REVIEWS: Scanners – Plustek SmartOffice PS286 Plus

Plustek SmartOffice PS286 Plus scannner - ECM Plus Reviews -

Even as the Internet has made online viewing and transferring of documents more commonplace, the rise and rise of document capture continues unabated.

Driven in no small part by increasing levels of compliance and red tape bureaucratic processes imposed by the burgeoning ‘jobsworth’ industry of central state ‘regulations’ and nannying ‘procedures’, a good scanner is your best friend in the home or office these days, with the need for nifty scanners for personal document capture continuing at breakneck speed.

Enter then such devices as the new Plustek SmartOffice PS286 Plus workgroup-class document scanner, designed with the image quality, paper handling and reliability required by the most demanding business users but at a price point attractive to home and SOHO users.

The small size and footprint of the SmartOffice PS286 Plus make it appropriate for office, front desk or portable scanning tasks.

The 50 page Automatic Document feeder and 1500 page per day duty cycle tell you this scanner is built to scan documents in any application requiring frequent document and rigid card scanning. The SmartOffice PS286 Plus is designed to scan business documents up to 14″ long and rigid cards, such as drivers’ licenses, up to 1.2mm thick, without operator adjustments. A3 sized documents can also be scanned using the A3 scan mode and included A3 protection jacket. Mixed batches of documents can be scanned without sorting thanks to the class leading paper handling and image processing.

The PS286 Plus boasts single Touch buttons automate up to 9 different scanning jobs including: scan to searchable PDF, save to folder on your network or your computer, scan to email, scan to an application, scan to printer; built-in image processing insures the highest image quality, reduces rescans, and increases OCR accuracy; the included software productivity suite featuring ABBYY FineReader Sprint, allows you to easily create and manage searchable PDFs. Industry standard TWAIN drivers combined with TIF, JPG, PDF and Microsoft Office file formats ensure compatibility with thousands of scanning and imaging programs.


The term ‘feature rich’ has become a bit of a cliche in the tech sector, but the PS286 can boldly claim such a tag with gay abandon. It really is just so endowed. It boasts:

– Duplex Scanning in Color, Grayscale or B/W

– Scans Rigid Cards including insurance cards, ID cards, drivers licenses etc

– Scans to searchable PDF

– 50 sheet Automatic Document Feeder

– 25ppm (50 images/min) Scan Speed

– 1500 page per day duty cycle

– Small footprint – easily transportable

– Single-touch customizable button automates up to 9 frequent scanning jobs (e.g., Scan to PDF, Scan to file, email, network share, copy, etc.)

– Advanced image enhancement to automatically straighten and rotate pages, adjust brightness, and crop images to minimize file size and increase OCR accuracy.

– Software productivity suite enables PDF, Microsoft Office, JPG TIF creation and management.

– Energy Star Certified


– quick, portable and easy document scanning
– scan to Searchable PDF at the press of a button Scans a variety of document formats
– three color dropout modes for advanced OCR processing
– scans documents from legal size to business cards including embossed plastic cards.
– simplex and duplex color scanning in color, grayscale and B/W
– searchable PDF, JPG, mulit page TIFF, RTF, XLS file format support
nine Single Touch Buttons automate frequent scanning tasks.
– TWAIN Support – Features TWAIN drivers that are supported by thousands of imaging and document management applications.

Bundled Software

NewSoft Presto! ImageFolio 4.5

ImageFolio is a comprehensive multimedia image-processing program. You can create new images by using the ImageFolio’s powerful tools. This sophisticated set of image-editing tools enables you to quickly create new images or enhance pre-existing ones.

– Complete image-tuning functions.
– Easy to manage and preview image files.
– Monitor Gamma adjustment.
– TWAIN interface support for automatic fine-tuning during scanning.
– Support TIF, PCX, BMP, TGA, JPG, PCD, WMF, and PNG file format. (PC)

Plustek DI Capture

Image capture and management software featured with indexed archives. It also makes it easy to import, export, edit, and organize documents and images in an efficient way.

Hotcard BizCard Finder 3.0

BizCard Finder , provides BCR Technology and Photo /Document database for information management. Through BizCard Finder, you can quickly and easily convert the vital contact information on business cards into a convenient, searchable, digital database that can be easily synchronized between PC, NoteBook, and PDA

– Support Batch scan and Process
– Customize Category
– Calendar Reminding function
– Password Protection and Public Database management
– Browse image conveniently by the SlideShow applet
– Database backup and Merge management
– Multiple Sort function to search the available data easily
– Send email with images attached
– Multiple print option
– Slide Show
– Recognize Language: English, Chinese, Japanese, German, French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese (For Business card database only)
– Synchronize /Export and Import in table format (For Business card database only)

Technical Specifications:

Optical Resolution – 600 dpi
Max. Hardware Resolution – 600 x 600 dpi
ADF Capacity – 50 sheets A4, 20 Business Cards
ADF Scanning Speed- 8 ppm/8 ipm (200 dpi, color mode, A4 )
Scan Area (W x L)
Max. 216 x 356 mm (8.5″ x 14″)
Min. 13.2 x 13.2 mm (0.52″ x 0.52″)
Acceptable Paper Sizes (W x L)
Max. 220 x 356 mm (8.66″ x 14″)
Min. 50.8 x 50.8 mm (2″ x 2″)
Acceptable Paper Weight for ADF
50 to 105 g/m2 (14 to 28 lb.)
Daily Duty Scan (Sheets)
Roller Lifetime (Scans)
Pad Lifetime (Scans)
20000 (Customer replaceable)
Power Adapter
24Vdc, 0.75 A
USB 2.0 High Speed
9 Function Keys
Scan, Copy, OCR, File, E-mail, Scan, Copy, BCR, File. All Customizable.
Physical Dimensions (W x D x H)
263 x 127.5 x 148 mm (10.36″ x 5.02″ x 5.83″)
1.66 Kgs (3.66 lb.)
TWAIN Compliant

System Requirements
Pentium III 1G or faster CPU, CD-ROM Driver. USB Port, 256MB RAM (512 MB or higher recommended), 800 MB free HDD space (1 GB or larger recommended)
High Colour graphic card (VGA or higher), Windows XP, 2000, Vista, 7


In operation, the scanner is very quiet and uses up hardly any electricity at all, so is cheap to run – in these days of over-inflated energy corporation prices – so will be a pleasure to use without fear of bill shock.

The unit is made of rigid plastic in its casing, though certainly not feeling plasticky or unstable. It feels like a sturdy piece of office kit and should last. Scanning documentss is quick and quiet and the output results are quite stunning, and the fact that the PS286 comes bundled with searchable PDF software is an added bonus, and makes retrieving data so much easier than standard search or find tools in the operating system.

The included fifty page ADF, or Automatic Document Feeder, is a real bonus – these things used to cost a lot more to have added onto the older flatbed style scanner years, and yet is now a standard feature on such current models. One no longer need that level of manual intervention to load up and change out single sheet documents so saves a lot of time and misalignment issues.

Thin card sheets pass through the mechanism with ease and the reproduction quality is every bit as acceptable as the standard paper reproduction.


Whilst the PS286 is not a printer nor a photo producer, as with many of these current day multifunction devices which take up a similar desk footprint, the PS286 does what it claims to to and does it well, very well. The fact that it takes up hardly any space at all on tables or elsewhere, is a major boon.

VERDICT – 4/5 –

Related links:

ECM Plus Reviews


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Filed under Business Process Management, Document archiving & retrieval, Document asset management, Document Automation, Document Management, Document scanning & imaging, Forms management, processing, eForms, Hardware Reviews, OCR - Optical Character Recognition, Reviews, Scanning, Search, Workflow

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