The Bottom Line
- Three "one touch" buttons for instant scanning
- Auto Document Feeder holds 20 pages at a time
- Unique ability to scan plastic cards
- TWAIN compliant
- Requires several software programs
- Can't create and save different scan output configurations
- Takes up two USB ports to power via laptop
- Possible issues with glossy business cards
- Dimensions: 3.8" x 11.36" x 2.96"
- Weight: 2.87 pounds
- Optical Resolution: up to 600 dpi
- Speed: up to 6 pages per minute in color or 9 ppm grayscale when on AC power; up to 4ppm color or grayscale when on USB power
- Paper Sizes: 2"x2" minimum to 8.5" x 14.17" max
- Auto Document Feeder capacity: 20 sheets
- OS: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, or 7
- Warranty: standard 1 year
- MSRP: $269
Guide Review - Plustek MobileOffice AD450 Portable Scanner
There are a lot of benefits of having a portable scanner, especially one with an auto document feeder and duplex capabilities like the MobileOffice AD450. This portable scanner is very similar in size and purpose to my beloved Fujistu ScanSnap S300, but with the MobileOffice AD450, Plustek turned the ADF portable scanner competition up a notch.
Like the ScanSnap S300, the MobileOffice AD450 offers single touch scanning -- but instead of one button the MobileOffice AD450 offers three, allowing you to instantly scan to searchable PDFs, images formats (JPEG, TIFF, BMP, or PNG), or business cards imported into a business card reader program. This is very convenient since you don't have to switch the configuration settings of the scanner program too often.
Another unique feature of the AD450 is its ability to scan thick plastic cards through a clever dedicated slot in the back of the scanner. At first I wondered about the usefulness of that feature (and it took some time to find out I had to switch to manual feed to get my credit card to scan correctly) -- but then I thought of all the kinds of plastic cards I carry that would be good to have a backup image of: credit cards, insurance cards, driver's license, loyalty rewards cards, employee ID card, etc. I could also see this function useful for businesses that need to copy such items (e.g., medical offices making copies of patients' insurance cards).
TWAIN support is an important feature that will likely be used more regularly for most professionals. The TWAIN drivers allow you to scan from within other programs, such as Photoshop or Word. Although the AD450 includes NewSoft Presto! ImageFolio for image management and editing, I prefer using other image tools I'm more accustomed to.
For the most part, the AD450 performed well except for a few issues I had during testing regarding business card scanning and OCR speed. Scanning typical business cards was quick, but the included Hotcard BizCard Finder program often made errors in recognizing the contact information. Also, the AD450 just refused to scan a glossy, coated business card, maybe because it couldn't get a good grip on it.
Scanning regular documents to PDF without the OCR feature was fairly quick, even when using the slower USB power connection rather than the AC adapter. With OCR turned on, though, it's a different story. Although ABBYY FineReader is one of the best-regarded OCR programs, there were a lot of progress bars to watch while the AD450 scanned and processed the documents in my test. Plugging in the power adapter improved the OCR scanning speed substantially, so I recommend using AC power whenever possible.
All in all, Plustek's MobileOffice AD450 is a very handy device both for mobile professionals and home office users with limited desk space. Thoughtful design touches and considerations (like a built-in anti-static brush, included carrying case, and very advanced configuration options in the scanner settings program) coupled with its unique features help set the AD450 apart, and it works well for most portable scanning tasks.