Patriot ready for duty

Patriot scanner performs well, meets Trade Agreements Act

Visioneer Patriot 680

Performance: A

Features: B+

Value: B+

Government price: $1,995

Reviewer Comments: The Patriot 680 is a departmental scanner with both a manual feed and a flatbed scanner mode. It can also route scanned files to 99 programmable locations.

Contact: Visioneer Inc., Pleasanton, Calif., (925) 251-6399, Web: www.visioneer.com

Patriot 680

Need a scanner that's built in the United States? Visioneer's Patriot 680 scanner is a reasonably priced workhorse with some superior networking abilities.

The Patriot 680 is the departmental scanner model in the Visioneer Patriot lineup of scanners specifically designed and built for government users. Visioneer markets a similar line of scanners to consumers, but the Patriots are aimed at U.S. government.

The company is on the GSA Schedule, and its products are assembled in the United States, in compliance with the Trade Agreements Act, which applies some requirements for buying U.S.-made goods.

The scanner itself is ideal for medium or even large office environments. It also has some routing capabilities that, when used on a LAN, could be a real bonus.

The 680 has two scan modes, the traditional one where documents pass through a feeder to be scanned, and a flatbed mode. The flatbed is increasingly rare in scanners today but still can be useful. The 680 bed accommodates paper up to 14.5 inches long and 8.5 inches wide, so it can capture legal documents.

Performance-wise, the 680 is extremely quick, especially considering its small size'it is only 13.5 inches wide by 20.5 inches long. It can scan both sides of a document, and changing between single and duplex modes is a one-button fix at the front of the scanner.

We were able to scan both sides of graphics-heavy documents on regular-sized paper at 34 pages per minute. That jumped to 39 pages per minute with more text-heavy material, up to a theoretical maximum of 40 pages per minute, which we never quite achieved.

If that were all the scanner did, it would still be a reasonably priced unit with good performance.

But the 680 can also act as a digital server, sending scanned images to any of 99 programmable destinations. This allows users to program their workflow patterns into the 680. This can be very helpful in large workgroups, where multiple people need copies of certain documents.

Using the management software, you can set up routing and saving information for your 99 groups. If, for instance, personnel letters need to go to the human resources department and also to two executives, you simply set up the routing table for that type of document and assign it a number.

If that number happens to be 42, you tell everyone who needs to scan that type of document, and they simply set the large, two-digit display to 42 before scanning.
The 680 will make sure things get to the correct places.

In our test, setting up the groups was easy. Scans can be sent to e-mail addresses or to specific computers, using their Internet Protocol numbers. For the latter route, the company advises installing client software on each of the target computers to ease document management.

Know the codes

The fact that the scanner has only a very simple, two-digit panel display means you'd better know what code you are supposed to use, because you can't find out at the scanner itself. Someone who has to scan multiple document types in different ways could get confused about what number goes with which group. Posting a chart with the assigned groups is probably going to be a necessity.

The Patriot 680 is a great scanner in either traditional or flatbed mode, and it is nice to see a modern scanner with both configurations built in.

The fact that it can also accommodate legal-size paper further opens up the number of applications that could benefit from the 680.

And the fact that it is assembled in the U.S. is good news for the economy, too.

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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