Given the prevalence of multifunction devices these days, you might think that manufacturers would be neglecting the flatbed scanner market. Epson is clearly optimistic, though, as it’s just replaced the Perfection 3490 Photo with the new V350 Photo.
The V350 has a maximum optical resolution of 4800dpi, although you’ll rarely need anything near to get excellent results — our 6 x 4in scans at 300dpi produced near-perfect images. Colours were accurately reproduced, and the detail superbly resolved. The preview took a mere 12 seconds, and the final scan 19 seconds.
An A4 photo at 300dpi took just 24 seconds, and saw the same excellent colour accuracy. Viewed at 100 percent, some grain became noticeable in darker areas, but nothing critical. The bundled TWAIN software remains some of the best we’ve seen, with a histogram on previews, as well as tools for simultaneously scanning multiple areas of the same document.
The transparency scanner on the V350 is automatic – just pop in the leading edge of a strip of negatives and it’s automatically wound in. The quality of our negative scans was generally high — good enough for archiving and reprinting, but we again noticed some noise. Open the lid and you’ll find a holder for scanning plastic-cased slides manually, two at a time. We appreciate the build quality of the V350, which feels as though it can take a few knocks, and the floating hinge attaching the cover to the scanner will prove useful for scanning from books. The accompanying software bundle is also good — Abbyy FineReader Sprint is a useful piece of OCR software, if a little clunky compared to Readiris Pro 11.
The Canon LiDE 70 may be better looking, and the V350’s predecessor may have been significantly cheaper, but the Perfection V350 still comes close to living up to its optimistic name — for scanning speed, flexibility and excellent quality, it wins out.