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Brother DS-640 Review

A great balance between performance, quality, and portability, all at a reasonable price
Brother DS-640
Credit: Brother
Best Buy Award
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Price:   $110 List | $109.98 at Amazon
Pros:  Great scan quality, small and portable, simple operation, good OCR
Cons:  Slow
Manufacturer:   Brother
By Michelle Powell and Max Mutter  ⋅  Jun 18, 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 portability, fantastic scan quality, and reliable optical character recognition, at a budget-friendly price. Its features and performance make it perfect for anyone seeking the ability to transport their scanner in a backpack, or that wants to be able to hide their scanner away in a drawer once they are done scanning short documents. While this scanner produced some of the highest quality scans in our tests, a lack of any sort of document feeder, and the absence of a single-pass duplex scanning feature make it a bit cumbersome for use digitizing long double-sided documents. If you are regularly scanning documents larger than 10 pages, then you may want to invest in a scanner with a feed tray and duplex scanning feature. However, for more occasional use, or on jobs that require a portable scanner, the Brother DS-640 is 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  
Price $110 List
$109.98 at Amazon
$495 List
$399.99 at Amazon
$0 List$100 List$70 List
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Pros Great scan quality, small and portable, simple operation, good OCRFast, high-quality scans, easy to use, touch screen interface, 50 page feed trayNow available for free, high quality scans, great text recognitionExcellent photo scan quality, easy setup, relatively inexpensiveInteresting Concept
Cons SlowExpensive, Optical Character Recognition not perfectSlow and laborious for multi-page documentsSoftware can be a bit clunky, very slow for long text documentsPoor scan quality, very difficult to use, no character recognition
Bottom Line A great balance between performance, quality, and portability, all at a reasonable priceThe fastest, most fully-featured, easy to use, and highest quality scanner we've testedA perfect free option for those that occasionally scan shorter documents and receiptsAn excellent and reasonably inexpensive flatbed option for digitizing documents and photosPoor 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%)
9.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
3.0
Speed (30%)
4.0
10.0
3.0
4.0
1.0
Software (20%)
8.0
7.0
8.0
4.0
2.0
User Friendliness (15%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
3.0
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
Simplex/Duplex Simplex Duplex Simplex Simplex Simplex
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
PC Compatible Yes Yes N/A Yes Yes
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.

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 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.

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 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.

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, 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 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.

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 PCs 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. Unfortunately, the lack of duplex scanning and an automatic document feeder makes 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 need high-quality scans but who don't tend to scan super long (10+ page) documents all that frequently.

Michelle Powell and Max Mutter