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I like the 1650 Photo pretty well (after a few hours of playing with it). I wanted a flatbed scanner for general use plus one that had a slide/negative scanning feature. (I couldn't really justify the expense of a real slide scanner.) The HP in the same price range (5470? - Has the loose lightbox attachment for slides/negs) got some pretty bad reviews when it came to slide scanning. The autorecognition on the 1650 is pretty cool - if you throw a filmstrip or one or more slides in the carrier (the backlight is in the lid, and the carrier is a little frame that lays on the glass), the scanner will automatically figure out what it has (e.g., four positive transparencies, six color negatives, one color photo, etc.), scan 'em, and present the finished scans in a light-box type display. I'm pretty happy with the scan quality, although I don't have anything for a side-by-side comparison.
The only downside is the speed (or lack thereof) for the detailed scans (slides and negatives) - this is really an activity to do while multitasking on another computer or other activity. Watching paint dry is slightly more exciting than watching the thermomoter bar creep across the screen. Also, I haven't yet figured out how to marry the automated processing with customized settings (if that's possible).
Now I have one of those tiny little Canon scanners and it's pretty sweet. Installed in about 30 seconds and only one cable - no power brick.
That's gotta be one my biggest peeves with USB hardware - they advertise it as USB only, hot swappable and all that crap and then you open the box and there's power cable with that big brick inline. Seems that they are missing a big part of the point of USB don't it.
One thing I've been learning is that a key part of a scanner purchase is the software that comes with it. Not the cheesy photo editing stuff, but the control panel that interacts with the scanner hardware and built-in (or external) applications. If you are scanning out of an app like Omnipage or Fireworks, it won't make much difference. On the other hand, having a scanner control panel that gives you one-click "copy" or "scan to file" that will auto-recognize the original type, auto-scan, auto-crop, etc., is pretty handy.
A person only needs so many foot warmers, Brett. With a laptop and two power-brick accessories, you've got a lap warmer and two toasty tootsies... Beyond that, extra power bricks are just clutter.
I've never seen a scanner with a power brick though... All the ones I bought just had regular cords. I guess that's the trade off you make for a low-profile design?
That's my feeling too. Some of the scanner stuff is getting rather precocious in taking over the machine. That is my complaint with the umax stuff. I think it is overboard to leave scanner driver software up and running 24x7 when I use it once a month.