One of two new scanners from HP, the 4850 Photo aims to produce high-resolution scanning at an affordable price. Despite its moderate cost, the 4850 has got some heavyweight features and in contrast with the Scanjet 3800, it looks incredibly robust; its meaty construction should be up to the rigours of everyday life.
The Scanjet is kitted out with a transparency adapter - or, as HP terms it, a transparent materials adapter. You can scan up to four 3.5mm slides or 10x15cm photos or as many as six negatives at any one time, making this an incredibly powerful scanner.
We'd expect nothing less than top-notch specs and the 4850 doesn't disappoint. Its optical resolution is extremely impressive - right up there with the high-end Epson Perfection 4180 Photo. We'd always recommend sticking to the optical resolution when possible, but for those who're interested, the software-enhanced resolution apparently goes up to a ridiculous 999,999dpi.
With HP products, the software bundle is generally too much of a good thing. In the case of the 4850, the Image Zone software demands an eyepopping 450MB of hard drive space - these days, luckily, a PC that packs 120GB is considered rather poor.
The titles are many and varied, from red-eye removal to optical character recognition. You even get facilities for removing dust and scratches from loved but ageing photos, or for restoring faded colours.
Most importantly, the quality of the scans is impressive. Colour is accurately translated and the 4850's attention to detail more than reflects the impressive specifications. It's incredibly fast, too, especially at 300dpi, producing A4 scans in just 11 seconds. It manages 600dpi images in just over half a minute, which is incredibly impressive.