The Brother ADS-2100 is one of the more rugged document scanners that we’ve seen. Resembling a small inkjet, its brushed black finish makes for a nice change over the slew of dull greys that dominate these scanners. Read more scanner reviews.
As is typical of these scanners, the paper holder and output tray can slide in and out, although even at its most compact, the Brother’s 299 x 220mm footprint is relatively sizeable for such a device.
The extra heft goes to good use though, and the trays feel quite tough and durable, even if they don’t stretch out quite far enough to be sure of catching all of the paper.
The Brother ADS-2100's input and output capacities are both rated at 50 sheets, and we’d tend to agree with that assessment. The device comes with a daily duty cycle of 500 sheets. This isn’t, then, intended to be a heavy-duty model, but it can certainly copy with a good number of bundles each day, and would be ideal for a small or medium business.
The Brother ADS-2100 is quite plain in terms of controls, with just three buttons and two Lights. There are dedicated controls for cancelling a scan and for one-touch scanning.
The third button, though, lends access to one of the Brother’s more cunning features – direct scanning to a USB drive. Rather than sending the results to a connected computer, you can simply download them onto your own USB drive, and copy to a PC later.
The Brother ADS-2100 aims for versatility all round. You can scan extended length documents and, using the special carrier sheet, A3 documents can be scanned. The latter are essentially the same size as two A4 sheets fastened together. By folding the A3 document in half and placing it in the carrier sheet, the Brother can scan both sides at once and combine them into one complete document.
The software bundle is pulled together by the Brother Control Center. This isn’t the most user-friendly of software interfaces, although there are plenty of options there for those who wish to explore its inner workings, and the interface is highly customisable.
The rest of the programs include Nuance PDF Convertor and PaperPort 12 SE, as well as the NewSoft Presto! Biz Card application. These are very solid programs, although they don’t really surpass the selection provided on some cheaper models.
Brother ADS-2100: Performance
At low levels, the Brother ADS-2100 worked fairly swiftly. Turning a bundle of 10 double-sided black-and-white sheets of text into a searchable PDF, for instance, went at the rate of 38.7ppm at a 300dpi resolution.
At 600dpi, this dropped to a still impressive 15.8ppm. It struggled a bit more with full colour magazine articles, and another bundle of 10 double-sided sheets saw the speed drop to 25.5ppm at 300dpi; but just 4ppm at a resolution of 600dpi.
It’s questionable whether you would want to be using this scanner for much high-resolution 600dpi work, although the performance was impressive at 300dpi, where the quality was generally very acceptable. We didn’t spot many mistakes, although the output wasn’t always entirely accurate either.
Colour images were adequately reproduced, even if the colour wasn’t especially sharp or sparkling.
The Brother ADS-2100 was noisy at the lower resolution levels, adding more than 20dB to the room noise – it was much quieter at 600dpi. This probably wouldn’t be a problem in an office, although it would be annoying if the scanner was close to your desk.