Visioneer Patriot D40 High-Speed Document Scanner

Fast and accurate scans and OCR

Visioneer Patriot D40 Document Scanner
Visioneer Patriot D40 Document Scanner. Photo courtesy of Visioneer

Pros:

  • Low price for what you get
  • Comprehensive software bundle
  • Large automatic document feeder, or ADF
  • High duty cycle for the price

Cons:

  • Slow duplex (double-sided) scanning
  • Peculiar numbering scheme for profiles

Bottom line:

The Visioneer Patriot D40 provides a lot of value in terms of speed, accuracy, and a low purchase price.

Introduction

A company that we don't hear much from is Visioneer, although we were impressed with the RoadWarrior 4D Duplex Mobile Color Scanner we reviewed about a year ago.

Here’s a fast little scanner, Visioneer’s $495-list ($452 street) Patriot D40, for the price, and it comes with an impressive software bundle from Nuance and Visioneer, which we’ll get into a little later. Meanwhile, as you’ll see in the Design and Features section coming up next, this high-speed scanner comes with some interesting automation, once you get familiar with its somewhat inconvenient profile numbering scheme.

For the most part, though, this scanner performed well, although not always as fast as it’s rated. Accuracy was good, two, as long as you scanned documents with common fonts. In other words, it didn’t do as well with decorative fonts. That’s not uncommon, either; although some document scanners handle uncommon fonts better than others.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this scanner is its price. For example, Panasonic’s $995 (MSRP) KV-S1027C Document Scanner sells for several hundred dollars more, and it's rated at 65ppm and 130ipm, or just 5 and 10ppm more, respectively.

Design, Features, and Software

At 9.2 pounds and measuring 12.5 inches across, by 26.8 inches from front to back, by 9.2 inches tall, the Visioneer Patriot D40 isn’t very big, not until you pull out the document trays—that’s where that whopping 26.8 inches comes in. It might be better to let the originals just fall onto the desktop. Just keep in mind that wherever you put it, you’ll need to allow for that extra space for it to run in.

The 80-sheet automatic document feeder, or ADF, is a bit oversized to handle warehouse pick tickets, auto-dealership contracts, and similar forms used with line printer strips so that you don’t have to remove them yourself prior to scanning.

The scanner itself has no real control panel, aside from Simplex (single-sided) and Duplex (double-sided) buttons, a function readout, and a couple of arrow buttons to change the function number. Part of the Visioneer OneTouch system, functions here are actually presets; there are nine of them, including searchable PDF (sPDF), PDF, or RTF; email; print; the cloud, and a few others. OneTouch also has the ability to communicate with several popular enterprise content management (ECM) and document image management (DIM) software solutions, simply by pressing the OneTouch button.

You can edit the nine presets, or OneTouch profiles, with the Visioneer OneTouch utility that comes on the disc included in the package. Once installed, you can access the profiles from the OneTouch icon on your taskbar, which displays the profile’s destinations (i.e. email, sPDF, etc.). Each profile is totally customizable, as described in the manual, also provide on the disc.

A journalist at PCMag pointed out that the preset’s numbering system is a bit awkward, in that the readout displays numbers, rather than names, for the profiles. The inconvenience here is that, after you edit them (the defaults are documented), you have to remember (or document your changes) what each one does.

In other words, it would be better if you could give the profiles more meaningful names, names like, well, “email,” “sPDF,” “PDF,” and so on… You get the picture. It would be easier.

Which brings us to the software bundle. The Patriot D40 comes with following software:

PC Software

  • Visioneer Acuity uses educated guesses to improve the quality of the scan, in addition to auto-cropping, auto-straightening, and auto-rotating, with the touch of a button.
  • Nuance OmniPage Pro is a highly well-established, fully developed, and accurate optical character recognition (OCR) program. You can then use the text in many ways, including word processing, desktop publishing, or web publishing programs.
  • Nuance PaperPort is a well-established and well-developed document management suite, which basically helps you manage your documents, among other things, such as scanning and creating PDFs, and quite a bit more, actually.
  • Nuance Power PDF is a powerful PDF creation and editing tool for exporting to Microsoft Office and DMS integration, among other applications. According to Nuance, “Nuance Power PDF provides everything you need to create, convert, edit, assemble, and securely share PDF files for increased productivity, enhanced collaboration, and improved compliance.” It’s good, but it doesn’t replace Adobe Acrobat DC in terms of features and security.

    Mac Software

    Unfortunately, the Mac software bundle isn’t nearly as impressive. Here’s what you do get:

    • Mac TWAIN: TWAIN is, of course, one of three top scanner drivers, the other two are ISIS and WIA, and this Patriot supports them all. According to Visioneer, though, the Mac TWAIN driver is TWAIN on steroids. With this TWAIN driver you get Acuity Image cleanup and all it entails, including Auto Color Detect, Auto Rotate, Blank Page Removal, and more. It also includes the ability to read barcode data (third-party software is required to interpret the barcode data, though), a digital imprinter for adding text to your images, and the ability to merge two sides, or images, into one.
    • Visioneer Scan Utility is a simple scanning utility for your Mac since scanning software isn’t part of Mac OS. According to Visioneer, this utility allows you to take advantage of the features in the TWAIN driver described in the preceding bullet point. It’s certainly not anywhere close to the PC bundle, but enough to get you going, but frankly if I had a Mac (between Macs at the moment), I might look for something with sPDF support. The Visioneer Scan Utility allows you to save your scans in the following formats: BMP, JPG, GIF, PDF, MPDF, TIF, and MTIF. You’ll need additional software to perform OCR.

      Also not included in the Mac bundle are any software or utilities for managing and cataloging your documents.

      Speed and Accuracy

      The Patriot D40 is rated at 60 pages per minute, or ppm, and 120 images per minute, or ipm. In other words, it can scan 60 single-sided pages or 60 2-sided pages, for 120ipm. In addition, it has a 6,000-pages per day duty cycle, which comes out to well 100,000 pages per month, and I do mean well over, depending on how many days you work.

      As you can imagine, to get 6,000 scans a day with an 80-sheet ADF wouldn’t allow a lot of time for the person operating the scanner to do much else. In any case, it’s a lot of scanning. However, during my tests, as is usually the case, I didn’t get quite the same speeds that this scanner is rated for. My simplex or single-sided, scores ranged between about 45ppm and 48ppm, depending on what I scanned, while my duplex, or double-sided, score ranged between 92ppm and 95ppm—neither of which is bad considering the Patriot D40’s price.

      As for OCR accuracy, as with many scanners, this one performs well when reading and exporting common fonts, such as Arial, Times New Roman, and a few others, but it bogged down and made some significant mistakes with decorative and other types of non-standard fonts.

      For the most part, when I scanned pages with standard fonts, which most business communique consist of, I got 100 percent accurate exports to editable text at reasonable speeds for the price of this machine. In my experience, OmniPage Pro is and has been one of the better OCR programs out there, with tremendous accuracy. None of them are 100 percent accurate when it comes to decorative and other fancy typefaces, though.

      The End

      I’ve looked at scanners, such as Epson’s WorkForce DS-510 Color Document Scanner, that sell for considerably more yet don’t scan as fast this little $450-scanner. The DS-510, for instance, is rated at 26ppm and 52ipm, and it’s listed at over $300 more. Anything this scanner lacks in making its rated scan speed, it makes up for with its highly competitive price. Nice job, Visioneer.