Kodak Alaris S2040 review: Clunky yet funky

This speedy USB-only scanner benefits from onboard processing and produces great results

IT Pro Recommended
£371 exc VAT
  • Impeccable paper handling
  • Suitable for larger workloads
  • Doesn’t need a high-end PC to host it
  • Good selection of output formats
  • Complicated installation process
  • ADF doesn’t fit passports
  • Doesn’t support Dropbox and OneDrive

The Kodak Alaris S2040 doesn’t do networking – we’re talking USB connections only. Even so, you don’t need to dedicate a high-end PC to hosting it: it has its own powerful onboard CPU, which handles image processing and enhancement internally, so you can drive it from a lightweight desktop with minimal hardware specs.

It’s a speedy operator too, claiming 40ppm at 300dpi in both colour and mono, while a big 5,000-page daily duty cycle means it won’t baulk at major digitising projects.

Although the specs are good, the installation process could be slicker: the CD supplied in the box was two years old, so we opted to retrieve the most recent software from the Kodak Alaris website. This was a pain, as each item had to be individually selected and downloaded, and for some components we also had to provide the scanner’s serial number and enter registration details. 

At the end of the process, though, you’re left with a decent software bundle. The Smart Touch tool allows you to define scan profiles for quick, consistent operations, which can be triggered directly from its colour LCD panel. Nine profiles are predefined to get you started, but up to 20 can be presented in the scanner’s screen menu, and creating new ones is easy. 

You can set options such as colour, greyscale or monochrome scanning, resolution and document type, with advanced controls including document size detection, punch-hole filling, anti-skew, blank page skipping and file separation when barcodes are identified. 

Output formats are plentiful too: Smart Touch can export scans in searchable PDF format or PNG, JPEG, TIFF, and BMP image formats – or it will do its best to convert them into Word, Excel or RTF documents. 

As for destinations, your options include local and networked folders, printers, faxes, custom applications, email – either via the host’s client app or directly through an SMTP server – and SharePoint servers. There are also options to scan straight to Box, Evernote and Google Drive; we had no problem connecting the software to our Evernote account, and appreciated the option of putting a time limit on access, ranging from one day to a year. Dropbox and OneDrive aren’t directly supported, but you can create profiles that scan to their local sync folders on the host PC. 

If you crave more advanced tools, turn to the bundled Capture Pro Limited Edition software, which adds enhanced batch-scanning options, document indexing using barcodes, and basic image processing. It lacks many features of the full edition, though, such as exception processing to check for missing signatures or other required details: pricing starts at around £158 for a year-long subscription.

While we’re on the subject, another extra you might choose to invest in is the flatbed accessory, which sits under the main unit and connects to its USB port. Not everyone will need this, but it’s a must for passport scanning, as passports are too thick to go through the ADF.

The S2040 delivered the goods in our lab tests, digitising a pile of 30 bank statements at an impressive 42.5ppm in both greyscale and colour modes, and at both 200pdi and 300dpi. As usual, speed plummeted at 600dpi, with greyscale and colour scans completing at 9.7ppm and 5.2ppm respectively, but you’ll probably never need to use that mode. The results we saw at 200dpi were more than adequate for archiving, with very clear text and impressively accurate OCR for searching. Paper handling was impeccable too, with the S2040 working through our stacks of statements, flimsy courier tear-offs and till receipts without any jams.

The out-of-box experience may be clunky, but if you’re looking for a USB-only scanner then the Kodak Alaris S2040 is a very tempting option. It offers great performance, it can cope with big workloads, and you don’t need a high-end PC to host it.

Kodak Alaris S2040 specifications

Format600dpi A4 colour scanner
Scan speed40ppm at 300dpi mono/colour
Display1.5in colour LCD screen
ConnectivityUSB 3.2, USB 2 host, External PSU
Scan typeSimplex/duplex
Recommended monthly duty cycle5,000 pages per day
Bundled softwareAlaris Smart Touch and Capture Pro LE
Dimensions312 x 204 x 183mm (WDH, closed)
Warranty3yr advanced replacement warranty
Options (exc VAT)Flatbed scanner accessory, £310 exc VAT
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