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Epson WorkForce Pro GT-S50

>> Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Physically, Epson WorkForce Pro GT-S50 (which comes with a standard one year warranty) is typical for document scanners in its price range. It measures 8.4 by 11.9 by 8.0 inches (HWD) with the input and output trays closed, or 15.9 by 11.9 by 15 inches with the trays extended. Setup is typical as well. Set the scanner in place, open the top cover (which turns into the input tray), extend the output tray at the bottom front, install the software, and plug in a USB cable and power cord.

I installed the scanner under Windows Vista, but according to Epson Epson WorkForce Pro GT-S50 also comes with drivers and a full set of software for Windows 2000 and XP. Epson says it comes with drivers and a nearly full set of software for Mac OS X, as well, supporting versions 10.3.9 through 10.5x. (The document management software, however, is for Windows only.) For Windows, the trio of Twain, WIA, and ISIS drivers ensures that you can scan directly from virtually any Windows program with a scan command.

In addition to the drivers and the Epson scan utility, Epson includes an assortment of programs appropriate for a document scanner Abbyy FineReader 6.0 Sprint Plus for optical character recognition, Nuance ScanSoft PaperPort Special Edition for document management, and NewSoft Presto! BizCard 5 SE for business cards. All three are among the most common programs bundled with scanners, and all do their jobs reasonably well. Unfortunately, PaperPort SE lacks the full version's ability to index the text in files on your disk, which lets you find files by searching for words in those files.

This is a particularly important feature if you plan to scan documents to searchable PDF format and need to find the right document quickly at some later time. If you want that ability, you'll need a separate indexing program. This isn't a major issue, however, since you can download Google Desktop, with its search feature, free. The scanner itself is far more impressive than the software. Epson rates it at 25 pages per minute (ppm) for simplex scans (one side of the page) and 50 images per minute (ipm) for duplex scans (scanning both sides simultaneously) at 200 pixels per inch (ppi). I timed it scanning to PDF image files at 22.7 ppm and 45.5 ipm. That's a little slower than I expected based on the ratings which are usually pretty accurate for document scanners but still fast enough to earn lots of praise.

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