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Visioneer OneTouch 8600 USB Scanner

Last November we reviewed visioneerís latest USB scanner, the OneTouch 7600. For about $120, the Visioneer 7600 USB was all but impossible to beat. An all-around great piece of gear designed for newer computers, this scanner beat out five other brands, such as UMAX, Mustek, Hewlett Packard, and AGFA for overall usability. This time we take a closer look at visioneerís latest OneTouch product, the 8600.

The product
  • Software Enhanced Resolution - 2400 dpi
  • Scan Modes - 36-Bit Color (Internal), 12-Bit
  • Resolution - 600 x 1200 dpi Optical
  • Scan Area - 8.5' x 11.69' (A4 / Letter Sized)
  • Compression- Built-in, adjustable,
  • JPEG Enhancement Technology
    5.75" x 13.75" x 22.25"
  • One year limited warranty
  • Scanner Button Interface - Stop, Custom, E-mail, OCR, Fax, Copy/Print, Scan
  • Weight 6.2 lbs. (2.8kg)


(+,-) $200USD

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A Serious Scanner For Serious Scanners

How do you know that youíre a serious scanner? You want at least 600x1200-dpi resolution in hardware mode (not software interpolation) and you donít want to wait all day for it. Good, no, great quality is a must and, of course, you own a PC with USB ports. Unless recovering from system crashes and lockups are you forteí, I suggest having at least 128MB of RAM, preferably 256MB.

We used the 8600 with 64, 128 and 256MB RAM configs and let me pass on that if 600x1200 24-bit color 8.5"x11" scans are your norm, grab at least 256MB.Why do you need all that RAM? Because this jewel screams speedwise. Turn on system monitoring (Start>Programs>Accessories>System Tools>System Monitoring) and look at the memory manager: unused physical memory. In Windows 98, which you need for this scanner, watch the amount drop to near zero when processing your favorite pics. Yeah, before all you nut jobs start holleriní that your swapfile can be virtual RAM, consider this: Do you want 800MB/s or 15MB/s processing speed? Itís simply annoying to click "acquire image" and then run off to lunchÖ

The installation

As in most scanners, the first step will be unlocking the protection tab located at the bottom of the unit. The locking tab protects the scannerís scan head by holding it securely in position. Make sure to lock the scanner when transporting it from one location to another, but always remember to unlock it before scanning because it wonít scan when locked.

The next step will be inputing the power source from the included DC adapter, when done take the included 6" USB cable, and connect it, when done, you should see a message appear on you windows based machine, saying that it has fo und an USB based device. Ignore this window and insert the Visioneer CD, the setup should automoatically start if "auto insert notification" is enabled on that particular drive. Continue the process. Around the final phase of the setup, the scanner will be re-detected and
properly configured.

If you will be planning to use the OneTouch 8600 on a parallel connection, the setup process will be very similar in terms. You will be asked the adress of your paraller (printer) port; it's generaly LPT1. After the installation you will be asked to restart your windows based machine.

Drivers, drivers, drivers. Fully three sets of device drivers are mandatory if you have any hope of producing accurate scans. In addition to the scanner drivers, current monitor drivers and printer drivers must be downloaded and installed. Within the monitor drivers are ICM (Image Color Matching) files that assist in the WYSIWYG capabilties of the screen. Well-supported photo quality printers have similar files within their drivers and of course, the ICM printing option must be activated. Consult your respective manuals, websities, and driver "readme" files for more information.

In our last Visioneer 7600 USB review, a concerned reader emailed us to say that his 7600 USB didn't work on his AMD K6-2 setup. The "glitch" as it were, appeared to be the VIA chipset. A few days later we were able to conclude that the 7600 USB scanner had zero chance of operating if your motherboard used a VIA chipset. Our first step after receiving the unit was puting it to the test on a VIA based chip-set. We organized to test it on an Apollo pro 133A and Apollo Pro 133 chip-sets. Everything went smoothly without any problems, kudos to visioneer for the fix.

There is curently no windows 2000 support, which makes this scanner limited. We decided to talk to visioneer on the subject, they let us know that they are curently hard at work developping the final stage drivers for some of their latest scanners which of course includes the 8600. Expect Official Windows 2000 support by the end of May 2000.

What OneTouch is all about?

The 8600 Model comes with six preconfigured buttons. Each button has it's own function, Scan: Scan photos, business documents, articles, and even 3-D objects directly into Visioneer's PaperPort software. Copy: Create digital copies by sending scans to your color or black-and-white printer. Fax: Transmit your scan directly to your fax software. Simply fill in the fax number on-screen and you are done! OCR: Scan text based documents directly into your word processor with the touch of a button! E-mail: It takes 14 steps to scan and e-mail a photo with other scanners. The OneTouch 8600 does all 14 steps with a press of the e-mail button. Custom: Configure this button to send your scanned page to the application or device of your choice - a second printer, your favorite word processing software, or your image editing application. Stop/Cancel: Instantly cancel any scan in progress.

Technical Impressions

The OneTouch 8600 comes equiped with a USB and Parallel port, resulting in a greater flexibility and compability on non-USB operating systems (NT4.0). The unit uses a superior CCD design providing up to 600-dpi of optical resolution and up to 9,600 dpi with data interpolation. The unit supports 36-bit color and 12-bit agray resulting in much crisper and richer scans. The scan area is a standard 8.5' x 11.69' (A4 / Letter Sized).

The OneTouch 8600 has a built-in compression capability; the scanner will compress document files before sending them to the PC, this feature will boost the scanning process by about 20% depending on what kind of scans you make. You can set the degree of compression, the highest level of which is faster than competing scanners and its previous models, according to Visioneer. The new model also can detect the edges of odd-size or -shaped documents, to eliminate the need for prescanning and cropping.

Visoneer included a very good installation guide covering everything from connecting the cables, installing the unit and configuring the scanning software, there is also a very good detailed troubleshooting chapter, you will also find a technical support form in the package, with all telephone numbers in different regions to call for help.


As expected the OneTouch 8600 performed amazingly well in our tests. The 8600 model comes with a totaly re-worked design compared to previous OneTouch models and an improved scanning technology. Selling at a reasonalbe 200$ USD this scanner is the friendliest solution for the creative home user with it's ease of use. If you are curently looking for a scanner in the 200$ price range, we highly recommend to take a look at the OneTouch 8600. We award this product with our Value Award.

Oleg Mitskaniouk

Web Target PC


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