Sheet-fed printers are well suited to scanning letters, bills and other loose documents, and converting them to a digital format although they tend not to come cheap. Read more scanner reviews.
Indeed, asking prices in the £300-£500 range are very common. So, at just £259, the Kodak ScanMate i940 has an obvious advantage. But what do you lose in opting for a comparatively cheap model like the i940?
Even when closed up, the Kodak ScanMate i940 isn’t the most perfectly formed of sheet-feds, with its slightly gawky shape lacking the polish of the showier models on the market.
When open, it becomes even less attractive, with its sprawling paper feed and inelegant internal design. The coloured indicators (a deep blue digit to signify the number of copies, and a bright green arrow marking the Start button) aren’t the most tasteful either.
Having said that, we had few problems with the design in use, and the page holder felt reasonably secure and kept the sheets in place.
Kodak ScanMate i940: Operation
Kodak claims you can load the i940 with up to 20 sheets at a time, and we’d agree with that rather low figure - many models allow you to stack at least 30 at a time. You’re not advised to feed it with more than 500 sheets a day in order to keep it running smoothly.
The front panel can be lifted with a firm pull, thus giving you access to the Kodak’s innards in case of paper jams. This certainly isn’t the easiest sheetfed to open up, particularly if you have a good stack of sheets in the machine at the time. Neither is it the quietest in use. We often found it quite painfully loud to work with.
As with most sheet-fed scanners, the Kodak ScanMate i940 is a doddle to use on the automatic settings. Load in your documents and press the Start button and you’re away. On our computer the ScanMate icon didn’t automatically appear on the taskbar. Once we had rectified this, however, it was fairly easy to access the front-end and alter the automatic settings.
The available file formats cover the usual selection, from RTF and TIFF files to searchable PDFs. There are no advanced file types or archived formats available. Nonetheless, the selection will be enough to satisfy most users.
You can also use cloud facilities to access titles like SharePoint and EverNote. Should you want greater control over your scans, the Page Perfect section lets you play around with settings such as resolution, colour settings, automatic straightening. This is quite intuitive, although it is a little long-winded, and it isn’t perhaps the most comprehensive of editors.
Indeed, the ScanMate has little software compared to many other sheet-feds we’ve seen. Newsoft Presto! BizCard 6 is a very capable application for converting business cards, but otherwise there’s a marked lack of third-party titles.
A Mac version, the Kodak i940M, comes with the additional Presto! PageManager title and with BizCard Xpress. The drivers of the Windows version of the i940 are TWAIN and ISIS compatible, so they’ll work seamlessly with most software packages.
Kodak ScanMate i940: Performance
The Kodak ScanMate i940 isn’t the fastest of models when it comes to creating searchable PDFs. Even with AC power plugged in – you should be able to run the i940 on most PCs using just USB power - we struggled to get above 12ppm at a resolution of 150dpi when creating a 20-page document.
Much of this time was spent creating the PDF, and we found the speed went up to 25ppm when turning the pages into simple JPEGs. But if the Kodak isn’t amazingly fast, then one advantage seems to be that higher resolutions don’t have too much of an impact on speed, and 300dpi searchable PDFs could be created at 8.2ppm.
In truth, most users will want to stick with at least 300dpi when creating their documents. At this level of detail, the Kodak ScanMate i940 makes a very satisfactory job of creating colour, showing us some shades that we hadn’t even noticed on the original source material.
Predictably the scanner struggles a little at the extreme ends of the spectrum, and it didn’t make a great job of distinguishing between a number of slightly varied black shades. But for general magazine articles, not to mention easier subjects, like letters and bills, the Kodak ScanMate i940 was perfectly adequate at 300dpi.
Text was fairly accurate, and most of our searchwords were fine. At lower resolutions, the results are less reliable and consistent, and the colours patchier and more inaccurate.