Xerox DocuMate 5445 review

The Xerox DocuMate 5445 desktop scanner offers scan speed and paper capacity suitable for a workgroup or small office.
Photo of Xerox DocuMate 5445

A close competitor to the Editors’ Choice Kodak i2600, the Xerox DocuMate 5445 offers only a slightly slower claimed speed and even less of a difference on our tests. It also offers the same ample input capacity, with a 75-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF), and it comes with software that matches the i2600 for optical character recognition (OCR) and document management, then does it one better by adding a top-tier PDF utility. The two scanners, in short, are closely matched, but the 5445 delivers just a little more, making it the new Editors’ Choice for small office and workgroup document scanners in its price class.

Xerox rates the 5445 at 45 pages per minute (ppm) and 90 images per minute (ipm) for duplex (two-sided) scans, with one image on each side of the page. That’s close enough to the Kodak scanner’s 50 ppm and 100 ipm rating to be nipping at the i2600′s heels. More important, it’s close enough for small differences in software efficiency to make up for the difference in raw scan speed.

Although the 5445′s 12.5 by 8.2 inch (WD) footprint makes it small enough to fit on a desk and use as a personal scanner, using it as one would be a waste of its talent. In addition to its speed, it offers the same potential for heavy-duty scanning as the Kodak i2600, with the same maximum duty cycle, at 4000 sheets per day. The combination of speed, capacity, duty cycle, and price make it a good fit for, and far more likely to wind up as, a small office or workgroup scanner, despite having a USB port as its only connection choice.

Also worth mention is that if you need a flatbed as well as an ADF, Xerox says you can add one by daisy-chaining the 5445 with the tabloid-size (11-by-17-inch) Xerox DocuMate 700 ($995 direct), using a USB connection.

Basics
Set up is absolutely typical for a sheetfed document scanner. As I’ve already suggested, Xerox ships an assortment of highly capable software with the 5445, including Nuance PaperPort Professional 14 for document management, OmniPage Professional 18 for optical character recognition (OCR), and PDF Converter Professional 7 for working with PDF files. All three are top-tier programs, and they may well be all you’ll need to handle your scans.

As with most scanners, the 5445 also comes with a scan utility with settings for details like resolution, color mode, and file format to save to, all of which you can easily modify as needed. In most cases, the easiest way to scan is with the utility, which is what I used for my tests. The utility can save files in the format you want and also send them to an application program, automatically launching the program with the file open. If you prefer to scan from within a program, however, the scanner also comes with Twain, ISIS, and WIA drivers, which will let you scan directly from virtually any Windows program that includes a scan command.

Performance
As I’ve already mentioned, the DocuMate 5445 turned out to be almost tied with the Kodak i2600 for speed, despite a ten percent lower speed rating. Scanning our standard 25-sheet text document in simplex (one side only) to a PDF image file, I timed the scanner at 38.5 ppm, which is a bit short of it’s claimed speed, but still impressively fast. For duplex scans of the same text document, it came in at 37.5 ppm and 75 ipm. That translates to the 5445 being about 3 ppm slower than the i2600 for simplex scans, and only 1 ppm, and 1.9 ipm, slower for duplex scans.

Potentially more important, because searchable PDF format is generally more useful than image PDF for document management, the two scanners are essentially tied for scanning the 25-sheet, 50-image test file and recognizing the text, at 1 minute 18 seconds for the DocuMate 5445, and 1:16 for the Kodak i2600.

The bad news here is that both scanners add so much time for the recognition step that neither is as fast for scanning to searchable PDF format as the Editors’ Choice Canon DR-2580C, at just 1:01, despite the DR-2580C’s mere 25-ppm, 50-ipm rating. However both are a lot faster than the Canon scanner for scanning to PDF image files, and neither takes much longer for scanning to searchable PDFs.

One side note about the 5445′s speed is that it takes about 7 seconds between giving the scan command to the utility and the scan actually starting. Subtract that 7 seconds from the total time, and the speed for the actual scan is 60 ppm for simplex and 115.4 ipm for duplex. The longer the document, the more pages the 7 seconds is amortized over, and the faster the effective speed in ppm will be.

The 5445 also turned in excellent results on our OCR tests, reading our Times New Roman test page at sizes as small at 8 points, and our Arial test page at sizes as small as 6 points, without a mistake. It also did a surprisingly good job on an assortment of other fonts that aren’t part of our official tests.

Other Issues
One minor issue for the 5445 is that although its front panel lets you scroll though predefined scan profiles and then start a scan by hitting the Scan button, it identifies the profiles with numbers, which I, for one, find too arbitrary to remember. This is common for document scanners, but that doesn’t make it any easier to use.

A few scanners, including the Kodak i2600, offer a much better approach by using a multi-character LCD on the front panel instead of a one-character LED, and letting you identify each profile with text. With numbered profiles, I prefer to ignore the scan button, and start the scan from my computer instead, where I can see a list of the profiles on screen.

Very much on the plus side, both the Twain and ISIS drivers, as well as the scan utility, offer an assortment of settings to help improve scans, including options for auto cropping, auto straightening, despeckling, skipping blank pages, and automatic double feed detection. Even better, the scan utility lets you set and save these settings on a profile-by-profile basis.

My wish list for the Xerox DocuMate 5445 would include adding the Canon DR-2580C’s ability to recognize text at full scan speed plus an LCD, as with the Kodak i2600, to show profile names instead of numbers. However, it’s fast enough to largely make up for whatever time it loses in the recognition step, and it’s not all that much of an issue to launch scans from the computer instead of the scanner’s front panel. More important, the balance of speed, input capacity, duty cycle, and price, along with the well chosen set of application programs and capable scan utility, make the Xerox DocuMate 5445 an easy pick as the new Editors’ Choice for moderately heavy-duty use in a small office or workgroup.

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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
The Xerox DocuMate 5445 is a highly capable desktop scanner that delivers fast speed with duplex (two-sided) scanning and comes with an assortment of world class software.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc