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Epson WorkForce DS-970 review: A scanner quickly

Stepping up as Epson’s fastest ever A4 desktop scanner, the unassuming DS-970 delivers a remarkable 85ppm scan speed. Duplex capabilities double this to 170ppm while its 9,000-page daily duty cycle and generous 100-sheet ADF mean it’s ready for some serious scanning action.

It can handle paper weights from 27gsm to 413gsm so embossed cards won’t be a problem and its long paper mode can scan documents over 6 metres in length in a single pass. Its capabilities can be extended further as the DS-970 supports Epson’s flatbed scanner conversion kit, allowing it to handle documents that can’t be put through the ADF.

A key feature missing is integral network support as the DS-970 only offers a USB 3 port, although if you forego the flatbed kit, you can connect Epson’s optional network interface unit. That said, we found the scanner easy to deploy on a Windows 10 host as the install utility loaded Epson’s Scan 2 and Document Capture Pro utilities, told us when to connect the scanner and checked online for firmware updates.

Performance is on the money; the scanner ripped through our 30-page sheaf of bank statements at 85.7ppm for both 200dpi and 300dpi resolutions in greyscale and colour. Pushing the envelope to 600dpi didn’t faze it too much either, as greyscale and colour scans of our statement bundle both returned very respectable speeds of 23ppm.

Not that you need such a high resolution though, as quality at 200dpi is perfectly acceptable for archival systems while the OCR capabilities correctly converted every word on our statements right down to small 6pt fonts. Paper handling is also good as the scanner breezed through our test mixes of till receipts, courier waybills and bills of loading - although due it its speed, you should keep your document stacks separated into ones of similar sizes to avoid paper jams.

Epson’s Scan 2 utility provides plenty of scan controls and is loaded when acquiring scans using the TWAIN driver. You can select a resolution, colour, greyscale or mono scans, document and contents skew correction, simplex or duplex operations and blank page skipping.

Advanced settings offer text enhancement, brightness and contrast controls plus punch hole removal, watermark addition and an option to send the scan to two destinations simultaneously. You can choose local and network folder destinations, pick from BMP, JPEG, TIFF, PDF plus searchable PDF (sPDF) output formats and when you’ve finalised your choices, save them as quick access profiles.

Offices with a variety of scan demands will find Epson’s Document Capture Pro very useful as you can create a range of jobs and save them for fast one-click access. Walk-up scan operations are possible too; up to 30 jobs can be assigned to the scanner’s little 3.7cm backlit LCD panel so users can scroll through them using the control keys and run scans without accessing the host PC.

More scan destinations are available and you can send documents to email, a printer, FTP, SharePoint and web servers as well as Google Drive, Evernote and SugerSync cloud storage. Creating a scan job for our Google Drive account and assigning it to a button was pain-free while scans to email are run from the Document Capture Pro window, where it loads the host’s default mail client, creates a new email with the scan attached and waits for you to enter a recipient.

The DS-970 may only offer a USB port as standard but it delivers a mighty scan speed at a very competitive price. Combine these with Epson’s scan automation software and you have a great choice for SMEs with high-volume scanning requirements.

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