Workers on the go with no time to waste will like the WorkForce DS-360W: Epson claims it's the fastest portable scanner in its class, with a top scan speed of 25ppm. Impressively, that's not just for mono scans, but for full colour, at resolutions up to 300dpi. Duplex scanning is supported too, at standard paper thicknesses up to 128gsm, as well as business cards and postcards up to 230gsm. Flicking a small lever across at the front pulls the upper scan sensor back slightly, allowing you to feed in laminated or embossed plastic cards.
Although portable, this scanner is no lightweight, weighing in at 1.3kgs. It's well-connected, though, offering both micro-USB 3 and wireless connectivity, and you can use either the provided external power supply or the USB port to charge the internal Li-Ion battery. Unusually, it also manages to cram in an automatic document feeder (ADF) with flip-up paper supports. There's room for up to 25 pages of lightweight 64gsm paper or 20 pages of 80gsm paper.
A row of buttons and LEDs across the front panel show error status and let you turn the thing on and off, and start or abort scans. Down below you'll find battery charge and wireless status indicators, plus a button for activating a wireless connection. Finally, a control switch at the side is used to select a USB link, enable the scanner's wireless access point (with support for up to four devices) or connect to an existing AP via WPS.
We set up a USB connection on a Windows 10 desktop and had the scanner up and running inside 10 minutes. Epson's Scan 2 desktop software provides a TWAIN driver and a simple interface for making quick scans to local folders. For USB connections, the Windows Document Capture Pro software links up with the scanner's start button and provides automatic scans to a file, email, FTP server, network share or printer, plus cloud destinations including SharePoint, Google Drive and Evernote.
We had no problems connecting the scanner to our Netgear wireless AP using WPS. With a network connection we could also use the EpsonNet Config utility to remotely view and modify the scanner's settings. When we switched the scanner into AP mode, our iPad immediately spotted its SSID, and we were able to join it by simply entering the password printed on the scanner's base. Epson's free DocumentScan iOS app then provided us with options to directly scan and store documents on our iPad as PDFs or JPEGs.
The only disappointment in our testing was that the ADF proved to be very picky about paper quality. When we tried to scan our standard well-thumbed sheaf of 20 bank statements, every attempt jammed. Dropping the sheaf to ten pages proved only marginally more successful; we ended up using the automatic feeding mode in the Scan 2 app and manually inserting each page one at a time.
The good news is, the scanner is much more accommodating with pristine 80gsm paper. Here it did slightly better than the claimed speeds, achieving 26ppm for colour and grayscale scans at both 200dpi and 300dpi. Switching up to 600dpi slashed speeds to 5.4ppm, but it's unlikely this will ever be a problem: 300dpi scans provide more than enough detail for creating high-quality document archives.
We were also impressed by the OCR capabilities of both Scan 2 and Document Capture Pro, which correctly recognised every word on our statements, even at text sizes down to six points. Epson doesn't make any promises about battery life, but we were able to wirelessly scan in 300 pages before the battery LED started flashing.
Epson's DS-360W delivers a very high scan speed, and teams it up with a good software bundle. Support for USB and wireless connections makes it even more versatile - but the ADF's fussy paper handling stops us short of giving Epson a Recommended award.
This review originally appeared in PC Pro issue 272
600dpi A4 colour scanner
25ppm @ 200/300dpi colour/mono
500 pages per day
Epson Document Capture Pro, Epson Scan 2 and Newsoft Presto!BizCard software
TWAIN and WIA drivers
288 x 89 x 67mm (WDH)
1yr RTB warranty