Epson – GT-1500 review

business flatbed scanner with LED light source
Photo of Epson – GT-1500
£190 + VAT

Flatbed scanner mechanisms are best known as the top parts of all-in-one machines, but they do have lives of their own, too. Epson’s GT-1500 is a business scanner, as opposed to one intended for the home or for graphics professionals. It’s designed for Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and archival, converting paper for digital storage.

This isn’t a bulky scanner; its dark grey and cream lines define a device that almost looks squashed, in comparison with previous models. This is due, in part, to its innovative use of an LED light source, rather than the fluorescent tube normally providing the light for scanning.

LED sources have only recently advanced to the stage where the white light is good enough for exacting tasks like scanning, but they have another advantage, as well as their modest size: they don’t require any warm-up time before giving out light, so the GT-1500 doesn’t have to wait before starting a scan, nor leave a lamp on all the time.

The second reason for the scanner’s low profile is its 40-sheet Automatic Document Feeder (ADF), which is nearly horizontal, rather than using the steeply raked trays of some other devices. A row of single-function buttons lies along the long, front edge of the scanner and includes buttons for scanning, copying (with an appropriate printer) and sending documents directly to e-mail or a PDF file.

The PDF provision is handled by an Epson utility which enables you to scan multiple sheets and produce a single, multi-page, searchable PDF file. Other software includes Abbyy Finereader 6, Presto! PageManager 8 and Epson’s own scan utility. This can be set in home, business or professional modes, with increasing levels of control and complexity in each mode. Similar suites are provided for PC and Mac.

Epson claims the GT-1500 can scan at up to 18ppm, though we only managed around 11ppm when we tested this. The scans themselves are of high quality, whether they’re for OCR, archival or photo reproduction. Although the scanner has a top optical resolution of 1,200 x 2,400ppi, this is adequate for reproducing photographic prints. There’s no facility for scanning transparencies.

Colours are pretty accurate, though with a slight red cast which might need software correction. Document scans are clean, making it easy for the OCR software to extract text and, if you need to scan batches of pages, the ADF is quick and effective. You can choose to save pages individually or together in a single file.

Company: Epson

Contact: 0871 2226702

The GT-1500 is a versatile business scanner for the home office or small business. The first outing for Epson's LED light source proves effective and the scanning quality is good. It's easy to use and the scan-to-PDF facility for multi-page documents should prove really useful. Even though it's not quite as quick as Epson thinks, it's still great value.