Scanner Review: HP Scanjet N6350

We’ve been hearing about the “paperless office” for going on 10 years now, but running a small business seems to attract more paper than ever. Going digital with a document-management, accounts-payable or other back-end support system will help you save time and money by allowing you to quickly route, search for, and retrieve documents electronically.

While that’s all well and good for the files you create internally, it leaves out the paper documents others send to you—invoices, purchase orders, contracts, statements and the like.

That’s where the HP Scanjet N6350 comes in. Intended to be shared among a small workgroup, this $899 flatbed scanner can capture all manner of paper documents directly to a network folder or e-mail. Even better, you can set up a different scan profile (up to 20) for each of your employees, so they don’t need to mess with arcane settings to get their jobs done.

The profile presets can include scan destination, file format (including PDF) and other parameters so, for example, invoices can go directly to an accounts payable folder. To access the profiles, you simply enter a user name at the Scanjet’s control panel and the preset settings appear automatically and can be accepted as is, or changed as needed to suit an individual job.

Plenty of Features

As with other flatbed scanners, the Scanjet N6350 takes up a fair amount of space: It has a footprint that measures 20 inches by 14 inches, so you won’t want to share a desk with it. The charcoal-and-cream chassis won’t win any design awards, but it should blend into the background in most offices.

The Scanjet N6350 has most of the features you would expect in a workgroup scanner. The flatbed design makes scanning books, photos or single-page documents as easy as making a photocopy. The top-mounted automatic document feeder (ADF) accepts up to 50 sheets for scanning longer documents or for batch processing.

Unlike most office-centic sheet-fed scanners, however, the Scanjet N6350 does not have dual scanning heads—meaning it doesn’t scan both sides of a page at once. (If you tend to get a lot of duplex pages in your line of work, consider a dual-head scanner like HP’s Scanjet 5000 , Kodak Scan Station 500 or Fujitsu iScanner.)

The Scanjet N6350 has a rated speed of 15 images per minute and can handle up to legal-size documents. The engine’s top optical resolution of 2,400 dpi makes for sharp, detailed images. Large Scan and Copy buttons on the control panel mean even novices can figure out how to use the device, and the four-line LCD readout and 10-digit keypad make navigating the intuitive menu structure a snap. You can even set up PIN security codes, so only authorized employees have access to the device.

As is typical with HP devices, the software selection is first-rate and includes everything most offices would need. You get Presto Page Manager for scanning and organizing photos and documents, as well as Presto! Biz Card Reader for scanning business cards into a searchable electronic Rolodex. HP also delivers the excellent Nuance PaperPort desktop document-management application and IRIS Readiris Pro OCR (optical character recognition) software for turning scanned documents into editable files.

Easy Setup and Maintenance

Setting up the Scanjet N6350 is straightforward thanks to the included quick-start guide and thorough printed manual. There’s a fair amount of shipping tape that needs to be removed (which is common among printers and scanners), and you need to connect the cable between the lid and the base, but the process isn’t hard.

HP Scanjet N6350
The HP ScanJet N6350 marries the convenience of a 50-page ADF and the flexibility of a flatbed scanner in an easy-to-use network device.

The software’s setup wizard lets you select whether to install all of the included applications or just the basic scan driver and OCR capabilities. The latter is a welcome option for companies that already have back-end software in place and simply need an on-ramp for documents. Executing the full software installation takes less than 10 minutes.

When prompted, you connect the Scanjet to an individual PC via USB or, more likely if you’re investing in a networkable scanner, to an available Ethernet port on your router. The machine works on both Windows and Mac networks, and the user guide walks you through the required steps to get the Scanjet N6350 recognized on your network. Conveniently, HP includes its HP Scanner Tools utility to help you complete the network connection.

Once that’s done, all that’s left is to use the Scanner Tools utility to set the control-panel shortcuts and presets. After that, it’s set it and forget it. HP rates the unit as able to handle up to 500 pages per day, which is far more than a typical multifunction printer in this price range can handle. The only part that needs to be replaced on a regular basis is the ADF roller, which is good for 100,000 pages.

HP backs the Scanjet N6350 with a one-year warranty and 24/7 phone tech support. If you need to scan a document only occasionally, clearly the Scanjet N6350 is overkill. But for real-estate offices, small law firms and other businesses embracing digital workflows that need the flexibility of a flatbed scanner and the convenience of an ADF-equipped scanner, the Scanjet N6350 makes a welcome network companion.

Jamie Bsales is an award-winning technology writer and editor with nearly 14 years of experience covering the latest hardware, software and Internet products and services.

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