We previously tested the Brother ADS-1500W and the NeatConnect scanners. Today we look at the Epson DS-560 document scanner. Overall, we were impressed with this scanner which would make a worthy addition to anyone’s home or small office.
|Wireless connection to your network||Difficult to get a network connection|
|Large (50 sheet) auto document feeder||Advertised OCR software not available for Macs|
|Multiple size paper handling|
|Scan direct to favorite cloud services|
Epson DS-560 Hardware
The Epson DS-560 is a sheet-fed, one pass duplex color scanner. The scanner measures 11.7” wide x 6”
deep x 6.1” high and weighs in at 5.5lbs. In its closed position it has a nice compact profile sitting on your desk.
The top cover of the scanner unfolds to become the paper tray for the documents to be scanned, with a scanned document-receiving tray tucked neatly in the bottom, which pulls out when needed. We found the lack of a receiving tray on the Brother ADS-1500W something we missed more than we thought we would so this was a nice addition. Even when fully opened, the Epson DS-560 is reasonably compact on your desk.
In the box is the Epson DS-560 scanner, the AC power adapter with power cord, a USB 2.0 cable for direct connection to a computer and a package with a Start Here poster and CD-ROM with the scanner software.
For those of you with a newer Mac that does not include a CD drive, fear not. All of the software needed is available on line from the Epson site. In fact, it is our experience that the software packed in hardware products is often not the most current version and in this case, we didn’t even bother to load the software on the CD but downloaded it directly from the Epson site to our desktop.
While not in the box, Epson does also offers a comprehensive 112 page User Manual that covers just about every aspect of the scanner. The manual is available directly from the Epson web site and can be downloaded here.
Unlike the Brother and Neat scanner previously reviewed, the Epson DS-560 does not have any type of built-in screen. There are three buttons (Power, Start and Stop) on the top of the scanner, although we were unable to program the Start button to do anything. While that lack of a screen has no impact if the scanner is close to the computer or mobile device you are scanning to, it would be inconvenient if the scanner was in one office location and your computer was in another room or floor.
The only other control on the scanner is a slide switch used to adjust for thicker paper, which would only really be needed if you are scanning a folded piece of paper or perhaps the thickest types of card stock.
The scanner is rated for 26 pages per minute (ppm), but can scan two-sides of a page in a single pass so that makes 52 images per minute (ipm).
The scanner can accommodate multiple sizes of paper at once ranging from business cards to 8.5” x 16.5” paper for Macs (Windows machines can accommodate longer paper), with paper weights from 13 to 56 lb., which should cover most, if not all of the documents you would need to scan. The input paper tray can accommodate from 15 to 70 sheets at a time depending on the thickness of the paper stock.
The scanner is rated at a daily duty cycle of 3,000 sheets and has a multi roller assembly that reduces mis-feeds and paper jams. The roller assembly is user replaceable with a recommended replacement at 100,000 cycles and is available from multiple sources on line and also directly from Epson with a MSRP of $49.99.
The scanner can be used with a direct USB connection to any computer but is also able to join your wireless network and scan wirelessly to any computer or iDevice on the same network. While those options are pretty standard, the Epson DS-560 adds another feature we have yet to see on any other desktop scanner in this class.
The scanner has the ability to become its own wireless access point (“AP”). This allows you to directly connect your computer or other device to the scanner without the need to join a local network. While that may not have much use in your day-to-day scanning needs, we can certainly see where that feature could be the reason someone buys this scanner over the competition.
We wouldn’t call this scanner portable, but it is certainly small enough to be taken along on an as needed basis. If you are a business person that needs to scan large volumes of documents at remote locations, i.e. law firms, accountant records, etc. and a portable, single sheet scanner is too slow or not practical, the Epson DS-560 can connect directly to your computer as its own AP. Granted, you could do the same thing with a USB cable but we like the flexibility this option provides in the event you need more than one scanner connected.
Epson DS-560 Software
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. More on that in a minute. The Epson site and manual also references OCR software but it is apparently only for Windows machines.
The software is best described as utilitarian meaning it doesn’t look like much but gets the job done. We were also pleased to see that unlike some programs that are ported to OS X from Windows, the Epson software doesn’t appear to be missing any functionality that is available to the Windows world.
The Epson software is supported on OS X 10.5.8 through the latest version of OS X 10.11 El Capitan.
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.
Finally, included in the software package is an Uninstall Utility. While most Mac users uninstall software by simply dragging the application icon to the trash, it is also well known that often times, small bits of that application is left behind. While you may rarely, if ever need to uninstall this software, we appreciate that Epson included a utility to ensure that all of those small files are deleted. This comes in handy if you ever have to do troubleshooting or develop some sort of application conflict. After we ran the uninstall utility, the only think left on our MacBook Pro was the Epson Software folder in our Applications folder but that only contained the Uninstall utility and a log file. We moved that to the trash and our system was clean.
Epson DS-560 Test Results
Other than removing the mandatory packing materials, there is nothing needed to unbox the hardware. Its sleek design only requires that it be plugged into a standard AC outlet. The Start Here poster provides the needed information to set the scanner up and although we followed the instructions to the letter, getting the scanner connected to our Wi-Fi network was not without issue.
Although we found the instruction clearly written, our first attempt to get the scanner on our network resulted in an error message that the scanner couldn’t find the network and timed out and a suggestion that we try again. Having done that we got a similar error message but this time with a suggestion that, if the process has failed twice to follow an alternate process using the scanner’s built-in Access Point function. For that, we had to refer to the web based help files that are included as part of the Epson software package.
We found these instructions a little less clear and our first attempts at using the AP method also resulted in no connection. It ultimately took about 4 different attempts before the connection was made. The good news is that once we got the scanner joined to our network, the connection has been flawless. We have not experienced any dropped connections and have not had to reinstall or reconnect the scanner at all.
There is a third option to use WPS to connect the scanner to your local network but since our router does not support WPS, that was not a choice for us.
All in all, the set-up, though a little frustrating, we uneventful. We’re not really sure why we had so much trouble with the set-up. Perhaps a little more detail in the Epson instructions would have helped or maybe it was just a mistake we kept making over and over again.
Once the scanner was connected to the network, 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 itself is very quick with no pauses or hesitation between pages. This is probably due, in part, to the fact that the processing of the scans appears to happen at the end of the scanning process rather than at the end of each page. So rather than a short pause between each page like we saw with the Brother ADS-1500W, there is a rather long pause at the end of the scan process to let the hardware complete the process. We don’t see this as good or bad compared to how each company approaches the process but merely point out the difference. Which one is better is going to be a matter of personal preference.
The Epson Scan program allows you to set up multiple job types and then select the appropriate job for whatever scan you are doing. For example, you may want to set up one job to scan black and white text documents at 200dpi but want color documents to be scanned at 600 dpi to provide better color reproduction. Rather than making these selections on an individual basis, you can set up the job parameters ahead of time and save them and then select what you need for the particular scan you want to do. This is a nice feature and can be a real time saver. The program has an option to assign one of these job types to the Start Button on the scanner but as we said earlier, we were unable to get the button to work.
Whether you use the Epson Scan or the Document Capture application, you get all of the same basic setting choices. You can select Color, Gray Scale or B&W scans, single or double sided, paper size, rotation of the scanned image page, deskewing, blank page elimination and scan format (pdf, jpg, etc.). These are not the only options but you get the idea. These are pretty basic functions you would expect in any scanning software and while it’s not fancy, both programs work as expected and get the job done.
Both programs let you set a prefix for the scan, and then append it with optional selections of date, time and document count. You also have the option of selecting where the scan will be saved. Instead of a standard prefix, you could provide a more descriptive document name.
When we tested the Brother ADS-1500W, the software opened a Finder Window and we could also provide the desired document name and select the actual location where the document was saved. Because you were doing the naming in a Finder window, you could select a similarly named file and just change a date, etc., which saves a lot of typing. We think it also leads to more uniform document naming.
While this is certainly not a reason to pass on the Epson DS-560, we consider this an important function in the scanning process and were disappointed this feature was missing from what we otherwise consider a very solid software package.
From what we could tell, the Document Capture application provides all of the functionality of Epson Scan with the added feature of allowing you to share your scan rather than just sending it to your local drive.
On the Document Capture menu bar are options for Evernote, Google Drive, SugarSync and other cloud-based services. We tested this by selecting Google drive as our destination without doing anything on Google Drive in anticipation of sending the scan there. The scanned document automatically created an “Epson” folder in our Google Drive and placed the scan in it. Follow-up scans automatically went o the same folder. This could not have been easier and worked perfectly every time.
The Epson Scan app on our iPhone worked easily as well as the desktop software. Granted, you have top be on the local network to scan to the phone and we would assume your computer is also available but if you know you want the document to be mobile, this feature will save a lot of time.
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. This is a solidly made unit with an excellent document feed system that works via USB or a wireless connection. The free iOS app does a nice job of putting a scanned document on you iPhone or iPad. The 26ppm and 3,000 pages daily duty cycle makes this an excellent choice for even the not so small business office.
The Epson DS-560 has an MSRP of $399.99 but is available on Amazon at a deep discount.
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