Pros It works.
It does scan fast.
That's about it.
Cons There is a lot not to like.
Very annoying software and dull images lead the way.
Summary Bottom line is it works.
My favorite HP ScanJet 6300C died a communications death so this was a freebie replacement. the 6300c had its own quirks but the images were pretty good.
The buttons are located on the top front where I keep inadverantly hit them while trying to scan newspapers. Really the only button we need is an switch to shut the power completely off when we aren't using it. HP must be invested in coal.
Low quality scans, the images are rather pale and a bit blurry. Probably due to too many mirror and lenses and a camera sized sensor.
Dull images. Even after I cleaned the glass (both sides), the many mirrors and lens. There is no reflector to help get more light on the item being scanned.
Yeah the software is awful. The scan program unloads after every image save. So you have to reconfigure for each scan. 235 megabytes download? Are you kidding me?
The software leaves a number of temporary files behind every time you scan. its like cleaning up after a bad puppy.
235 megabyte download from HP? Why! How about just a stand alone scanner program? We don't need or want all that other lousy software bundled with it. And we don't want or need any software preloaded every time we boot up for a device we only use ocassionally. Tell twain to get lost. Really, there are other programs available that do all those other tasks you want and a whole lot better.
When scanning we want to see the image in the largest size possible on the screen but the software has reserved space below the image for stuff that could be located to the side.
Since this is an older product and no longer on the market, don't pay for it. Really, it's worth paying for a scanner you like and not for the annoyance factors.
Pros High optical resolution, relatively fast scanning
Cons Somewhat disfunctional software, mediocre document feeder
Summary I've had this scanner for a few years now and am generally satisfied with it. The hardware is wonderful and the bundled software is garbage. Whenever I have a problem with it, it's the software.
As long as you're not using the bundled garbage for anything other than importing scans into other software, you shouldn't have too many problems.
Then only other con is that sometimes using the ADF results in blurry scans.
I picked up the TMA (Transparent Materials Adapter) for this unit and have been using it to scan photo negatives. The unit works great, but (like the printer) a little pricey for what you're getting.
If you find it for cheap enough (under $250?) and will be using it mainly for Photoshop, go for it. The hardware really is excellent.
"Software stinks"on by HectorB
Pros Sheet feeder trouble free
Cons software and drivers all deficient
Summary I agree with others on this post - the software with the 5550c is marginally functional and very frustrating. Its not a normal application - its just a bunch of popup windows that open and close and you never know whats going on. I eventually uninstalled the software, and on the advice of HP's knowledge base, removed all files from the c:\windows\twain_32 folder, and reinstalled, and it seems to actually work. Also, scanning from directly within Acrobat standard was more straightforward for documents than the HP software. Even so, it took me about 5 hours of fooling with this thing to get it to work, and thats not right. Avoid.
Pros Absolutely NO Pros
Cons Defective Product
Summary I initially tried to use the scanjet with my Compaq Presario 900. After spending over 2 hours with technical support, they recommended I update my bios, Re-install XP, or buy a self powered USB Hub. I tried the USB port option to no avail. I wasted my money. I bought a brand new Compaq Presario V2220US and still could not get the scanner to work. One would think a new Compaq could communicate with a new HP. After another 2 hours with technical support, they concluded that the scanner was defective. I received the replacement scanner and received the exact same error message. I read the CNET reviews and have learned too late that the product is apparently defective. I have used 2 other HP multi-function printer-scanners successfully. I am now waiting for a return call to honor my request for a full refund. I agree with the other opinions that uninstalling the software is extraordinarily complex. Please don't waste your time and money like I have.
Pros The hardware seems to work well.
Cons The software is very poorly written. The software is over 240MB and it doesn't work! To get it to work at all I had to use the XP drivers. Very poorly thought out. God help you if you have to uninstall the software. If you have an old HP scanner - get it