document Feeder Type manual
Control Panel Buttons Functions OCR, email, fax, power save, scan
Compliant Standards TWAIN
System Requirements
OS Required Apple MacOS 9.0 or later, Microsoft Windows 2000, Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition, Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition
Environmental Parameters
Min Operating Temperature 50 °F
Max Operating Temperature 104 °F
Humidity Range Operating 25 - 85%
Header
Brand UMAX
Product Line UMAX Astra
Model 6450
Localization English
Packaged Quantity 1
Compatibility Mac, PC
Interface Required
Connector Type 6 pin FireWire
Gender female
Connector Qty 1
Total Qty 1
Expansion Slots
Type none
Cable Details
Type IEEE 1394 cable
Included Qty 1
Software
Type Adobe Acrobat Reader, Adobe PhotoShop LE, Drivers & Utilities, Presto! Page Manager, Recognita OCR, VistaScan, VistaShuttle
Dimensions & Weight
Width 18.4 in
Depth 12.2 in
Height 3.9 in
Weight 9.92 lbs
Service & Support
Type 1 year warranty
Service & Support Details
Type limited warranty
Service Included parts and labor
Location carry-in
Full Contract Period 1 year

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