review

Epson FastFoto FF-680W Sheetfed Portable Wifi Scanner

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Digital documents and photos are great because they let you accumulate and organize "x" number of physical photos and documents into folders on your computer taking up far less space than in physical form!
With a photo and document scanner such as the Epson FastFoto FF-680W, you can easily take film rolls of old photos into the future without worry of photos curling up, cracking or flaking.
The Epson FastFoto FF-680W also comes with neat software that recognizes each word of a scanned document, making the Epson FastFoto FF-680W scanner extremely useful for accounting and bookkeeping.
The scanning range is 21.6 cm (horizontal) and 91 cm (vertical) so you can scan digitally most things through the FastFoto FF-680W wifi scanner, including 35 mm slides and film negatives. The FastFoto FF-680W scanner weighs 3.5 kg and has a very compact form factor, measuring 30 cm long, 17 cm wide and 17.5 cm high.
There is a 3D scanner-like ultrasonic sensor fitted to the FF-680W scanner to detect and manage documents and photos getting jammed, as well as an rgb led light bar capable of scanning in 24-bit colour and in 8-bit monochrome (one color).
While the FastFoto FF-680W scanner is not jack-of-all-trades like the Expression Home XP-422 printer scanner combo, the FastFoto FF-680W is master at scanning images, printed text and jotted text and best of all, it's a sheet fed scanner!
Unlike the XP-422, which has a flatbed scanner, the FastFoto FF-680W accomplishes a better job a scanning because it can process multiple scanning jobs by feeding multiple photos/documents in rapid succession.
Scanning time takes an average of one second for a 300 dpi photo and three seconds for a 600 dpi photo and you can stack a maximum 36 photos, which is the maximum number of photo exposures you can get per film roll.
As far as A4 documents, the FastFoto FF-680W can scan 45 documents per minute in both color and monochrome (one color) using the 300 dpi resolution.
As mentioned earlier, all scanners are not made equal so it's important getting the right scanner to suit your needs.
If you plan to do a lot of high volume scanning, the FastFoto FF-680W scanner is the perfect automatic document feeder (ADF) scanner for you because it is a single-pass scanner with duplex ADF scanning capability.
This means, you can automatically process entire encyclopedias worth of documents on both sides at once and on a single pass so you don't have to feed or flip documents over to scan the other side, which is very convenient.

You also get the convenience of wireless (LAN IEEE 802.11b/g/n) connectivity so you can connect the FastFoto FF-680W scanner to a Wifi network to process scanning jobs remotely without having to connect the included USB 3.0 cable.
Wired connectivity is via USB 3.0 connection
A few other neat features you get with the Epson FastFoto FF-680W include skipping blank pages during the scan process, removing punch holes (up to 7 mm in size) from scanned images and automatically correct skew/orientation and resizing of scanned images.
Both auto-rotate and deskew are very useful features when scanning documents for the purpose of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) data capture which eliminates the need for manual data entry.

The Epson FastFoto FF-680W scanner comes with companion software to use on a desktop or smartphone/tablet.
extension output tray with paper stopper 
The desktop version of the Epson FastFoto software is compatible with Linux, MacOS (versions X 10.11.x, 10.12.x, 10.13.x and 10.14.x) and both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows versions running Windows 7, Windows 8 (and 8.1), Windows 10 (and 10.1).
The Epson FastFoto desktop software is only 13.8 MB in size and installs everything you need including the scanner driver and software for scanning photos (Epson Scan 2 Utility v6.4.40.1) and software for scanning documents (Epson ScanSmart). The Epson Software Updater is also installed so you can update the software.
The Epson FastFoto desktop software lets you scan anything that is in physical form to digital form, namely health records, shopping receipts, analog instant film, digital photos and film roll negatives.
The quality of the scanned photos and documents depends strongly on the quality of the original but the raw version you get is very lifelike. The software also gives you an enhanced version of the original.

The FastFoto FF-680W scanner machine has a dedicated "scan" button but you can also initiate the scanning process from the FastFoto software itself by clicking "start scanning".

When you click "start scanning", the software will ask you how you want to organize your photos/documents (i.e. year, month/season or subject) and then generate automatically a preview text of the file name based on the year, month/season or subject you enter. You can also have the software create a folder automatically to save the photos/documents.

The document scan software (Epson ScanSmart) lets you convert the text of a scanned document into a searchable PDF format that is recognized by your computer using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) which is super convenient because you can quickly find information contained on the scanned document without having to find it yourself by reading it.
Other output formats you can choose for the scans include JPEG, TIFF, PDF and PDF/A (the ‘A’ in PDF/A is for “Archiving”). If you plan to work on the scanned documents or documents contain images, it's best that you choose a high resolution format like TIFF or PDF instead of JPEG (low resolution).
Scanned documents can be saved locally to your computer hard disk, Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel but you also have other options like attaching scanned documents to an email or send them to Google Drive, Dropbox or your local printer.
The Epson FastFoto FF-680W sheetfed scanner also comes with a clear document sleeve carrier that you can use to protect fragile documents for scanning.
Besides Wifi connection, there is also an Access Point (AP) connection mode so you can control the Epson FastFoto FF-680W sheetfed scanner from a smartphone or tablet without a wireless router. To access AP mode, you simply download the Epson DocumentScan app to your device and follow the setup prompts.
The Access Point connection literary creates its own Wifi hotspot so your phone directly connects to the FastFoto FF-680W scanner.

Once inside the Epson DocumentScan app, you have access to many scan settings so you can set the scanner to go to sleep (Sleep Timer from 0 to 240 minutes) and to automatically power off (from 0 to 720 minutes).
Other scan settings added to the Epson DocumentScan app include document size, image type (color, grayscale, auto or black/white), resolution (300 dpi or 600 dpi), scanning side (single or double sided), image format (JPEG or PDF), file name and saving location.
The external AC 100V/240V power adapter with detachable power cable uses 50 Hz and 60 Hz power grid so the FastFoto FF-680W scanner can work in any country. 
As far as energy use, the scanner consumes 18W of electricity per scan, 9W in standby, 1.4W in sleep mode and 0.1W when powered off. 
As the scanner consumes 18 watts of power per scan, you're looking at around 648 watts per 36 scans which is good going considering that the average desktop PC uses 300 watts while running, 200 watts on idle and 400 watts under load.
Also included with the FastFoto FF-680W high speed scanner is a Quick Start Guide, USB cable and a 12-month carry-in warranty service which means that in the event of a warranty repair you will have to take (or deliver) the FastFoto FF-680W scanner to an Epson authorized service location at your own cost.

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