The start of the New Year is a good time to clean out your old paper files and get a fresh start. But it’s also the beginning of tax season when we all need to keep track of the many records and receipts needed to file our returns. While it was once thought we would become a “paperless society”, it seems that today, we are handling more paper than ever.
For a long time we used the scanner feature of a multi-function printer to reduce the paper clutter in our office, but needed something more and decided to look at a dedicated document scanner.
If you’ve been a regular visitor to Apple Tech Talk, you’ve probably seen many of the scanner reviews we’ve completed. For those who haven’t, or if you just need a refresher, here’s a brief summary of some of your options.
Brother ADS-1500W Scanner
This was one of the first dedicated scanners we looked at and it didn’t disappoint.
We love the automatic two sided scanning and the automatic blank page removal works perfectly every time. Scan quality is crisp and clear. Based on the speed of this unit, we have cut our scanning time by more than half.
The scanner also has a dedicated slot to scan credit cards and business cards. While others have complained that it doesn’t work, we have scanned dozens of cards without a single error.
Overall the software that comes with this unit is pretty comprehensive. It allow for scanning to email applications on your computer but you can also set up groups of email addresses in the included database and automatically send out broadcast emails based on your scanning of a document.
THE BOTTOM LINE
We are a longtime fan of Brother products having used their ink jet and laser printers for years. In general we think Brother makes a great product and sells them at a reasonable price and the Brother ADS-1500W Scanner is no exception. If you are looking for a compact unit that is well made and preforms great, you should definitely check this one out.
Read our full review here.
Epson DS-560 Document Scanner
This is a solidly made unit with an excellent document feed system that works via USB or a wireless connection.
The scanning process was straightforward and painless. The automatic document feeder took everything we put into it and scanned it without any mid-feeds or paper jams. The scanning process was very quick with no pauses or hesitation between pages.
The software installation was straightforward with the required drivers, administration tools and scanning applications all contained in one dmg file. Installation only took a couple of minutes.
The software actually installs two scanning applications, Epson Scan and Document Capture. Both programs seem equally capable of scanning documents to your computer but the Document Capture program provides greater options for where your scans end up.
Epson also offers a free app, called Epson DocumentScan, available in the App Store. This app allows you to scan directly from the Epson DS-560 to your iPhone or iPad across your local wireless network. The documents can them be attached to an email, etc. with a copy saved right in the Epson app.
THE BOTTOM LINE
We have used Epson printers for years and have always been very satisfied with their performance and the Epson DS-560 document scanner is no exception.
You can read our full review here.
The NeatConnect scanner is a solid piece of hardware with an attractive design.
The scanner supports almost any size document from 1.5” x 2” all the way up to 8.5” x 30” and will scan up to 600dpi although there are some limitations above a standard 8.5” x 11” paper size.
The scanner also has a standard SD card slot for scanning directly to a card up to 32 GB.
The scanner supports 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi as well as WEP, WPA/WPA2-Personal security. The removable top panel acts as a multi size paper tray which holds 15 business cards, 15 receipts and 15 letter size documents, all at the same time. Without the tray, the document feeder can hold 50 letter size documents.
We find is hard to think that anyone buying a Neat scanner wouldn’t be using the Neat software. The software is such an important part of Neat as a company that they even sell it as a stand-alone item on their web site. In fact, if you go to the Neat website, the first selection under the Products tab is Software Plans. The second selection is Scanner Bundles. That may be (as we found out) because the software bundled with the NeatConnect scanner only provides a one-year license. After that, you have to renew your software plan on a monthly or annual basis.
The software installed on your Mac is really more of a front end to a document repository that exists in the cloud. The scanned document goes through an analysis called InDocument Identification, where numerous data points are extracted and indexed for you. That data is actually stored in the cloud and is accessible through the application installed on your Mac, the mobile app on your iPhone or iPad or any web browser at https://cloud.neat.com.
The real power of NeatConnect is in its ability to send scans to the many on-line cloud services that we have all become familiar with, including Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneNote and OneDrive, Evernote, Box and QuickBooks Online.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The Neat software is feature-rich and provides numerous options that would probably be of great value to any small business owner or road warrior who doesn’t want to have to juggle all of the papers, receipts, etc. that gets collected on a trip. The ability to scan directly to the numerous on-line services we all interact with these days is seamless and like most products familiar to Apple fans, just works.
Epson Perfection V19 Flatbed Scanner
Sometimes you need to scan something other than documents. The Epson Perfection V19 Scanner is a great entry level scanner for the occasional scanning project involving photos or large items like boo pages.
The Epson perfection V19 scanner has a CIS (Contact Image Sensor) with an optical resolution of 4800 dpi, with 48-bit per pixel internal and 24-bits per pixel external Color Bit Depth. The scanner uses Three-color RGB LEDs as a light source and does not require the warm up times we used to experience in older style photo scanners.
The scanner bed can accommodate photos and documents up to 8.5” x 11.7” and the scanner lid opens to a full 90 degrees or can be completely removed to accommodate larger items or books.
The included USB cable has a standard USB 2.0 connection for the Mac and a Micro-B connector for the scanner side.
The software used by the Epson Perfection V19 Scanner is the same software we looked at when we reviewed the Epson DS-560 Document Scanner (read our review here), so we won’t duplicate that information again. What we can say is that as a photo scanning application, the Epson Scan software provides many more options.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The small profile of the scanner and it USB power make this almost a portable scanner and could certainly fit in a backpack or other bag if you wanted to do some scanning remotely.
The Epson Scan software is a robust package and the multiple scanning modes lets you decide just how much control you want over the scanning process.
One feature that we especially liked was the ability to place several prints on the scanner glass at the same time. The software had no trouble identifying the multiple prints and allowed us to crop each one individually. When we completed the actual scan, the software produced an individual file for each of the prints.
You can read our full review here.
New Scanners Recently Introduced
If none of these scanners meet your needs, there are some new entries that you can check out.
Epson of America, Inc. recently introduced two new home and office organization solutions – the WorkForce® ES-400 and ES-500W duplex document scanners and two protable document scanners, the WorkForce® ES-200 and WorkForce ES-300W
ES-400 and ES-500W
The compact, yet powerful ES-400 and ES-500W scanners boast speeds up to 35 ppm/70 ipm1 and feature a 50-page auto document feeder (ADF) for fast scanning. Both models enable users to scan to online storage accounts2 including DropBox™, SharePoint®, Evernote®, Google Drive™ and more. In addition, the ES-500W includes wireless capabilities3 for scanning directly to smartphones, tablets or computers.
The ES-400 and ES-500W are powerful organization solutions with a small footprint, perfect for both home and office environments,” said Heather Johnston, product manager, Scanners, Epson America. “With fast scanning speeds, the capability to scan files to a preferred online storage account or edit files with our bundled software, these scanners make it easy for users to cut down on clutter and organize their documents easily.
You can read more about the ES-400 and ES-500W here.
ES-200 and WorkForce ES-300W
The ES-200 and ES-300W include TWAIN drivers for simple integration with virtually any document management software, enabling businesses to save time and money by directly scanning files into their existing workflow. Both models also feature Epson Image Processing technology for text and image adjustments such as auto crop, blank page and background removal. In addition, both scanners are equipped with a robust software package including Epson Document Capture, ABBYY® FineReader and NewSoft® Presto! BizCard®. The OCR software can be used to either create searchable PDFs or editable files with Word® and Excel®.
You can read more about the ES-200 and ES-300W here.
Are you a fan of scanning? What is your favorite scanner? Why not joint the conversation and leave a comment below.
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