Plustek MobileOffice S420 review

Simon Handby
5 May 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

This scanner has a good set of features and a useful docking station, but it's expensive and its scan quality is disappointing.



Plustek's MobileOffice S420 is a compact scanner designed for mobile use. It comes with a USB data cable and a second USB lead for power on the move, but there's also an AC adaptor and docking station that can be left back in the office. Oddly for a portable device, there's no supplied carry case.

Plustek MobileOffice S420 closed

The docking station is quite novel, forming a proper document feeder for the docked scanner and letting you share it between two attached computers, but it's disappointing in the details. Power and data come via captive leads you must plug into the scanner, rather than the scanner clipping into a connector, laptop-dock-style. The scanner sits upside down and isn't securely retained – it's easy to knock it out of position.

The software package is very similar to that supplied with the Plustek SmartOffice PS286, but with a newer and more basic version of ABBYY's FineReader OCR software. We didn't experience any problems when operating this scanner, but the quality of the results was disappointing. Colours were sombre, while the scanner couldn't preserve the differences between dark or very light shades.

Plustek MobileOffice S420

There isn't a great deal of competition in this class, but while Fujitsu's ScanSnap S1100 (£158 from is simplex only, it's cheaper than the MobileOffice S420 and comes with Fujitsu's brilliant software. Alternatively, HP's similarly priced ScanJet 1000 Professional (£201 from doesn't have a docking station, but it is duplex. It produces better scans than the S420, feels beautifully made and comes with its own case.



Tested Scan Speeds

Full scan area previewN/A
A4 document at 150dpi9s
A4 document at 300dpi15s
6x4in photo at 600dpi19s
6x4in photo at 1200dpiN/A
Single 35mm negative at 2400dpiN/A
Single 35mm negative at max dpiN/A


Scanner technologydocument scanner
Max optical resolution600dpi
Max interpolated resolution1,200dpi
Output bit depth24-bit
Maximum document sizeA4/Letter
Maximum transparency sizeN/A
Film formats acceptedNo
Function buttons2
Scan head locknone
USB poweredyes
Supported operating systemsWindows 2000/XP/Vista/7
Software includedBizCard Finder 3, NewSoft Presto! PageManager, Presto! ImageFolio, ABBYY FineReader 9 Sprint


USB cable includedyes
Power consumption standby0W
Power consumption active2W

Buying Information


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