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Xerox DocuMate 5460 review

HardwareReviews
8/10
by M. David Stone, 08 Apr 2013Reviews
Xerox DocuMate 5460 review
Best Buy

Basically a faster and more expensive clone of the Xerox DocuMate 5445, the Xerox DocuMate 5460 is a third faster than the 5445, and roughly a quarter pricier. Rated at 60 pages per minute (ppm) and 120 images per minute (ipm) for duplex scanning (with one image on each side of the page), it offers the same 75-page capacity for its automatic document feeder (ADF) and the same 4000-page-per-day maximum duty cycle. It’s a great choice for a medium-size office or workgroup with heavy duty scan needs.

The 5460 isn't any bigger than the 5445, it’s simply faster. It offers the same footprint, at 320mm x 210mm, making it small enough to fit on a desk. Also, as with the 5445, it offers a USB port as its only connector. Don't misread the size and connection type as confirmation that this is a high-end personal scanner, though. Given the 5460's speed and heavy duty scan capability, using it that way would be like using a fire hose to water your lawn.

Basics

Setup is typical for a USB-connected document scanner. However, note that if you need a flatbed as well as an ADF, Xerox says that you can add its tabloid-size DocuMate 700 by daisy chaining it using the USB connection.

As you might expect, the 5460 comes with the same set of applications as the 5445, including the document management program Nuance PaperPort Professional 14, the optical character recognition (OCR) program OmniPage Professional 18, and PDF Converter Professional 7 for working with PDF files. All three are among the best available in their respective fields, and they may well be all you need for general purpose office scanning.

Also included is the same One Touch scan utility that comes with the 5445, which lets you easily set or change options like resolution, colour mode, and the file format to save to. As with most scan utilities, One Touch can save scans in the formats you want, converting them to the appropriate format for a given program, and it can automatically launch a program with the converted file open. You can, for example, scan a document, recognise the text, and open the resulting file in Word all with a single command.

As an alternative to the scan utility, Xerox also provides Twain, ISIS, and WIA drivers, which between them will let you scan directly from virtually any Windows program that includes a scan command.

Scan performance

In my tests, the DocuMate 5460 came close to its rated speed in terms of raw scan time, but some of its advantage over 45-ppm and 50-ppm scanners like the 5445 and the Kodak i2600 gets lost in overhead.

For a simplex (one-sided) scan of our standard 25-sheet text document to image PDF format, I timed the scanner at 46.9 ppm, starting from giving the scan command, and ending with the scanned document showing up in an Adobe Reader window. That's certainly faster than the 5445, at 38.5 ppm, or the Kodak i2600 at 41.7 ppm, but it's well short of the claimed 60 ppm.

The difference between claimed speed and timed throughput comes from the scanner pausing after the scan command has been given in the One Touch utility. There’s a 7 second wait before the first page actually starts to move through the scanner following the command being given. Subtract that start-up overhead from the overall time, and the speed is a true 60 ppm. Similarly, I clocked a duplex scan of the same 25-sheet double-sided document at 92.3 ipm, but without the start-up time, the speed jumps to 117.6 ipm. In real world use, given that the 7 second start time will be the same for any document, the longer the document is, the faster the overall speed in ppm will be.

The more important speed for most purposes is the time for scanning to searchable PDF format, which is generally more useful for document management. Whatever advantage the 5460 has over the 5445 and Kodak i2600 is far less obvious here, because the advantage in scan speed is eclipsed by the time it takes for the recognition step. In my tests, all three scanners were essentially tied, at 1 minute and 16 seconds for the 5460 and the Kodak i2600, and 1 minute and 18 seconds for the Xerox 5445.

What the tied speed really means is not that the scanners are all the same speed for this task, but that they're all bumping up against the test computer's maximum speed for processing the pages. In the case of the 5460, after it scanned a few pages, it stopped after each one, and paused several seconds before the next – presumably waiting for the computer to acknowledge that it was ready for more. In real world use, depending on how fast your computer is, you may or may not see a difference in speed between the scanners when scanning to searchable PDF format.

Other issues

The DocuMate 5460, in combination with its included software, did an excellent job in terms of accuracy on our OCR tests, reading both our Times New Roman and Arial test page at sizes as small as six points without a mistake. It even did far better than most scanners on an assortment of fonts that we also look at, even though they aren't part of our official tests.

One minor issue that the Xerox 5460 shares with the 5445 and most other document scanners is that although you can pick a scan profile and start a scan from its front panel buttons, the feature is almost useless. The front panel LCD identifies the profiles as numbers only, which means you have to memorise which number is which, or paste a cheat sheet on or near the scanner.

The Kodak i2600 and a few other scanners offer a much better approach, replacing the one character on the front panel with a multi-character LCD. With multiple characters, you can name each profile or give it a short description, making it much easier to pick the profile you want. With numbered profiles, I usually wind up ignoring the scanner front panel, and using the computer instead, picking a profile from a list I can see on screen.

Very much on the plus side, both the Twain and ISIS drivers, as well as the scan utility, offer most, if not all, of the settings you would expect in a workgroup scanner to help you improve scans. Among other options, you can set the drivers and utility to auto crop, auto straighten, despeckle, skip blank pages, and automatically detect double feeds. You can also save these settings in any combination on a profile-by-profile basis.

Verdict

I'd like the Xerox DocuMate 5460 even more if it could recognise text at full speed (which some scanners can) and included an LCD that showed profile names instead of numbers. But those factors aside, this is still an impressive beast. For medium-size office and workgroups with heavy duty needs, this scanner can turn large stacks of paper into digital files at high speed and with minimal work – and that’s enough to bag this a Best Buy award.

Specifications

Manufacturer and Model

Xerox DocuMate 5460

Scanning Options

Reflective

Automatic Document Feeder

Yes

USB or FireWire Interface

USB

Maximum Optical Resolution

600 pixels

Ethernet Interface

No

Flatbed

No

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