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Brother DS-640 Review

A great balance between quality, price, and portability
Brother DS-640
Credit: Brother
Best Buy Award
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Price:   $110 List | $89.98 at Amazon
Pros:  Great scan quality, small and portable, simple operation, good OCR
Cons:  Slow
Manufacturer:   Brother
By Michelle Powell and Max Mutter  ⋅  Feb 8, 2021
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 9
  • Scanning Performance - 35% 9
  • Speed - 30% 4
  • Software - 20% 8
  • User Friendliness - 15% 7

Our Verdict

The Brother DS-640 offers fantastic scan quality, reliable optical character recognition, and a portable form factor, all at a relatively low price. These attributes make it perfect for anyone seeking the ability to toss their scanner in a backpack next to their laptop, or that want to be able to efficiently scan short documents and then easily hide their scanner away in a drawer once they're done. While this scanner produced some of the highest quality scans in our tests, the lack of any sort of document feeder and the absences of single-pass duplex scanning make it a bit cumbersome to use when digitizing longer documents. If you're regularly scanning 10+ page documents you may want to invest in something faster, but for more occasional use and/or jobs that require a portable scanner, the Brother DS-640 offers a fantastic value.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Brother DS-640
This Product
Brother DS-640
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award Top Pick Award 
Price $110 List
$89.98 at Amazon
$495 List$350 List$1,200 List
$749.81 at Amazon
$295 List
$259.99 at Amazon
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Pros Great scan quality, small and portable, simple operation, good OCRFast, high-quality scans, easy operation, touch screen interfaceHigh quality scans, easy operation, good text recognition80-page automatic document feeder, fast, high quality scansHigh quality scans, easy to use software
Cons SlowExpensive, Character recognition not perfectSlower than other high end modelsExpensive, text recognition not perfect, somewhat complicated installationRelatively slow, 10-page document feeder feels limiting
Bottom Line A great balance between quality, price, and portabilityThe most full-featured, fastest, and highest quality model we've testedA great option if you need a high end model but don't want to spend top dollarThis premium machine is great for those that need to scan hundreds of pages a dayThis model produces high-quality scans and is good at scanning lots of short documents
Rating Categories Brother DS-640 Fujitsu ScanSnap... Epson WorkForce... Fujitsu Fi-7160... Fujitsu ScanSnap...
Scanning Performance (35%)
9
9
8
7
8
Speed (30%)
4
9
7
8
5
Software (20%)
8
7
7
6
7
User Friendliness (15%)
7
9
8
7
6
Specs Brother DS-640 Fujitsu ScanSnap... Epson WorkForce... Fujitsu Fi-7160... Fujitsu ScanSnap...
Paper Sizes Max: 8.5" x 32" Minimum 50.8 x 50.8 mm (2 x 2 in.) Maximum 216 x 360 mm (8.5 x 14.17 in.) Max: 8.5" x 240"
Min: 2" x 2"
A4, A5, A6, B5, B6, Business Card, Post Card, Letter, Legal and Custom Size. A4, A5, A6, B5, B6, Business card, Post card, Letter, Legal and Custom size
Weight (pounds) 1.03 7.5 8.1 9.26 3.1
Resolution (dpi) 600 x 600 600 x 600 600 x 600 600 x 600 600 x 600
Simplex/Duplex Simplex Duplex Duplex Duplex Duplex
Scanning Modes 24-bit color, 8-bit (256 levels) gray scale, 1 bit monochrome Color, Grayscale, Black and White, Automatic Detection Color, Grayscale, Black and White Color, Grayscale, Black and White, Automatic Detection Color, Grayscale, Black and White, Automatic Detection
Automatic Document Feeder No 50-page 50-page 80-page 10-page
PC Compatible Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mac Compatible Yes Yes Yes 3rd party drivers Yes
Pages Per Minute 4 26 14 21 13

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Brother DS-640 provides quality, portability, and usability in spades, with speed being it's only relative weak point. Unless you're scanning 10+ page documents on a daily basis, chances are the Brother DS-640 will provide more than you need at a reasonable price.

Performance Comparison


Credit: Laura Casner

Scanning Performance


The Brother DS-640 provides some of the best scan quality per dollar of any of the models we've tested. It is often able to match the quality of the expensive large office-focused models at a small fraction of the price.


For general text scans, the PDFs we created came out looking near identical to the originals. Even the sometimes problematic ink of receipts generally didn't pose any problems.

Despite a relatively low price tag, the Brother DS-640 produced some...
Despite a relatively low price tag, the Brother DS-640 produced some of the best looking scans in our testing.

The color scans we created in our testing also looked fantastic. For the most part colors came out quite accurate and vibrant while the resolution remained crystal clear. We were more than satisfied with all of the color documents we scanned with this model.

Photo scans came out similarly high quality. While the Brother DS-640 can't match the quality of a flatbed scanner when it comes to photos, and you may not want to feed a treasured old photo through it, it can more than get the job done in a pinch.

Speed


The Brother DS-640 isn't particularly fast, but that's because it has neither duplex scanning nor a document feeder. However, for documents less than 10 pages or so it's more than serviceable.


In our tests it took the Brother DS-640 30 seconds to scan a single color page at 600 dpi (a very high resolution). This was just above the 24 second average of all the models we tested.

Longer, duplex documents are where things got a bit slow. Since you have to manually feed each page into the scanner, scan times for longer documents add up. Additionally, this scanner can only scan one side of a sheet at a time, so double-sided pages have to be fed through twice to scan both sides.

Having to manually feed pages into the scanner, along with a lack of...
Having to manually feed pages into the scanner, along with a lack of duplex scanning, makes the Brother DS-640 a poor choice if you consistently scan very long documents.
Credit: Laura Casner

In our tests, scanning a 10-page duplex black and white document (that's 5 sheets with text on both sides of each sheet) took 2 minutes and 30 seconds. In comparison, scanners that can scan both sides of the sheet at once easily accomplished the same task in under 30 seconds. This isn't terrible if you only scan a few 10-page documents a week, but if that's a regular occurrence the extra time can really add up.

Software


In general we really liked the software associated with the Brother DS-640. We found both its installation and operation to be straightforward and reliable on both Macs and PCs.


Perhaps most importantly, the included optical character recognition (OCR) software for both PC's and Macs proved to be more than capable in our tests. Text pages were consistently converted into text-searchable PDFs without conspicuous errors.

User Friendliness


Weighing in at just over a pound, sporting the ability to be powered by a USB port, and featuring smooth paper feeding, the Brother DS-640 couldn't be much easier to use. The only place it gets bogged down is in the scanning of longer documents. The lack of duplex scanning and an automatic document feeder make scanning long documents a chore.


Value


For those that only need to scan shorter documents a few times a week, the Brother DS-640 offers a fantastic value per dollar. You get top-quality scans for a fraction of the price of more capable models, all in a small and convenient package. However, if you're consistently scanning 10+ page documents multiple times a week, you'll likely want to upgrade to a model with an automatic document feeder. The extra cost will likely pay for itself in saved time in the long run.

we love that the Brother DS-640 can easily be run from a USB port on...
we love that the Brother DS-640 can easily be run from a USB port on a laptop.
Credit: Laura Casner

Conclusion


The Brother DS-640 is, in our opinion, the perfect solution for those that want/need high quality scans, but that don't tend to scan super long (10+ page) documents all that frequently.

Michelle Powell and Max Mutter