Epson Workforce GT-S50, A Viable Alternative to the ScanSnap


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OK, there, I said it. I no longer use a ScanSnap. I’ve used an Epson Workforce GT-S50 for over a year now, and it is a very good desktop scanner. Whew, it felt good to get that off my chest. This must be what its like to admit you are a Cubs fan. Empowering.

I’m proud of the fact that I am a paperless warrior. And a backbone of the paperless revolution is the ScanSnap iX500. Sam just reviewed its new wireless feature here. It is a great machine. I had the first model ScanSnap available for the Mac and used it for 6 or 7 years. It was a work horse. The only reason I replaced it was that, finally, after tens of thousands of pages, even replacing the rollers and pickups wouldn’t cure a propensity to pull two pages. When that happened a year or so ago, I went looking for a replacement. And I was about to buy the latest ScanSnap, I really was. But, you see … I’m frugal. Not cheap, but frugal. And I realized that a big reason why the ScanSnaps are such a good value is they come bundled with Adobe Acrobat. If you are buying a scanner and don’t have a copy of Adobe Acrobat, you should absolutely buy a ScanSnap. A copy of the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Pro will run you set you back almost $390. The ScanSnap iX500 runs about $420. Darn good value. But the Epson Workforce GT-S50 runs about $330. And I already had Acrobat, so … I gritted my teeth and gave the Epson a try.

And I like it. I really did. Its a solid machine. In the year plus I’ve been using it, I’ve had absolutely no complaints. It scans flawlessly. I can count the number of times I’ve jammed it on one hand, and most of those were due to staples I didn’t see. I’ve never found a skipped page.

The software interface looks a bit clunky. Well, actually, it looks like many Windows programs–it doesn’t have the clean look I’ve come to expect when using Apple products. But it is very versatile. It allows you to save multiple settings that you can completely customize: where the file is saved, resolution, color or black and white, double or single-sided, file name and on and on. The advantage is that this speeds up the every day scanning chores. At any given time I have 10 or 12 files that are taking the majority of my time. Naturally, that means I’m scanning more on those matters. With a saved setting named for that matter, I simply scan directly into the relevant file and I know where to find it. I can come back later and give it a specific name. I use it to create custom settings for common home and office scanning chores, like financial and medical information. Its a darn handy feature.

The bottom line is, if you don’t own a copy of Acrobat, then buy the ScanSnap, without question. But if you do, then consider the Epson Workforce GT-S50. Its a workhorse.


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  • FYI, I did my own review of the GT-S50 a while back, and I guess it serves as a kind of counterpoint to Todd’s. The comments there are also pretty helpful.

    • Paul Spitz

      Does Acrobat Pro give you that much more valuable functionality than Standard?

  • Alexander Memmen

    Todd, admitting you’re a cubs fan is much, much more depressing than you might think. Sigh.

  • Paul Spitz

    Does the version of acrobat that comes with the scansnap work with Mac computers?

    • Not anymore. Macs do pretty well with the built-in Preview app for basic PDF editing.

      • uzo akpele

        What about if I had Parallels on my Mac. Would my Mac be able to use to pick up Adobe from the Windows side?

        • I suppose so. I’m not sure why you would do that instead of just buying a copy of Acrobat for Mac, though.

  • Todd Hendrickson

    Please let me explain. I am NOT a Cubs fan. As a Cardinals fan I try my best to empathize with my friends in Chicago. Being able to admit you are a Cubs fan proves you are a steadfast and diehard fan.

  • Greg

    Epson’s recently announced WorkForce DS-510 Document Scanner looks like another interesting option. As far as the spec sheet goes it would appear to be taking the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 head on.

    We have previously been wary of purchasing more ScanSnaps because they don’t offer network scanning for multiple users. The recent wifi upgrade is helpful, but the device is still tied to one Mac.

    The lower list price (USD 399) and an optional network scanning module; this will probably be expensive, make it worth a try if it can live up to the spec sheet.

  • GTeye2014

    Lol.. clean look when using apple programs.. fan boys are funny.