WHAT'S HOT: Mustek's dual-format BearPaw 2400TA provides 48-bit color, 1200-by-2400-dpi resolution, and painless USB connectivity. Like the BearPaw 2400, this unit's front panel sports five buttons that allow you to scan, copy, fax, and e-mail, as well as perform customizable tasks (such as optical character recognition). The 2400TA comes bundled with a transparency adapter that can scan up to three 35mm slides, or four images on one 35mm filmstrip. A helpful demonstration tour and thorough on-screen and print documentation also help make the 2400 easy to use.
WHAT'S NOT: The BearPaw 2400TA is markedly slower than any of the 1200-by-2400-dpi scanners in our current comparison pool. In our maximum resolution test (at 1200 dpi), the BearPaw 2400TA's 287 kilobytes-per-second throughput for a 5-by-7-inch color photo was worse than even the slowest model at the time--the Visioneer OneTouch 8920, which yielded 344-KBPS throughput in the same test. When we tested Mustek's BearPaw 2400 unit last May, it was similarly slow. More disconcerting was the fact that the 2400TA choked repeatedly during its maximum resolution tests and could not complete them. No automatic document feeder is available for this model.
WHAT ELSE: The software bundle includes an image editor (Ulead Photo Express 3.0 SE), an optical character recognition tool (Abbyy FineReader 4.0 Sprint), and a Web-page design tool (Trellix Web 2.5 Mustek Edition), but no document manager is provided. The 2400TA's scanner driver has a batch scanning function that lets you specify up to ten scan regions using different settings, which is handy for scanning several photos or multiformat documents (with both text and graphics). If you don't need to scan transparencies, the Mustek BearPaw 2400 comes with all of the features of the 2400TA except a transparency adapter for $10 less.
UPSHOT: The dual-format Mustek BearPaw 2400TA is designed for SOHO and home users more interested in easy push-button convenience than in scanning speed.
By Richard Jantz