We've been waiting nearly two decades for the much vaunted 'paperless office' to come into effect, but even now paper documents are everywhere you look. Worse still, it often seems a real pain to scan them in so they can take up residence alongside all the more modern-thinking electronic documents that businesses thrive on.

The novel Kodak Scan Station 100 offers a host of clever yet userfriendly features that aim to make scanning a truly intuitive, quick and simple experience. At the heart of the scanner is a dual CCD, 600dpi scanner that can scan greyscale and colour A4 originals at up to 25 pages per minute. Reduce the resolution to a more modest 200dpi and the speed leaps up to between 40 and 50ppm.

As you'd expect from such a high-speed scanner, high volume use is well catered to, and as well as a 50-page automatic document feeder, the Kodak is designed to withstand a barrage of up to 1,000 pages per day. For further speed enhancement, it can also scan both sides of a document simultaneously, in a single pass.

The thing that makes the Scan Station 100 so versatile is its excellent standalone characteristics. Foregoing the need for an attached PC, the scanner boasts its own built-in 2.4GHz Celeron processor, 1GB of RAM and even a 40GB hard drive. It communicates with the outside world through a 10/100 Base T network adaptor and supports a wide range of network protocols, including TCP/IP, SMB, SMTP and DHCP.

A breeze to use

Moreover, you can scan direct to print, email or a portable USB drive or memory pen, using the built-in USB port, as well as scanning to folders on a connected network. All this is made easy by a large, colour touchscreen control panel, complete with a 640x480 pixel resolution, which is a breeze to use.

For file formats, you can choose between single and multi-page TIF files, JPEGs and either standard or searchable PDFs. What's more, the scanner uses a 'proper' CCF (Cold Cathode Fluorescent) scanning lamp instead of humble CIS technology, delivering truly excellent quality scans in our tests, both in terms of sharpness, tonal separation and colour rendition.

The only sticking point is the price but, where high volume, standalone scanning facilities are required, the Scan Station 100 should prove a worthy asset to any company. Matthew Richards