I just got an upgrade — a major one. After years of lusting over the Fujitsu SnapScan line, and scoping out their S1300i model for it’s happy middle ground between price, features and good reviews, I finally decided that I’d jump on the early adoption bandwagon and bought a Brother’s ADS-2000 Duplex Document Scanner. I won’t lie, I’m in love.
It was a while ago, at least three to four years, that I first heard about the SnapScan line, and the whole effectiveness of duplex document scanners. There was an interview with author William Gibson over on BoingBoing in which he discussed his paperless process and how much the SnapScan has enabled him to go paperless. Since that time I’ve honed my Evernote workflow and strived to become paperless, but there was one bottleneck, my old Canon Pixma MFP. I rarely used it as a printer (I have a Brother laser printer for every day use), and the only reason it was even still around was because of the flatbed scanner.
But it was slow, and painful. I had to scan page by page and continually be mashing buttons to get it to start the next page. It wasn’t fun, and stuff that needed to be scanned got piled up or thrown away — not very effective. Then came along this beauty:
The Brother ADS-2000 changes everything. Beyond being a compact, sleek device it boasts 50 page auto document feed and duplex 24ppm, I was able to convert over 150 pages of recipes to TIFF images in under ten minutes. I don’t even want to begin to think about the time that would have taken on the flatbed (probably 60-90 minutes, nothing I’d EVER consider doing). The scanner has four predefined modes that can be activated via the installed software (the fourth being tied to the PC button located on the physical machine): Scan Image, OCR, Email and File. I’ve really only played around with Image and File, so we will focus on those two, however, I will say that the customization of these four modes is really what is making the scanner worth every penny.
To start, Image and File come predefined to scan individual JPGs and complete PDF documents, respectively. The file’s auto PDF option was revolutionary for me. While the PIXMA did do PDF creation, you had manually tell it that is what you wanted, and then manually make sure you always selected “continue scanning” when you wanted to add more pages. With the Brother, it all happens for you. You stick up to 50 pages in, push the button, and you get a PDF file with at least that many pages (twice if you are scanning front and back, or somewhere in between if you are skipping blank pages).
If you prefer individual images, you can hop over to your computer and push the scan image button, and right out of the box the scanner will create an image of each page for you. Neither of these settings tickle your fancy? Don’t fret! The bundled software allows you to tweak the settings to suit your needs.
Let’s look at my settings for my bulk recipe scan. I wanted compact images that I could easily bring up on my tablet through Evernote. This way I could be in the kitchen and not have to hulk out the good ole’ binder of recipes. To start, I kept the Image’s predefined JPG setting but turned off Duplex scanning. I didn’t need it to waste time or energy scanning both sides when all my recipes were single pages, front only. Under Advanced Settings, I disabled the multifeed setting. This allowed the scanner to ignore issues with my recipes from magazines that were already glued to a piece of paper (before I found this setting, the scanner would halt whenever it got to one of these pages as it was convinced it had just fed two sheets of paper through at once. Through all 150 pages, it only ACTUALLY sent through two at once, and that was because the paper had gotten sticky from kitchen use).
BAM! Click OK and these settings are now the standard for scanning an image. What if I wanted PDFs instead of JPG? No need to go to the file button (even though it would basically do the same thing), I can just select PDF from the drop down. Simple but awesome.
While I never used a SnapScan, I would venture a guess that the Brother ADS-2000 will give it a run for its money. It is sleek, fast, and a bit cheaper than the full size SnapScans. I would prefer the ability to have access to more than one predefined scan mode directly from the device, once I get my workflow more solidified, I will probably have one setting that works for most instances, and just rely on “Image” scanning to do customized scanning modes. I give it 5 stars and a pint of beer. Good job Brother.