Brother ADS-1700W review: Small in stature and big on features

A smart desktop scanner with great output quality and speed

IT Pro Recommended
  • Rapid scan speeds; Great OCR; Excellent networking and connectivity options
  • Lengthy software installation

Small businesses that want fast document scanning in the smallest of desktop spaces will find Brother's ADS-1700W fits the bill nicely. This plastic baton offers scan speeds of 25ppm for colour and mono documents at 300dpi, teams them up with USB 3, wireless and WiFi Direct support - all at a low price.

The ADS-1700W is small enough to take on the road although at 1.41kgs, it's a tad heavy and it needs an external power source, which adds more bulk. However, one feature you won't see on most other mobile scanners is the slick 7.1cm LCD colour touchscreen.

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The scanner's 20-page ADF flips down to protect its innards when not in use and you can scan directly to its rear USB 2 port. There's no output tray so you'll need to leave some desk space in front to catch your documents.

The scanner has a micro-USB 3 port for a local connection, but Brother doesn't include a cable. We opted for the wireless route and used the touchscreen's connection wizard to get the scanner networked in seconds.

Software installation is lengthy as you have to download the driver and software package from Brother's support site. This discovered the scanner on our wireless network, installed Brother's iPrint&Scan Windows app and downloaded the free Nuance PaperPort 14 SE digital file cabinet and Power PDF OCR tool.

The iPrint&Scan app simplifies scan operations; it automatically discovered the scanner and supports workflows for quick scan operations. You use these to define your scan settings and can send them to local folders, cloud services or to specific apps.

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For each workflow, you can set them to run with one mouse click and advertise them on the scanner's touchscreen. To access them remotely, you tap the 'to Workflow' menu, choose a host and browse its available workflows.

Cloud destinations include Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive, and we easily created workflows for each provider. The only slight niggle is you can't select an existing cloud folder, as the scanner creates a default 'Brother' folder.

The ADS-1700W delivered its quoted speeds with 200dpi and 300dpi colour and greyscale duplex scans of 20 bank statements returning an average of 25ppm with a 5 second pause at the start of each job as iPrint&Scan reached out for the scanner. Greyscale and colour speeds at 600dpi fell to 5.2ppm and 3.2ppm but you won't need to use this for general document archiving as scan quality at 200dpi is easily good enough.

It had no problems scanning our mix of statements, till receipts and waybills while its fast reactions to paper jams meant nothing was damaged on the odd occasion they occurred. We also found the OCR facilities produced accurate searchable PDFs down to 6pt font sizes.

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You don't even need to load any software for basic network scanning as once Brother's web services drivers had been installed, our Windows 10 desktops popped up in the scanner's touchscreen for easy selection from its WS Scan menu. The driver is loaded from the Windows Devices and Printers app, where you add a new device and wait for the scanner to be discovered - simple.

The ADS-1700W has the same embedded web management console as Brother's larger desktop scanners. For scans to email, we provided our SMTP server details and used the 300-entry address book to add user's email details which could be accessed from the touchscreen.

Security is good as the touchscreen can be password protected while the User Restriction Function feature can control public access to any or all scan functions. You can also use it to force users to login to the touchscreen with a name and PIN to access permitted features.

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Brother's ADS-1700W packs a lot into its modest dimensions and offers them at a very competitive price. It's simple to network and delivers good scan speeds and quality while the iPrint&Scan app is great for streamlining scan operations.


Brother’s ADS-1700W packs a lot into its modest dimensions and offers them at a very competitive price. It’s simple to network and delivers good scan speeds and quality while the iPrint&Scan app is great for streamlining scan operations.

600dpi colour scanner 25ppm @ 300dpi colour/mono Simplex/duplex 20-page ADF 7.1cm LCD colour touchscreen Micro USB 3 USB 2 host; 11n wireless WiFi Direct Max daily duty cycle, 1,000 pages External PSU Brother iPrint&Scan, Nuance PaperPort SE 14, Nuance Power PDF software, TWAIN/WIA drivers 300 x 103 x 83mm (WDH – closed) 1.41kg 1yr RTB warranty

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