The Brother DS-640 scanner offers portability, fantastic scan quality, and reliable optical character recognition at a budget-friendly price. Its features and performance make it perfect for anyone seeking the ability to transport their scanner in a backpack or that wants to be able to hide it away in a drawer in their office once they are done scanning short documents. While this scanner produced some of the highest quality scans in our tests, it lacks a document feeder, and the absence of a single-pass duplex scanning feature makes it a bit cumbersome for digitizing long double-sided documents. If you regularly scan documents larger than ten pages, you may want to invest in a scanner with a feed tray and duplex scanning feature. However, the Brother DS-640 is a fantastic value for occasional use or jobs that require a portable scanner.Editor's Note: We updated the Brother DS-640 review on March 20, 2022, with additional sections on who we recommend this to and details to better compare products.
Brother DS-640 Review
Pros: Great scan quality, small and portable, simple operation, good OCR
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$159.99 at Amazon
|Check Price at Amazon||$100 List|
|Pros||Great scan quality, small and portable, simple operation, good OCR||User-friendly app, large queue capacity, fast, great images, awesome OCR||Great portability, up to 1200 dpi, wireless||Now available for free, high quality scans, great text recognition||Excellent photo scan quality, easy setup, relatively inexpensive|
|Cons||Slow||Requires plug-in||Slow, no auto-feed or output tray||Slow and laborious for multi-page documents||Software can be a bit clunky, very slow for long text documents|
|Bottom Line||A great balance between performance, quality, and portability, all at a reasonable price||A great tabletop scanner, providing really good image quality with a small footprint that we are quick to recommend||A great, lightweight, and portable scanner that is sure to fit into your budget||A perfect free option for those that occasionally scan shorter documents and receipts||An excellent and reasonably inexpensive flatbed option for digitizing documents and photos|
|Rating Categories||Brother DS-640||Canon ImageFORMULA R40||Epson WorkForce ES-60W||Scanner Pro App||Epson Perfection V39|
|Scanning Performance (35%)|
|User Friendliness (15%)|
|Specs||Brother DS-640||Canon ImageFORMULA R40||Epson WorkForce ES-60W||Scanner Pro App||Epson Perfection V39|
|Paper Sizes||Max: 8.5" x 32"||Max: 8.5" x 14"
Min: 2" x 2.1"
|Max: 8.5" x 72"||Any size||Max: 8.5" x 11.7"|
|Weight||1.0 lbs||6.17 lbs||.7 lbs||N/A||3.4 lbs|
|Resolution||600 x 600 dpi||600 dpi||1200 dpi||N/A||4800 x 4800 dpi|
|Scanning Modes||24-bit color, 8-bit (256 levels) gray scale, 1 bit monochrome||Color, Grayscale, Black and White||Color, Grayscale, Black and White||Color Document, Black and White, Color Photo, Grayscale Photo||Color, Grayscale, Black and White, Automatic Detection|
|Automatic Document Feeder||No||60-page||No||No||No|
|Measured Pages Per Minute||4||40||15||3||N/A|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Brother DS-640 provides quality, portability, and usability in spades, with speed being its only relative weak point. Unless you're scanning 10+ page documents on a daily basis, chances are the Brother DS-640 will provide more than you need at a reasonable price.
The Brother DS-640 provides some of the best scan quality per dollar of any of the models we've tested. It often matches the quality of the expensive large office-focused models at a fraction of the price.
The PDFs we created came out looking nearly identical to the originals for general text scans. Even the ink on receipts, which can be problematic for scanners, didn't pose any problem for the DS-640.
The color scans we created in our testing looked fantastic. The colors were accurate and vibrant, and the resolution remained crystal clear. We were more than satisfied with the color documents we scanned with this model.
Photo scans came out similarly high quality, although the Brother DS-640 can't match the quality of a flatbed scanner when it comes to photos. You may not want to feed a treasured old photo through it, but it can get the job done in a pinch.
The Brother DS-640 isn't particularly fast, but that's because it has neither duplex scanning nor a document feeder. However, it's more than serviceable for documents less than ten pages.
In our tests, the Brother DS-640 took 30 seconds to scan a single color page at 600 dpi (a very high resolution), which is just above the 24-second average of all the tested models.
Longer, duplex documents are where things get a bit slow. Since you have to manually feed each page into the scanner, scan times for longer documents add up. Additionally, this scanner can only scan one side of a sheet at a time, so double-sided pages have to be fed through twice to scan both sides, doubling the amount of time and effort you have to put in.
In our tests, scanning a 10-page duplex black and white document (that's five sheets with text on both sides of each sheet) took 2 minutes and 30 seconds. In comparison, scanners that can scan both sides of the sheet at once easily accomplished the same task in under 30 seconds. This difference in time isn't terrible if you only scan a few 10-page documents a week, but if that's a regular occurrence, then the extra minutes can add up.
In general, we liked the software associated with the Brother DS-640. We found its installation and operation to be straightforward and reliable on both Macs and PCs.
Perhaps most importantly, the included optical character recognition (OCR) software for both PCs and Macs proved to be more than capable in our tests. It consistently converted text pages into text-searchable PDFs without conspicuous errors.
The Brother weighs in at just over a pound, can be powered by a USB port, and features smooth paper feeding. It doesn't get much easier than that. The only place it gets bogged down is when scanning longer documents. Unfortunately, the lack of duplex scanning and an automatic document feeder makes scanning long documents a chore.
Should You Buy the Brother DS-640?
The Brother DS-640 is, in our opinion, the perfect solution for those that need high-quality scans but who don't tend to scan super long (10+ page) documents all that frequently. If this sounds like you, then we highly recommend making this the newest addition to your home or office workspace.
What Other Scanners Should You Consider?
The Brother DS-640 offers a fantastic value relative to other scanners for those who only need to scan shorter documents a few times a week. You get top-quality results for a fraction of the price of more capable models, all in a small and convenient package. However, if you're consistently scanning 10+ page documents multiple times a week, you'll likely want to upgrade to a model with an automatic document feeder. Depending on your scanning volume, the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1600 or the Fujitsu Fi-7160 Sheetfed are both great options to consider. Especially if you are using this in a work environment rather than a casual home setting, the extra cost will likely pay for itself in saved time in the long run.
— Michelle Powell and Max Mutter
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