Posted March 9, 2006
Does an average person—i.e., a person who's not a graphic artist—need a scanner at home? Probably not, but an average (well, semi-average) friend of mine recently asked me to recommend a good, cheap scanner because he wanted to insert old snapshots into his online photo album—which does seem like an increasingly common (or average) need. The CanonScan LiDE 500f, from Canon, is a scanner for the rest of us: an affordable, lightweight, compact device with a clever design that lets you stand it on its edge to save desk space. The beautiful thing about it is, once you set it up, it's pretty idiot proof, thanks to one-touch buttons like SCAN and COPY. (The latter button is the coolest: It lets you use the LiDE as a single-page photocopier, and then immediately print the page just scanned to your printer.) This baby isn't fast (it took me about 45 seconds to scan a full-color magazine page at medium resolution), but it's surprisingly cheap, and it works with both PCs and Macs.
$120 at amazon.com.