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Microtek ScanMaker i800 scanner

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The Microtek ScanMaker i800 is a mid-range flatbed scanner with a longer than average scanning bed capable of digitizing legal-sized documents. It has a built-in transparency unit for scanning slides and photos of multiple sizes, but I had problems operating the scanner via the external buttons.

As you’d expect, this scanner takes up a little more space on your desk than letter-sized scanners, but not that much. You can use either a FireWire 400 or a USB 2.0 port to connect the i800 to your Mac. I used FireWire.

The ScanMaker i800 ships with three scanning applications, Microtek’s own ScanWizard 5 and ScanWizard Pro 7, as well as LaserSoft Imaging’s SilverFast Se (a Pro version of the scanner, which costs about $150 more, includes the higher-end SilverFast Ai). ScanWizard 5 has two modes, beginner and advanced. ScanWizard Pro 7 has just one mode, but it offers a higher level of control than ScanWizard 5’s Advanced mode. I tried them all, but used ScanWizard Pro 7 for performance testing.

None of this software is Universal Binary, but it all worked—on the Power Macintosh and on the Intel-based Mac mini I used for testing. The buttons on the front of the scanner were hit and miss, though. They let you initiate a scan for sending to file, to e-mail, or to PDF, but it only worked about half the time. Sometimes, I would see activity on my monitor after pushing a button—as helper applications launched—but then the applications would hang.

The ScanMaker was a little slow in my speed tests, but the resulting scans were of good quality. When using the default settings, the reflective scans captured plenty of detail, but the transparency scans were overly sharpened. It’s easy enough to turn off or dial down the sharpening, and, once I did, the scans looked better. Colors were pleasing, but a little off, tending toward blue or green.

jury tests

Color Good
Clarity Very Good

Scale = Excellent, Very Good, Good, Flawed, Unacceptable

timed trials

8-by-10-inch photo, 600 dpi scan 2:46
4-by-6-inch photo, 1,200 dpi scan 3:41
Transparency, 2,400 dpi scan 1:42

Times are in minutes:seconds.


Highest Optical Resolution 4,800 x 9,600
Max Bit Depth 48-bit color/16-bit grayscale
Weight 14.1 lbs
Dimensions (width x depth x height in inches) 11.7 x 22.6 x 4.6
Transparency Adapter Built-in
Max Scan Size (in inches) 8.5 x 14
Interface FireWire 400/USB 2.0
Included Software LaserSoft Imaging SilverFast SE, Adobe Photoshop Elements 3.0, ABBYY FineReader Sprint Plus OCR, Microtek ScanWizard 5 and ScanWizard Pro

Macworld’s buying advice

Microtek’s ScanMaker i800 is good all-around scanner with some nice features, like a built-in transparency unit with support for multiple sizes. There are better performing scanners on the market, but if you need to scan legal-sized documents on a regular basis—and you don’t mind the somewhat flaky scanner buttons—this scanner might be for you.

[ James Galbraith is Macworld ’s lab director. ]

Microtek ScanMaker i800
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