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Brother DS-640 Review

A great balance between performance, quality, and portability, all at a reasonable price
Brother DS-640
Credit: Brother
Best Buy Award
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Price:   $110 List | Check Price at Amazon
Pros:  Great scan quality, small and portable, simple operation, good OCR
Cons:  Slow
Manufacturer:   Brother
By Michelle Powell and Max Mutter  ⋅  Mar 21, 2022
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 10
  • Scanning Performance - 35% 9.0
  • Speed - 30% 4.0
  • Software - 20% 8.0
  • User Friendliness - 15% 7.0

Our Verdict

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.

Compare to Similar Products

 
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Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award   
Price $110 List
Check Price at Amazon
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Pros Great scan quality, small and portable, simple operation, good OCRUser-friendly app, large queue capacity, fast, great images, awesome OCRGreat portability, up to 1200 dpi, wirelessNow available for free, high quality scans, great text recognitionExcellent photo scan quality, easy setup, relatively inexpensive
Cons SlowRequires plug-inSlow, no auto-feed or output traySlow and laborious for multi-page documentsSoftware 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 priceA great tabletop scanner, providing really good image quality with a small footprint that we are quick to recommendA great, lightweight, and portable scanner that is sure to fit into your budgetA perfect free option for those that occasionally scan shorter documents and receiptsAn 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%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
Speed (30%)
4.0
8.0
7.0
3.0
4.0
Software (20%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
4.0
User Friendliness (15%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
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
Simplex/Duplex Simplex Duplex Simplex Simplex Simplex
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
PC Compatible Yes Yes Yes N/A Yes
Mac Compatible Yes Yes Yes N/A Yes
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.

Performance Comparison


Brother DS-640 scanner - the brother ds-640 takes up almost no room and is lightweight enough...
The Brother DS-640 takes up almost no room and is lightweight enough to be considered portable.
Credit: Laura Casner

Scanning Performance


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.

Brother DS-640 scanner - despite a relatively low price tag, the brother ds-640 produced some...
Despite a relatively low price tag, the Brother DS-640 produced some of the best looking scans in our testing.

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.

Speed


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.

Brother DS-640 scanner - having to manually feed pages into the scanner, along with a lack of...
Having to manually feed pages into the scanner, along with a lack of duplex scanning, makes the Brother DS-640 a poor choice if you consistently scan very long documents.
Credit: Laura Casner

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.

Software


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.

User Friendliness


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.

Brother DS-640 scanner - we love that the brother ds-640 can easily be run from a usb port on...
we love that the Brother DS-640 can easily be run from a USB port on a laptop.
Credit: Laura Casner

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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