Price (RRP): $$499
The Brother ADS-1700W is a portable, duplex (double-sided) sheetfed scanner that is rated for high volume up to 1000 scans a day.
Although portable is a misnomer – the Brother ADS-1700W duplex portable scanner is more of a very compact scanner without a battery at 300(W) x 103(D) x 83(H)mm x 1.4kg.
The key to this scanner’s portability is the use of dual CIS (Contact Imaging Sensor) that eliminates the need for bulky optic lenses, mirrors, RGB filters, separate light sources and CCD (Charged Coupled Device) or CMOS sensors.
CCD is the same technology used in high-end cameras. Coupled with the right lenses and light source it gives a superior image/scan including a wider colour gamut (colour space). It can also scan items placed on a platen including items of varying thickness.
CIS is perfect for a sheet-fed scanner where hundreds of LEDs and fibre optic lenses to transfer the original image information. CIS can give a higher optical resolution, no lens distortion and higher reliability at the expense of a wider colour gamut.
And before you say it is not for photos the hugely successful Epson FastFoto, FF-680W uses CIS and scored 4.7 in GadgetGuy’s comprehensive review here. CIS with good software is hard to beat for most sheetfed scanning needs – just keep the scanning windows and rollers clean.
Review: Brother ADS-1700W duplex scanner RRP $499
In the box
- The diminutive scanner – the ADF folds over as a cover
- 5V/3A power supply with round pin socket. Power can also come via the Micro-B cable, but scan speeds may be lower depending on the current supplied
- USB-A 3.0 to micro-B cable (as used in some external hard disks for faster data transfer up to 4.8Gbps)
- CD software, otherwise it is a 200MB driver/firmware plus close to 400MB of software inc Paper Port and Brother iPrint and Scan.
- Quick set up guide (online 208-page manual here)
It rated at 25 A4 pages per minute regardless of colour or mono source originals. So, we put 20 printed A4 sheets (maximum) in the auto document feeder (ADF) and hit the start button. The result was the equivalent of 28 sheets per minute at the default 300 DPI resolution – nice to see conservative figures quoted. Full duplex means the two CIS bars (one each side) scan both sides of the paper at once.
I am not a fan of 300 DPI scans resolution – it is fine for paperwork, and you can swap to 600 x 600 DPI native (or 1200 DPI interpolated). This reduces scan speeds by about 50% and increases file size up to 6MB
The ADSF handles from 51 to 215.9mm wide and up to 863mm long (banner). Acceptable paper weight is from 51.8 up to 200gsm.
Business/credit cards up to 86.5 x 54mm and 1.24mm thickness use a Plastic card setting and separate feed slot on the front panel. You can only scan one card at a time and as a precaution remove oily fingerprints from then cards with glasses lens cleaner.
Brother state that it is not a photo scanner. After our great experience with the Epson FastFoto we did try photos, and they were fine. Brother is concerned that the scanner could damage the surface of glossy photos as the feed and separation rollers are quite aggressive.
Then there are all the usual warnings about not scanning things with staples, paper clips and to fan the paper before scanning to reduce misfeeds etc.
We tested with 80, 135 and 200gsm paper and all fed successfully. Although we can make that comment about any new scanner. And, being portable, it has smaller rollers so do not push it too far with heavy stock.
The paper loaded in the ADF needs to be the same size (it can be different weights) and make sure the document feeder guides are correct – otherwise, it is too easy for a single centre pick-up roller to skew documents.
Unfortunately, Brother does not quote Mean Time Between Failure hours. When you start to get repeated misfeeds, it is time to replace the separation pad (rated for 10,000 sheets and costs about US$20) and pick up roller (rated for 100,000 sheets and US$25). Sorry, there is no Australian pricing yet.
Bus power mode
In keeping with portable, the unit can draw power from a PC over the USB-A/MicroB cable. We tried this (Wi-Fi, scan to USB and long/thick paper scans are disabled) and it worked well. Our tests include direct connection to a USB-A 3.0 port on a laptop and a variety of USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 powered docks.
The wall charger provides 5V/3A for that little extra horsepower.
Wi-Fi and USB – no Ethernet port
It has Wi-Fi N single band 2.4GHz. In theory, this is for two reasons. First, it increases the distance you can place it away from a router and second the scanned images buffer in 4GB of eMMC storage to avoid overload the Wi-Fi connection (files up to 6MB are possible).
But, in practice we found Wi-Fi ‘iffy’ to set up, and it could not maintain a connection over about 10 metres. Be careful – some routers enable a single SSID for 2.4 and 5GHz bands, and it can miss the 2.4GHz band.
We also found multi-page 600DPI scans taking around 60 seconds to transmit to storage presumably from lack of local buffering. This was not an issue over USB.
If you have trouble setting up Wi-Fi, call Brother’s helpline.
File types and locations
Documents can output into JPEG, PDF, PDF/A, Bitmap, PNG, Text, TIFF, and RTF. A 600DPI A4 scan can be up to 6MB.
This is more a feature about the Brother PC/macOS drivers than the scanner. When connected to a USB port (under Windows or Mac) it can access anywhere the PC can be that local, FTP, email, USB, Cloud or mapped network storage.
If you install Web services as well, you can scan to cloud. iPrint and Scan software enables scanning from Android and iOS devices.
There are comprehensive instructions for both Windows and macOS.
As a stand-alone device, the options are more limited to what you can set up on the LCD screen and save as a short-cut.
The Brother Windows twain driver is comprehensive. It supports Auto colour detection/adjustment; Auto De-skew; Auto Scan Size; Automatic Image Rotation(PC); Base Colour Removal; Blank Page Skip Adjustment; Colour Drop Out(PC); Scan Margin; Show through Removal and more.
The interface feels a bit dated, but the versions I used were from August to December this year.
It comes with Brother SE version of Nuance PaperPort for Windows (not macOS and free after registration) and PowerPDF (trial). PaperPort is the gold standard to scan, OCR, organise, search and share documents and photos quickly and easily from a PC or Mac.
We did not have to time test this but have used it in the past.
We did not test enterprise network management tools, but these include BrAdmin Light, BrAdmin Professional and Web-Based Management.
We tested 60dB during continuous scanning. That is fine for home and office use.
GadgetGuy’s take: Brother ADS-1700W is portable and fast.
25ppm (full duplex) is perfect for a home or small office, especially where space is at a premium. Remember that is a sheet-feed ADF scanner, so it lacks some flexibility that an ADF/platen scanner provides for scanning books etc.
While the price is $499 shop online and you may find it at up to 20% off (plus freight).
But, buy locally, as with any product under Australian Consumer Law, you can return it if it fails to meet the needs you state to a salesperson at the time of purchase, or it does not work as advertised.
If you read the copious reviews online at Amazon, you will find most are overwhelmingly positive. The negative reviews reflect a lack of understanding of paper management – sheet-fed scanners are only as reliable as the way you stack the ADF and require replacement of rollers if feeding becomes unreliable.