Pros: iText compatible, PDF support, USB 2.0 speed, broad Windows Operating System support
Cons: The lid breaks after two years of heavy use
The time has finally come for a review of a solid, workhorse scanner that seems to keep going while others fail. The Hewlett Packard ScanJet G4050 Flatbed USB Scanner is a product that I am very familiar with. For four years now, I have worked with over 20 of these particular HP USB 2.0 scanners. In that time, I have determined this is is the best flatbed scanner that you can buy right now for a busy office environment. While the G4050 Photo Scanner has performed quite well for me, there are a few notable problems that you should know about before purchasing this Hewlett Packard digital imaging device.
In this review, the following questions will be answered for you:
How Fast Can The HP ScanJet G4050 Photo Scanner Load Images Over USB?
How Good Do The Images Scanned Using The HP G4050 Look?
What kind of long term problems does the HP G4050 scanner have?
Read On To Find Out!
What’s Included With This HP USB 2.0 Scanner?
In addition to the HP Scanjet G4050 Photo Scanner the box also includes a USB 2.0 cable, power supply
adapter with power cord, support CDs that include dirver software and User's Guide, a printed Setup and Support Guide. The scanner really does come ready to run with no additional parts or cables to run with any computer that already has a USB port.
Physical Dimensions Of The HP ScanJet
The outside bottom case and upper scanner lid are all mostly plastic and measure approximately 12” wide x 20” long x 4.5” high when resting on a desk. A cable running from the lid of the scanner to the base sticks out another 4” so make sure you give yourself some room on the desk or shelf in which you finally install the G4050 USB scanner. The scanner is heavy, measuring 12 lbs on my scale. Most of this heft comes from the thick plastic and glass inner construction.
When placing the HP G4050 on your desk, make sure you account for the USB and power cabling that adds another 2” to the depth required for this scanner.
Speed Of The USB HP ScanJet G4050 Photo Scanner
With a setting of 200 DPI for a 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper filled with text, the G4050 can scan the entire page in 5 seconds once warmed up. Yes, the catch is that you must have this scanner warmed up before you can take advantage of this high speed. If not used for about 10 minutes, the G4050 will warm up its lamp prior to scanning automatically. The delay ranges from 1 minute to 2 minutes depending on the room temperature.
Still, once the scanner is warmed, it can rapidly scan in your documents. The greatest hurdle with this traditional flatbed scanner is that you must load the paperwork or photographs onto its tray by lifting the lid. If you need to scan multiple documents at once, then consider a document feeder like the HP 5590 USB Scanner.
The speed of the HP ScanJet G4050 is also heavily dependent on the computer that you use with it. For the speed test, a Dell Precision Workstation T3400 (BWCW9Z6_6) PC Desktop with Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit was used. If you use an older Pentium 4 or computer with less than 512Mb of RAM then you will find this USB scanner is going to be slow.
The lid of the scanner does offer a series of four quick access or shortcut buttons that in a round about way decrease the overall scanning time. For example, One of the buttons has PDF printed on it and when depressed, will automatically open your Adobe software and begin a new scan. Another button will scan whatever you have on the flatbed tray and attach it to an email for you. The email button could be quite handy for someone wishing to send family photos.
How Good Do The Images Scanned Using The HP G4050 Look?
The Document Quality And Color Reproduction of the image and PDF files created with this scanner have long been the best that I have seen. Over the years, I have worked with over a dozen various types of image scanners but among all others this one seems to deliver consistent results. The color reproduction is a near mirror image of the source document. Of course, you might have a few problems adjusting the right contrast but usually the default setting is ideal. The scanner also does a good job of avoiding interpolation lines on scanned images. The faint lines can sometimes appear on lower quality scanners because they do not have the raw DPI resolution of the G4050.
Supported Operating Systems
When installing the ScanJet G4050 on a new computer in the office, we only use the HP ScanJet Basic Feature Driver Version 3.0 because it is only 1.6Mb and give full functionality in Microsoft Windows 7 64bit. If you install the Full Feature Software Driver, I have found it slow down your Windows boot time considerably in addition to filling up your hard drive with over 400Mb of additional files.
Here is a list of supported operating systems:
Mac OS X
Microsoft Windows 2000
Microsoft Windows 7 (32-bit)
Microsoft Windows 7 (64-bit)
Microsoft Windows Vista
Microsoft Windows Vista (64-bit)
Microsoft Windows XP
Microsoft Windows XP x64
Software Development Experience – iText Compatible!
In both Microsoft Windows XP and Microsoft Windows 7 operating systems, the G4050 scanner is recognized by the WIA architecture and offers a complete set of DLL functions for you to program against. As a result, you can use the open source iText DLL to add an enhanced suite of PDF scanning features for free without having to purchase the full version of Adobe Acrobat.
Problems With The Lid On The HP G4050 Flatbed Scanner
The lid of this scanner is large and thick to help give crystal-clear document scans. While I like the image quality of the G4050, the heft of the lid is also the scanner's downfall. After about two years of heavy use, the two metal hinges that hold the lid in position over the bed of the scanner will start to crack the outer plastic cover. To correct and prevent this problem, you can pour about a teaspoon of Gorilla Glue onto the metal hinges under the lid. Once the Gorilla Glue sets, the pressure can be spread evenly across the under deck of the lid when lifting. As a result, the plastic is under less stress and will no longer crack.
ScanJet G4050 Emits Loud Squeaks Or Grinds Gears If Not Oiled
The internal components of the G4050 are usually rather silent in operation, only making an electric motor style hum when in operation. However, if left in dusty or dry conditions the gears and long metal shafts inside will start to squeak when used. To stop this, you have to remove the glass deck of the scanner and use some WD-40 to reoil its internal components. Once complete, the scanner will be silent again.
HP G4050 Photo Scanner Specifications
Model Number: G4050
Scanner type Flatbed
Scan technology Charge Coupled Device (CCD)
Maximum document scan size: 8.5 x 12.3 in (216 x 311 mm)
Scan Resolution: Hardware: Up to 4800 x 9600 dpi, Optical: 4800 dpi, Enhanced: Up to 999999 dpi
Color bit depth/Grayscale levels: 96-bit/256
The HP ScanJet G4050 USB 2.0 Scanner is a very reliable product that runs like a top for years. You can plug and play this scanner now in Windows 7 operating systems without any driver installation and even use the quick access buttons on top. The only real failing points are the lid and gear drive. In this review, I outlined the repair procedures for both so it should be little bother to you going forward. I recommend this scanner and even encourage you to buy a used one since I have purchased them this way in the past as well.
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