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 operation, touch screen interface||High quality scans, easy operation, good text recognition||80-page automatic document feeder, fast, high quality scans||High quality scans, easy to use software|
|Cons||Slow||Expensive, Character recognition not perfect||Slower than other high end models||Expensive, text recognition not perfect, somewhat complicated installation||Relatively slow, 10-page document feeder feels limiting|
|Bottom Line||A great balance between quality, price, and portability||The most full-featured, fastest, and highest quality model we've tested||A great option if you need a high end model but don't want to spend top dollar||This premium machine is great for those that need to scan hundreds of pages a day||This 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%)|
|User Friendliness (15%)|
|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|
|Resolution (dpi)||600 x 600||600 x 600||600 x 600||600 x 600||600 x 600|
|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|
|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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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