Canon's New Go-Anywhere Portable Scanner

SAN FRANCISCO (08/28/2000) - If you need portability or just a stylish scanner to tuck into a tight space, Canon Inc.'s sharp, skinny CanoScan N1220U warrants a look.

This scanner clearly focuses on ease of use and design. It works standing upright or lying flat, and at 3.3 pounds it can be moved easily. It uses a single cable for both its USB connection and its power supply. Installation involved plugging in one cable and following a superb quick-start guide.

This shipping unit is the first 1200-by-2400-dpi (optical resolution) scanner I've seen that uses the newer and less-expensive contact image sensor technology instead of CCD.

In my tests, the scanning proved hassle-free and lightning quick. The intuitive interface guides users through readily understandable preview and scan choices.

On four separate tests, the US$199 N1220U performed twice as fast as comparable scanners that PC World has reviewed, and the scan quality was generally pleasing. Text looked sharp, but black-and-white graphics were noticeably distorted. Color scans produced accurate on-screen hues at a Web-quality 75 dpi and at the maximum optical resolution.

So where's the rub? The N1220U lacks such add-on options as an automatic document feeder and a transparency adapter. Also, it doesn't appear sturdy enough to support high-volume use in a corporate setting, and it can't accommodate 35mm slides. Still, for a small or home office, this scanner is worth considering, especially for color use.

--Kalai Murugesan

CanoScan N1220U

PRO: Lightweight; easy to install.

CON: No optional accessories.

VALUE: Slim, reasonably priced scanner for small or home offices.

List price: $199



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