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Reviews

Plustek SmartOffice PL4080 review

No output tray, but this budget-friendly combined ADF/flatbed scanner offers fast scan speeds and good image quality

Price
£296
  • Great scan quality; Flatbed scans are fast; Superb document handling
  • Scan speeds drop at higher quality; Only compatible with Windows desktops for hosting

Small businesses seeking a low-budget scanner will find Plustek's SmartOffice PL4080 fits the bill nicely. It teams up a fast 40ppm duplex ADF and A4 colour flatbed scanner with Plustek's intuitive DocAction software - and all for a very pocket-friendly price.

The PL4080 has a small footprint so it won't take up much desk space, but it only has a USB 2 connection so you'll need a Windows desktop to host it. The scanner feels solidly built but the hinges for the flatbed lid aren't telescopic, making it a poor choice if you want to scan pages from thick books.

The lack of output tray means the ADF just spits pages out of a slot at the side but upsides are the PL4080 can scan multi-folded documents and long sheets up to 1,270mm in length. The PL4080 comes with Plustek's standard software bundle comprising its DocTWAIN driver, DocAction scan configuration tool and ABBYY FineReader 12 Sprint OCR and image editing software.

The PL4080 is easy to install; we connected its USB 2 port to a Windows 10 desktop and had the software loaded in 10 minutes. The scanner supports three operational modes as you can use the three function buttons on its front panel, acquire scans using the DocTWAIN interface or execute them directly from the DocAction interface.

The DocAction app is very versatile and is used to assign profiles to the scanner's buttons. Opened from the System Tray, the app's sidebar has links for each button which can be customised to suit.

Selecting a button profile reveals all its configuration options in the main pane alongside, allowing us to easily select colour, mono or greyscale, choose an output file format for each one and opt for simplex or duplex scans. Seven scan destinations include local or network folders, an app of your choice, FTP servers, local MAPI-compliant email clients and direct to a printer.

The scanner doesn't sense where a document is loaded so profiles must specify the ADF or flatbed. There are plenty of other scan options as we could select a resolution up to 600dpi, adjust brightness or contrast and activate features such as punch-hole removal, RGB colour channel dropout, auto-crop and deskew.

DocAction has no integral cloud provider support so the best we could do was send scans to our local Dropbox, Evernote and Google Drive sync folders. Plustek did attempt to resolve this a year ago with its free ScanToCloud app but this ultimately flawed product has now been withdrawn.

The PL4080 delivers its claimed speed only at 200dpi, with our 25 bank statements scanned on both side in 38 seconds for both colour and greyscale output. Selecting 300dpi from DocAction saw speeds drop to 26ppm and fall further to 6ppm at 600dpi.

The flatbed is no slouch, with an A4 colour photograph scanned in 21 seconds at 600dpi and only 5 seconds at 300dpi. We were also impressed with scan quality as our photos revealed a sharp focus and excellent colour balance while statements scanned at 200dpi will be easily good enough for archival systems.

The ADF's flat scan path also provides excellent paper handling with our collection of receipts, courier flimsies and customer feedback forms causing no problems for it. It'll also handle ID and embossed credit cards but, of course, any that are too thick can simply be scanned in from the flatbed.

The lack of networking means the PL4080 won't be ideal for every business but its combined ADF and flatbed makes it a very versatile scan package. Overall performance and output quality is good and small businesses on a tight budget will love its low price.

This review originally appeared in PC Pro issue 278.

Verdict

The lack of networking means the Plustek SmartOffice PL4080 won’t be ideal for every business but its combined ADF and flatbed makes it a very versatile scan package. Overall performance and output quality is good and small businesses on a tight budget will love its low price.

600dpi A4 colour ADF/flatbed scanner
40ppm @ 200dpi colour/mono
Simplex/duplex
50-page ADF
USB 2
Max. daily duty cycle – 3,000 pages
External PSU
ABBYY FineReader 12 Sprint, Plustek DocAction and DocTWAIN software
418 x 326 x 101mm (WDH)
3.98kgs
1yr RTB warranty

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