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Winamp, it really whips a Llama's ass !!


Umax Astra 1220U Flatbed Scanner - Page 1/1
Rating : N/A Review Date : March 08, 2000

Recently I was asked by a friend to recommend a scanner for him to use to do some web work from home. Before going and doing some searching around Imbi Plaze, our local hardware haven we came up with this few scanners we were interested in namely Umax Astra 1200U, Canon Canoscan FB 320U and Mustek ScanExpress 600CU. With a budget of around RM 400 there seem to be a wide variety of choices for us to choose from.

What's so great about USB ?

In the past setting up a scanner could be quite a task, due to the fact that we had to install a scsi adapter prior to installing the scanner. Most of time the scsi adapter that came bundled with the scanner would require commonly IRQ 5 or IRQ 7. If the IRQ is not available to the scsi adapter then both the scsi adapter and the scanner would not work or cause the system to lock up. This usually meant buying another scsi adapter that has more IRQ choices. Opening up the case and doing the famous pci card swaps is not something that every user really wants to go through.

Among the era of scsi scanners parallel port scanner emerged removing the need of a scsi card for scanners, but as we all are well aware Umax scannerthe drawback of using a parallel port scanner, the speed.Another drawback is the need for more than parallel port on the system. For users with multiple parallel port devices such as zip drives, ls-120 drives, printers or tape backup this can really be a hassle.

Now a new technology emerges, USB promising us greater flexibility and better performance. New devices using the usb port are a breeze to install because there are no more irq worries, just plug it in and install the driver and your ready to go.

According to UMAX, the performance of the three 1220 models, parallel, SCSI and USB, varies greatly. This data shows the expected throughput of the 1220 model line. UMAX is the largest maker or scanners in the world, so look for new models that get faster and easier to use.

Expected throughput (UMAX data)
UMAX 1220p (Parallel)
560 kbps
UMAX 1220u (USB)
1.2 mbps
UMAX 1220s (SCSI)
5 mbps

The 1220u's setup was easy as plug-in,install driver,reboot. Windows 98 detected the 1220u, and prompted for the installation CD. The software bundle includes Adobe PhotoDeluxe for photo editing, Caere OmniPage LE for optical character recognition, NewSoft Presto! PageManager for document management,Newsoft Presto! helps to make customized digital photo albums, and the scanning interface software is VistaScan32.

Vistascan Beginner menu

Vistascan Advance menu


The Vistascan provided with the scanner is a breeze. There is two mode on is beginner and the other is advanced as displayed above. Scanning with a USB scanner was so much faster compared to a parallel version and the system does not slow down even while scanning. I was playing mp3s while scanning and it did not interupt my playback at all. So for all those intending to get a scanner for the home and want to jump on to the USB bandwagon the Umax 1220U is worth considering.

Astra 1220U specifications
Type Color Flatbed
Method Single-pass
Element Color CCD
Light Source Cold Cathode Lamp
Hardware Resolution 600 dpi x 1200 dpi
Maximum Interpolated Resolution 9600 dpi x 9600 dpi
Color Depth 36-bit color quality with patented BET Technology
A/D Converter 10-bit
Maximum Scan Size 8.5" x 11.7"
Document Size Letter, A4, A5, B5, Business Cards
Speed 41 Seconds
(Color image scanned at 4" x 6"; 300 dpi)
Scan Modes 36-bit color
24-bit color
12-bit gray scale
8-bit gray scale
1-bit halftone
1-bit line art
Hardware Interface USB Port
Power Consumption 12 Watts
Dimensions 18.4" x 12.2" x 3.9"
Net Weight 7.8 lbs.
System Support Windows 95
Windows 98
iMac and Macintosh




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