Epson WorkForce Pro GT-S85 review

The Epson WorkForce Pro GT-S85 offers a 75-page input capacity and fast speed.
Photo of Epson WorkForce Pro GT-S85

In many ways, the WorkForce Pro GT-S85 is nearly identical to the Epson Workforce Pro GT-S55 that I recently reviewed. It offers the same basic strengths and is aimed at the same kind of office, meaning one that is most likely using scan-related programs—like SharePoint or enterprise content management (ECM) systems or services—that run on a server or in the cloud. Like the GT-S85, it’s sold primarily through value added resellers. For companies that need its faster speed and higher duty cycle, however, it can easily be worth the higher price.

The two models are also physically similar. Both measure 8.4 by 11.9 by 8.0 inches (HWD) with the input and output trays closed, or 15.9 by 11.9 by 15.0-inches with the trays extended. That makes both of them small enough to share a desk with as a personal scanner. However, the GT-S85 is even less likely than the GT-S55 to serve in that role.

The GT-S85 offers the same 75-page capacity as its less expensive cousin for its automatic document feeder (ADF), but it promises to churn through the pages faster, with a 60 percent boost in the speed rating, to 40 pages per minute (ppm) and 80 images per minute (ipm) for duplex (two-sided) scans. It also offers a 50 percent higher duty cycle, at 3,000 pages per day. These differences are enough to make the GT-S85 much more definitively a workgroup scanner, or even a departmental scanner, despite all the similarities between the two.

Setup and Software
For my tests, I installed the GT-S85 on a system running Windows Vista. Setup was standard fare, with a USB connection as the only choice.

The software side of the package is identical to the software that comes with the GT-S55, starting with the Document Capture Pro scan utility. In addition to controlling scanning, the utility offers some basic editing features, including de-skewing images and adding, inserting, or replacing pages.

The utility will also let you send scans to an assortment of destinations. Options include sending the file as an email attachment, sending it to a printer or an FTP site; sending it to SharePoint, Evernote, or Google Docs; or saving it to disk in searchable PDF (sPDF), image PDF, JPG, BMP, TIFF, or Multi-TIFF formats.

The one application program Epson provides is Abbyy FineReader 6.0 Sprint Plus, for optical character recognition (OCR). As you would expect, you can use it to turn scanned documents into editable text files. In addition, Document Capture Pro automatically calls on the program to recognize scanned text when you give the command to scan and save to sPDF format. Finally, for software, the scanner comes with Twain, WIA, and ISIS drivers, so you can scan using virtually any Windows program with a scan command.

Scan Speed and Document Management
As is common for document scanners, the GT-S85 offers a 600 pixel per inch (ppi) optical resolution, but its 40 ppm rated speed is based on a 200 ppi default setting. In my tests using the default settings, I timed the scanner on our standard 25-sheet text document at reasonably fast speeds in absolute terms. However, as with the GT-S55, it was substantially slower than its rating, managing only 31.3 ppm for simplex scans and 58.8 ipm for duplex scans.

As I pointed out in the GT-S55 review, most scanners come much closer to their ratings in our testing. The Ambir ImageScan Pro 940u, which is also rated at 40 ppm and 80 ipm, came in at 38.5 ppm and 75 ipm, and the Editors’ Choice Canon imageFormula DR-C125, rated at 25 ppm and 50 ipm, came in at 25.4 ppm and 50 ipm.

Very much worth mention, however, is that I saw an obvious lag between giving the scan command and the scan actually starting. The more pages you scan in a batch, the smaller a percentage that lag will be of the overall time, and the faster the speed will come out in pages per minute.

The speed for scanning to sPDF format, which is generally preferred for document management applications, is potentially more of an issue. When adding the text recognition step for sPDF files, the GT-S85 takes longer than less expensive scanners with slower raw scan speeds.

I timed it at 2 minutes 6 seconds on our 25-sheet duplex text document, making it only 11 seconds faster than the Epson GT-S55, more than a minute slower than the Canon DR-C125, and about a half minute slower than the 30 ppm, 60 ipm Kodak i2400. If you need to scan primarily to sPDF files, in short, you can get equal or better performance with less expensive scanners.

Other Test Results
The software that comes with the GT-S85 also let me test its OCR accuracy for scanning to editable text format. Interestingly, the combination of FineReader and the GT-S85 did much better on OCR than the combination of FineReader and the GT-S55.

Using the default 200 ppi setting, the GT-S85 read both our Times New Roman and Arial text pages at font sizes as small as 10 points without a mistake. At 300 ppi, it managed to read both at 8 points without a mistake. More impressively, it also did as good a job or better with several fonts that aren’t part of our official tests because few scanners or programs can handle them well.

Whether the Epson WorkForce Pro GT-S85 will be a better choice than its competition depends on your particular needs. If you need to scan primarily to sPDF format, less expensive scanners can do the job as quickly or faster. But the GT-S85 may give you better accuracy, as it does compared with the Epson GT-S55. If you need to scan primarily to image formats, however, you can take better advantage of its speed. So although the Epson WorkForce Pro GT-S85 isn’t a compelling choice for every office it is aimed at, it may be the right choice, or at least a reasonable choice, for yours.

More Scanner Reviews:

Specifications
USB or FireWire Interface USB
Scanning Options Reflective
Automatic Document Feeder Yes
Maximum Scan Area Legal
Maximum Optical Resolution 600 pixels
Ethernet Interface No
Flatbed No

Verdict
Aimed at companies that are most likely using scan-related software running on servers or in the cloud, the Epson WorkForce Pro GT-S85 offers a 75-page input capacity and fast speed.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc