Plustek MobileOffice S410 Review

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Editors' rating:
The Pros

Excellent software bundle; Quick scan speeds; Affordably priced

The Cons

Paper becomes misaligned in feeder; Image quality could be better; Not Mac-compatible

Verdict

Plustek's latest portable scanner offers quick scanning and helpful software at a good price.

Plustek's MobileOffice S410 seeks to provide customers with everything they could possibly need from a mobile scanner. The unit comes with a host of software options ranging from basic scanning to full-on file management programs. And with a price of $160, the S410 undercuts many of its competitors, too. Read on to see if the S410 is the right scanner for your needs.

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Design

The Plustek MobileOffice S410 weighs 13.9 ounces and measures 10.8 x 1.9 x 1.3 inches, making it slightly larger than the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1100 (10.7 x 1.9 x 1.3 inches; 12.2 ounces). Like the S1100, however, the S410 can also fit into most laptop bags. Overall, the S410 had a solid feel. There was no apparent flex when we applied pressure to the top of the unit, something that bothered us about the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1100.

For a scanner, the S410 is fairly stylish. The top of the device directly above the document feeder is covered in a glossy black plastic that, surprisingly, didn't pick up fingerprint smudges. The plastic surrounding that is painted in a clean silver color, while the bottom of the scanner is covered in a solid black finish.

The Plustek S410 has just two buttons, one for direct scanning and one for scanning documents into a PDF. Both buttons are arranged vertically in the top right corner of the scanner. Sandwiched between the buttons is a green indicator light that flashes when a scan is in progress. On the right side, you'll find the S410's micro-USB port.

Setup and Ease of Use

Setting up the S410 was straightforward. Plug the scanner into your notebook, pop the installation disc into your optical drive and follow the onscreen instructions (unfortunately, it's not compatible with Macs). Plustek includes a large software suite for use with the S410. The package includes NewSoft's Presto! PageManager, Abbyy's FineReader 9.0 Sprint, DI Capture, Hotcard BizCard Finder 3.0 and the DocAction scanner utility. Evernote and Picasa integration are also included with the scanner.

Out of all of the programs bundled with the S410, we found Presto! PageManager to be the most efficient and intuitive to use. Scanned items would show up in a main window, where we could easily export them into different folders using a Windows Explorer tree located on the left side of the screen. We could also drag and drop scanned documents on top of each other to create a single document, and convert files into various file formats. Still, when it came to organization software, we were still partial to NeatReceipts' Neat5, thanks to its ability to automatically extract information from scanned documents, as well as its document recognition feature.

Presto!'s Scan Buttons, which serve as quick launch buttons for scanning documents into different file formats, also proved useful. Load a document into the S410's document feeder and click the Scan to MSPaint icon to scan your document to, you guessed it, MSPaint. The same can be done for WordPad, and PageManager. Scan Buttons also lets you scan directly to PDF, OCR, or XPS formats. We were also able to edit any scanned items directly from the software.

While Presto! was great for traditional scanning, being able to scan documents directly to Evernote or photos to Picasa was especially handy. We scanned several documents using the software and were immediately able to view them using the Evernote app on our Android phone.

Performance

MobileOffice S410 is designed to scan images between 2 x 2 inches and 8.5 x 36 inches at a maximum resolution of 600 dpi. Plustek says the S410 can scan a color A4-size color document at 300 dpi in nine seconds. During our testing, it took the unit an average of 12.8 seconds to scan a standard black-and-white document. By comparison, the NeatReceipts NM-1000 took 24.4 seconds to scan a similar document, while Fujitsu's ScanSnap S1100 took just 9.4 seconds. The S410 scanned a business card in 2.9 seconds, faster than the Neat Receipts NM-1000 (6.9 seconds) and the S1100 (3.4 seconds).

When it came to color photos, the MobileOffice S410 proved relatively slow, taking roughly 53 seconds to scan a 8.5 x 11-inch color photo at 600 dpi. It took the NM-1000 35.9 seconds to finish the same task, and the Fujitsu S1100 was able to scan the same photo in 28.9 seconds.

Overall, photos scanned using the S410 appeared clear, but not as sharp as those scanned using the NeatReceipts scanner. A photo of a vineyard bathed in sunlight was darker than we preferred, making it hard to make out finer details. Documents on the other hand, looked great.

One problem we ran into regularly was having our documents become misaligned while scanning them. That's more than likely a result of the scanner not having a document tray to keep the paper straight when it moves into the document feeder. However, we didn't have this problem nearly as often with other mobile scanners that didn't have document feeders.

The MobileOffice S410 can only scan one side of a document at a time, so you'll have to scan double-sided documents twice, which can be a pain if you have a large workload. But with Presto!'s file manager, you should be able to combine several scanned documents into a single file.

Warranty

The MobileOffice S410 comes with a one-year parts and labor guarantee.

Verdict

For $160, the Plustek MobileOffice S410 offers a huge amount of software options and decent scan speeds. We were happy to see Plustek include Evernote and Picasa integration with the unit, as well. In terms of image quality, documents scanned using the S410 looked good, although color photos could have been clearer, and were nowhere near the quality of the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1100. We were also somewhat bothered by the occasional misaligned document. Still, for the amount of software you get at this price, the S410 is worth considering.

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Author Bio
Dan Howley
Dan Howley, Senior Writer
A newspaper man at heart, Dan Howley wrote for Greater Media Newspapers before joining Laptopmag.com. He also served as a news editor with ALM Media's Law Technology News, and he holds a B.A. in English from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
Dan Howley, Senior Writer on
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Size 10.8 x 1.9 x 1.3 inches
Weight 13.9 ounces
Company Website http://www.plustek.com