A Small Business Guide to Document Scanners - Page 2

By Ted Needleman
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More Small Business Document Scanners

Canon ImageFormula DR-C225

Out of the box, you notice that the Canon ImageFormula DR-C225 ($400, street) looks a little different than the other sheet-fed scanners we reviewed. It’s more vertically wedge-shaped, and instead of fold-out input and output trays, it has a small fold-up door on the top of the scanner with pop-up paper supports that look a bit like rabbit-ear antennas.

You won’t find a formal output tray; the paper feeds into the scanner and exits through the bottom of the device—the backward slope of the front panel supports the output. This gives the 8.7- x 11.8- x 6.1-inch scanner a rather svelte desktop footprint. Unlike many document scanners, the DS-C225 has only a 30-sheet ADF, and at the full 30 sheets, paper threatened to drop (but didn’t) from the output stack onto the desk.

Canon ImageFormula offers the same 600 dpi optical resolution as the other scanners tested, but the company doesn’t give the scan speeds at the different (lower) resolutions, it simply states scan speeds up to 25 ppm.

Small business document scanner: Canon ImageFormula DR-C225

Small business document scanner: the Canon ImageFormula DR-C225.

Setting up this scanner takes a while, largely because Canon includes a nice selection of software beyond the TWAIN and ISIS drivers. For Windows, Canon includes Capture OnTouch—a utility that lets you scan directly to various applications and Cloud-based services—Nuance eCopyPDF Pro Office, Nuance Paper Port 14, Nuance OmniPage OCR, Evernote, and Newsoft Presto BizCard. The package includes similar programs for the Mac OS.

We very much like the attractive and functional on-screen control panel. Touch a button to launch the selected application’s scan-to locations. That sort of makes up for the fact that USB 2.0 is the only interface. At this price, we would like to see Wi-Fi as well.

Epson Workforce DS-560

With a flip-up front cover and a pull-out bottom output tray, the 6.1- x 11.7- x 6-inch Epson WorkForce DS-560 ($320, street) is about the same size as the other units we tested. It’s also one of two document scanners we tested that offer connectivity via USB 2.0 or Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi capability lets you scan to mobile devices including smartphones and tablets (Android and iOS). You can also scan directly to cloud services including Evernote, Google Drive, and others.

The 50-sheet document feeder features an ultrasonic double-feed detector, so if two pages inadvertently feed into the machine, the scanner stops and generates an error message. You can also mix different sized documents in the ADF stack. The DS-560 also lets you scan oversize documents in a single pass by folding them over. No need for those clear plastic envelopes typically used with delicate or unusually sized documents.

small business document scanner: Epson Workforce DS-560

Small business document scanner: Epson Workforce DS-560

Unlike some of the other document scanners we tested, Epson doesn’t include much software with the DS-560. You get software to convert the scanned image to a PDF, and TWAIN and ISIS drivers (you need to download the ISIS driver). Also included: Abbyy FineReader OCR, and NewSoft BizCard OCR (the Windows version is on the CD, you have to download the Mac version).

Epson claims a scan speed of up to 26 ppm when scanning at 200 or 300 dpi. That speed drops to 5 ppm when scanning at 400 or 600 dpi (optical resolution).

If you need TWAIN compatibility and Wi-Fi, the DS-560 is a good choice. Epson even offers a network adapter, which lets multiple computers access the scanner over a network.

Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500

The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 ($420, street) sits at the top of our price range, though you can find much more expensive document scanners on the market from both this vendor and others.

At a compact 11.5- x 6.2- x 6.6-inches, the iX500 won’t take up much room on your desk. The hinged input tray doubles the scanner’s front cover and opens at the top of the unit to expose the fold-down output tray. The 50-sheet capacity ADF duplexes, and scan speed varies from 25ppm at resolutions from 75 dpi to 300 dpi, and then drops to 7 ppm at the 600 dpi resolution. The scanner also uses an ultrasonic double-feed detector.

small business document scanner: Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500

Small business document scanner: Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500

The iX500 comes with a nice assortment of software including OCR, scan to PDF, Scan to Cloud, CardMinder business card scanning application, and ScanSnap Receipt for extracting and organizing data from your receipts. With the proper app installed on a mobile device (iOS or Android), the ScanSnap can scan directly to a smartphone or tablet. A Deluxe Bundle adds Rack2-Filer, a document store and retrieve application, and you can download ScanSnap Sync, an application that uses the Cloud to synchronize scanned files between a PC/Mac and your mobile devices.

The iX500 has one serious downside; it does not support TWAIN or ISIS, so if you need a scanner to work with an existing application, you’re better off looking at another vendor’s offering. On the plus side, the ScanSnap offers two interfaces—USB 2.0 and Wi-Fi, and Fujitsu includes a USB cable in the box.

Xerox DocuMate 152i

While Visioneer manufactures the DocuMate 152i ($250, street), the small business document sells under both the Visioneer and Xerox names. Regardless of the vendor name on the scanner, it’s the same unit.

The DocuMate 152i may be the least expensive of the five document scanners we tested, but it certainly not a budget model. It features many of the same specifications of the more expensive models reviewed here, and it throws in a terrific assortment of software applications to boot.

A bit larger than the other scanners in this round up, the 152i measures 12- x 17.6- x 12.9-inches. A pull-up support at the rear of the unit acts as the input tray, and a plastic piece that snaps onto the front of the scanner is the output tray. Setup takes just a few minutes, and USB 2.0 is the scanner’s only interface.

Installing the software takes another 10 minutes or more. That’s because the 152i comes with a lot of software, most of it from Nuance. Visioneer One Touch 4.6 for Windows (up to Windows 10), lets you scan directly to various applications including PaperPort, a default printer (which is great for copying), Outlook and Outlook Express, Word, and directly to storage on a PC or Mac in different image formats.

small business document scanner: Xerox DocuMate 152i

Small business document scanner: Xerox DocuMate 152i

You also get PaperPort Pro 14, the latest version of Nuance’s entry-level document storage and retrieval system. Other Nuance applications include OmniPage Ultimate Version 19 and Power PDF, which lets you create and edit PDF files.

As with the other scanners reviewed, the DocuMate 152i provides an optical resolution of up to 600 dpi. It’s rated at a maximum scan speed of 25 ppm in duplex mode at 200 dpi and normal color settings. Scanning at higher resolutions will, of course, slow down the scan speed.

The DocuMate 152i feels just a bit flimsier than the other scanners we tested. But if you want a good, basic document scanner with a great software bundle, it’s going to be hard to find a better value.

Ted Needleman published his first review in 1978. Since then, he has written several thousand hardware and software reviews, columns, articles on using technology, and two books. He has no intention of stopping any time soon.

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This article was originally published on March 28, 2016
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