Epson GT-2500

The Epson GT-2500, a 48-bit colour flatbed scanner, is geared toward small businesses that want to scan documents easily. With its automatic document feeder (ADF) and high-resolution capabilities it delivers great results, but its high-end features may be overkill for some business professionals who only plan on digitising plain paper documents. It’s also fairly large for a desktop device, taking up 468 x 395 x 200mm of space.

To use the GT-2500, you put as many as 50 pages in the top-fed document feeder, launch the Epson Scan software on your Mac (or hit the green Start button on the scanner that will launch Epson Scan for you), set your preferences in the application, and click on the software’s Scan button. The scanner sucks in the pages one by one and spits them out of the bottom of the unit, below the input tray. When scanning is finished, a dialog pops up on your Mac asking you to edit or save the pages.

Alternately, you can lift the lid and scan right on the glass surface. The scanner has an extra-long 8.5 x 14in scanning area to accommodate legal-size documents. This flat bed makes the scanner more flexible if you want to scan magazine articles or books, or delicate documents that you don’t want to run through the ADF.

Your papers don’t have to be in perfect condition to scan properly using the GT-2500’s ADF. In fact, many of ours were just snippets or were a bit dog-eared.

Slow but steady
The GT-2500’s image-quality is impressive. We scanned documents both in black-and-white and greyscale, and both looked very clear on screen, especially when we used Epson Scan’s Text Enhancement feature. Prints of those scans looked very much like the originals. We also scanned a stack of 4 x 6in photos using the ADF, and the resulting images had very good detail. The ADF scans at up to 600 x 600dpi; flatbed resolution is 1,200 x 1,200dpi, while maximum interpolated resolution is 9,600 x 9,600dpi.

The ADF removes some of the tedium of scanning, but the entire process is still very slow. Epson says that the ADF scans at 11 pages per minute in colour and 27 pages per minute in black and white, and our testing with black-and-white scans using a 1.42GHz G4 Mac mini lived up to the speed claim. However, the real-world colour scanning rate varied: scanning took anywhere from three to five pages per minute depending on whether we used the text enhancement feature. Greyscale scanning rates were about nine pages per minute.

After you scan documents, you must edit and save the pages – the save procedure alone takes about a minute. If you want to scan both sides of a page, scans will take twice as long, as the scanner feeds the paper back through the ADF. The slowness probably won’t bother you if you need to scan a few pages here and there, but if you’re scanning the contents of a filing cabinet, expect to set aside a considerable amount of time to complete the job.

The GT-2500’s other major downside is the software. It lets you define your own presets, but you have to use its numbering scheme instead of being able to name the presets yourself, which is simply unacceptable. And the default view of the software (Office Mode) assumes that users automatically know the correct dpi setting to select and what a descreening filter is or when to use one. These terms are defined in the Help files and User Guide, and there is a handy reference that advises users on which colour and dpi settings to use for different types of scans. However, the software itself should provide better guidance.

OUR VERDICT

The Epson GT-2500 is great if you need a combination of high-quality photo scans, regular text scans, and a flatbed for specialised scanning, but it may be overkill for some normal business users. If all you need is a scanner with an automatic feed for text documents and the occasional low-resolution photo destined for email, the Fujitsu ScanSnap, which offers the same resolution as the GT-2500’s ADF, is smaller, faster, cheaper, and scans text just as well.

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