Epson was one of the first companies to take advantage of USB for scanning, and it's one of the features of its desktop MFPs that still impresses.

But scanning documents for copying is not the same problem as digitizing documents. For this specific task, Epson has a wide range of dedicated scanning equipment marketed under the WorkForce label.

Today we're going to review the WorkForce DS-790WN, a deceptively large document scanner with sophisticated features designed for imaging workflow.

It's expensive hardware, but does the fine print of Epson's details in this design justify its price?

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

Price and Availability

Pricing for the DS-790WN in the UK is €629,99 and in the US it is €749, direct from Epson. Oddly enough, it costs more at online retailers, so buying direct might be the better option.

Epson WorkForce DS-790WN Scanner

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

Design and build

We thought of the Canon ImageFORMULA R40 as a small desktop scanner until the Epson WorkForce DS-790WN came out of the box.

It measures just 296 x 169 x 167mm with the trays closed and 296 x 212 x 217mm open. Weighing 3,7 kg, it is a compact design that can be easily transported around the office as needed.

To reduce weight and production costs, the exterior of the DS-790WN is made of impact-resistant plastic that surrounds a more rigid metal frame.

It comes in two parts that need to be assembled after unboxing, and it only takes a few seconds once all the tape that secures the moving parts to prevent shifting during transit is removed.

The package includes a laptop-style power supply with cable, a USB cable, an Ethernet LAN cable, and some basic printed instructions, as well as a software disc. Why, in 2022, Epson still provides files on optical discs is a mystery. Perhaps a 50 cent USB stick is more useful or a QR code to download the necessary files.

It must be said that the DS-790WN can be fully used without a computer or any software installation, but some functions are only available when the scanner is controlled by a remote network connection.

Powering on the machine activates a large, bright and colorful 10,9cm touch screen from which you can start scans, change settings and access defined presets.

As with all of these types of devices, documents are fed into the upper tray, up to 100 sheets, and after scanning, ejected to the lower tray. The guides automatically center the paper and the DS-790WN can handle Letter, Legal, A4 and all smaller sizes.

The smallest documents it can accept are just 50,8mm square and the largest is 215,9mm wide and 6096mm long.

Epson WorkForce DS-790WN Scanner

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

Source documents can be single-sided or double-sided, although the scanner requires the operator to define this and is not automatically detected. It can pass paper from 27 to 413 gsm, and it can also send plastic cards.

Obviously the 100-sheet input capacity depends on the thickness of the media, but you should be able to have as many 80gsm pages ready to scan.

The stated duty cycle is an impressive 7000 pages per day, and for those considering that amount of scanning, a set of spare rollers are available. Based on 45 pages per minute, for color and monochrome scanning at 300 dpi, 7000 pages equals 155 total scan minutes. But those times don't take into account setup, loading paper, then deleting the scan job, or delays due to jams or scans having problems.

The scan speed of 45 pages per minute or 90 images isn't the fastest available, being slower than the latest Canon DR-M260, Fujitsu FI-7160 and similarly priced Raven Pro Max designs. But it is significantly faster than the cheapest scanners from all these brands.

The only stupid mistake we noticed in the design of the DS-790WN is that the USB Type-A port that you can use to scan directly to a storage device is located on the back, next to the LAN port and the USB port. Type-B, where it is not easily accessible. It had to be at the front of the machine and for some reason the Epson engineers didn't take that into account.

Epson WorkForce DS-790WN Scanner

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

Workflow

Datasheet

Document feeder capacity: 100 sheets
Daily scanning capacity: 7.000 pages
Dimensions: 296 x 169 x 167 mm
Weight: 3,7 kg
Networks: Ethernet LAN and Wi-Fi
Max Scan DPI: 600
Pages per minute: 45 black and white, 45 color (300 dpi simplex)
Images per minute: 90 black and white, 90 color (300 dpi duplex)
Duplex scanning: Yes
Scan to Internet: Yes
Scan to network: Yes
Scan to USB: Yes
Software: Epson Scan2 (TWAIN), SANE (Linux), WIA (Windows), ICA (Mac), ISIS (Windows)

The document imaging workflow involves turning paper documents into a digital resource that others can view or reproduce without fear of the original being damaged or lost.

It's also about directing those documents to the right place for them. The DS-790WN has numerous document paths designed to interface with specific workflows that businesses typically implement for scanned documents.

At the simplest level, the DS-790WN could easily be transported to a remote location, perhaps a business that needs to capture a document repository before consolidating it. Once there, the images can be scanned directly to a USB storage device without a computer.

But this scanner is designed for more elaborate workflows where the scan is sent to an FTP server, sent via email, to the cloud, or to a nearby PC. Critically, it can do more than one of these things, so send it to the local server and cloud storage can become default mode.

Going even further, Epson has also implemented a security solution where an NFC card reader can be plugged in that identifies the person scanning and encrypts the data as it travels over the network using an authentication server. This provides a level of confidence that scanned images have not been intercepted or altered from the scanner to the repository, which will be appreciated by those who demand confidentiality.

A classic example of this usage pattern is if someone in RR. H H. scan salary information, the person doing the scanning indicates that the scans can only go to a location on the network that is not generally accessible to people on the network.

Epson WorkForce DS-790WN Scanner

It's the software that makes the most of this great hardware (Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

Depending on how the owner wants to use the DS-790WN, it can be managed from a PC or Mac using Twain and ISIS drivers, and scanning can be started from any application that supports these standards. It also works with Linux using SANE standards for those using that platform.

For businesses with a more sophisticated imaging workflow, Epson has created Document Capture Pro, an impressive tool that increases the level of control over how images are indexed. It is possible to have naming conventions based on barcodes, date and time, and many other parameters.

It also offers segregation of duties, where blank pages can be used to manage when the system decides that a series of pages is a document and a new document has been started.

This feature can be crucial. Scanning 100-page blocks of pages and then manually reviewing them for packaging as documents is time-consuming and tedious.

Another great time-saving feature is the excellent OCR software. In our tests, it worked perfectly down to minute point sizes, and the text documents created provide a powerful means of locating all scanned pages that contain specific references.

Epson WorkForce DS-790WN Scanner

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

final verdict

It may be a bit slower than some of the competing scanners, but given all the work that needs to be done during the scanning process,

There's only one major problem with the Epson DS-790WN and many of its competitors; the price.

It costs around €100 compared to many competing products, but that doesn't make the Epson DS-790WN a bargain.

When you consider that you can get two Canon R40 scanners (opens in a new tab) for the same price and double the performance with enough manpower, the Epson seems expensive.

That said, the R40 is not network compatible, and the Epson's extra speed would allow it to do about the same number of scans in a typical workday.

What makes a difference, and which isn't practical for us to test, is exactly how long the DS-790WN would continue to scan if it were anywhere near its "reliable duty cycle" of 7000 pages per day.

It looks well made and Epson offers replacement roller assembly kits and optional warranty extensions, so confidence in its survivability isn't unfounded.

Epson WorkForce DS-790WN Scanner

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

In our experience, it may be due to the number of stapled pages that are accidentally sent and the care with which operators remove jams without damaging the inner rails.

With that kind of investment, a little consideration could go a long way in keeping this hardware running smoothly for a long time.

To be clear, if price wasn't an issue, this is easily one of the best desktop scanning solutions we've seen, offering great flexibility and all the features any imaging workflow needs.

If you want raw scan speeds, other brands are faster, but in terms of the overall hardware and software package, the Epson DS-790WN takes some beating.

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