Xerox 4800TA OneTouch review

Price when reviewed

Xerox is well known for its range of paper-based office products, so it should come as no surprise that the 4800TA OneTouch is a solid choice for offices looking to convert documents into an editable format.

It’s bundled with ScanSoft’s TextBridge Pro 9. This full-version software is a welcome change from the reduced versions that come with the other scanners. It allows you to quickly scan and recognise documents straight out of the box. Ulead PhotoExpress 3 is the only other software included, but we’re more than happy to see superfluous software kicked into touch for such an excellent OCR package.

Those wanting to work with photos will be less impressed, however, as the Xerox could manage only middling quality in our tests. It may have an optical resolution of 1,200 x 4,800ppi, but even our 600ppi 7 x 5in colour scan was appalling. Substantial noise and colour clipping occurred, meaning subtle details such as colour variations were completely lost. The whole scan had a bleached appearance too.

Our mono 6 x 4in print was also scanned at 600ppi, which revealed a poor dynamic range – detail was lost in dark areas. Our skin-tone test suffered from clipping as well – detail was completely lost in very light areas of the image. Scanning reflective media was reasonably quick, though – a 7 x 5in 600ppi scan took less than 30 seconds, while a preview was available in nine seconds.

We were surprised at how many budget scanners had transparency adaptors. The Xerox 4800TA, though, is proof that you need to spend more. You can scan only one 35mm negative frame or slide at a time, and blooming was evident in scans, making them look blurry. In addition, a yellow colour cast appeared and there was also some faint horizontal banding.

The Xerox Scan Manager Pro is reasonably powerful, if difficult to navigate. You can select multiple areas for scanning, but the auto-trim feature is very hit-and-miss. There are adjustable colour curves as well as a (non-adjustable) histogram preview. We were disappointed that there were no easy photo-restore options – not everyone wants to tinker with tone curves. Epson’s software is much easier to use.

For users who simply need the best possible OCR software, we have no problem recommending the 4800TA. However, for photo work, the Epson offers more sophisticated print and negative scanning for only £9 more.

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