IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

A Tale of Two Scanners: Epson DS-320 and Visioneer RoadWarrior 4D

Compact desktop scanners have two unique business missions. By James E. Gaskin

DREAMS OF A PAPERLESS WORKPLACE have yet to become reality despite decades of innovation and discussion. Today’s collaboration tools now make electronic documents much more feasible, though AIIM (Association for Information and Image Management) says paper still fills about 15 percent of the space in most offices. Mobile scanners also help advance the move toward digitization. Aimed at those who work remotely with laptops and need a way to convert sheets of paper into electronic files, these devices offer respectable functionality in a tidy form factor.

One example is the Visioneer RoadWarrior 4D, which appeals to travelers who need a small, light scanner with excellent flexibility. In contrast, the Epson DS-320 is the smallest member of a family with a long history of success in the business arena. We had an opportunity to test the performance and functionality of each.

Visioneer RoadWarrior 4D

Weighing a little more than a pound, the Visioneer RoadWarrior 4D competes well with a handful of other portable scanners that can slide easily into a traveling kit. The box design appeals to consumer sales, driver and software installation is straightforward, and the user guide is nearly poster-sized.

Power comes through the USB connection. A DVD is part of the package, but the lack of optical drives in many of the latest laptops will require most users to download the necessary files from Visioneer’s website. In our tests, both methods worked just as easily using the scanner’s colorful and clear installation utility.

The RoadWarrior’s software bundle includes Visioneer’s own OneTouch and Acuity systems as well as Nuance’s PaperPort Professional 14 solution, which can manage imaging output for SMB, midmarket, and even some enterprise-size organizations.

OneTouch delivers what it promises. Users can configure the resident utility for various types of file output, such as PDF, BMP, TIFF, JPG, and ePDF. Other settings include scan type—color, black and white, single or duplex, multipage, or photographs—and destinations, including storage repositories, Microsoft Word, Notepad, Nuance software, business card database, fax, printer, and others. After configuring those settings, you feed a page into the RoadWarrior and just press the button. The system initiates the scan process and automatically sends the output to the selected program or desired location. 

Nuance PaperPort Professional 14 can manage scanned documents in dozens of ways. It routes files to Evernote, SharePoint Server, and other applications. The program can crop, edit, resize, and eliminate red eye from photos; convert documents into searchable PDFs; or prepare images for optical character recognition (OCR) using its Nuance OmniPage 18 application.

Scanning performance is rather pedestrian, requiring 10-plus seconds per page at 300 dpi. Higher-resolution images will take more time, but the output quality will make it well worth the wait. Not a single incorrect scan occurred during our RoadWarrior tests.

Epson DS-320

Larger and heavier than the Visioneer device, the Epson DS-320 sits at the smaller end of Epson’s extensive desktop scanner lineup. This unit includes an external power supply as well as a USB 3.0 port.        

The automatic document feeder support arms pivot upward to keep the paper in an upright position. The device’s 20-page capacity is at least 50 percent bigger than what you get with many larger scanners that hundreds of dollars up the price scale. In our test, scanning each normal-size page required approximately three seconds, fairly close to Epson’s promised 25 pages-per-minute target. The DS-320 scans pages just as reliably as the larger Epson desktop scanner models, and delivers high-quality output.

About the Author

James E. Gaskin's picture

JAMES E. GASKIN is a ChannelPro contributing editor and former reseller based in Dallas.

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