Buying a scanner

While for many of us, printers are associated with the worlds of work and business, a lot of people use scanners for the fun side of life.

You can guarantee the kids will find some creative things to do with them. Their drawings can suddenly be made to live on a PC, where all the artistic possibilities of the many pieces of painting software available these days await them.

But of course scanners are also invaluable when it comes to tasks such as emailing documents to people.

Some of the different brands you might see on a trip to your local electronics store or during a browse on the internet include Canon, HP and Epson.

Aside from brand, scanners also come in many shapes and sizes and can offer an array of different features, not all of which are useful to all users.

Film scanners, for example, can capture the likes of negatives, as the name suggests.

Some scanners throw in a printer as well - perhaps an option to go for if you are currently without one, but possibly an unnecessary extra if you already have one.

Meanwhile, flatbed scanners offer perhaps the classic scanner "look" and do most of the things you would expect of such a device - they're also more commonly seen than other scanner varieties.

It's possible to pick up a scanner for a very attractive price indeed these days. You may well end up with change from a £50 note.

One feature you'll see referred to often is resolution - though cheaper models do not always have lower resolution than their pricier alternatives.

Though resolution can be measured in "dpi" which sounds complicated, this translates into the reassuringly old-fashioned sounding "dots per inch".

Put simply, more "dpi" means a scanner can snap things into the digital world in greater detail.

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