Farba Research Product Review

Copyright 1999 Farba Research All Rights Reserved

Rebuttals may be sent to Rebuttals@FarbaResearch.com
This product review is strictly the opinion of the reviewer, who is not necessarily a Farba Research employee.

Product: Umax 610S Flatbed Scanner
Category: flatbed scanner
Manufacturer: Umax Technologies, Inc.
Vendor Website: http://www.umax.com/
Rating: fine, after 23MB download!
Reviewer: E. Nicholas Cupery
Review Date: 02 April 1999


My Umax 610S scanner is one of the very best deals I've ever come across! I bought it at my local CompUSA store for $39.95 and that included a SCSI card and SCSI cable.




The 600-series Umax flatbed scanners are yesteryear's technology; they are only 300 dots-per-inch (dpi) maximum optical resolution, unlike the current crop of 600 dpi scanners. But 300 dpi is plenty good enough for casual use, and it is actually overkill for Internet purposes. For Internet purposes, where the results will be viewed on a mainstream computer monitor (which will display somewhere between 75 and 100 dpi), the best scan resolution will usually be somewhere between 75 and 200 dpi. (Anything more than that is likely to produce such a humongous graphic file that nobody would wait for it to come down a telephone wire anyway.)

This is a good quality 8.5" x 11" scanner from a major player; Umax has been selling scanners for a long time, and I have read that they are the top-selling scanner vendor worldwide.

The rub -- and for $39.95 I'm sure you expected one -- is that these things don't work well at all straight out of the box. I found the 610S to be completely unusable until I dug around on the Internet and found the correct software downloads.

It turns out that the SCSI card (a 16-bit ISA card) that is bundled with the scanner was made by DTC Technology Corporation, which has since changed its name to Domex Technology Corporation. I could not get this scanner to work with the bundled SCSI card until I downloaded a newer version of the driver from the Domex website, which is http://www.domexusa.com/ . The latest (21Apr97) driver is a 294,505 byte download file named DTC3181x.EXE. With this newer device driver (and the newer VistaScantm v3.1 software described below), I could get the scanner to work pretty well -- but still with the occasional crash -- with the bundled SCSI card and Windows 95 OSR1. A friend who has the exact same scanner bundle and downloaded driver has experienced no crashes, but he has Windows 95 OSR2. Note that this bundled SCSI card has only an external (DB25) connection, and that Umax cautions the user to not attempt to drive any SCSI device but the 610S with this card. (I finally switched the scanner over to my Adaptec 2910C PCI SCSI card, and that eliminated all crashes and made scanning faster by just a little bit. The 2910C is now controlling both the 610S and my internal CDR drive, with zero problems.)

The v2.x VistaScan Umax application software that came with this scanner didn't work at all either. I consider this scanner to be completely unusable without a download of the latest v3.1 VistaScan software, which is a whopping 23 megabytes, from the Umax website. After installing the v3.1 VistaScan package, the scanner works beautifully.

Note that I also bought a Umax 610P scanner a while back, which is the same scanner mechanism but with a parallel-port interface instead of a SCSI interface. The 610P performs the same quality scans, but it is much slower than the 610S. For scanners, SCSI is definitely the way to go.


I have concluded that this is a good quality 300 dpi scanner that was unloaded at such a lowball price purely because that was easier than repackaging the product with the necessary improved software.

Copyright 1999 Farba Research All Rights Reserved

Rebuttals may be sent to Rebuttals@FarbaResearch.com