A Brother Scanner 

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When a Brother product arrives for review, usually its main function is that of a printer whether of the monochrome or colour variety. However printers are not the only type of device that is associated with Brother. The company also manufactures scanners either as a standalone unit or combines with a printer to make a multifunction device. In the former category is the Brother ADS-2100e which has been developed for use in a medium sized office environment. This scanner requires a USB connection to the computer system.

brother ADS2100E
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Predominately black in colour, the ADS-2100e is a wedged-shape unit.  In its closed state it has dimensions of 299 x 220 x 179mm (W x D x H) and weighs 3.3kg.  Raising the top cover of the unit increases the scanner’s height measurement to 305mm and reveals the paper feeding mechanism and the basic control options available with the AD-2100e.  Along with lights indicating power and possible error status, the control area contains three oblong buttons to Stop, Scan to PC or Scan to USB options.

Located at the rear of the unit are the connection sockets for mains power and USB connectivity.  Leads for both these options are included in the package.  A second USB port is located on the right side of this scanner.  This USB port is meant to be used by a flash stick for receiving scanned data when this particular option is selected.

Prior to setting up this scanner, you need to install the supplied software found on the CD that forms part of the product.  Along with the Brother MFL-Pro Suite of utilities, this software features a number of third-party applications when need to be installed separately.  These third-party applications consists of the Nuance’s  PDF Converter Professional 8, NewSoft Presto! BizCard 6 and PaperPort.

As part of the set-up software installation, you will be advised when to make the necessary USB connection linking the scanner to its host computer.  The actual installation of the driver and connection of the scanner can be a little time consuming.  At the conclusion of the process, a system restart will be required before using the ADS-2100e scanner.

When scanning documents, either singly or in batches of up to 50 pages, the documents need to be positioned on the ADF (Automatic Document Feed) feature, with its own guide limiters, which is revealed when the unit’s cover is raised.  The presence of documents to be scanned will be recognised by a sensor resulting in the scanner being switched automatically from Sleep to Ready mode. 

In this mode the power light will be turned on and the buttons to Scan to PC and Scan to USB will be highlighted.  A flash stick will need to be inserted for the Scan to USB button to be available.  Scans saved to a flash stick can then be transported and viewed on other devices.  A pull-out table with extension flap at the front of the scanner ensures scanned documents are not scattered over the floor when ejected from the device.

By default the ADS-2100e comes with a range of settings which are fine for most eventualities.  However they might not suit everybody for certain specialised jobs.  In such instances you might want to change these settings.  Brother provides this ability with its ControlCenter4 utility.  Using this software you have the means of adjusting the settings used for different types of scanning jobs covering tasks that are identified as images, OCR, e-mail, file and print.  Among the features you can adjust are those of file type (PDF is the default), resolution up to 1200 x 1200 dpi, scan type, document size and the default 2-sided scanning from a single pass.  Other options available from the ControlCenter4 utility include making adjustments to the default settings specifically assigned to the Scan to PC and Scan to USB functions.

While the ADS-2100e can be used for scanning a single page document, it really comes into its own when faced with the task of scanning a document made up of multiple pages with either single or double-sided content.  In a test this device was able to scan ten double-sided pages and save the content in a PDF file on a computer in 30 seconds.  The same ten-page document was also scanned to a flash stick inserted into the USB port.  The scan process took 27 seconds but a further 8 seconds was required for the file saving to be completed.  In both cases the scan quality was of a high standard.

As well as more regular sized documents, ranging from A8 up to letter size, this scanner can handle business cards using a supplied plastic sheet carrier.  Appropriate software is provided for carrying out OCR, document management and business card database tasks.  Expect to pay in the region of £245.00 for this impressive sheet-feed scanner.

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