Brother DS-640 Review
Pros: Great scan quality, small and portable, simple operation, good OCR
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|Pros||Great scan quality, small and portable, simple operation, good OCR||Fast, high-quality scans, easy to use, touch screen interface, 50 page feed tray||Now available for free, high quality scans, great text recognition||Excellent photo scan quality, easy setup, relatively inexpensive||Interesting Concept|
|Cons||Slow||Expensive, Optical Character Recognition not perfect||Slow and laborious for multi-page documents||Software can be a bit clunky, very slow for long text documents||Poor scan quality, very difficult to use, no character recognition|
|Bottom Line||A great balance between performance, quality, and portability, all at a reasonable price||The fastest, most fully-featured, easy to use, and highest quality scanner we've tested||A perfect free option for those that occasionally scan shorter documents and receipts||An excellent and reasonably inexpensive flatbed option for digitizing documents and photos||Poor scan quality in a difficult to use package, you'd be much better off using a phone app|
|Rating Categories||Brother DS-640||Fujitsu ScanSnap iX...||Scanner Pro App||Epson Perfection V39||VuPoint Solutions M...|
|Scanning Performance (35%)|
|User Friendliness (15%)|
|Specs||Brother DS-640||Fujitsu ScanSnap iX...||Scanner Pro App||Epson Perfection V39||VuPoint Solutions M...|
|Paper Sizes||Max: 8.5" x 32"||Max: 11" x 17"
Min: 2" x 2"
|Any size||Max: 8.5" x 11.7"||Max: A4|
|Weight (pounds)||1.0 lbs||7.5 lbs||N/A||3.4 lbs||1.0 lbs|
|Resolution (dpi)||600 x 600||600 x 600||N/A||4800 x 4800||600 x 600|
|Scanning Modes||24-bit color, 8-bit (256 levels) gray scale, 1 bit monochrome||Color, Grayscale, Auto||Color Document, Black and White, Color Photo, Grayscale Photo||Color, Grayscale, Black and White, Automatic Detection||Color, Grayscale, Black and White, Automatic Detection|
|Automatic Document Feeder||No||50-page||No||No||No|
|Mac Compatible||Yes||Yes||N/A||Yes||3rd party drivers|
|Measured Pages Per Minute||4||67||3||N/A||0|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Brother DS-640 provides quality, portability, and usability in spades, with speed being its 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.
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 nearly identical to the originals. Even the ink on receipts, which can be problematic for scanners, didn't pose any problem for the DS-640.
The color scans we created in our testing looked fantastic. The colors were quite accurate and vibrant, and 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 get the job done in a pinch.
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, 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.
In our tests, scanning a 10-page duplex black and white document (that's five 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, then the extra time can really add up.
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 PCs and Macs proved to be more than capable in our tests. Text pages were consistently converted into text-searchable PDFs without conspicuous errors.
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. Unfortunately, the lack of duplex scanning and an automatic document feeder makes scanning long documents a chore.
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.
The Brother DS-640 is, in our opinion, the perfect solution for those that need high-quality scans but who don't tend to scan super long (10+ page) documents all that frequently.
— Michelle Powell and Max Mutter