Top positive review
158 people found this helpful
Scans are good; setup can be confusing; access to the web is through Brother
on October 19, 2013
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:
moi.bwc.brother.com 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.