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Style Name: ADS1500W|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Before anything else, I want to make a point about the scanner's web access. This scanner is being promoted as a kind of one-stop solution to uploading scans to various cloud services. This is true, but it may not be obvious that this is done through Brother's Web Connect service. More specifically, when you use this service, you agree to give Brother access to your cloud accounts. Here is the wording taken straight from Brother Web Connect when creating an upload path to Google Drive: is requesting permission to:
View and manage your spreadsheets in Google Drive
View and manage any of your documents and files in Google Drive

Sure, in this age of vast NSA data gathering, no one can expect much privacy on the Internet. And yes, this is probably the simplest way for a scanner to upload to the cloud without additional processing capability in the scanner. But almost by definition, the documents being scanned by this device will have valuable data, often financial data and account numbers, and there are some customers who are not going to want to give Brother unfettered access to their cloud drives (not to mention absolve them of any legal responsibility should something go wrong). If you're okay with that, great. I don't want to get into a religious war. There will be some people for whom this is a deal breaker and I just want to point out how this works.

That said, I like the device. The documentation and setup is rough around the edges. I'm connecting to a Mac and the various paths for accessing the setup pages are uneven. I ran two distinct iterations of setup, once with the USB and once over WiFi. The install software required Java in order to initiate the WiFi setup, but like many people I've dumped Java for security reasons and wasn't interested in having Brother load it on my computer. I ended up entering the WiFi SSID and password on the scanner's tiny LCD screen. That worked fine. Once connected to WiFi, you can access more of the scanner's setup pages via the Bonjour drop-down in Safari (obviously not helpful advice for Windows users; I'm sorry).

There are many options available for scanning and routing documents. Sending documents to a computer on your local network is not too difficult to configure (though I would not call the process easy; definitely not something my parents could do). Once you figure that out, you can create shortcuts for a small number of computers on your network. That is, you can load a document, choose John's computer, and the scan will appear in whatever folder you've designated on John's computer. So long as John's computer is on and he is logged in, you don't need to interact with the computer to carry out the task. With double sided scanning and a 20 document feeder, this can greatly decrease your scanning workload. There are more complex routing possibilities such as e-mailing and FTP, but these require a more intimate knowledge of your network (e.g. proxies) and the various addresses of machines that you are trying to route through or connect to. There is also a USB port so that you can dump scans to a memory stick.

I am impressed with the clarity of the scans and the device's ability to straighten and appropriately crop for different sizes of paper. Obviously this is not going to be your goto scanner for high quality photos (which you really don't want to run through an automatic feed anyway). For most other documents where you merely want to capture data, the scanner is doing a great job for me. For small receipts that might not feed properly through the rollers, Brother supplies a clear sleeve. There is also a special slot for feeding plastic cards (e.g. IDs or credit cards). These also scan very well, though you have to close the cover to use this slot, and I am not yet able to get the scanner to initiate a card scan from the scanner when connected by WiFi; I either have to have a USB connection or initiate the scan from the computer. I'll update if I get that worked out as it could be a network issue independent of the scanner.

There is a very handy mobile app for both Android and iOS (I only have the iOS version) which allows you to run a scan from your phone or tablet. You must initiate the scan from the mobile device (and your device must be on the same WiFi network). Once the scan is in hand, you can port it to e-mail, other apps, iCloud, etc. This worked flawlessly for me. I would like to see more scanning options/control on the app.

Some people are going to be dissatisfied with the scan speed. More precisely, basic scans are fast but transmit and processing times can be lengthy. For example, a double-sided, black and white, 8 1/2 x 11 sheet scanned at 150 dpi in true grey and packaged as a PDF takes about a second to scan but about 20 seconds before it appears on my computer with a 600 KB file. At 600 dpi scanning for 24 bit color, my sample duplex took about 45 seconds to scan and about another 20 seconds to show up on my computer as a jpeg. Obviously, this device is not for bulk operations (if you weren't clued in by the 20 sheet feed limitation).

The unit is very compact and feels well made. It consumes 1.4W in sleep, 4W in waiting mode, and 14W when scanning. The scanner comes with a USB cable, 2-part power cord and DC converter, receipt sleeve, installation CD, and startup guide. Full documentation is available from Brother's website. The included software (some of which must be downloaded) varies between PC and Mac. The BR-Receipts software (available through download) allows you to extract receipt data and export it (to Quicken, for example).

Update: Some owners are reporting that the unit loses its WiFi settings when it is turned off with the power button. My unit does not have this problem and always remembers its WiFi settings. What I am finding, however, is that the unit can be finicky about re-establishing the WiFi connection, especially if it has an obstructed broadcast path to the WiFi router. I can, for example, get the scanner hooked up in a good location, move it behind a brick wall where it will continue to have a WiFi signal, and then when I power-cycle, it won't connect to the router (though it can still "see" the router in the setup path). If I move it back to the first, less obstructed location, it acquires the router automatically. For what it is worth, my unit works properly in a location about 25 feet (going through wood/plaster, but no brick) from a b/g/n hidden router with WPA2.

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VINE VOICEon October 30, 2013
Style Name: ADS1500W|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
After years enjoying my Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner, I thought I would take a look at this Brother ADS1500W Color Desktop Scanner, which promises among other things a more compact design and the ability to scan your documents to the Cloud. Let's take a look at how well this Brother scanner lives up to its claims.

In the box, you get the scanner, power supply, USB cable, DVD, quick-start guide, and a receipt sleeve (a sleeve into which you can put receipts for scanning).

The unit seems to be of good build quality, and has a compact desktop footprint.

Note that the lid has a hole in it so you can get access to the touchscreen LCD panel. You need access to the LCD panel with the lid closed because the "plastic card reader" only works when the lid is closed.

Tethering the scanner to a computer via the included USB cable is not required because the scanner has wireless functionality.

By lifting the lid and raising the paper support arms (for the 20-sheet document feeder), the unit is able to scan documents.

You have options of scanning to an FTP address, to a network address, to a computer, to a USB memory stick, to an email address, and to "the cloud."

But before first use, you must configure the scanner, such as entering network information to get the scanner wirelessly onto your network and entering email server information (e.g., SMTP server address and authentication information) if you want the scanner to email scanned in documents to an email address.

While you can use the scanner's LCD panel for entering this information, the small LCD panel size makes this very tedious. Note that the installation DVD not only installs the driver for the scanner, but, at least on the Mac, installs the app called ControlCenter, which can be used to configure scanning settings, like resolutions, color or grayscale, destination folder for the scanned document, etc. The quick-start guide could have been clearer on what was going on with this setup, and it was only through debugging why my test document that I was trying to scan wasn't coming through that I found this ControlCenter app. Anyway, you can also use this app to remotely configure the scanner.

Note that when you configure your scanning settings, you have the option of enabling the scanner's "blank page removal" function. This can be handy if you have a mix of papers with blank pages, but keep in mind that this will reduce your scan rate.

One feature of the scanner I was initially interested in was the ability to scan documents to internet cloud accounts, such as Evernote, DropBox, and Google.

However, before you can send your documents to the cloud, you must individually give permission for Brother to have access to your accounts. While some people might be OK with this, some, for example, might not want to give a third party (like Brother) permission to "View and manage any of your documents and files in Google Drive".

Unfortunately I never could figure out how to scan a plastic card using the "plastic card" slot in the back of the scanner unless I initiated the scan from the computer--the device insisted on using a saved settings shortcut that I did not create and had no access to edit, and using it gave me an error.

Another glitch: after turning the unit off it forgot its network settings, so I had to enter in that information all over again.

So in general this is a reasonable compact scanner with wireless scanning functionality, but one that has an interface that's confusing and hard to use. There were also some glitches that left me scratching my head. But I enjoyed being able to scan in documents and email them to myself, or to scan them directly to my computer wirelessly.

In the video, I show the scanner unboxing and in action.

Happy scanning!
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Style Name: ADS1500W|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This small scanner from Brother is adequate for the task, scanning both sides of a document in a single pass relatively quickly. It's not as fast as other desktop scanning devices on the market, but it is faster than many inexpensive multifunction printer/scanner/faxes.

I like the fact that this scanner can operate as a complete standalone device without the need for a computer. Documents can be scanned to a USB flash drive, emailed via a direct connection to an SMTP server, transmitted via FTP, or through a number of popular cloud services like Dropbox or Google Drive.

I don't recommend the cloud services option as it will require giving Brother access to your cloud accounts. Unlike the other transmission options the scanner will send the documents through Brother's servers and then onto the cloud account. It's not that Brother isn't trustworthy, but there's always a risk should their servers ever be compromised. Setting up the cloud option essentially gives Brother and its servers full access to your accounts.

Scanning speed is adequate but not blazingly fast. Documents will scan close to the advertised speed unless you enable the 'page skip' function that detects blank pages on a two sided document. That slows things down considerably as the scanner's internal processor analyzes the image to see if the page has any content on it. I demonstrate that in the attached video.

It is compact, but quite heavy for its size, reducing its portability.

On balance this scanner is easily half the price of faster but considerably more expensive document scanning devices. I also like that it doesn't need a computer to operate and provides a number of scan destination options.
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VINE VOICEon November 17, 2013
Style Name: ADS1500W|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A standalone scanner, that you can use without a computer, like this has been needed for a long time. When I'm going through my mail, I do not always have the computer and I like to scan and shred at the same time. This is the first decent scanner that lets me do that. And that is the best quality of this Brother scanner.

You can do the initial setup and change settings from the color screen on the scanner but I found it a lot easier to change the settings on the web-based control panel which you can access after connecting the scanner wirelessly to your network. Just put in the ip address (e.g. on your browser and it will take you to the settings page.

Once setup, the scanned documents can be sent to various destinations: directly to a computer attached through USB cable, to a USB drive attached to the scanner, another computer on the network, a network drive (NAS), emailed directly from the scanner, or sent to various cloud-based services like SkyDrive, Dropbox, Evernote etc. if you do not mind giving Brother access to your cloud-based accounts. Fastest scanning is to the USB drive plugged into the scanner or to a computer attached via USB cable. The USB card has to be formatted as MSDOS-FAT, it does not accept NTFS or Mac OS journaled formatted USB drives.

Easiest & fastest way to use this scanner is to scan to the attached USB drive and then plug the drive into a computer USB port and rename the files and do whatever you want - upload to Google Drive, or transfer to network drive for longterm storage etc. Screen is well lit and easy to read. After downloading the appropriate apps, you can also scan from iOS and Android device.

The scanner comes with plastic sleeves for scanning your receipts and you can download a software BR-Receipts from Brother web site which will total all the expenses, although I did not try the software myself. Brother web site has all the manuals and software downloads.

1. The scanner is complicated to setup, user guide is 225 pages, and not well written because they explain each step for Windows & Mac both; not all Windows in one place and all Mac in one place.
2. No default scanning one touch button/setting on the scanner. For example if most of the scanning you do is black and white PDF documents at 200 dpi, then you cannot set that up as a default one touch button on the scanner but you can set up shortcuts on the scanner screen & computer.
3. Lot of steps involved in scanning; not like Fujitsu Scansnap where you press one button on the scanner and next thing you do is name the file.
4. I feel very uncomfortable giving Brother access to my cloud-based accounts because I like to scan crucial documents like bank statements and am afraid that malicious hacking of Brother can be a big risk. You can get around this for Evernote by emailing the document to your Evernote address.
5. I could not get card scanner to work. Card scanning works very well on Canon imageFORMULA P-215 Scan-tini Personal Document Scanner4
6. The scanner is relatively heavy compared to Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i Instant PDF Sheet-Fed Mobile Document Scanner and Canon imageFORMULA P-215 Scan-tini Personal Document Scanner, if portability is important then Canon is the lightest.
7. The scanning speed is slowed down considerably if you change the settings to automatically skip blank pages.
8. Cannot be charged from USB port like Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i Instant PDF Sheet-Fed Mobile Document Scanner or Canon imageFORMULA P-215 Scan-tini Personal Document Scanner, both of which I own and use on daily basis.
9. The software on the CD does not work with Mac OS 10.9 (Mavericks) but you can download from Brother web site.
10. Connection with network computer keeps breaking off. Lot of times you have to turn off the scanner and power it back on to re-establish network connection.

BOTTOM LINE: as of now, this is the only portable standalone scanner but with some flaws. Complicated to set up but once configured, works well by and large. If stand alone feature is not crucial to you, then I would go for Canon imageFORMULA P-215 Scan-tini Personal Document Scanner.
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on April 2, 2015
I wanted to love this scanner, but at best I like it. If I was buying again, I would probably get the same one but I wouldn't be as elated the second time.

Here's the thing: when you have this plugged into a windows computer through USB, it's a super scanner. Fast, accurate, can do a lot of stuff. Excellent results every time. But that's not why I bought it. There are scanners all over the place that can do that stuff. I wanted one that could connect to my wireless network and scan directly to a shared network drive, save to a USB stick, send to my email, and work with my linux computer. Very few scanners can do all of that and they are typically large and expensive. So in a sense this is a very special scanner: just what I was looking for.

Unfortunately, when you scan to a network drive, you can't do all the things you can do from the windows interface. For example, you can scan to color or black and white, but not greyscale. The black and white for this scanner doesn't look all that great, so I would really prefer greyscale. Only works with windows. But that's not how I use the scanner! There are lots of other stuff it can do when connected to your computer that it won't do in standalone mode. The speed when you use it with a windows computer is extreme. It can pound through paper. But when you use it in standalone mode, it's not nearly as fast. At least in standalone mode, if you move up to 600dpi you lose the following: auto-detect paper size, blank page removal, deskew. The scanner can do all sorts of good things, just not at the same time.

These things bothered me a lot when I first got it and was eating through the mountain of documents I had sitting around waiting to be scanned. Now that I only scan new things coming in it's no big deal. Still, it wouldn't have taken much for them to have given the standalone scanner the same functionality as the scanner when it's connected to the computer, minus OCR, I guess. This scanner is special because of its standalone capability and for no other reason.

Ok, so how about the typical complaints about this scanner? Well, there's only one roller and it's short and in the middle. If you load the paper crooked or it doesn't grab right, it can easily go in crooked. That's happened several times. Only with single sheets. If you do a stack, the papers on top hold the one being scanned down and it works fine.

The other complaint people have is that it pulls multiple pages in at a time and jams or skips a page. This has happened to me twice in many hundreds of pages, so I don't think it's much of a problem. Really, the key is to prep the paper the way the manual tells you to. Make sure the pages are not stuck together, then set them up so that the earlier pages stick out slightly more than the later pages. It's not hard and results in a good scan.

Last complaint is usability. You have to set up these shortcuts to do anything. You can't just walk up and press buttons to get the scan you want. That's pretty annoying. The purpose of shortcuts is to save time, not to allow functionality that can't be had otherwise. Well, anyway, you set them up and it works ok. But again, there are certain things you can't set in the shortcuts. For example, you can't set a shortcut to do a single-sided scan. Only double, with detection. If you want a single sided scan you have to use the shortcut and then go to options and change it. Every time. That's a pretty basic usability problem. I mean, you can get it done, but they haven't really set things up so it's easy.

This is no professional level scanner. It's a compact, light duty scanner. As such it doesn't pull paper as reliably as a professional office scanner. But no one expects it to. Personally I think the hardware is great for what it is, and the software is workable, even if not perfectly convenient.

I've actually complained a lot in this review. It's not because I don't like the scanner. It's a good scanner and gets everything I want done. It's just so close to perfect without being there. They could probably make this a fantastic scanner with a firmware update. The roller issue couldn't be fixed so easily, but as I said, it's not a big problem. If I wanted/needed a super-reliable and efficient scanner for high volume, I would have shelled out the money and space for one.

========== Edit a month later ===============

When this scanner is run in standalone mode, it's just too hobbled. When I first got it it would do scans at 600 dpi if you specified the paper size instead of using auto and if you did color. But I did a network refresh because it wasn't connected to the network and it deleted some settings. Now it won't scan at above 300 dpi regardless of other settings. I change change this here or in the web interface. 600dpi is always greyed out.

The hardware for this scanner is ok, but the software is just so heinous and it is purposely limited in really annoying ways. I regret purchasing it. Wish I had returned it right away. Already threw away the box but thinking of trying some kind of return anyway.

================== A few months later =======================

The most maddening thing about this scanner was that it would fail to transmit and save the file on my file server through windows sharing. Sometimes it would work, other times it would sit there for 15 mintutes and then say upload failed. I was about to toss it. Finally I decided to set up an FTP server on my fileserver. It's some extra hassle, but better than throwing this away. Since then it has always transmitted quickly and reliably. My advice is to skip the option to upload "to the network" meaning to a windows shared folder. Instead set up an FTP server somewhere and it will upload pretty fast and reliably. Now I just wish basic functionality like scanning to grayscale and automatic page detection worked in standalone mode.
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on October 23, 2015
Amazing scanner improved by a 4 cent 3/4" Binder Clip. Setup was relatively easy (but I am a gadget guy so I'm used to installing software/devices/etc). Out of the box the scans were HORRIBLE because NOTHING would scan even close to straight (yes, I used the tiny paper guides but they are simply too short). Rather than return the item and look for another product, I came up with an incredibly simple/inexpensive fix for my problem - place a 3/4" Binder Clip on the top/left edge of the flip up paper holder (in the exact right place). The clip acts like a second guide (desperately needed) to help ensure the papers feed straight while being pulled into the scanner. You can try to fit a smaller clip on the right side, but their isn't much room for it and to be honest, it doesn't really need it. I have scanned several hundred pages and 99.9% are super straight with just the one clip. Leaving the clip on all the time will allow to you collapse the extender arms almost all the way and you can flip the paper tray closed almost all the way too - not perfect but close enough to keep the footprint small when not in use. Other than this one small thing, the scanner is awesome and super fast (even double-sided - which is why I got this model). Too bad Brother didn't spend a little more time designing & testing their product before releasing it - maybe they can ship new scanners with a Binder Clip (upgrade kit)? lol
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VINE VOICEon October 24, 2013
Style Name: ADS1500W|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Boy I had no idea how easy scanning could be. I always just had a flatbed scanner with limited software capabilities that sent me screaming in frustration when I had to do multiple pages. Sure it was great for pictures or one page but now that I work from home I REALLY needed something to handle documents. I am so happy I got this scanner.

First, it was super easy to install. I was scanning multiple pages right away and they were stored in one document (something I couldn't do with my old flatbed because each page was a separate document). It can do both sides and is super quick. The image quality was awesome. It also has a business card slot on the back in case you need to scan those.

As a bonus it even comes with an offer for free receipt scanning software where you can compile and track expenses, which I downloaded with no problem. It will add them up for you as you input the data from the receipt. It came with a special clear receipt feeder to place the receipts in so that they don't go willy-nilly and jam up the scanner. Pretty cool and it worked great.

What I was really amazed by was its small foot print. It is only 3.25" tall, 4" deep, and 11.25" wide. The portion that the document leans against as it is being scanned, folds down like a lid over the scanner when not in use. The device also has an easy to use touch screen that I found to be very responsive. This scanner can wirelessly connect if your computer has that capability. The power cord is long enough reach from my outlet, and up onto the pull-out shelf the scanner sits on.

Overall, I can't think of a single negative thing to say about this scanner. It works great, is speedy, comes with great software, and is super easy to use. It is everything I needed.
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on January 25, 2015
This is the worst device I have bought in a long time. People will tell you how it is small, compact, fits on your desks. It evens scans at a decent speed. Now the negatives: I have been trying to go paperless for weeks. The scanner constantly mis-feeds in a variety of different ways: 1) The papers won't feed straight, and they hang up and get stuck, so you have to open the front, remove, and start over. 2) The papers double, triple, and sometimes quadruple feed; The papers hang up on the roller and jam inside the scanner. I thought some of this was due to older paper or paper that had been crumpled slightly, but it can't even feed regular perfect paper properly. The scanner does work okay for one sheet at a time; however, if you intend on scanning receipts, make sure you stick them in the provided feeder or they will get eaten as well. Final outcome: for me, I just spent the cost of this scanner plus its replacement cost for the replacement.
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on December 3, 2014
Hardware - 4 Stars
Software - 3 Stars
Useability - 2 Stars

First I need to say I had to return mine for jamming reasons, but I had it long enough to develop an overall impression.

In theory, it has everything one would want. The only problem is getting access to the features.

So, you have a stack of 100 docs you need to scan in. You create a "Shortcut" to scan to a folder on your computer (or online, or to usb, etc... It doesn't matter).

So at that point you can just put in the doc, hit the shortcut, let it scan, then repeat, right?

Um, no. That's the way it SHOULD work, but it doesn't.

It takes 3-5 actions on the screen to scan a single document. You can't just load, hit button. Load, hit button. Load, hit button. Nope. It's load, press press press press press. Load, press press press press press. It's a real PITA.

Worse yet, once a doc is scanned it does not leave you at the final screen where you press to scan. You have to start over for every document!

I probably would not have kept it even if it didn't jam.

I really expected more from Brother.

UPDATE: Now that the price has been hiked up (by a LOT), it looses another star.
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VINE VOICEon November 20, 2013
Style Name: ADS1500W|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
When I say small business, I mean me. After battling document management - particularly receipts - for too long, I have been tempted by the mass marketing efforts of NeatDesk to buy their flagship product: NeatDesk Desktop Scanner and Digital Filing System - PC. However, I have put off the purchase due to a price point that I have had a hard time justifying. The Brother ADS-1500W occupies the price gap for folks in a similar mental struggle.

My primary objective being the efficient and effective management of receipts, I was also concerned about how the scanner would interact with my accounting software, QuickBooks. Like a charm, is this scanner's response to my concern! There was a slight learning curve involved in the full functionality, but BR-Receipts will export directly to one's accounting software and create searchable reports. Pretty neat! I have not personally tried it, but the BR-Receipts software is also compatible with Quicken.

Other reviewers have mentioned it, but I thought I should reiterate; BR-Receipts does provide the ability to store locally and in the cloud. The cloud in this instance is Brother's. To utilize the Brother cloud is to give Brother permission to access any documents stored therein and, essentially, release Brother of any damages that might occur with regard to one's use of the service. Yikes!

Aside from organizing my bulging folder of receipts, the Brother ADS-1500W is an all-around handy scanner. I can see where it might be a little underpowered for heavy use, with only 18 pages per minute at 300 dpi; but for a small office with occasional use, I think it fits right into the sweet spot of functionality and affordability.
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