Looking for a convenient, portable, single-pass scanner with duplex capability, Wi-Fi and USB 3.0 connectivity? The Brother DSMobile DS-940W landed on the DRN review desk and fits the bill.
Sometimes you just don’t realise how much you rely on a piece of technology until you lose access to it, like a work from home mandate lasting the best part of a year. Sure there are smartphone app options like CamScanner you can use in a pinch, but if you want a quality scan you need the right tool for the job.
The Brother DSMobile DS-940W is a feature-rich, manual-feed portable document scanner that comes in a little wider than the long size of an A4 sheet. In fact the dimensions are a paltry 319 x 63.1 x 45.4 mm (LxDxH) and weighs in at 699g.
Looking at the raw figures it comes in a little over the heaviest and largest iPad (iPad Pro 4th gen), but the DS-940W feels like a solid piece of kit. There is no flex in the unit except for the top cover which is understandable.
The right side of the unit is adorned with 5 buttons – power, Start/Stop, toggles for Colour/Mono, PDF/JPG and duplexing. All the key options at your fingertip without the need to fiddle around in software (or so I thought).
And if you look at the side of the unit on the far right, there is a three-way toggle to change the mode from microSD, USB and WiFi mode. There is also a WPS button.
There are a couple of ways to skin the cat. There are four operating modes:
- Wi-Fi N 2.4Ghz via a home network router – WPS setup
- Wi-Fi Direct to your computing device – connect to its SSID
- USB cable to a PC or Mac
- Standalone via a microSD card to 32GB
It works out of the box with standard OS drivers, so Windows, macOS and Linux are all supported. If you are on a PC or Mac, you can download the Brother iPrint & Scan software from their website. Just install the software and follow the bouncing ball. It was easy to get it up and running with this method, just make sure you have toggled it to USB mode first.
Alternatively, you can download the iPrint & Scan app from your respective smartphone store. This needed the toggle to be in the WiFi mode, and all the necessary starting information is printed on the bottom of the unit. I did the setup using my Pixel 5 and found it a little finnicky. The process works fine but there is a need for patience because it took a while to find the device initially. At one point I was almost certain it was never going to find the scanner from my phone but persistence paid off.
It is important to note that the DS-940DW is a portable scanner, a rather unique one. It is not a flatbed, nor is it a hand scanner. The document is pulled by the front rollers, over the dual Contact Imaging Sensors (CIS) at a consistent speed, then picked up by the rear rollers and ejected out the rear slot or the upper paper guide. I found myself preferring to allow the document to feed through the rear slot over the course of the view. Opening the cover creates a sharp 90 degree bend to push the out the top, a process that did not work too kindly on thicker paper or photo paper.
Settings are controlled by software in whichever OS you are using. I had hopes that the hard buttons on the device means I can quickly change settings, but these are reserved for the standalone mode where you are scanning to a microSD card.
The DS-940DW is rated up to 15 pages per minutes, for single sided A4 colour or duplex mono. I don’t know about you, but feeding 15 pieces of paper into a manual feeder without skewing it or somehow mangling it is definitely not my forte. Of course there are caveats, in particular the scan resolution will have the greatest impact to the speed. The software supports resolutions of 100, 150, 200, 300, 400, 600 (max) and 1200 dpi (interpolated).
Realistically with the 512MB of onboard memory, the bottleneck is at the scanner. This became apparent when I did my best to feed pages as quickly as I could and the Windows software struggled until the buffer was cleared.
Diving into the advanced settings, there are options to:
- skip blank page (with a three level setting to determine how much noise is accepted as blank)
- auto deskew
- auto image rotation
- detect end of page (for documents shorter than the set paper size)
- remove bleed-through / pattern (if something is on very thin paper and it’s showing through)
- edge fill (fill the scanned image with white or black), you can set which edge individually up to 3.0mm in 0.1mm increments
- perform enhancements such as colour tone adjustment, diffusion adjustment (grey), colour drop and edge emphasis
There is also a special setting to handle continuous scan (if supported), a carrier sheet mode (e.g. slides) or plastic card mode.
I have been doing some back scanning of photos and documents, the DS-940DW is completely silent at idle, and barely makes any sound when in action. In fact the teenager’s music in the shower a few rooms away is enough to suppress most of the sound of the scanner running next to me.
Once you have a direct connection to the DS-940DW, you can bring up the embedded web interface and configure the unit to join an existing WiFi infrastructure. While it does not make the start up discovery of the scanner from your mobile device faster, it does mean you can share it with anyone else connected to the same WiFi network.
To Brother’s credit, the bundled software included Naunce PaperPort SE, Kofax Power PDF and Presto! Bizcard. This provides users with document editing and management capabilities out of the box without having to fork out extra money.
The unit is powered by an user replaceable 3.8V 1200mAh, 4.56W rechargeable battery. Whilst Brother makes claims of 200 scans on WiFi or 320 on microSD, I would be wary of relying on those figures. It has a rated power consumption when scanning of 3.6W in USB3.0 mode and 4.4W on Wi-Fi mode.
Realistically I would guess 40% of the scanning imprint figures would be achievable, again it really depends on the settings. You will want to run it off a minimum of 5V/2A USB port to give it sufficient power on the line, it is worth noting that not every (older) USB ports will have the wattage.
Depending on your app you use to control the scanner, there are options to save in TIFF, JPEG, PDF, Security PDF, Signed PDF, PDF/A-1b or Searchable PDF.
There is also the option to create a workflow and save it to the cloud with direct support for Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, OneDrive. Again there are some caveats here, the OneDrive connector is available for the desktop iPrint & Scan only. For iOS users you are fresh out of luck as the iOS version does not support workflows.
The only gripe I have, and it is a limitation of the size of the unit, is that the rollers are small and not user replaceable. Take care of these because once they are damaged then the unit will be at end of productive life.
In three words, the Brother DSMobile DS-940DW is convenient, portable and handy. It is an extremely competent portable scanner with three distinct usage modes. It is quiet in operation, has decent scan speeds and colour accuracy. The software bundle is more than sufficient to satisfy the needs of a road warrior, or perhaps a parent who need to quickly scan a form for school
If you are looking for a heavy duty scanner for EDRMS solutions then this is not it. However it is perfect for the occasional scan. Got a receipt for tax time or reimbursement? Some documents you need once in a blue moon? Some old photos you want to scan over time for safe keeping? Filling in the paperwork for school enrolment? Perfect. Quality document scanning for the road warrior? Nails it.
The Brother DSMobile DS-940DW has a RRP of AUD$299, and the Brother Australia website has a list of stockists. It is also available on Amazon and through them helps DigitalReviews so we appreciate you considering making your purchase there.
DRN would like to thank Brother Australia for their on-going support.
Lastly, I am really pleased to say that the Brother DSMobile DS-940DW gets our first ever Pulse Award. Well done Brother Australia!
Technology: Dual CIS (Contact Image Sensor)
Product Form Factor: Mobile single sheet fed scanner with U-path paper control system
Local Interface: Super Speed micro USB 3.0 Type B, Micro USB 2.0, Type B
Light Source: LED Array
Back Up Clock: Yes (via Battery)
Networking: WLAN IEEE 802.11b/g/n (Infrastructure Mode), IEEE 802.11g (Wi-Fi Direct)
Control Panel: LED display, LED, Keys
Scan Speed Standard (A4) Colour and Mono (2 Sided): Up to 15ppm (pages per minute)
Optical Scan Resolution: Up to 600 x 600dpi (dots per inch)
Interpolated Scan Resolution: Up to 1,200 x 1,200dpi (dots per inch)
Colour Depth: 48 bit colour Processing (Input), 24 bit colour Processing (Output)
Grey Scale: 256 levels (8 bit)
Scanner Driver: Windows® 4 TWAIN, WIA, Windows 7, 8.1, 10 (32 & 64 bit editions), Windows Server 2019, 2016, 2012R2, 2012; Macintosh ICA, macOS 10.12.x, 10.13.x, 10.14.x; Linux SANE
Software for Windows
iPrint&Scan for Windows PC: iPrint&Scan – Easy to use scan software from Brother offering document workﬂow management
Nuance® PaperPort SE 14: Document management and sharing program
Kofax Power PDF Standard v3: PDF Editor built to maximise productivity
Remote Setup: Allows the user to set-up the scanner from their PC
NewSoft® Presto!® BizCard: A complete contact management solution that lets you scan, edit and synchronise business card contacts to various contact management software applications
Software for macOS
iPrint&Scan for macOS: iPrint&Scan – Easy to use scan software from Brother offering document workﬂow management
Remote Setup: Allows the user to setup the scanner from their PC
NewSoft® Presto!® BizCard 7: A complete contact management solution that lets you scan, edit and synchronise business contacts to various contact management software applications
Media Size Single: Width 50.8 – 215.9mm, Length 86.4 – 1828.8mm U-path paper control system: Width 74 – 215.9mm, Length 105 – 297mm
Media Weight: 35gsm – 270gsm (single paper), 52 – 80 gsm (U-path paper control system)
Receipts: Width 74 – 79.38mm, Length 105 – 355.6mm
Card Size: Plastic Card (Landscape): Width – 85.60mm, Length – 53.98mm
Media Thickness: Plastic Card up to 1.00mm, Embossed face up to 1.24mm
Mobile and Web Connectivity
iPrint&Scan Scan: directly to a mobile device running Android or iOS operating Systems
Scan to Workﬂow: Confgure using Brother iPS and then scan direct to Dropbox, Google Drive, icloud, OneDrive (Desktop iPS only. The iOS version does not support workﬂows).
Fleet Management Tools
Embedded Web Server: Web based scanner management software embedded onto the machine
BRAdmin Light: WAN management software
Security and Network
Network Protocols: TCP/IP (IPv4) TCP/IP (IPv6)
IPv4: DHCP, APIPA (Auto IP), WINS/NetBIOS, DNS Resolver, mDNS, SNMPv1/v2c, ICMP, Web Services(Scan), HTTP/HTTPS server,
LLMNR responder, SNTP Client
Wireless Network Security: WEP 64/128 bit, WPA-PSK (TKIP/AES), WPA2-PSK (AES), SSL/TLS (HTTPS)
IPv6: RA, DNS Resolver, mDNS, LLMNR responder, Web Services(Scan), SNTP Client, HTTP/HTTPS server, ICMPv6
Wireless Setup Support Wi-Fi Protected Setup™ (WPS)