The S420 is fast, portable and convenient, but design issues and rather average results mean that the asking price is very high for the benefits on offer.
Very fast at the default resolution; portable enough to carry around; convenient.
Issues with dock design; quality not great; expensive.
600dpi optical resolution, 216 x 355mm maximum scan area, up to 1.2mm paper thickness, 12ppm scan speed, USB 2.0, 295 x 50 x 50mm (scanner), 300 x 100 x 60mm (stand), 412g (scanner), 413g (stand)
Plustek has most bases covered when it comes to scanning devices for the modern office, and has recently expanded its MobileOffice range with the S420.
A small and portable scanner, the MobileOffice S420 comes with a custom-made dock to address common scanning issues with this type of device, most notably keeping documents straight as they're passed through the scanner.
The scanner and dock are compact and easily small enough to carry around in a case or bag when out of the office or on the commute.
The dock folds up when not in use and, when opened, reveals the housing for the main scanner. Both offer power and data connections so that the scanner can be used independently if required.
An additional data connection is found on the dock to connect a second computer, with buttons at the front switching between each machine. There are also two shortcut buttons on the top of the scanner unit, which can be configured using the supplied software.
The first issue we noticed was that the scanner doesn't fit particularly securely into the dock. Without a secure locking mechanism, careful placement of the scanner is required so as to align it with the dock.
A secure locking mechanism would have sorted this but, as it stands, it's quite a lazy design. While it didn't cause too many problems during operation, we were expecting something a bit tidier.
Plustek quotes 12ppm speeds with the S420, and we're pleased to confirm that this is spot on. However, this is at the default 200dpi resolution. It takes around 30 seconds per page at the maximum 600dpi, and can take up to a minute to convert to a PDF.
So, while it's a potentially speedy device, there are overheads involved depending on the chosen quality and format.