Umax Astra 6450
Thanks to its firewire interface, the Umax Astra 6450 flatbed scanner cranks out fast images for companies that need them in a hurry. But beyond pure, adrenaline-rushing speed, there's little else that makes this model stand out.
The device isn't as easy to install as a USB scanner, though. To start, the 6450 requires opening the PC and installing the included Firewire adapter card. Fortunately, in our testing we had no problems installing the card.
The ability to scan at 600 x 1200dpi gives the Astra 6450 solid capabilities, particularly the optical character recognition (OCR). The scanner features a transparency adapter in its lid that allows slide and negative scanning. The scans of color slides were acceptable but the negative reproductions were barely usable.
The software bundle includes Adobe Photoshop 5LE for editing, NewSoft's Presto PageManager for storage, and OmniPage Limited Edition for OCR.
In all, the Astra 6450 is a speed standout, but its image quality is slightly lacking for a scanner at this price.