Brother ADS-2200 review: No-frills scanning made simple

Brother’s entry-level desktop scanner is a modest affair, but gets the job done

IT Pro RecommendedBrother ADS-2200
Price
£299 exc VAT
  • Excellent scan quality
  • Compact footprint
  • Affordable
  • No display or networking

For businesses that need to process vast reams of paper documents on a regular basis, a sturdy and capable desktop scanner is a very worthwhile investment. Organisations with less demanding needs, however, may not need something as all-singing and all-dancing as the Kodak Scan Station 730EX Plus and for these companies - or just those with more of an eye towards value - the Brother ADS-2200 offers basic desktop scanning capabilities for a much more agreeable price.

The difference between this unit and Brother’s more expensive options like the ADS-3600W is immediately apparent in its boxy off-white design, which harkens back to the bad old days of beige dot-matrix printers. It’s not exactly an eyesore, but it’s also far from elegant. 

That being said, its 299x145x141mm footprint (including the 50-sheet ADF input tray) means it’s relatively compact, and the 4kg weight isn’t overly heavy either. The input tray can also be detached to reduce its size when not in use, and the output tray also folds neatly away.

Another cost-cutting measure is the lack of display, so apart from a handful of buttons for tasks like cancelling a scan, scanning to USB or initialising a pre-configured one-touch workflow, all operations must be carried out via a connected PC. Sadly, the ADS-2200 is somewhat limited in this area too, as it only supports a wired USB-B connection. There’s no networking at all on offer, so you can forget about using this scanner to serve multiple devices. As a further annoyance, Brother also does not supply a USB-B cable in the box, so you’ll have to provide your own.

With that minor gripe out of the way, however, we found setup to be a painless process, with the relevant drivers downloaded and installed inside ten minutes. This also includes the raft of free software the Brother includes with every purchase, such as its iPrint&Scan app for desktop and mobile, Nuance PaperPort 14 SE, NewSoft Presto! BizCard OCR and Brother’s Remote Setup utility.

The lack of display and networking capabilities means there’s little in the way of security or multi-user management features here, and there’s no native support for scanning to cloud destinations, although the excellent iPrint&Scan app enables scanning to OneDrive, Google Drive and Dropbox. 

Brother ADS-2200 front view

However, while it may be a little stripped-back in some areas, it’s hard to fault the ADS-2200 on performance. Text was clear and flawlessly readable even at 200DPI, and it achieved its claimed 35PPM scan speeds at both 200DPI and 300DPI quality settings. It supports duplex scanning, and the ADF can handle documents up to A4 width, although it will scan longer pages up to 5,000mm and A3 documents can also be fed through with the aid of a carrier sheet.

It wasn’t entirely rosy, though. Speeds took a bit of a tumble to 3mins 40s when we bumped the quality up to 600DPI and if you want to make use of the maximum 1200DPI quality, then you’ll need to be wary. On a few occasions, a 1200DPI scan job was too large for the device’s memory to handle, causing it to abort the job. If this happens, you’ll either need to bump the quality down or split the job up into multiple batches.

Paper handling is largely good - the ADF didn’t always cope well with the very thinnest documents in our test runs, but any jams that did occur were swiftly detected and the scan halted to prevent damage to the document, and credit cards were handled with no complaints. Image straightening was also generally sophisticated and only stumbled occasionally with misaligned documents.

This device, then, isn’t exactly a workhorse, and it’ll be ill-suited to organisations that expect to be scanning hundreds of documents on a daily basis. It is, however, perfect for infrequent or small-volume workloads, such as digitising invoices for quarterly financial reports or supporting a front-of-house role. It’s also affordable enough to justify infrequent use - although Fujitsu’s SP-1130N is a shade cheaper.

It may not be the most feature-rich scanner, lacking many of the bells and whistles of more expensive rivals, but the capabilities it does have are mostly handled with aplomb. With great image quality and reasonable speeds, the ADS-2200 is an ideal option for small businesses or home offices who just need a scanner to handle the basics with a minimum of fuss.

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