We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Canon DR-M160 review

£960 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Canon

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

The Canon DR-M160 is a document scanner producing decent quality at high speeds.

Resembling a small grey printer, the Canon DR-M160 doesn't perhaps look like a high-calibre document scanner costing close to £950. Look closer, however, and you see a design that improves considerably on that of Canon's much cheaper DR-C125.

The Canon DR-M160 has a more rugged paper feed, and the guide extends much further, allowing you to securely support bundles of documents. We still wouldn't want to overload the M160 though, and Canon itself suggests that you feed it with no more than 60 sheets at once.

Given its potential speed and high price tag, we'd really expect the Canon DR-M160 to be better specified here, and the inability to load it up with a huge pile of documents and leave it working away is something of a limit. That's especially so since its duty cycle of 7000 sheets a day (the C125 recommends just 1500) is substantial. Visit: Business Advisor.

The output tray itself is good. It extends in three sections, and some significant curvature allows it to collect the scanner source material. The tray could perhaps be a little more robust, but the design works a lot better than the C125's. A Long Document mode lets you feed in source material measuring up to 3m.

The control panel is relatively simple, with buttons for selecting which job number to process, as well as for starting and stopping scans. Paper jams are a regular feature of high-speed document scanners, but on the Canon DR-M160, should the material get stuck at any point (if two sheets are fed at once, for instance), a quick press of the DFR (Double Feed Release) button will adjust the feeder and, hopefully, free it. This prevents scan jobs from being destroyed halfway through. See also: Group test: what's the best scanner?

We found the Canon DR-M160 to be surprisingly trouble-free given its speed, but a couple of times we did get jams, and the DFR button was able to successfully resolve these problems.

The supply of software titles is adequate but no more. CapturePerfect 3.1 is a fairly versatile package that can, amongst its various features, scan batches of documents into PDFs.

The main software interface, just as on the cheaper C125, is Capture OnTouch. Indeed, on our review sample the version of OnTouch was actually older than the one offered with the C125, although we hope those buying the M160 new will get at least the same version.

The OnTouch is a very proficient, if slightly stiff, front-end that lets you adjust resolution (from around 200dpi to 600dpi), and create a variety of file types - including both searchable and non-searchable PDFs. You also get a limited but moderately effective range of tools for deskewing crooked documents. Kofax VRS is also included, although if you want state-of-the-art correction tools, you should be prepared to buy a third party package.

Rounding off the bundle is Nuance's eCopy PDF Pro Office, a very workable means of managing and monitoring the sending out of scanned files across networks, email and other packages.

The Canon can link seamlessly with SharePoint, allowing it to integrate well within offices using Microsoft software.

Mac users will find themselves out in the cold, however. While the cheaper C125's software suite and drivers support Macs, the M160's makes no mention at all. Since a number of the software titles are shared across the two scanners, we're a little puzzled as to why this should be. So it's worth noting that Canon appears not to be officially supporting the Macintosh on this high-end document scanner.

We expected the M160 to be much faster than Canon's cheaper C125. However, while there is a noticeable difference, it isn't as great as we expected. That's because, while the device itself can physically scan at a much greater rate, much of the process of converting documents revolves around the computer rather than the scanner - over half of the time was spent waiting for the software to complete its tasks, and the Canon was itself more or less irrelevant through this phase.

At a resolution of 200dpi, the M160 converted our main 20-page test job into a searchable PDF in 34 seconds - 15 seconds faster than the C125, but with a rate of just 35.3ppm. This figure is reasonably impressive, but you might expect more given the price hike.

If you're happy with image files rather than PDFs, you can see speeds of up to 52.2ppm, but for fully searchable files, you won't get much above that 35ppm.

Scan quality is an improvement on that of the C125. The text is darker and sharper and flesh tones appear smoother and more natural. Colour is generally a notch up. Move to the 300dpi mode and the results are better still. And here the speed remains a very usable 19.4ppm, while the OCR capabilities are strong, with even our demanding dictionary page being well converted. The 600dpi mode remains at just below the 10ppm mark, and produced strong results across both OCR text and colour pages.

Canon DR-M160 Expert Verdict »

Canon imageFORMULA DR-M160 Scores 8.7 out of 10 based on 3 reviews
Desktop sheet-fed scanner
600dpi maximum resolution
24bit colour
duplex
60-sheet feeder capacity
3m long document mode
USB 2.0 interface
7,000 sheet daily duty scan
Twain/Isis-compliant
280x640x346mm (fully open)
280x172x178mm (closed)
3.2kg
  • Ease of Use: We give this item 8 of 10 for ease of use
  • Features: We give this item 8 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 6 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

The Canon DR-M160 comes with a relatively high price tag. And while it is a step up on the DR-C125, it may not offer enough of an improvement to justify the extra expense. The paper feed capacity isn't especially high, and that's a shame, since the fast feed is potentially a great advantage. If you can only put in small stacks at once, and have to wait for the computer to finish processing before loading the next, it does limit scn-rate performance. We'd prefer to see a better software bundle, and the lack of Mac support is mystifying. Quality is undeniably good though.

  • Canon DR-C125 review

    Canon DR-C125

    The Canon DR-C125 is a document scanner that offers good value and speed, and is a solid all-rounder.

  • Canon DR-M140 review

    Canon DR-M140

    The Canon DR-M140 is the middle of three business scanners launched by Canon this year.

  • Fujitsu fi-6130Z

    Fujitsu fi-6130Z

    The Fujitsu fi-6130Z is the latest salvo in the battle between Canon and Fujitsu to create the best desktop office sheet-fed scanners.

  • Canon DR-M1060 review: A3 sheetfed scanner lacks advanced features, offers great value

    Canon DR-M1060: A3 sheetfed scanner lacks advanced features, offers great value

    For larger businesses needing to convert capacious A3 bundles, the Canon DR-M1060 is an A3 scanner that offers a mix of price and performance that's simply unmatched on the market at this time. Here's our Canon DR-M1060 review.

  • Canon ImageFormula DR-2010M review

    Canon ImageFormula DR-2010M

    The Canon ImageFormula DR-2010M is a compact, desktop document scanner. It has a 50-page automatic document feeder, easy-to-use software, and is one of the fastest document scanner we've tested.


IDG UK Sites

Nexus 6 vs Sony Xperia Z3 comparison: Lollipop phablet takes on KitKat flagship smartphone

IDG UK Sites

Why people aren't upgrading to iOS 8: new features are for power users, not the average Joe

IDG UK Sites

Free rocket & space sounds: NASA launches archive of interstellar audio on SoundCloud

IDG UK Sites

iPad Air 2 review: Insanely fast and alarmingly thin. Speed tests, camera tests, beautiful...