Brother Compact Document Scanners (ADS-1000w and ADS-1500w) Review

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Brother has a reputation for solid hardware built for budget-conscious consumers. That was basically my conclusion when I reviewed the ImageCenter ADS-2000 desktop document scanner, and it turns out to be true for the portable ADS-1000w and ADS-1500w, too. These are good, basic scanners at an attractive price.

The only functional difference between the ADS-1000w and the ADS-1500w is that the 1500w comes with a color resistive touchscreen. That means you can do a lot more right from the scanner, although it wasn’t a huge advantage. Otherwise, the scanners are the same.

Note from Brother’s PR rep: “notable differences include the ability to scan to a variety of popular cloud storage sites over wireless network and faster scan speeds for the ADS-1500W.”

For reference, I reviewed both scanners on a desktop PC running Windows 7. It’s an older computer (Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz processor, 4 GB of memory), but everything worked just fine on it.

What I Like About the ADS-1000w and ADS-1500w

The ADS-1000w is just $190 on Amazon, while the ScanSnap S1300i is $246.33. That’s almost $60 less for nearly the same feature set. The ScanSnap is definitely the better scanner, but the ADS-1000w is also a good choice.

Portable scanners that only work if they are plugged into a laptop feel a bit old-school, these days. And while these Brother scanners do not have batteries for true mobility, both of them can scan to an Android or iOS device over wi-fi using the Brother iPrint&Scan app for Android and iOS. That wi-fi capability means you can skip plugging either scanner into your computer, as well.

At their size, the ADS-1000w and ADS-1500w also manage to pack in a 20-page document feeder, and they can scan both sides of the page at once. That’s a lot of options for such a small package.

Speaking of the package, both of these scanners look pretty good. And so do the scans. The feeder works great, and they will automatically detect and remove blank pages, as you would expect. Both scanners produced good-quality scans from the legal documents I ran through them.

And like their bigger brother, the ADS-1000w and ADS-1500w both let you scan straight to a USB drive, which is a pretty nice extra feature to have.

What I Didn’t Like About the ADS-1000w and ADS-1500w

The Brother scanners are decent machines, but I have some gripes. First, they come with a lot of crapware, like a business-card scanner and PaperPort 12 SE. And Brother tries to trick you into signing up for some web conferencing app. Hardware vendors usually get paid for bundling software, which is probably why Brother is able to charge $60 less than the ScanSnap.

Another note from Brother’s rep: “Brother does not receive rewards for bundling software.”

Speaking of software, that is where the Brother falls behind. First, the install process quit midway through on my first try. I tried again, and made it through the end, where I wound up with this annoying thing on my Windows desktop:

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But at least now the scanner worked.

Brother’s scanning utility — Control Center 4 — is barebones and works pretty well. Most importantly, there is a built-in profile for scanning to PDF straight to a folder. That’s exactly what I want.

Unfortunately, there is no way I could find to continue scanning pages after the document feeder is empty. That means you can either get 20-page PDF documents, tops, or try to add pages by hand as fast as possible. This is, mostly, a minor annoyance on a scanner that you are most likely to use for short documents on the go. But it makes it completely inadequate for desktop use.

Of course, if you don’t mind using PaperPort or you have a copy of Acrobat (or you have a Mac), you can stitch PDFs together to make a bigger document, but that is a lot of extra work for something that is usually built into the scanning utility.

Finally on the negative side, the color touchscreen on the ADS-1500w is nice to have, but for day-to-day scanning, it just means more taps to accomplish anything.

Who Should Buy the ADS-1000w and ADS-1500w

All in all, the Brother ADS-1000w is a solid portable scanner and a good buy if you need to be mobile without spending a lot of money. They won’t make it into our best scanner picks, but they probably won’t disappoint you, either. If you are a budget-conscious lawyer who need to scan on the go, get the ADS-1000w. I don’t think the color touchscreen on the ADS-1500w is worth the extra money or clicks.

Summary

The Brother ADS-1000w and ADS-1500w are good scanners with a few flaws, and they would be a smart buy for budget-minded mobile lawyers.

Rating: 3 (out of 5)

Brother ADS-1000w and ADS-1500w, reviewed by Sam Glover on .

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  • I just tested the ADS 1500W. I thought the scanner itself was fantastic (I loaded up the feeder with 30 pages and there were no issues) but the software was pretty bad and the touchscreen was painful to use.