In the past, Acer scanners have had a reputation for high quality, matched by an equally high price. It looks as if they are trying to shake off this image with the S2W 5300U, as it sports a low price tag and still offers good results.
The 'fun' label on the box, rounded contours, five hot keys, and simple software interface give the impression this scanner is for novices. However, the friendly feel belies the quality and versatility within: the optical resolution of 1200x2400dpi and 48-bit colour depth means it can cope with most scanning jobs. The setup procedure is entirely automated - install the software first, then plug in the USB cable and a wizard does the rest.
Once the scanner is set up, it can take all the hard work out of scanning, as there is a list of default settings for scanning directly into different applications. The software is flexible - you can even use the scanner in conjunction with a printer so it serves as a copier, but the image editing package Photo Express is quite limited.
The Acer is not without its faults. You can juggle between two user interfaces and on one you don't get certain options - such as choosing scan type - which means you have to go back to the other, which can reset some of the configurations. Also, since scanning is split into two sections, it is a hardly a fast model - a colour photo at 1200dpi took over 10 minutes.
Acer S2W 5300U
Price: $269; Phone: 1300 366 567; URL: www.acer.com.au