Kodak ScanMate i940
A document scanner might sound like a niche product, but within a budget of £250 or so there's a surprisingly wide choice of compact, portable devices with or without a built-in automatic document feeder (ADF). The ScanMate i940 is Kodak's latest model. It's larger than the most portable scanners we've seen, but its body incorporates a hinged lid that opens up and extends to form an ADF holding a useful 20 pages.
View a preview of pages as they're scanned
The i940 comes without a case. With the lid closed it feels quite substantial, but we weren't impressed by the amount of flexibility in the extended ADF, particularly in the very bendy panel under its adjustable paper guides. Kodak clearly has confidence in its build quality, however; a three-year warranty comes as standard. The scanner comes with a tiny mains power adaptor, and you can also power it over USB, albeit at a slower maximum scan speed.
Our tests with the i940 didn't get off to a particularly good start, with the scanner performing slowly and its driver software experiencing inconsistent and frustrating delays. We experienced an application crash error message when installing it on our usual test PC, and this re-occurred when we rolled back and reinstalled in an attempt to cure the problems. Finally we switched to a different PC on which the software installed and subsequently worked without incident.
Unusually, the user needs to configure the blank page suppression feature
Kodak's software integrates well with the scanner's mode button, which allows you to choose from nine pre-configured and customisable scan profiles before hitting scan and having the results processed accordingly. We were impressed with the software's ability to de-skew and re-orientate poorly-loaded paper, but blank page suppression isn't enabled by default, and relies on the user choosing a level of content below which a page is considered blank; we found selecting 10 per cent worked well.