At $3,600, Sender is trailblazing as a scanner server

Pros and cons:
+    Acts as a scanner server for e-mailing
+    High-quality scans
–    Color output limited to one printer
–    Expensive

Real-life requirements:
10Base-T, 100Base-T or token-ring network connection

You’ve heard of all kinds of servers, but the Hewlett-Packard Co. 9100C Digital
Sender may be the world’s first scanner server.

The Digital Sender looks like a fax machine with a small keyboard. It plugs into the
office network via a standard 10Base-T, 100Base-T or token-ring connection and functions
as a scanner, copier and e-mail client.

The document feeder loads up to 50 pages for standard scanning in full color. You can
send the graphical files in TIFF or Adobe Portable Document Format to any e-mail address
or series of addresses. In this way, the Sender acts like a fax server, sending to a
distribution list.

Hewlett-Packard wins kudos for the Sender’s keyboard. Defying industry practice,
it put a real QWERTY keyboard, albeit a small one, on top of the unit. The keyboard and
the large LCD viewing screen made the Digital Sender easy to program and operate.

In practice, color scans were high-quality, especially those stored as .pdf files,
which looked almost exactly like the originals down to ink color on signatures. And they
were small enough to zip through quickly as e-mail attachments.

The Digital Sender was less impressive as a copier, basically just sending scanned
output to a printer. The unit supported only one printer, the HP Color LaserJet 4500, and
refused to recognize other printer drivers.

Output went directly to a network-attached printer, but if no Color LaserJet 4500 was
present, the Sender defaulted to Hewlett-Packard’s PCL5 print driver.

Even if you have a color printer—the GCN Lab tested with an HP Color LaserJet
5M—PCL5 produces black-and-white copies.

You could of course send the files to your e-mail address and then print to a color
printer, but that defeats the purpose of having an all-in-one scanner server.

The Sender practically set itself up with its functional keyboard and LCD screen.
Getting the unit to communicate with a mail server was hard, however. Nowhere did the
administrator’s guide present a simple Step 1, Step 2 server-side installation

At $3,600, the Sender costs considerably more than something a savvy user could cobble
together from an ordinary scanner and PC to do the same job, though perhaps with a little
less convenience.   

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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