The Panasonic KV-S5046H Colour Document Scanner is a formidable scanner, and offers good speed and copious features at a competitive price. It's easy to recommend for companies looking for a heavy-duty scanner that can quickly scan multiple pages at up to tabloid size.
The KV-S5046H is large at 13.4 by 18.5 by 17.5 inches (HWD), but not so large that a department should have any trouble finding a place for it. It weighs 42 pounds. As is typical of document scanners, the KV-S5046H scans at up to 600 ppi. It has a maximum daily duty cycle of up to 25,000 pages.
Panasonic KV-S5046H Colour Document Scanner Review
Its automatic document feeder (ADF) can fit up to 300 sheets of paper at up to tabloid (11- by 17-inch) size. You can also scan much longer banners, though the software will split them into separate pages should they exceed 100 inches in length. Because the scanner is so wide, letter-sized paper can be inserted into the ADF in either portrait or landscape orientation, with the rated speed being faster for landscape.
Connectivity is via a USB cable, and USB 3.0 is supported. (I tested it over USB 2.0.) With the optional Panasonic KV-SS1100 network appliance, the KV-S5046H could also be added to a wired or wireless network.
Preview and Image Enhancement Features
The Panasonic KV-S5046H Colour Document Scanner has some nice features that it shares with the Panasonic KV-5076H. With hardware image processing, some traditionally software-based functions are instead controlled by hardware. This lets, for example, the scanner to offer the same speed rating whether you're scanning at 200 or 300 dpi resolution.
Two preview functions can improve document quality and correct mistakes. Auto Preview automatically creates nine versions of a scanned document and displays them as thumbnails. The user can then select the image they prefer, and then make further adjustments if needed. Auto Rescan lets you adjust the scanned image quality without rescanning the original document. If there is a problem with a scanned image, the user will be notified with one of several warning functions, and the problem page will be flagged with an icon in the preview.
This scanner has several features to minimize paper jams and improve scan quality. Toughfeed includes ultrasonic double-feed detection, intelligent feed control, and high-quality feed rollers. Automatic glass cleaning helps to maintain image quality.
As is the case with most high-end document scanners, the KV-S5046H ships with minimal software, as IT departments usually want to integrate the scanner into an existing document management solution. Software includes Panasonic Image Capture Plus utility, which lets you scan and save documents in different formats and to different destinations (including SharePoint), as well as Twain and ISIS drivers, which enable you to initiate scans from nearly any Windows program with a scan command. In testing, I initiated commands from Image Capture Plus.
Scanning with Image Capture Plus is a two-step process; when the scanning itself is complete, you then save the document in the format of your choice. I tested the KV-S5046H, which is rated at 80 pages per minute (ppm) for simplex scanning and 160 ipm (images per minute, where each side of a page counts as one image) at its default 300 ppi black-and-white setting for paper in landscape mode.
First I timed its raw scanning speed—the time spent in physically scanning the pages—on which companies base their rated speeds. It effectively matched its rated speeds, turning in 78.9 ppm in simplex and 157.9 in duplex. In our official timings, we count from when the scan command is given until the file is saved, and I measured the KV-S5046H in scanning to image PDF at 51.7 ppm for simplex and 100 ipm for duplex, respectively. To its credit, it lost almost no time in scanning and saving both sides of a page as opposed to simplex scanning.
For each test run, it took a few seconds after the scan to process and save our test document, and there was a seven-second lag between when I hit Scan and when the scan actually started, as the ADF moved into position. Although that delay is on the long side, it will have more of an effect on overall scanning speed for small jobs than when scanning large numbers of pages at once.
It helps that this scanner is relatively quick in processing and saving documents once they've been scanned. In scanning our 25-page, 50-image test document to searchable PDF format (also at 300 dpi black and white), the KV-S5046H averaged 39 seconds, just 9 seconds longer than the 30 seconds it took to scan in duplex to image PDF.
The KV-5046H was slightly slower than the Panasonic KV-S5076H across the board. The latter scanner effectively matched its rated speed for raw scanning and turning in speeds of 57.6 ppm and 106 ppm for simplex and duplex scanning, respectively, and saving our test file to searchable PDF in just 37 seconds. The Panasonic KV-S5076H also has a larger daily duty cycle and adds some features such as staple document detection, a self-cleaning ionizer, and—most notably—the addition of an LED that allows scanning to up to 100 one-touch destinations.
Although the KV-S5046H can't match the Panasonic KV-S5076H, our new Editors' Choice as a departmental document scanner, in speed or features, it's still an eminently capable scanner, and available at a lower price than its higher-end cousin. It's a worthy replacement for the Panasonic KV-S5055C, which it trumps in speed and features, and a good choice for offices in need of a machine to handle massive scanning volumes, and paper of up to tabloid size.
Full Review: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2454022,00.asp