Canon CanoScan LiDE 60
The slim $80 Canon CanoScan LiDE 60 weighs barely four pounds and measures less than two inches high, making it a good choice for those with limited desktop space. With the small plastic stand that's included, you can use or store the scanner in an upright position. The LiDE 60 also eliminates a power cord and cuts down on cable clutter by drawing power through its Hi-Speed USB 2.0 connection.
Unlike the vast majority of the flatbed models PC World has reviewed recently, the LiDE 60 is a single-purpose scanner limited to scanning photos and other paper documents, and only at a maximum resolution of 1200 dpi (as opposed to 2400 dpi or higher). It has no transparency adapter--not even as an add-on accessory--so you can't use it for scanning film. And although its lid is expandable, you can't completely remove it in order to scan large items, such as coffee-table books.
In our speed tests, the LiDE 60 earned an overall rating of Very Good, performing surprisingly well for a scanner that makes its USB cable perform double duty. For example, in our full-page 300-dpi color and monochrome tests, the LiDE 60's scores of about 34 and 22 seconds (respectively) were nearly identical to the scores earned by top-scoring the Epson Perfection 3490 Photo for the same tests. But the LiDE 60's score of about 36 seconds in our 2-by-2-inch color photo scan (at 1200 dpi) placed it closer to the average among other value models PC World has tested.
The LiDE 60's image quality at default settings underwhelmed our jury. In our print test of a 2-by-2-inch color photo at the LiDE 60's maximum resolution of 1200 dpi and maximum 24-bit color depth, the color lacked subtlety and came out a tad too bright. For example, overly red skin tones didn't accurately replicate the original's natural shades of pink. And in our on-screen test of a 5-by-7-inch color photo, the overall color appeared slightly dark, making it harder to distinguish details in shadowy areas. On the other hand, the LiDE's monochrome tests generally did a good job of reproducing the proper brightness and contrast of the originals.
Fortunately, we also found that the LiDE 60 could produce better color results after we tweaked some of the default settings in the scanner driver, Canon ScanGear CS. For example, when I turned off the preset "Auto Tone: On" option--which can cause too much color clipping in certain images--the test scans looked much more like the originals, with more accurate color, brightness, and contrast. The LiDE's scanning software also provides other automated image enhancement options (fade correction, backlight correction, and reduction of dust and scratches), which successfully improved various test scans. Another plus: Different scanning modes serve novice and veteran users.
The LiDE 60 provides four push buttons to expedite various jobs: scanning, copying, sending e-mail, and creating PDF files. The software bundle includes an image editor (ArcSoft PhotoStudio 5.5) and an optical character recognition application (ScanSoft OmniPage SE 2.0).
The small Canon CanoScan LiDE 60 is best suited for budget-minded users who want an easy, unobtrusive, and undemanding scanner.
Canon CanoScan LiDE 60