Epson WorkForce Pro GT-S50 Document Scanner Review

The Epson WorkForce Pro GT-S50 is a document scanner for plowing through piles of documents. It isn’t a personal document scanner like the ScanSnap S1500 or the NeatDesk that is meant to sit on your desk; it is a document scanner for the copy room, to be used by someone whose job is scanning, copying, and filing.

With that in mind, the Epson WorkForce Pro GT-S50 is a solid small-office document scanner — but not something you would want sitting on your own desk.

Price and features

Currently, the GT-S50 is a little under $340 on Amazon. That’s about $60 less than the ScanSnap S1500 (or $80 less, if you’re shopping for the Mac version). Of course, it doesn’t come with Acrobat X Standard, which is a big part of what makes the ScanSnap such a great deal. So you may save $60, but you miss out on a $270 software package.

On the other hand, the GT-S50 pulls pages through at 25 pages per minute, which is a bit faster than the ScanSnap S1500′s 20 pages per minute. And it is meant for scanning up to 1,200 pages a day, on average. It also holds more. The document feeder can accommodate 75 pages instead of the usual 50, which is what the ScanSnap S1500 and NeatDesk hoppers hold.

The maximum resolution is a 600 dpi, which is plenty for a document scanner. You won’t need more than half of that for most documents — the federal courts want black-and-white scans done at 300 dpi, at least in my jurisdiction.

Like most document scanners, the GT-S50 is able to scan both sides of the page at once, and it can scan in color or black and white. Bundled OCR software from ABBY will take care of all your text recognition needs.

TWAIN support means you can initiate scans from lots of different software, including Acrobat and most document management software packages. It’s an important feature in a workgroup document scanner, but not particularly essential to a personal scanner.

Hardware and design

Size-wise, the Epson is kind of a beast. It feels close to twice the size of a ScanSnap S1500. That’s no big deal if you use it as intended: in a central location, like a copy room. It looks pretty uncomfortable sitting on a desk, though.

There is a good reason for that size, however. As its name suggests the WorkForce Pro GT-S50 is a workgroup scanner, meant to handle scanning duties for a small office, not just one person. So that size is indicative (hopefully) of longer-lasting components, and it translates into a really solid-feeling unit.

There’s not much design to the GT-S50. It’s big, heavy, and designed to look like a business machine, not a desktop accessory. It’s not bad-looking, but if you care about how your document scanner looks in the copy room, you may want something else. The NeatDesk is pretty, if you’re going on looks. (Then again, if you care about how your document scanner looks in the copy room, you may not have enough to care about.)

Performance

This scanner feels fast. According to the spec sheet, it’s only 5 pages per minute faster then the ScanSnap S1500, but when scanning, it feels much faster. I think that’s because it takes a moment to start, but then just plows through whatever you’ve loaded into the feeder.

It also probably has something to do with the fact that the GT-S50, unlike a ScanSnap, doesn’t auto-detect two-sided pages or (see update, below) color. You have to set up profiles for each condition in the very basic scanning utility: one-sided black and white, one-sided color; two-sided black and white, two-sided color, etc. There are a couple of profile slots left over for things like scanning images to high-quality JPGs, but you have to know in advance what you are scanning. No dumping a huge pile of papers in the document feeder, hitting the only button, and counting on the scanner to work it out.

Update: Apparently the GT-S50 does have a blank page removal feature, which means you could just set it to duplex at all times, and then it would behave just like a ScanSnap when auto-detecting two-sided pages.

This is the main reason it wouldn’t work well as a personal scanner. Consider how it would work when scanning a pile of mail from your inbox. Chances are good some things (letter) are one-sided, and some (bills) are two-sided. Some have color, but most are black and white. You’ll be constantly changing settings, which introduces a significant element of human error. Since you are, presumably, a busy attorney with lots of other things on your mind, that could be a big problem.

On the other hand, this is how copiers have worked since forever. Putting the GT-S50 in a copy room where your staff can use it should work as well as anything else. I’d advise keeping documents in a bin near the scanner for 30 days or so, in case you later discover that someone scanned pages one-sided when they contained information on both sides.

Included software

Several different software products come bundled with the WorkForce GT-S50. The scanning utility lets you set up profiles that you can access from the buttons on the front of the scanner. Profiles can select simplex or duplex, black-and-white or color, OCR, quality, etc. This is pretty simple and easy to use, but it seemed to slow my computer down noticeably. I can’t be certain the Epson software was at fault, but when I removed it, things got quite a lot faster.

You also get a version of ABBY FineReader, which provides the optical character recognition (OCR) functionality. It works fine.

The GT-S50 also comes with Nuance PaperPort SE11, which, as far as I can tell, is at least three versions out of date. I didn’t even bother to install it.

Who should buy one?

If you are looking for an easy-to-use scanner to put on your desk, get the ScanSnap S1500. It’s a little bit slower and has a smaller document feeder, but it’s meant to be dead simple to use, and it’s ideal for a solo practitioner.

However, if your firm has someone who will be responsible for doing all the scanning and you have a fairly document-heavy practice, you might be better off with the Epson WorkForce Pro GT-S50. That’s because the hardware itself is built for heavier use, and its shortcomings — like the lack of auto-detection for duplexing and color — won’t be much of a factor if it is someone’s job to spot those issues.

Summary

PROD NAME
Reviewed by Sam Glover on .

Summary: The Epson WorkForce Pro GT-S50 is a solid workgroup document scanner. But it’s for the copy room, not a scanner you would want sitting on your desk.

The Epson WorkForce Pro GT-S50 is a document scanner for plowing through piles of documents. It isn’t a personal document scanner like the [ScanSnap S1500][ss] or the [NeatDesk][nd1] that is meant to sit on your desk; it is a document scanner for the copy room, to be used by someone whose job is scanning, copying, and filing.

Rating: 4 (out of 5)

  • William Chuang

    The Epson WorkForce Pro GT-S50 is a workgroup scanner so if you were to deploy it, you probably want to connect it to a cheap laptop in the copy room to make sure people can scan it onto the file server directly. It also has a LED light source compared to the CCFL of the ScanSnap so there is no warm up time.

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      Exactly right.

      On warm-up times, it’s true that the ScanSnap occasionally needs to warm up. Usually for the first scan of the day or after a long time of sitting. Other than that, I don’t really notice it. While the Epson doesn’t need to warm up, it does sit there for a minute before pulling the paper in. I assume it’s psyching itself up to mow through a stack of documents, or something. In other words, both scanners give a short pause before scanning, whether it’s warmup times or whatever the Epson is doing.

  • William Chuang

    Also, when I scan something, I usually do it from my computer so I configure the settings myself. So the Epson wouldn’t be a big problem for me. When there are huge files that need scanning, I get annoyed that the ScanSnap has such a small ADF. The Epson might be a better choice for people who have scan huge freaking files on a routine basis.

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      In that case, I think the main disadvantage is the lack of Acrobat. If you’ve already got it, that’s no big deal, but most lawyers (for whatever reason) don’t.

  • http://www.thesoulpractitioner.com Clark Stewart

    I use the next model below this one. It sits n my desk beside my all in one desktop. I love this scanner! It rarely complains about the workload. As to the part about having to switch between single and double-sided scanning, why not leave it on double? The software is smart enough to detect when a page is blank, and culls that from the finished PDF. It’s a good safeguard against missing data.

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      I didn’t notice a blank page removal feature on the software that came with my review unit. Are you sure?

      • Mark P

        Blank page removal is in the “Configuration” settings in the Epson Scan software

        • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

          Well, I totally missed that. I’ll update my post.

  • Nate

    I am looking for a scanner for bills & came across your helpful review.

    I was wondering if you used any software like Evernote to keep track / search through documents?

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      You can definitely use Evernote.

      • Nate

        Thanks

  • Kym Williams

    I am a professional Organizer & I scan lots of documents. I absolutely love this scanner. I recommend it to all my clients. I tried the Neat Desk at first but it seemed to be an oversized paper weight ( lots of problems & very slow). I use an iMac & iPad and they collaborate with this scanner very well. Thanks Epson for this great addition to my techie gadgets to make my environment a paperless one….

  • Mary Firpo

    I bought this scanner to tackle high volume scanning. The scanner itself is fine and the quality is amazing but the image processing time is super slow. For example, I would scan 10 pages and it would scan at a fairly good speed but then the program takes time to catch up, too much time. When I finish scanning a file, again it processes the file into the final file. My question is why does it take so long for the image processing?

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      I don’t know why it takes so long, but that sounds like what I experienced, as well.

      If you have OCR turned on, that will slow it down, but even when I turned it off, I felt like the scanning software churned longer than my ScanSnap took for the same tasks.

  • Nancy

    I am in the market for a scanner. Cost is no object. I’ve read through many reviews and found this very helpful. To conclude my search, I have narrowed my search to either the Fujitsu ScanSnap-1500 OR the Epson GT S50/or S80. I will be using this in a doctors office with about 5,000 records of ACTIVE patients. I say active because I want to be able to scan/append a patient’s record the day they come in and attach it to the already paperless file. I read about the TWAIN feature in the Epson and frankly, I’m worried that the ScanSnap will be difficult to append an existing pdf without the use of Acrobat . I want a way to manage patient files with a paper-based user experience. I have heard about Rack 2-File and Scantango but wish it was quick and easy for me and my staff. Any advice?

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      Adding PDFs is easy with the ScanSnap, but yeah, you’re going to want to do it via Acrobat. If you have another way you plan to do it, you might need TWAIN.

      The Epson is a fine scanner, and if you get it, I think you’ll be happy with it. I prefer the ScanSnap, but it sounds like you have a specific need that the ScanSnap may not fill.

  • William Chuang

    I have both the Fujitsu ScanSnap 1500 and the Epson GT-S80, and have used both extensively. I am sad to say that the ScanSnap is a children’s toy compared to the GT-S80. I have to scan volumes of paper that has been stapled, paper clipped, and folded to oblivion. The GT-S80 pounds right through them. It jams only when I leave a staple in the paper. The Scansnap is very convenient to use, but it’s too slow and jams way too often when you’re dealing with a lot of paper that is in bad shape.