Reviews You Can Rely On

Epson Perfection V39 Review

An excellent and reasonably inexpensive flatbed option for digitizing documents and photos
Epson Perfection V39
Credit: Jenna Ammerman
Top Pick Award
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:   $100 List
Pros:  Excellent photo scan quality, easy setup, relatively inexpensive
Cons:  Software can be a bit clunky, very slow for long text documents
Manufacturer:   Epson
By Max Mutter and Steven Tata  ⋅  Jun 17, 2021
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
59
OVERALL
SCORE


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

Our Verdict

If you've just found a box of old family photos and want to make sure your memories will survive well into the digital age, then the Epson Perfection V39 is one the best, easiest, and least expensive ways we've found to accomplish that feat. A small form factor that packs away easily when not in use, fairly simple operation, and nice touches like the ability to automatically recognize multiple photos being placed on the scanning bed and save them as separate files, make this scanner great for photo digitization projects. Plus, you get all this for a budget-friendly price.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Epson Perfection V39
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award   
Price $100 List$495 List
$399.99 at Amazon
$110 List
$109.98 at Amazon
$0 List$70 List
Overall Score Sort Icon
59
88
70
62
22
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Excellent photo scan quality, easy setup, relatively inexpensiveFast, high-quality scans, easy to use, touch screen interface, 50 page feed trayGreat scan quality, small and portable, simple operation, good OCRNow available for free, high quality scans, great text recognitionInteresting Concept
Cons Software can be a bit clunky, very slow for long text documentsExpensive, Optical Character Recognition not perfectSlowSlow and laborious for multi-page documentsPoor scan quality, very difficult to use, no character recognition
Bottom Line An excellent and reasonably inexpensive flatbed option for digitizing documents and photosThe fastest, most fully-featured, easy to use, and highest quality scanner we've testedA great balance between performance, quality, and portability, all at a reasonable priceA perfect free option for those that occasionally scan shorter documents and receiptsPoor scan quality in a difficult to use package, you'd be much better off using a phone app
Rating Categories Epson Perfection V39 Fujitsu ScanSnap iX... Brother DS-640 Scanner Pro App VuPoint Solutions M...
Scanning Performance (35%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
3.0
Speed (30%)
4.0
10.0
4.0
3.0
1.0
Software (20%)
4.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
2.0
User Friendliness (15%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
3.0
Specs Epson Perfection V39 Fujitsu ScanSnap iX... Brother DS-640 Scanner Pro App VuPoint Solutions M...
Paper Sizes Max: 8.5" x 11.7" Max: 11" x 17"
Min: 2" x 2"
Max: 8.5" x 32" Any size Max: A4
Weight (pounds) 3.4 lbs 7.5 lbs 1.0 lbs N/A 1.0 lbs
Resolution (dpi) 4800 x 4800 600 x 600 600 x 600 N/A 600 x 600
Simplex/Duplex Simplex Duplex Simplex Simplex Simplex
Scanning Modes Color, Grayscale, Black and White, Automatic Detection Color, Grayscale, Auto 24-bit color, 8-bit (256 levels) gray scale, 1 bit monochrome Color Document, Black and White, Color Photo, Grayscale Photo Color, Grayscale, Black and White, Automatic Detection
Automatic Document Feeder No 50-page No No No
PC Compatible Yes Yes Yes N/A Yes
Mac Compatible Yes Yes Yes N/A 3rd party drivers
Measured Pages Per Minute N/A 67 4 3 0

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Epson Perfection V39 is the best option we tested for the majority of people that need to digitize printed photos or pages from books and magazines. If you need to scan film negatives or slides, you'll need to upgrade to the Epson Perfection V600, which supports the ability to scan negatives.

The V39 provides pretty much everything most people want from a flatbed scanner, with just a few minor but manageable annoyances. Its features, as well as its minor annoyances and limitations, earned it a middle-of-the-road overall score in our testing.

Performance Comparison


Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Scanning Performance


The V39 produced high-quality scans of every document, receipt, and photo that we tested. However, its speed limitation makes it a poor choice for scanning long text documents, but more on that later.


Photo Scanning Quality


The V39 produced very accurate scans of photos in our testing. Scanned colors tended to pop with the same vibrant colors as the originals, and we generally didn't feel any need to edit the resulting photo files (unless, of course, we didn't like the quality of the original photo we were scanning). Epson's software does offer some options for digital enhancement of the scanned files, and we were able to get some decent results using them. However, the software itself isn't particularly user-friendly, so if you have any level of familiarity with other photo-editing software that's already installed on your computer, you'll most likely want to edit the files there instead.

Photos and book pages all look great when scanned with the V39.
Photos and book pages all look great when scanned with the V39.
Credit: Steven Tata

The V39 has a maximum resolution of 4800 dots per inch (dpi). That is functionally more than enough resolution to make scanned photos look great without a hint of graininess. You even have a bit of leeway to crop photos without a noticeable reduction in resolution. However, if you want the option of cropping scanned photos very tight or just want the highest quality scan possible, there are higher resolution models available. For instance, the V600 offers a maximum resolution of 6400 dpi. However, for most people, we think the V39's resolution is more than enough.

Black and white images and text come through quite well with the V39.
Black and white images and text come through quite well with the V39.
Credit: Steven Tata

Text Scanning Quality


That high resolution results in great-looking text scans as well. In general, every text document we scanned on the V39 resulted in PDFs that looked nearly identical to the originals with bright white backgrounds and bold, defined text. This still wouldn't be our go-to choice for text scanning, simply because loading pages into the bed is a slow process, but if you're willing to put in the extra effort, the resulting files look great.

Txt scanned with the V39 has defined edges and good contrast.
Txt scanned with the V39 has defined edges and good contrast.
Credit: Steven Tata

Speed


Like all of the flatbed scanners that our team tested, the V39 suffered a little in our speed testing. In general, bed scanners without a document feeder aren't built for speed. They are generally built for scanning things that aren't typically put through a document feeder, like irregularly sized photos.


It's quite hard to pin down the exact speed of a bed scanner because there are several variables that can change. For example, bed scanners usually adjust their speed based on the complexity or composition of the document being scanned. Also, these models require much more human labor than document scanners. Where a document scanner generally just needs sheets of paper to be loaded into a slot, bed scanners require one to lift the lid, position and frame the document, close the lid, then reverse the process once the scan is done. That being said, from opening the lid to closing the lid, it took us an average of 30 seconds to get a scan of an 8.5x11 sheet from the V39. From testing and experience, this is about average for flatbed scanners. During real-world use, we did not find this speed to be too limiting when digitizing treasured family photographs, but for long text documents, it felt painstakingly slow.

Automatic Photo Seperation


One nice feature of the V39 is the fact that it can automatically recognize that you've placed two separate photos on the bed and deposit them onto your computer as two separate files. This can speed up the process if you're scanning a lot of 5x7s.

Software


We don't feel like the V39's software presents any significant hurdle to getting a PDF of a photo deposited onto your computer. However, if you try to do some more advanced things, the experience can get a bit frustrating.


The vast majority of people aren't going to have any issues installing the Epson software and getting it to drop scanned files onto their desktop. Using the built-in image enhancement features is effective, but doing so feels quite clunky and often takes some trial and error. Selecting a specific folder destination for your scans feels needlessly complicated, to the point where we found it much easier to just scan to the desktop and drag/drop the resulting files where we wanted them. Perhaps the most frustrating thing is unlocking the optical character recognition (OCR) feature. This allows you to scan text documents into digitized, searchable text, capable of being copied and pasted, but getting this feature to work required lots of troubleshooting and Googling. Once engaged, the feature works quite well, but unless you really need a document to be text-searchable, it is not at all worth the effort to get this feature to work.

User Friendliness


Most basic scanning functions are quite easy to complete with the V39, which earned it an above-average score in this metric.


Possibly the most user-friendly aspect of the V39 is its compact size. At just 1.5 inches thick and a fairly light 3.4 pounds, it is easy to toss this scanner out of sight when not needed and quickly grab it when you do need it. It even has a little kickstand to keep it upright if you want to store it on its end. It is also powered through the same USB cable that connects it to your computer, so no fussing with a clunky power converter either.

The V39 has a kickstand and can be stored mostly upright when not in...
The V39 has a kickstand and can be stored mostly upright when not in use.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

If you're one that likes to scan book pages or magazines, the lid of the scanner can even be removed to accommodate bulky or oversized items. This is great for capturing pages of large coffee-table books and the like.

We also found the initial setup of the scanner and its software to be painless. In fact, we had fresh scans on our desktop within 10 minutes of opening the box.

The V39's simple controls.
The V39's simple controls.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The only place the V39 lost favor in this metric is its lack of any way to make scanning long text documents easier or more efficient. However, this is just the name of the game when it comes to flatbed scanners.

Value


When it comes to digitizing photos, the Epson Perfection V39 is a great value, offering everything you need and great quality for a reasonable price. However, if you need to scan lots of long text documents, you'll save some time and frustration with something like the similarly priced with an automatic document feeder.

Conclusion


The Epson Perfection V39 is a great choice for those that need to digitize collections of old family photos or the pages of books and magazines. It isn't a great option for scanning long text documents.

Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Max Mutter and Steven Tata