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Contact image sensor (CIS) technology has allowed companies to offer scanners in increasingly compact packages, but the image results from these small packages are often lacking, especially compared to those of scanners using the older CCD (charge-coupled device) technology. Visioneer's OneTouch 7300 USB appears to be the exception to this rule. The OneTouch 7300 USB boasts a svelte and easily portable figure (made possible by its use of a CIS light source), and--unexpectedly--it manages to produce great scans. Priced around $80, it's a good deal for just about anyone, but it's especially appropriate for those who need to scan on the go. If you need film and slide scanning, however, check out Epson's Perfection 1670 Photo scanner instead.
Weighing just 3.3 pounds and measuring less than one and a half inches tall, the OneTouch 7300 USB is the most portable flatbed scanner we've seen to date. Its light and slim body is further streamlined by its single USB cord, which serves to communicate with the PC and provide power. The scanner's sleek-looking, brushed-silver lid contrasts nicely against its dark-gray base, on which you'll find five clearly labeled buttons for color-page scanning, custom scanning, e-mailing, OCR (text) scanning, and copying. A unique dual hinge on the lid accommodates objects up to an inch and a half thick, but the lid doesn't come off all the way, meaning it won't lay flat on thicker objects.
Setting up the OneTouch 7300 USB is a no-brainer: just take it out of the box and plug in its USB cord. The OneTouch 7300 USB's software installation is also quick and simple, and we like that you can install the software extras at a later time--especially since said software isn't awe inspiring. (These extras include Internet Explorer 6 and Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0, two apps that are free on their own, and ArcSoft PhotoImpression 3.0, a user-friendly photo-editing program.) However, the required software install, ScanSoft's Paper Port 8.0, is a very handy and intuitive optical character recognition (OCR) app that can also be used for photo editing, making it the only truly necessary program on the installation disc.
Have a need for speed? The OneTouch 7300 USB is no slouch when it comes to performance. In our tests, full-page color scans came through in an average of 28.3 seconds--not too shabby but still a bit slower than the rate of our last speed-tested scanner, the HP Scanjet 3570C, which averaged 23.6 seconds per page. Full-page grayscale scans, however, whizzed in at 13.2 seconds, compared to the 19.4-second average of the HP, making for speedier-than-average overall performance.
Best of all, the OneTouch 7300 USB renders good-quality images. In our tests, color scans came out clear, had minimal graininess, and showed all detail and color definition. We did notice, though, that the colors appeared slightly less vibrant than in the original. Grayscale scans came out very crisp, with text legible down to 4-point font. Most notable was the beautiful reproduction of our test black-and-white photo, which was nearly flawless. Scanned black-and-white graphics, however, showed flawed recognition of some close-set lines and dots: some straight lines appeared slightly curved at their smallest points, and some square dot sets appeared to have crisscross lines that didn't exist in the original.
Editor's note: We have updated the ratings of this product to reflect changes in this category.