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Epson WorkForce ES-400 Review

A great option if you need a high end model but don't want to spend top dollar
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Price:   $350 List | $330 at Amazon
Pros:  High quality scans, easy operation, good text recognition
Cons:  Slower than other high end models
Manufacturer:   Epson
By Max Mutter and Steven Tata  ⋅  Oct 31, 2017
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75
OVERALL
SCORE


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

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 that 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 is not perfect in this realm.


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Pros High quality scans, easy operation, good text recognitionFast, high-quality scans, easy operation, touch screen interface80-page automatic document feeder, fast, high quality scansHigh quality scans, easy to use softwareInexpensive, high quality scans, great text recognition
Cons Slower than other high end modelsExpensive, Character recognition not perfectExpensive, text recognition not perfect, somewhat complicated installationRelatively slow, 10-page document feeder feels limitingSlow and laborious for multi-page documents
Bottom Line A great option if you need a high end model but don’t want to spend top dollarThe most full-featured, fastest, and highest quality model we've testedGreat for people that scan hundreds of pages a day, but you have to pay a lot for its speedA good deal for scanning lots of short documents, but isn’t great for long documentsAn incredibly inexpensive option that is perfect for those that only scan occasional shorter documents and receipts
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Rating Categories Epson WorkForce... Fujitsu ScanSnap... Fujitsu Fi-7160... Fujitsu ScanSnap... Scanner Pro App
Scanning Performance (35%)
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8
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Speed (30%)
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Software (20%)
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User Friendliness (15%)
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Specs Epson WorkForce... Fujitsu ScanSnap... Fujitsu Fi-7160... Fujitsu ScanSnap... Scanner Pro App
Paper Sizes Max: 8.5" x 240"
Min: 2" x 2"
Minimum 50.8 x 50.8 mm (2 x 2 in.) Maximum 216 x 360 mm (8.5 x 14.17 in.) 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 Any size
Weight (pounds) 8.1 7.5 9.26 3.1 N/A
Resolution (dpi) 600 x 600 600 x 600 600 x 600 600 x 600 N/A
Simplex/Duplex Duplex Duplex Duplex Duplex Simplex
Scanning Modes Color, Grayscale, Black and White Color, Grayscale, Black and White, Automatic Detection Color, Grayscale, Black and White, Automatic Detection Color, Grayscale, Black and White, Automatic Detection Color Document, Black and White, Color Photo, Grayscale Photo
Automatic Document Feeder 50-page 50-page 80-page 10-page No
PC Compatible Yes Yes Yes Yes N/A
Mac Compatible Yes Yes 3rd party drivers Yes N/A
Pages Per Minute 14 26 21 13 3

Our Analysis and Test Results

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. Read on to see how well this model performed in the individual tests used to calculate the overall score.

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.

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. 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. 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 supported on both PC and Mac operating systems.

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 main competitor, 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. 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. It isn't the fastest model around, but if you scan lots of long documents it offers the best convenience to price ratio that we've found.


Max Mutter and Steven Tata