Sunday, 13 September 2020

Breaking News: there be a portable scanner here!!!!!!

No, it's true, in this very house, delivered yesterday and tested out last night, is a Brother DS-940DW wireless portable scanner!!!

And as proof, here's a picture of the actual unit in question, on my bureau:

It's a very nice little unit, it does the job really well and whilst there are certain limitations and a couple of compromises I've had to accept, I am very happy with it.

So, let's just quickly do the negatives, there aren't many and they don't really make much of a difference in the long term.

The wireless aspect is just impossible when using a PC, I'm not without capability when it comes to computers and networking, but this I simply could not get up and running. I fear Brother may be shooting themselves in the foot if they don't sort this out as the DS-940DW, as I've already indicated, is a really good portable scanner. A different matter using wireless with my smartphone though where it does work - more in a bit.

The image quality of scanned photos is poor, I have to be honest. However, I have other options on that front so it really isn't that much of an issue, but it is something to be aware of if you are someone looking to archive old photographs.

And that's it on the negativity!!! Told you there weren't many.

So, let's get positive.

It's really easy to set up - plug in the USB 3.0 cable and install some software then you're good to go. You can scan from the computer or you scan from the unit itself using one of the buttons on the panel. The software that comes with it is fine and does the job, it's possibly a little too simplistic for my use, but I have other software that recognised the DS-940DW with absolutely no issues and I was able to scan directly into that software.

It's quick, it's quiet, document quality in both colour and black and white is excellent. It's small footprint makes it usable on just about any surface and it has a small pop-up tray thing that creates a "U" path for the document if you don't have a lot of space behind the unit - if you look at my photograph above, you'll see I have the feeder open so that when the document passes through the scanner, it feeds back over the top of the unit. It's very lightweight, considering that it has a rechargeable battery inside it. And that's really useful if you don't have a computer to hand because you can either scan direct to a microSD card or wirelessly. As I said earlier, the wireless element is more miss than hit with a PC, but using my Android smartphone, I had no problems setting up and scanning documents, with them being sent directly to whatever cloud service you might use, in my case OneDrive and Evernote, both of which worked with no problem at all.

Did I mention 2-sided scanning? No? It scans both sides of your document if required and that function for genealogy is a huge plus and incredibly easy to do. I love the simplicity of the DS-940DW, it doesn't require any real effort (unless you want wireless, then it's a bastard of thing) and for the price, it does an awful lot for the money.

I mentioned that the accompanying software was not quite what I needed, again, not a problem as we all have individual needs and as I use .pdf creation software, it made good sense for me to connect the DS-940DW with that. As I intend to use as little paper as possible, I am using .pdf documents a lot now and I will also be creating my own .pdf forms, so I use PDF Architect 7 from pdfforge which I can scan directly into, even setting up the scanner from within the program. I had no problems at all in marrying the hardware and the software together, within minutes, I was scanning into PDF Architect 7 and creating multi-page .pdf documents, complete with editable text and edited scans (rotation and cropping in the main).

With the 2-sided scanning, various document options and portability, as well as the ease of integration with third party software, the DS-940DW is setting itself up nicely to be a more-than-capable substitute for the Canon unit I originally wanted to get.

I'm happy.

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