Panasonic's jack-of-all-scanners

GCN Lab Review | Fast, secure device wipes images clean after every scan.

Panasonic KV-S1025C

|GCN Lab Reviewer's Choice|

Performance: A+

Features: A+

Ease of use: A

Value: A

Price: $1,049

Reviewer's comments: Simply the best scanner we've tested in its class. The KV-S1025C is extremely accurate, has powerful embedded imaging tools and happens to be highly secure, with automatic memory wipes between scans.

Contact: Panasonic Digital Document Co., Secaucus, N.J., (800) 348-7000

Panasonic KV-S1025C

Some products try to do everything and end up accomplishing nothing. The new Panasonic KV-S1025C scanner is not one of those products.

The tiny 7.8-inch tall by 12.5-inch wide frame hides an incredible performance engine capable of scanning up to 26 pages per minute.

In our tests, even mixed-media documents that were heavy on graphics ran through the scanner at more than 20 pages per minute. And it can scan documents that are up to 100 inches long, meaning medical records and other odd-sized documents can be fed through.

Besides being extremely fast, the KV-S1025C is also accurate. We tried several things to either trick it or slow it down, but found that the Panasonic engineers had programmed the little scanner to compensate. For example, when scanning several pages of text we 'accidentally' slipped a blank page into the middle of the document. The KV-S1025C was smart enough to automatically remove the blank page from the output.

Also, there's a double-exposure feature that means when you're scanning a double-sided document, you just need to let the scanner know. It can look at both sides at the same time then automatically place both images on the same page. For scanning ID cards and licenses, this is a must-have feature.

Built-in intelligence

You don't even have to bother sorting documents by size. Throw in a business card, a normal piece of paper, a legal-size document and a bank check into the scanner at the same time and they'll all get scanned and put together correctly in your output file. The scanner will crop the images down to their correct sizes without a bunch of wasted background space and also deskew them in case there are any problems. We ran 60 different-sized papers and cards through the scanner and found only two slight errors in all the output generated.

Accuracy was simply incredible. We found the KV-S1025C could even capture hologram images, including ones that aren't supposed to be picked up by a scanner. If you put your American Express card through the system, even the shiny silver strip that says 'American Express World Service' gets recorded.

For something slightly more challenging, we ran a new $20 bill through the KV-S1025C. The new $20 is supposed to have a lot of anti-counterfeiting features such as yellowish numerals plastered over the back of the bill and other subtle coloring on the front. None of them seemed to trick the KV-S1025C.

Looking at the scanned bill on screen, it was identical to the original in both appearance and color tones. Zooming in on the bill's image, we found that the scanner had captured tiny details that you can't even see well with the naked eye, and that we did not even know were part of the bill's design. Not that we would recommend counterfeiting money, but if the KV-S1025C can faithfully capture something that's designed to frustrate copiers, it will be able to handle your agency's forms.

Let's say you do have an image the KV-S1025C is having trouble with, or say you want your output to be different than the original. A good example might be a form with little green boxes where people are meant to write the letters in their name and address. You may need to capture the information, but don't want the boxes.

The KV-S1025C has a set of onboard tools that are part of its Application Specific Integrated Circuit. These tools work natively, handling in hardware some of the chores a PC-based imaging program might handle, and they're very powerful.

During our tests, we simply selected the green of the boxes in our output file. The KV-S1025C automatically selected everything that was the same color green and eliminated the boxes in a preview window. Working through the document, we eliminated background colors, watermarks and anything that interfered with the data capture.

Once we were satisfied with the preview window, we accepted the changes and the final document was ready to go. The KV-S1025C offers to save your work as a template, so if any other forms of the same type come through, it will automatically fix the output without further user intervention.

If your agency has already standardized on another set of tools for its document and photo editing, the KV-S1025C can still work for you.

Access to the ASIC functions are available through either standard TWAIN or ISIS drivers, so adding the scanner's embedded functions to your application should be no problem. We tested it using a TWAIN connection and it worked fine.

To top things off, the KV-S1025C is also the most secure scanner we've tested. Most scanners we've seen leave the last image in the scanner's memory until it's wiped out by a new scan'a potential security hole if you're scanning sensitive documents.

But the KV-S1025C's ASIC is smarter than that. Each image is wiped automatically according to government guidelines, which means the image is overwritten three times, leaving a completely clean memory.

This happens after each image is finished and when the scanner is powered off.

In a final nod to government users, the device goes farther than most office equipment in satisfying Section 508 accessibility requirements. All of the buttons and plugs have raised labels or buttons so that a blind person could operate it. Also, most of the components of the KV-S1025C can be accessed or operated with one hand.

In fact, the powerful, accurate and easy-to-use KV-S1025C is ideally suited to government service. And at just $1,049, it's downright affordable for a scanner with its features.

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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