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.)
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.
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.
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)