If you consider Hewlett-Packard a dependable but somewhat stodgy hardware company, you should think again. The company’s HP Scanjet 4670 — a sleek, see-through USB scanner — is anything but boring. Regrettably, though the device is a vision of high-tech loveliness, the accompanying software is a loose amalgam of inconsistent utilities.
This eye-catching 2,400-dpi, 48-bit color scanner has a translucent top and bottom. Using the included holder, you can scan items with the scanner either standing vertically on its edge or lying flat. To scan vertically, you pull the scanner lid toward you, slip a document between the scanner and the stand, push the scanner lid back into place, and initiate the scan (through the HP Director software or a TWAIN-compatible application such as Adobe Photoshop, or by pressing one of the scan buttons on the device’s side). You can even remove the scanner from the holder and place it atop items you want to scan — a book on your desk or a picture on a wall.
Surprisingly, the clear top and bottom don’t cause increased light bleed-through, even for documents printed on thin paper — the HP scanner produced less bleed-through than my flatbed Epson scanner. However, navigating through the various bundled software components to get the results you want can be trying. The online documentation provides little information about using the scanner with the bundled Readiris Pro 7 OCR application, from IRIS. And some of the software isn’t very good. The HP Gallery application resembles iPhoto but lacks that program’s elegant integration and good looks, and the Memories Disc application (for burning CDs of your pictures) is both unintuitive and unattractive.
Macworld’s Buying Advice
If you’re looking for a scanner that’s as beautiful as your Mac, the HP Scanjet 4670 is the one for you. Just be sure to bring your own software.