Brother ADS-2700W Wireless High-Speed Desktop Document Scanner

Brother ADS-2700W Wireless High-Speed Desktop Document Scanner

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A smaller, lower-capacity, and less-expensive sibling to the Editors’ Choice Brother ImageFormula ADS-3600W, the Brother ADS-2700W Wireless High-Speed Desktop Document Scanner ($399.99) is a low- to-mid-volume document scanner designed for micro and small offices and workgroups. Comparable in price and speed to the Epson WorkForce ES-500W, which, like the Brother models mentioned here, is networkable, the ADS-2700W is fast and highly accurate for the price. In addition, it comes with an easy-to-use color touch screen and the ability to scan to USB thumb drives, thereby making it an exceptional value, as well as our latest top pick for entry-level networkable document scanners.

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Small Yet Powerful

Measuring 7.0 by 11.5 by 5.7 inches (HWD) with its trays closed, and weighing 5.8 pounds, the Brother ADS-2700W is slightly smaller and lighter than its most direct competitor, the Epson ES-500W, as well as the similarly priced Canon imageFormula DR-C225, which comes in a wireless networkable iteration for an additional $150. The higher-capacity and costlier (about twice the price) aforementioned Brother ADS-3600W, on the other hand, is significantly larger and weighs almost twice as much as its smaller ADS-2700W sibling. When in service, these models’ (and most others’) input and output trays extend significantly, making them each about twice their original height and three times longer, but still small enough to sit comfortably on all but the smallest desktops.

While we’re starting to see more networkable document scanners these days, compared with their non-networkable counterparts, there still aren’t many available yet, especially at this price. Networking, of course, allows not only easier access for office or workgroup team members, but it also provides a wider range of workflow scenarios, such as scanning to different PCs on the network, or operating the scanner remotely. The Brother ADS-2700W (as well as its higher-end ADS-3600W sibling) supports both Wi-Fi and Ethernet networking, as well as USB and Wi-Fi Direct, a peer-to-peer connection between your mobile device and the scanner without an intermediary network. The Epson ES-500W, on the other hand, does not support Ethernet.

Brother ADS-2700W Wireless High-speed Desktop Document Scanner Front

The ADS-2700W has a 50-sheet single-pass duplexing (two-sided) automatic document feeder (ADF) and it comes with a daily duty cycle rating of 3,000 pages. The ADF size is the same as the Epson ES-500W and the Brother ADS-3600W, but their duty cycle ratings are 1,000 and 3,000 more pages per day, respectively. Several closely priced but non-networkable scanners, such as the Editors’ Choice Xerox DocuMate 6440, for example, have as big as 80-sheet ADFs and high (6,000 sheets, in this case) duty cycles.

Perhaps one of the more useful (and unusual, at this price point) features is its 2.8-inch color touch screen, which provides extensive control over your scan jobs directly from the scanner itself. (The ADS-3600W has a 3.7-inch touch screen, but, as mentioned, it costs a lot more than the ADS-2700W.) Not only can you set up and control your workflows from the scanner’s control panel, you can also configure and save profiles (Brother calls them “shortcuts”) such as Save to USB, Send to Email, Save to a Network Drive, and so on. In other words, it’s not necessary to create and manage your workflow profiles from a PC; you can do so from the device itself.

In addition to the touch screen, the ADS-2700W’s control panel consists of Home, Back, Scan to USB, Scan (scan to first shortcut, for one-touch scanning), Cancel, and Power.

Mostly Easy Setup

The Brother ADS-2700W is small and light enough that getting it out of the box is simple. Unlike most desktop document scanners, where you fold the lid upward and it becomes your ADF, with the ADS-2700W the ADF comes detached and you connect it to the body of the scanner during setup. Other than that, there’s no assembly. My review unit didn’t come with a disc in the box (like Epson, Brother has recently stopped including discs with its desktop scanners), but a simple search consisting of the product name and the search term “driver,” got me to the software download page in two clicks. The only thing is that when I unzipped the download file, it extracted into an install-disc-like file structure and didn’t start up automatically.

Brother ADS-2700W Wireless High-speed Desktop Document Scanner Control Panel

I had to go in to the file structure and start the installation program, which is fine, though it left me wondering how many would-be users would know how to start the installation manually. Otherwise, the process was short and effortless. In addition to the drivers, the software bundle includes Nuance PaperPort 14SE, a pared down version of the popular PaperPort document management program; there’s a similar program for Macs called PageManager, and NewSoft Presto! BizCard OCR, a business card scanning and management application. In addition to document management, PaperPort (and PageManager) comes with a scanner frontend and a PDF viewer, creation, and editing utility—everything you need to get the most from the scanner.

Missing, compared with the other Brother scanners I’ve looked at, is Brother’s ControlCenter, a full-featured scanning utility and rudimentary document-management program. However, nearly all the functions available in ControlCenter are accessible through the touch-screen control panel, where I set up the profiles to perform my test workflow scenarios, such as scan one-sided to image PDF, two-sided to image PDF, two-sided to searchable PDF, and so on.

Let ‘er Rip

Typically (aside from the Xerox DocuMate 6440), under-$500 document scanners aren’t screamers, but the ADS-2700W’s performance on our tests was impressive. Brother rates it at 35 simplex (one-sided) pages per minute (ppm) and 70 duplex (two-sided) images per minute (ipm, where each scan, or page side, is an image). (I tested over USB 2.0, setting up and initiating my scans on the ADS-2700W’s control panel. Scans were in turn handed off and processed via PaperPort on our standard Intel Core i5 testbed PC running Windows 10 Professional.)

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Without the lag time (the time between when the last page hits the output tray and the software subsequently saves the scanned pages to a usable format), while scanning our 25-page text document, the ADS-2700W churned at 44.8ppm and 73.2ipm, well past its ratings. PaperPort converted and saved our scans to image PDF at the rate of 33.7ppm and 69ipm—still quite close to Brother’s ratings. The Epson ES-500W performed roughly the same at 35.3ppm and 68.8ipm, and Brother’s higher-end sibling, the ADS-3600W (rated at 50ppm and 100ipm) soared at 46.2ppm and 96.8ipm. Canon’s DR-C225 (and the Wi-Fi-enabled DR-C225W) came in about 9ppm and 20ipm behind the ADS-2700W, and Xerox’s 6440 churned at about 6ppm and 11ipm faster.

Brother ADS-2700W Wireless High-speed Desktop Document Scanner Extended

When scanning and saving to the more versatile searchable PDF format, this Brother test unit processed our two-sided 25-sheet (50 pages) text document in 50 seconds, 6 seconds slower than the Epson ES-500W, 13 seconds faster than the Xerox 6440, 22 seconds faster than the Canon DR-C225W, and the ADS-2700W came close to tying its (two times) more-costly ADS-3600W sibling.

When Accuracy Counts

A scanner’s speed is important, but its optical character recognition (OCR) accuracy can be critical, especially if accuracy is low enough that you spend too much of your time correcting errors. OCR, of course, denotes the process of converting scanned text to searchable/editable text. Not only is the Brother ADS-2700W accurate for a low-volume document scanner, it’s one of the most accurate desktop scanners we’ve tested, including the much more expensive networkable models, such as the four-to-five times costlier Canon ImageFormula ScanFront 400.

The ADS-2700W scanned and converted our Arial test font page without errors down to 5 points, which is quite good—though unreadable without magnification for many people—and it converted our Times New Roman test page errorless down to 4 points, which we haven’t seen at all for at least the past year or so. By comparison, the Canon ScanFront managed only 6 points for Arial and 8 points for Times New Roman. A closer competitor, the Epson ES-500W, managed only 8 points for both fonts, and even the ADS-2700W’s more powerful sibling, the ADS-3600W, was accurate without errors down to only 6 points Arial and 8 points Times New Roman.

I also scanned a couple stacks of business cards into the BizCard software, and while the ADS-2700W seemed a little more accurate than other machines at this task, as with the other scanners I’ve tested, the deciding factor was primarily the design of the individual cards themselves. Cards with color backgrounds, gradients, and other features in and around the important text fields, such as name, address, phone number, and such, typically played havoc with the recognition process.

Brother ADS-2700W Wireless High-speed Desktop Document Scanner At Work

Applying BizCard’s various background and other noise filters helped to varying degrees, but sometimes simply typing in the data from the most ornate cards is the fastest method. In this, the information era, those companies and individuals that want their business cards to be the most effective might keep in mind that having their cards digitized and remembered is preferable to simply getting them noticed with a flash-over-substance design.

One Highly Effective Little Scanner

Frankly, given its proclivity for accuracy, its multi-facet connectivity and networking features, a highly useful touch-screen control panel with the ability to create and save profiles from the scanner itself, the Brother ADS-2700W Wireless High-Speed Desktop Document Scanner is one impressive little low-to-mid-volume document scanner. It’s as if Brother took everything I liked about the higher-end top pick ADS-3600W and scaled it down to a highly efficient and easy-to-use lower-cost, moderate-use networkable solution. Aside for, perhaps, a larger touch screen (this one’s a bit cramped for finger navigation), there’s very little to dislike about it, making the ADS-2700W our latest first choice for a low-to-moderate use networkable document scanner for micro and small offices and workgroups.

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