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Epson WorkForce ES-400 Review

Price:   $350 List | $269.99 at Amazon
Pros:  High quality scans, easy operation, good text recognition
Cons:  Slower than other high end models
Bottom line:  A great option if you need a high end model but don’t want to spend $500
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   Epson

Our Verdict

While it's not the best scanner on the block, the Epson WorkForce ES-400 offers high-end performance with substantially less sticker shock than comes with the top models. If you don't mind sacrificing a bit of speed, the Epson WorkForce ES-400 can be a bit more of an economical option than the top scoring Fujitsu iX500 ScanSnap. It also offers quite good text recognition, but if text recognition is your main concern, the Canon ImageFormula DR-C225 is the best in the field and is similarly priced to the Epson, though its scan quality is noticeably inferior.


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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Max Mutter and Steven Tata

Last Updated:
Tuesday
October 31, 2017

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The Epson WorkForce ES-400 is a high end and high performing scanner that punches a bit above its weight class when you consider its price.

Loading up one of our scanners for a speed test.
Loading up one of our scanners for a speed test.

Performance Comparison


The Epson WorkForce ES-400 earned one of the top overall scores in our testing, as you can see in the table above. Below we discuss how it performed in all of the tests we used to calculate those overall scores.

Scanning Performance


The Epson WorkForce ES-400 shared the top score of 8 out of 10 in our scan quality testing. This put it even with the top overall performer, the Fujitsu iX500 ScanSnap. It handled handwritten text, printed text, and receipts with aplomb. It was also quite accurate when it came to scanning full color documents. If anything the colors looked just a bit faded when compared to those of the Fujitsu, but not by much. Its color scans were also much better than the oversaturated fare that came from the Canon ImageFormula DR-C225.

The WorkForce was able to produce good scans of both handwritten and printed text in our testing.
The WorkForce was able to produce good scans of both handwritten and printed text in our testing.

Speed


Speed is the one area where the Epson WorkForce ES-400 yields some ground to the Fujitsu iX500 ScanSnap. We clocked the Epson's speed at 14 pages per minute, which earned it a score of 7 out of 10. It does have a 50-page automatic document feeder, so scanning longer document is largely automated. The Fujitsu also has a 50-page document feeder, and can zip through an astonishing 46 pages per minute. The Canon ImageFormula DR-C225 only has a 30-page document feeder, but scans at a faster speed of 25 pages per minute. Overall, the Epson's speed won't hold you back unless you're scanning lots of 50-page documents.

Color scans often looked a bit faded in our testing.
Color scans often looked a bit faded in our testing.

Software


The Epson WorkForce ES-400 again shared the top score of 8 out of 10 in our software testing. Its character recognition was quite good, about even with the Scanner Pro App and bested only by the Canon ImageFormula. We were able to find a few words that the optical character recognition missed, and thus were not searchable, but the vast majority of words were recognized. This is one area where it was clearly better than the Fujitsu iX500 ScanSnap, whose character recognition missed a substantially larger number of words.

In terms of file management and selecting scan settings, the Epson WorkForce ES-400's software was slightly less intuitive than the Fijitsu's and the Canon's, but it still had a fairly gentle learning curve, so we don't feel that it's a deal breaker at all. The software is also compatible with both Mac and PC.

User Friendliness


The Epson WorkForce ES-400 was one of the most user friendly models we tested, and it shared the top score of 8 out of 10 with its two main competitors, the Canon ImageFormula DR-C225 and the Fujitsu iX500 ScanSnap. Setup was a breeze with the Epson, we had software installed, the scanner talking to the computer, and fresh scans being saved to the hard drive within 10 minutes of cutting the box open. We also had no problems with jamming when it came to the document feeder and output paper tray.

The Workforce has a somewhat arcane interface  but it becomes easy to use with a little practice.
The Workforce has a somewhat arcane interface, but it becomes easy to use with a little practice.

Value


With a list price of $350 and a retail price that is often below the $300 mark, the Epson WorkForce ES-400 offers a relatively low price for accessing the benefits of a high-end document scanner. However, if very accurate character recognition is one of your top concerns, the Canon ImageFormula DR-C225. Also, if you end up scanning lots of very long (50+ page) documents, it may be worth spending a bit more to get the speed of the Fujitsu iX500 ScanSnap.

Conclusion


The Epson WorkForce ES-400 is a good all-around document scanner that offers high end performance at a relatively low price. However, its 10-page document feeder may feel a bit limiting if you scan lots of very long documents.
Max Mutter and Steven Tata

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