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HP ScanJet 5200C USB Color Scanner Review
(5200C, 5200Cse, 5200Cxi)
Last updated :07/29/03

OPERATION.  In my experience, HP's PrecisionScan version 2.0 software, with OCR, really sets this scanner apart.  If, for example, you are making Web pages with information obtained from hard-copy brochures, this software can save an enormous amount of time.  Take a look at one Web page I made with the software.  Simply incredible!  I did absolutely nothing to alter the page. The scanner and PrecisionScan produced this HTML page automatically from the hardcopy brochure.  (The faded parts along the bottoms of the top pictures, etc. are where the brochure was folded.)  Well, it's not always that good or that perfect.  Click here for another page which didn't come-out as good.  Others weren't worth the effort.  Most were.  Also, what you don't see is that the software relies heavily on the absolute positioning capabilities found only in newer browsers and which are not supported of difficult to work with except with newer WYSIWYG HTML editors, such as Microsoft's FrontPage 2000.  The accuracy of the OCR and image optimization is good, but not perfect, by any means.  But still, you end up with the graphics and text on one page and without a lot of typing or having to scan and optimize, for the most part, individual images.  A good starting point.  I would guess that it cuts by a third to one half the time and effort required to produce a completed Web page from a hardcopy brochure or spec sheet and eliminates much of what I dislike the most: typing-in raw text.

Footnote... PrecisionScan can save processed scans in quite a few popular formats (e.g., it worked fine with MS Word).  However, FrontPage is not listed as one of them.  However, if you save the scan as a graphics and text HTML file in a directory of a FrontPage Web, FrontPage 2000 will pick-it-up as one of it's own.

If I had to do it over again, I would not install the Caere Omni Page Pro trial software.  I found it very distracting to have a window pop-up every time I made a scan, to remind me I had so many scans left before the trail version expired, and prompt me to buy the upgrade online.  The 5200C comes with a lighter version of the software, which it apparently reverts to after the pop-up has popped it's 25th warning.  It seems to work fine for what I do.  I did not take the time to determine the difference between it and the Pro version, as I was more than a little annoyed by the promotion.

My 4p scanner is big enough to scan 8 1/2 X 14" documents.  The 5200C is smaller and is limited to 8 1/2 X 11" documents; however, there is an optional, 25-sheet document feeder for the 5200C which can handle legal-sized documents.  I did not obtain and test a feeder to determine for myself if it's really practical for the work I do.

Specifications are available at HP's Web site.


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