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Brother ADS-2100e review

Simon Handby
20 Apr 2015
Front left, Brother ADS-2100e
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
282
inc VAT

Brother's updated ADS-2100e desktop document scanner remains something of an also-ran

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Specifications

Scanner type: A4 document scanner, Maximum optical scan resolution: 600x600dpi, Dimensions (HxWxD): 179x299x220mm, Weight: 3.3kg

This document scanner is aimed at small businesses who need to capture up to 1,500 pages per day. It's the size of a big toaster, with a sturdy lid that folds closed to keep dust out, and an equally robust output tray to keep scanned pages tidy. This model does without the touchscreen and Wi-Fi connectivity of the high-end ADS-2600We, but it's significantly cheaper. Both are based on the outgoing ADS-2100 and ADS-2600W models, with the chief improvements being compatibility with Kofax software, which isn't supplied, and improvements to Brother's own ControlCenter4, which is.

Choose software mode, Brother ADS-2100e

 

Brother's ControlCenter4 software works in two modes. Confusingly, each has a different interface

The ADS-2100e looks fairly basic, with lights to indicate power or problem conditions, and buttons to send scans directly to the host PC or cancel an ongoing job. One unusual feature, however, is the USB host slot hidden away on the right-hand panel: cueing up a document and pressing a dedicated button will scan it directly to a connected USB flash drive. It might seem gimmicky, but in an office it could be a useful way for everyone to use the scanner, without disturbing whoever's PC it's connected to. A latch releases the scanner's top panel, which pivots upwards to allow room to clear paper jams or clean the twin contact image sensors (CIS) - the presence of two allows double-sided (duplex) scanning in a single pass.

Effective document scanning demands good software, but Brother's suite isn't as strong as the competition. While it's reasonably easy to configure scan preferences and tweak destination formats such as an image, or a PDF file with searchable text, common cloud options such as Dropbox or Google Drive are missing in favour of Microsoft's SharePoint. Unlike Epson and Canon equivalents, there's no opportunity in ControlCenter4 to review a multi-page scan and manually delete or re-orientate rogue sheets before saving it.

Advanced mode, Brother ADS-2100e

In Advanced mode, it's easy to use or change scanning shortcuts


Set up USB scan, Brother ADS-2100e

 

There's a program to configure device settings, but this began to throw up error messages on our test PC

Fortunately, the scanner's automatic de-skew, re-orientation and blank-page features all worked well: it dealt with our 20-sheet torture test perfectly, which usually catches out even far more expensive departmental scanners. Unfortunately we weren't overly impressed with the resulting image quality: even with image compression reduced to a minimum, graphics in regular documents could appear granular, while there didn't seem enough dynamic range to capture subtle shade changes in photographs, which were very poor.


600dpi scan sample, Brother ADS-2100e

Photos were very poor. Here the scanner seemed overwhelmed by the range of shades in the sky

We've no complaints about this scanner's speed, reliability or price, but Brother's minor updates haven't closed the gap to superior competition such as Epson's WorkForce DS-510, or Canon's excellent ImageFormula DR-C130.

Hardware
Scanner typeA4 document scanner
Maximum optical scan resolution600x600dpi
Output bit depth24-bit
Platen sizeNA - max document size 215x355mm
Transparency adaptorNo
Automatic Document Feeder capacity50
DuplexYes
Standard interfacesUSB
Dimensions (HxWxD)179x299x220mm
Weight3.3kg
Operating system supportWindows XP or later, Mac OS X 10.6 or later

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