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1611 of 1628 people found the following review helpful.
The Epson GT-S50 vs the Fujitsu ScanSnap S510
By WB Halper
For the last year and a half, I've been using a Fujitsu S510 SnapScan page scanner, which is a natural competitor to the Epson GT-S50. So, when I was offered the chance to review the Epson, it seemed like a natural fit - somebody looking to purchase one is likely to also look at the other. (Go to Fujitsu ScanSnap S510 Sheet-fed Scanner to read that review. It was fairly far down, on page 4, when I last looked.)
Let's look at the two scanners...
First of all, both scanners are top fed and scan both sides of a page in a single pass. They are infinitely faster than the scanners built into the "all-in one" printers and suitable for high volume scanning...the Epson is rated for 1200 pages per day.
The Epson GT-S50 comes with both TWAIN and ISIS drivers, giving it with a clear advantage in interfacing with software from other companies. Almost every program that can read from a scanner uses one or the other. The ScanSnap, on the other hand, uses its own proprietary driver, which only ties into their ScanSnap Organizer program...a program that displays small images of the scanned pages. Both scanners come with OCR programs, for converting scanned images to editable text, but, with the TWAIN driver, only the Epson directly interfaces with different programs - OmniPage Pro, Textbridge, or whatever else you prefer.
The Epson driver offers more choices in output resolution. Whereas the SnapScan has four levels - Normal (150dpi), Better (200dpi), Best (300dpi) and Excellent (600dpi) - the Epson has eight levels ranging from 75 dpi up through 600 dpi. For some strange reason, neither company's software allows you to name the output file before scanning. After scanning, you'll need to manually rename each file with something recognizable. (The default date/time stamp doesn't give you any useful information if you need to find a file a month later).
The Epson ships with software for both Macintosh and Windows systems. I've tested both versions in a mixed Windows/Mac network and they both work smoothly. The Fujitsu ScanSnap, on the other hand, comes in dedicated Mac (S510m)and Windows (S510) models. I've only used the Windows version.
Both scanners are similar in their physical shape, although the Epson looks quite a bit larger...it's about 1" longer, 2" taller and an inch or two deeper than the SnapScan. It holds 75 pages in the input slot, versus 50 in the SnapScan. The Epson has a two-line display on the front. The SnapScan only has "scan" and "power" buttons. Both units are solidly built and give the feeling that they'll last for a long time...I've used my SnapScan for 30K+ pages and it's still going strong. Both units have user replaceable pads and rollers to keep them running smoothly.
How do they operate in real life? To begin my testing, I fed the same 42 page document through each scanner. The document was complex as they come, with both text and color graphics on most pages. It was also laid out to be used in a vertical flip chart (letter-size, but bound on the short edge)...from the scanner's perspective, the back-side of each page was upside down. My theory was that a scanner that could make sense out of it could handle almost anything...
The Epson scanned my test document faster than the ScanSnap, but software processing of the scanned image took longer. The ScanSnap took 3min 10sec from the start of the scan to PDF file creation, without using text recognition; the Epson took 4min 6sec. The OCR software runs in the background on the SnapScan, but runs in the foreground on the Epson. Because of this, the SnapScan can be used to scan the next document while the text is being recognized, while the Epson remains busy until it's completely finished. My test document tied up the Epson for 12min 20sec from the time that I started the scan until the OCR finished and saved the file. My computer's no slouch, but a faster computer would obviously shorten that time. If you use an outside text recognition package, you can always run it at a later time and eliminate this time waster.
The ScanSnap features automatic rotation of upside down and landscape pages. (Everything is fed in vertically on both scanners.) The Epson doesn't...you get what you feed in. In my test document, the ScanSnap flipped the upside pages right-side up. The Epson left them upside down. Even with the upside down pages, the OCR worked fine.
The Epson can handle mixed page sizes in one scan. You can drop all your receipts in and have them scanned at once. The ScanSnap needs all the pages to be the same size in each scan...a longer page is assumed to be a misfeed and aborts the scan.
The Epson has a straight through paper path. It can handle credit card and ID Card scanning. The ScanSnap doesn't and can't. This makes the Epson perfect for a medical office where health insurance cards are always being copied.
The Epson can scan documents up to 36" long. The ScanSnap stops at legal size (14"). This is useful when you are scanning cash register receipts, but as a practical matter, I seldom run into anything else that's longer than 14"...at least not without also getting too wide for the scanner.
Using the default settings, the ScanSnap had a sharper output at 600dpi. Clicking the "unsharpen" box in the Epson software produced a scan that almost exactly matched the ScanSnap's output...why unsharpen actually sharpens is a mystery. In solid-color blocks, the Epson was clearly superior, producing a solid-color output. The ScanSnap had a lot of off-color noise that was clearly visible when enlarged.
The Epson also has the ability to drop out colors, which is useful when scanning something printed on colored paper. It would also be useful if you need to remove a red "confidential" or "top secret" stamp from a borrowed document. :)
Besides the drivers and other utility software, the Epson includes PaperPort 11 SE, which is a visual file organizer. It operates similarly to the ScanSnap Organizer. I didn't test it out...the last time I installed PaperPort 11 Pro (NOT the SE version), it messed up my computer so badly that I ended up reinstalling Windows to get rid of it. (If you have a minute to kill, go read the reviews on Amazon for PaperPort 11 Pro!) I assume that Epson's version is more reliable, but having been burned more than once, I'm not about to try any version of PaperPort ever again! Both scanners use the ABBYY FineReader software. It works nicely. The ScanSnap also includes a full version of Adobe Acrobat Standard...a $200 program if you were to go out and buy it separately.
So....which scanner would I buy? The short answer is that it depends on your application. If you're using both Macs and Windows machines, the choice is clear...the Epson works with both. Both scanners are built for years of use and each has unique features (e.g. card scanning) that point it in one direction or the other. The Fujitsu ScanSnap is designed to be a more "push the button and it goes" type of device. The Epson GT-S50 is more flexible. I like them both.
Update - August 3, 2009 - I've now had both machines running side-by-side for about five months. I now find myself almost always using the Epson instead of the ScanSnap. The reason is simple - the Epson NEVER double feeds. This may be a function of the newness of the Epson, but my Fujitsu isn't really that old, nor, at 19K pages has it seen much service. The double feeding has become a real problem...I have to carefully watch everything going through the SnapScan to make sure that it's not skipping a page. Not good.
Update #2 - November 14, 2009 - I upgraded one of my office computers to Windows 7 and the GT-S50 is working fine. There no drivers yet available for the ScanSnap S510...Fujitsu is estimating the end of December. Even their newer model, the S1500 won't have drivers for another couple of weeks.
I also need to add that I've have a less-than-satisfactory with Epson service. My GT-S50 keeps truckin' along, but another Epson scanner, a V500 Office started misfeeding after two weeks. Epson wouldn't ship me a replacement unit...their scanner service policy apparently requires that the scanner be delivered, at customer's expense, to a repair depot. That's not exactly the most customer-centric way of doing things...
Update #3 - January 27, 2010 - Fujitsu now has Windows 7 drivers available on their website. My s510 is now up and running.
151 of 155 people found the following review helpful.
Epson WorkForce vs Fujitsu Scansnap - tried both in same week
By Someone Who Cares About Product Quality
I've tried them both (Epson WorkForce Pro GT-S50 and Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500) and the winner is Fujitsu ScanSnap. In short, the reason is bad Epson software and horrendously, awful, incompetent support from Epson, while Fujitsu gets it right in both categories. Here are the details...
I've owned 2 ScanSnap scanners. When one of my older ones started acting up (not detecting paper), and when Fujitsu wanted roughly $200 to "repair" it (which probably consisted of putting in a new $10 plastic paper feed detector that a customer can't do themselves), I thought I'd try another brand. So I started out in my quest with the goal of finding something better than ScanSnap. I WANTED to love something else. I searched, read other reviews, and tried the Epson WorkForce Pro GT-S50.
The Epson is definitely more solid, although larger, than the ScanSnap. I was pleased with the large feed capacity on the Epson. It also has an LCD screen, where you can create macros (e.g. B&W scan at 300 dpi). So far so good. I was liking it on my first couple one-page tests. But here's where things went wrong...
Maybe I'm the only person in the world who wants to quickly scan, enter the folder and file name of my choice, and save to a PDF. Guess what? You can't do that with the Epson. I was shocked. It seems like that would be the most common task a user would want to perform. You have to scan to a pre-set folder (you can define it), using their default filename (something like img001.pdf or the mmddyyyy-hhmmss.pdf) and then rename it using Windows. I thought I must be missing something and I called tech support. More on that below...
With the Epson, I tried something I had done for years with the Fujitsu -- automatic color detection. With ScanSnap, including their new S1500, it CAN automatically detect any color on the page and then scan ONLY that page in color while leaving the other pages in B&W. But, with the Epson, there are 2 methods of scanning. With one method, there is NO automatic color detection. With the other method, it will scan all pages in color mode even if only 1 page has color. This causes unnecessary increase in file size.
I also noticed that the quality of scan wasn't as good with the Epson as with the ScanSnap. The Epson sometimes showed black edges around the piece of paper. If you print it out, you see the black edges, which looks dumb. And, the image appears fuzzy with the Epson, but more clear with the ScanSnap. Of course, anyone reading this will think I just didn't play with the settings, and it is possible I missed something. But, I tried all kinds of setting combinations and the Epson just didn't produce as good of a scan result as the Fujitsu, and even if you can improve it in a way I didn't try, the average user shouldn't have to do that; Scansnap was simply better.
I also had problems with the Epson pulling pages into the scanner at a slight angle. Now, I don't think either scanner is perfect at pulling in pages. I've replaced rollers and assemblies with ScanSnap to avoid the occasional double feed, and I wouldn't say they are perfect by any means. But, when I was hoping Epson would have a better feeding system, I was disappointed to see that it was pulling at an angle -- something I don't get with ScanSnap.
Then, the big problem for me was that the Epson software had a bug and would not scan >1 page into a single PDF file. Yeah, yeah, I know there is a setting about making a single PDF file with multiple pages, and I did have it set correctly. But, it didn't work when using their software utility for scanning. If I scanned 10 pages, only the first one showed in the PDF file. I already had Acrobat Professional installed, and I think that caused some driver problem, although it shouldn't have. The rest of my setup is a brand new Windows 7 clean machine. Other people don't seem to have this issue, but the scanner was worthless to me if I couldn't get Epson's help resolving the bug. So I called tech support, and that is when things went from bad to worse.
Tech support at Epson: I dealt with a level 1 tech support rep who asked me 101 unrelated questions, only to leave me on hold and never come back to the phone. I called back. The profile the first rep created was missing so they asked me 101 questions again. This person knew nothing about their product. I am not just being critical. He really didn't know how to perform a scan or anything. I had used the product for 2 hours and I knew far more about it than he did. I got bumped to level 2 support. I asked this next person if there was a way to scan, and type in the filename instead of using their default numeric names. He said no. I said "don't you do that when you scan papers at home?" He said he doesn't use a scanner at home. Hmmmm. The guys who are in charge of this product don't USE scanners so, of course, it shouldn't be a surprise to me that the software is so dumb. As for my "can't scan >1 page" issue, I had to get escalated again. My level 3 tech said I needed to hold on while he installed the softare! I said "you don't already have it installed?" He said he doesn't use this model scanner. Really? The level 3 rep hadn't used the software or hardware before? It was frustrating but comical. Level 3 didn't know how to solve the >1 page problem, so they said level 4 would have to help. How many levels were there? I was told level 4 would have to call me back within 24 hours. Well, no one called. 10 days later, I received an email (with my name typed incorrectly). It stated "Recently you requested personal assistance from our on-line support center. Below is a summary of your request and our response. If this issue is not resolved to your satisfaction, you may reopen it within the next 7 days. Thank you for allowing us to be of service to you." What service? They never called. The rest of the email was a generalized summary about how to perform a basic scan. They could care less about my problem of not being able to scan >1 page. So level 4 apparently doesn't know anything more than the basics either, but even worse, they don't care that a customer is still stuck unable to scan multiple pages. On a side note, even the basic email confirmed my belief that you can't type in your own filename when doing a quick scan. The email stated "In the Filename field you can change the Prefix part of the filename only. For example, if you enter Test, the filename will be Test001.pdf."
I had no choice but to send back the Epson and buy the ScanSnap S1500. Remember, I was trying NOT to give ScanSnap my money after their high price for a repair. But, I'm glad I did. Their newest software is fantastic. These guys must use their product because the software is very smart. There is a great demo video on YouTube that you should see. (By the way, there is no decent video published by Epson on YouTube.) It certainly lets you name a file anything you want at the time of scanning. These guys even came up with a neat feature that if you highlight a word with a yellow highlighter, it will use OCR and add that word to the metadata saved with the PDF file.
If I didn't tell you which scanner hardware was hiding behind each scanner, and I just asked you to rate the software experience with each software package, I'm confident you'd easily say the ScanSnap had the better software. Better yet, it does what you want (naming a file!!!!, only using color for the color pages, etc.) and more. It doesn't have the LCD screen, but the purpose of that (macros) is resolved by a software popup on the Fujitsu ScanSnap anyway. The ScanSnap software asks you what you want to do with the file and even lets you create profiles via software.
Now I called Fujitsu because I was stuck with a few things using their software. To my amazement, the first person who answered the phone (without a delay) did NOT ask me 101 questions to create a profile. He just started right in with helping me. He knew the product extremely well, answered my questions immediately, and was a technical person. I was on and off the call with 100% of my questions answered. I even called back another time for a follow-up question and that person was equally good.
I should note for people new to scanners that the pages/minute option for any scanner is deceiving unless you use the worst quality settings. If you use better quality settings, or OCR, all scanners take longer per page. But, they are still pretty fast.
People, I WANTED to love the Epson but the reality is that Epson doesn't deserve a good rating for this product and they certainly don't deserve your money. Until they put new people in charge of the software development team, and new people in charge of tech support, and revamp those two departments, and actually try using their own product, I will certainly not buy another Epson scanner.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful. See all 426 customer reviews...
READ THIS TIP VERY IMPORTANT FOR CONTINUED USE OF SCANNER
By Restoring the Stationmaster's House
I have been using this for over a year. I am an attorney and have lots of banker boxes of old client files that I wanted to get rid of. I purchased this because it scans different size papers. Major plus.
I have scanned about 50 banker boxes of files, so feel I can give a very good review. This was easy set up. I used the paper port software that came with it and found it easy to operate. I was up and scanning in about 15 minutes. I have put crumpled papers through this, all sorts of odd size papers with no problems. I can load about 25 sheets at a time. After using for a bit you learn quickly how much you can load at a time. There is a pop up box that allows you to set, if it is black and white (using this makes paper fly through the machine) or color (makes the machine slow down) as does setting it for two side coping. You must remove staples, you can leave them in if a single sheet, but if two sheets staples together causes the machine to jam. I just cut the corners off the documents and they feed through fine.
HERE IS THE TIP: After scanning about 25 boxes, the machine began misfeeding and taking 5 sheets throug at once or 10 and hanging up. I cleaned the roller, used canned air, nothing worked. Was getting ready to throw the machine across the room, when I decided to order the roller assembly. It runs from 30 to 50 dollars. I didn't think it could be the roller. Well it wasn't, the roller assembly comes with another part that goes on the opposite side of the roller assembly. It is a piece of plastic, kind of like a tongue. When I took out the old "tongue" I could see the difference between the two. The old "tongue" was as thin as paper, where as the new piece was about 1/4 inch thick. This did the trick and the machine was running like new. I have purchased two other sets, so I have them. Strongly recommend buying a couple if you are going to do a lot of scanning. Also when it starts to feed a lot of sheets through, it is time to replace. I wish I would have know this sooner.
I scanned about 5 boxes with it malfunctioning and basically having to do each sheet one at a time.
This is a great machine for the price. Like I said 50 boxes scanned and probably another 50 to go. It really handles paper in all different shapes and sizes.