Brother ADS1500W Compact Color Desktop Duplex Scanner Review

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This small scanner from Brother is adequate for the task, scanning both sides of a document in a single pass relatively quickly. It’s not as fast as other desktop scanning devices on the market, but it is faster than many inexpensive multifunction printer/scanner/faxes.

I like the fact that this scanner can operate as a complete standalone device without the need for a computer. Documents can be scanned to a USB flash drive, emailed via a direct connection to an SMTP server, transmitted via FTP, or through a number of popular cloud services like Dropbox or Google Drive.

I don’t recommend the cloud services option as it will require giving Brother access to your cloud accounts. Unlike the other transmission options the scanner will send the documents through Brother’s servers and then onto the cloud account. It’s not that Brother isn’t trustworthy, but there’s always a risk should their servers ever be compromised. Setting up the cloud option essentially gives Brother and its servers full access to your accounts.

Scanning speed is adequate but not blazingly fast. Documents will scan close to the advertised speed unless you enable the ‘page skip’ function that detects blank pages on a two sided document. That slows things down considerably as the scanner’s internal processor analyzes the image to see if the page has any content on it. I demonstrate that in the attached video.

It is compact, but quite heavy for its size, reducing its portability.

On balance this scanner is easily half the price of faster but considerably more expensive document scanning devices. I also like that it doesn’t need a computer to operate and provides a number of scan destination options.


Echelon Arts Photography says:

Automated blank page removal performed at the scanner is less time consuming than manual page removal done on the computer.  If the destination is email, consider that documents with blank pages appear unprofessional.

David Nicholls says:

Keep your finger to a minimum over the screen

Mathieu B says:

yep business card scanner is worthless when not attached to pc. Shortcuts not recognized

Binh Nguyen says:

How do I get to that website that you’re using to set up scan to email.

Salisbury2015 says:

Very helpful review. Thanks for sharing this.

Shadrach White says:

In regards to your fears about connecting Brothers transmission service to third party cloud providers. Here is the thing you need to consider when thinking about why this is a good design. The third party cloud service providers are always evolving and updating the API’s that are used to connect to these services. By having a central service that thousands of scanners can connect to it makes it much easier to manage these changes and updates. Also consider that you may want to switch cloud service providers in the future by having a central hub for your outbound connections it may be easier to manage all the destinations in one central location.  I haven’t tested or tried this scanner but I am sure these and other reasons are behind the design. Nice review by the way!

Raquel Foster says:

It seems like, 3 years later, this is still the only good scanner that can scan to Google Drive without needing to be tethered to a PC/Mac/phone or at least initially configured with a PC. This scanner is the only thing that does it except a few cheap Brother all-in-ones with a similar interface. It’s so convenient being able to just enter my Wi-Fi password, set it up via any browser, and then I can scan/shred mail with no clunky software required. I’m just amazed that there are no other options for me to consider. Because honestly, that touch screen is questionable. But all the high-end scanners need some kind of freakin’ workstation and have really bad software.

DuWayne Layton says:

how does this scanner do with photos? I have a lot at my mom’s house I want to scan. Do they come out good quality?

David Griffiths says:

Thanks for the review, just bought one!

OlaGolme says:

can you do the same for the brother ads1000w

cedr drce says:

gonna be buying this sometime

Tomislav Ivan Flis says:

Hi Lon! Any chance on reviewing new model from Brother ADS-1600W?

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