The Brother ADS-1250W ($229.99) is a sheet-feed portable scanner designed for capturing multipage documents while you’re away from the office. It performs similar to and has several features in common with our Editors’ Choice Epson WorkForce ES-300W, except it lacks one key perk: a battery for running off the cord. If you don’t mind being tethered to a power outlet or PC, though, this fast and accurate scanner will serve you well on the road.
Rock-Solid Road Warrior
The ADS-1250W is white with a back cover and output slot and looks a lot like its ADS-1700W sibling. At 3.3 by 11.8 by 4.1 inches (HWD) and weighing 3.7 pounds, it’s about a half-an-inch bigger all the way around and a half-pound heavier than Epson’s flagship portable document scanner, the ES-300W, and that’s despite the Epson model’s built-in battery.
The battery, of course, allows you to use the scanner in locations without power sources. With the ADS-1250W, however, you’re tied to either AC power or connecting to a PC via micro USB 3.0 (though you’ll have to purchase the USB cable separately). Only a few of the portable scanners we’ve reviewed do come with batteries, though, including the IRIScan Anywhere 5 WIFI, the Editors’ Choice IRIScan Book 5 WiFi, the Epson ES-300WR, and the Apparent Doxie Q.
The ADS-1250W’s ADF holds up to 20 sheets, which is in line with the rest of its competition mentioned here. It scans both sides of two-sided pages in one pass, for a total of 40 pages per scan job. Its 1,000-sheet daily duty cycle is twice that of Epson’s stable of sheet-feed scanners.
Like most scanners nowadays, the ADS-1250W can, in addition to handling standard-weight media, also scan thick plastic cards, drivers’ licenses, and ID cards via a dedicated path on the left side of the paper path. You simply adjust the toggle above the card path and insert the card, as shown here…
The primary difference between the ADS-1250W and the ADS-1700W is that the latter comes with a handy graphical touchscreen for setting up single scan jobs or creating and/or selecting workflow profiles directly from the scanner. With the 1250W, on the other hand, you set all your scan jobs in the supporting software (discussed next).
The control panel consists of just four buttons: Power, Cancel, Scan to Computer, and Scan to USB drive. The status LEDs signify Wi-Fi, Error, and Power.
Connections and Software
The ADS-1250W supports Wi-Fi and micro USB 3.0 and 2.0 for connecting to your network or directly to a computer. Mobile devices can connect via Wi-Fi and over USB. You’ll need to use iPrint&Scan to interface with the scanner and to connect supported cloud sites, which are Dropbox, Evernote, Google, and OneDrive. You can also scan to iCloud from Apple devices. Other scan-to destinations include email, file, OCR, workflow (profiles set up through the PC version of iPrint&Scan), and a USB drive, via a USB 2.0 port on the back of the chassis.
The supporting software is downloadable from Brother’s support site, and it consists of Nuance PaperPort SE with OCR for Windows (for document management and archiving), Power PDF (for creating and editing PDF files) and the Windows/Mac versions of Brother’s iPrint&Scan, which is a full-blown scanner interface. In addition to providing extensive controls your scans, iPrint&Scan helps you create workflow profiles that manage your scan jobs from start to destination, or multiple destinations simultaneously. It’s also where you set your default workflow.
I’ve watched iPrint&Scan develop over the years, and this latest iteration is both simple and versatile at the same time. Whether you use iPrint&Scan or PaperPort (or both), the ADS-1250W comes with a more-than-adequate supporting software bundle.
No-Wait, Error-Free Scanning
I tested the ADS-1250W over micro USB 3.0 at 300dpi using iPrint&Scan on our standard Intel Core i5 testbed PC running Windows 10 Professional. The scanner imaged our 25-page one-sided text document to the computer’s memory at the rate of 28ppm and our 25-page two-sided (50 images) document at 55.2ppm. Those scores beat Brother’s 25ppm and 50ipm ratings comfortably.
This is the same method that scanner makers like Brother use to time their devices, even though that clocks only the physical speed of the device itself. This practice, though, ignores the time the software takes to convert and save the scans to a usable file format.
A more important set of numbers is, then, how long the scanner and its supporting software take to scan, convert, and save your scans to a usable file type, such as image and searchable PDF. The ADS-1250W and iPrint&Scan scanned and saved the same set of documents to image format at the rate of 27.3ppm and 54.5ppm. That’s within a second or two of almost every sheet-feed scanner discussed here. The ADS-1250W scanned and saved our two-sided test document to searchable PDF in a mere 56 seconds. Again, those results were negligibly close to almost all of its competition.
But speed isn’t everything. It’s at least as important that the OCR software converts scanned text to editable text accurately. Like it’s ADS-1700W sibling, while scanning both our Arial and Times New Roman font test pages, the ADS-1250W and iPrint&Scan delivered error-free text down to 6 points—the most accurate conversion we’ve seen from a portable scanner.
Epson’s accounting-friendly ES-300WR, which uses different software from last year’s ES-300W, tied the two Brother scanners. The ES-300W’s and the ES-200’s scores were 8 points errorless for both fonts, and the DS-320 managed 6 points Arial and 8 points Times New Roman.
It’s About the Power
The ADS-1250W is a terrific, easy-to-use, accurate scanner, but without rechargeable autonomous power, it’s not 100 percent portable. Many road warriors, though, will likely find the ability to scan to USB drives an equitable tradeoff. If you don’t see yourself scanning in situations where you don’t have access to power, the Brother ADS-1250W is a worthy alternative to our current favorite portable document scanner, the Epson ES-300W.