A capable sheetfed scanner in the medium- to high-volume range, the Raven Pro Document Scanner ($649.85) has one standout feature: an 8-inch, tablet-like touch screen interface that lets you operate the scanner from start to finish. As long as you have the scanner connected to a network (for cloud storage) or storage device, no PC is required. Of the sheetfed document scanners we’ve reviewed over the past several years, only Canon’s much more expensive imageFormula ScanFront 400 and Fujitsu’s ScanSnap iX1600 (Editors’ Choice recipients both) come with relatively large touch screens. The Raven Pro is fast, accurate, and easy to use, and it’s our latest favorite medium- to high-volume networkable sheetfed desktop document scanner.
Many Devices Supported, But None Required
Measuring 7.0 by 12.4 by 8.2 inches (HWD) and weighing 9.2 pounds, the Raven Pro comes in all black or in two-tone, with a black base and trays and a white face. The 8-inch interface adds a bit of weight for the size: Canon’s imageFormula DR-C230 Office Document Scanner (which has a much smaller control panel) has similar dimensions but weighs a full 3 pounds less. The Alaris E1035 (another Editors’ Choice recipient) is a few inches taller and longer than the Raven Pro, and it weighs 2 pounds less. The Canon ScanFront 400 weighs about a pound more, but then its color touch screen is 2.1 inches bigger (10.1 inches, the same area as a full-size tablet).
Brother’s somewhat less robust but immensely capable ADS-3600W measures a couple of inches taller and longer and weighs about a pound more than the Raven Pro. Fujitsu’s ScanSnap iX1600, on the other hand, is a little smaller in all directions and weighs 1.7 pounds less than the Raven Pro.
As for capacity and volume, the Raven Pro comes with a 100-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF) for sending one-and two-sided documents to the scanning sensors. This is about as big an ADF as you’re likely to see on a desktop document scanner. (In mid-2017 we reviewed the Visioneer Patriot H80, which has a 120-sheet ADF, but that’s highly unusual.) The scanner’s daily duty cycle is 6,000 pages.
Of the Raven Pro’s competitors, only Epson’s RapidReceipt RR-600W comes with a 100-sheet ADF, and its daily duty cycle is 4,000 pages. The other machines mentioned here have 50- or 60-page ADFs and daily duty cycles in the range of 3,500 to 6,000 scans.
Connectivity, Software, and Accessories
You can connect the Raven Pro to your local area network via Wi-Fi or Ethernet, or scan to a single computer over a USB connection. On the left side of the device is a USB port for connecting flash drives and external USB hard drives. Of the scanners mentioned here so far, both the Epson RR-600W and Brother ADS-3600W come also with ports for connecting external USB drives. The ScanFront 400 supports a keyboard and mouse via USB.
You can operate the Raven Pro from a PC or handheld device connected via a TWAIN-compliant app, such as Mopria on Android. Or you can capture, edit, and manage your scans from the machine’s 8-inch color touch screen.
The onboard interface works similarly to a full-blown scanner application. You can control resolution, destination, file type, and much more. User-created workflow profiles let you run scans quickly without having to manually set each option.
The Raven Pro comes loaded with several apps, including some for scanning to popular cloud sites, such as Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive, as well as to email, FTP, and external USB drives. You also get a free Raven Cloud account with unlimited space.
If you do want to use your computer to manage scanning, Raven PC (which runs on both macOS and Windows) is available for document processing and management, including a PDF editor and basic document naming and archiving schemes. This software is not identical to the onboard interface, but I found them similar enough that I didn’t get overly confused when swapping between them.
An extensive list of accessories is available, including a black nylon dust cover ($34.85) and a plastic stand (also $34.85) that adjusts the angle of the touch screen to make it easier to see while sitting at your desk.
Raven also produces a $25 box of Raven Document Scanner Cleaning Wipes (what makes these different from other appliance cleaning wipes is unclear), a $35 pack of screen protectors for the display, a $15 pre-inked “SCANNED” stamp, and a $45 replacement ADF roller kit (slated for replacement every 150,000 scans).
Warp Speed and Transporter Accuracy
Regardless of fancy features, a scanner’s speed and accuracy are its bread and butter. Raven rates the Pro at 60 one-sided pages per minute (ppm) and 120 two-sided images per minute (or ipm, with each page side being an image). Of the machines discussed here so far, the Raven Pro is among the quickest, only topped by Visioneer’s Patriot H80, rated at 80ppm and 160ipm. Brother’s ADS-3600W is rated at 50ppm and 100ipm. The others are slower still, some significantly so.
I ran my test over a USB 3.0 connection using Raven PC running on our standard Intel Core i5 testbed PC running Windows 10 Professional. I also did a set of tests with the onboard interface. The results were very similar.
The first test entailed timing the Raven Pro as it scanned our one- and two-sided 25-page Microsoft Word text documents and saved them to image PDF files. It blew through our one-sided document at an average rate of 61.2ppm, and our two-sided (50 images) document at 124.4ipm. This is one of the more impressive performances I’ve seen. At 70.6ppm and 133.3ipm, the Patriot H80 leads this pack. Brother’s ADS-3600W, at 46.2ppm and 96.8ipm, came in behind the Raven Pro, and the rest were left in the dust.
See How We Test ScannersSee How We Test Scanners
For the next portion of the test regimen, I clocked the Raven Pro as it scanned our two-sided 25-page (50 scans) text document and converted and saved it to the more versatile searchable PDF. This time, the Raven Pro scanned and converted all 50-page images in an impressive 24 seconds, the best score in this bunch. Even the Patriot H80 managed only 27 seconds, and the others were considerably behind that.
Speed is important, but accuracy is essential. Fortunately, OCR technology has matured well beyond the point that’s needed for most purposes. Without any tweaking at all, the Raven Pro scanned and converted both our Arial and Times New Roman font test pages error-free down to 5 points each.
Mistake-less conversions down to this size are more the norm than they were a decade or so ago, and most of the machines we have reviewed recently have come close to the Raven Pro’s accuracy scores. The RR-600W, for example, averaged 5 points error-free for the Arial font and 6 points for Times New Roman. Some of the desktop document scanners we tested a few years ago, including the ADS-3600W (6 points Arial, 8 points Times New Roman), were somewhat less accurate at the time, but most of them have had software and firmware updates to improve their OCR since then. Nonetheless, the Raven Pro’s results are impressive.
Fast, Accurate, Versatile, and Even Fun to Use
At $650, the Raven Pro delivers speed, accuracy, versatile connectivity, and more. This wealth of functionality translates into value. Both the onboard interface and the Raven PC software provide powerful scanning, formatting, document management, and financial data scanning and archiving compatible with QuickBooks. It’s a little disappointing that Raven doesn’t provide Android and iOS apps, but both platforms have mobile scanner interface apps with TWAIN support. In all other respects, the Raven Pro is an impressive document scanner that’s fully deserving of our Editors’ Choice award.