The Canon imageFormula DR-M160II ($1,195) is an able high-volume document scanner designed for medium-size offices. Although its list price is $100 higher than that of our current Editors' Choice, the Epson WorkForce DS-860, it surpasses that scanner in some key ways. In the end though, its smaller automatic document feeder (ADF), difficulty living up to its (slightly slower-rated) scanning speeds in our tests, and occasional paper handling mishaps keep it from being our top choice.
Design and Features
At 9.1 by 11 by 9.8 inches (HWD) (with trays closed) and 7.1 pounds, the DR-M160II looks like a typical sheet-feed document scanner. It scans in both simplex (one-sided) and duplex (two-sided) modes automatically. The 60-sheet ADF comes detached, but it's easy to affix to the main unit; and the output tray, when closed, covers the face of the chassis. When you fold the output tray down and extend it outward, it adds at least a foot to the unit's footprint. Between them, the input and output trays more than double the DR-M160II's depth.
Despite the $100 price difference between the DR-M160II and the DS-860, the Epson model has an 80-sheet ADF and slightly higher-rated scanning speeds (see the "Performance" section below for more information). But the DR-M160II's duty cycle of 7,000 sheets per day is higher than the DS-860's 6,000 sheets, which is significant if your scanning volume runs that high.
Setup and Software
Like most document scanners, the DR-M160II's only connectivity interface is USB. Aside from attaching the input tray, setup is typical in that you install the software prior to connecting the scanner to a PC with the included USB cable. For all of the bundled applications to work properly, though, you are required to install Kofax Virtual ReScan VRS Elite prior to the other utilities: CaptureOnTouch, CapturePerfect, and Nuance eCopy PDF Pro Office. Kofax VRS Elite evaluates and enhances poor scans, improving overall accuracy.
When you scan from the DR-160II's control panel, the scanner interacts with CaptureOnTouch. It's from this program you define profiles, or "jobs." You can choose from nine user-defined scanning profiles that include saving scanned documents to a folder, attaching them to an email, or sending them to a printer, an application, or Microsoft SharePoint. CaptureOnTouch comes with two predefined profiles, Color PDF and Email Color PDF, that you can use as-is, edit, delete, or replace. Profiles also determine file formats, which include image PDF (PDF/A), searchable PDF, TIFF, JPEG, PPTX (PowerPoint), and BMP.
In addition to pressing Start on the DR-M106II's control panel, you can also initiate scans from the CaptureOnTouch interface. While CaptureOnTouch provides quick-and-dirty scan processing, CapturePerfect provides a more traditional scanning environment in that you must scan from inside the program. (You can also open saved scans or have them sent to the program from CaptureOnTouch.) CapturePerfect has all the scan-handling features as CaptureOnTouch, but it also allows you to make changes after you scan, including rotating pages, changing page order, opening and editing existing scan jobs, and activating optical character recognition (OCR).
Finally, Nuance's eCopy PDF Pro Office is a full-featured PDF creation and editing program in the same vein as Adobe Acrobat DC (formally Acrobat Pro). Unfortunately, while the scanner itself can scan business cards, there is no bundled business card management software, or for that matter any document management program at all. If you need a scanner with document management, you should check out our Editors' Choice, the Xerox DocuMate 5445.
I tested the DR-M106II from our Core i5 testbed PC running Windows 10, at 200ppi using the scanner's Start button and CaptureOnTouch. In addition to the nine presets, CaptureOnTouch has a "Scan First" setting that scans the pages into memory, letting you decide after scanning where to send, save, or print them.
With Scan First, the DR-M106II scanned our one-sided 50-sheet test document at 55 pages per minute (ppm), which is quite close to its 60ppm rating. It missed the mark significantly on duplex scanning, though, scanning our 25-sheet two-sided document at 96 images per minute (ipm, with each side of the page an image), or about 24ipm slower than its 120ipm rating. The Epson DS-860, on the other hand, exceeded both its simplex and duplex ratings of 65ppm and 130ipm, respectively. Unlike nearly every other scanner we've tested, though, the DR-M106's scan times were about the same when scanning to memory as when scanning and saving to both image and searchable PDF formats: 31.4 seconds and 31.6 seconds, respectively, times that equal about 95ppm.
We saw similar results with Canon's lower-rated and less-expensive ImageFormula DR-C240. It, too, uses CaptureOnTouch for scanning and saving scans. With the DR-C240, we saw little to no time difference between scanning to memory and saving our scans as PDF/A and searchable PDF. But the Epson DS-860 and the Xerox DocuMate 5445 took significantly longer to save to searchable PDF than to memory. Overall, the DS-860 took 1 minute, 12 seconds, and the Xerox scanner took 1:16 to save to searchable PDF. The Epson machine was also 55ipm slower when converting our scans to searchable text and saving them to disk.
Finally, our DR-M106II test unit did not behave as well as its competitors during our tests. On two occasions (only when scanning one-sided pages, though), pages came out of the machine so fast that they butted up against the guard at the end of the output tray, causing them to curl upward. The next page out caught the edge of the curled page, causing a paper jam. To avoid this, I tried closing the guard, which caused the first page out to literally fly off the end of the tray. (User reviews on Canon's website and Amazon.com indicate that others have had similar issues.)
Like the Canon DR-C240, the DR-M160II did an outstanding job on the OCR portions of our test. Between the scanner and the software, the conversion of both our Arial and Times New Roman test pages at font sizes as small as 5 points was errorless, outdoing both the DocuMate 5445 and the WorkForce DS-860. We also saw similar results when converting a collection of less-common fonts. The DR-M160II succeeded where most others (aside from the DR-C240 and other Canon scanners that use CaptureOnTouch) failed at reading several of our difficult-to-recognize fonts at sizes as low as 5 and 6 points.
The DR-M160II also did a good job of scanning and converting business cards to editable text, but as mentioned, the product comes without a business card database program. To archive contacts from business cards, you will need to purchase additional software, such as NewSoft Presto! BizCard.
Overall, the Canon imageFormula DR-M160II did well on our tests, except for a couple of paper jams when scanning in simplex mode. Otherwise, it scanned accurately and the software did a terrific job of converting scans to searchable text, even though (unlike the Epson DS-860) it wasn't able to meet its rated speeds. Even so, its OCR conversion is some of the best we've seen, which is something to consider if you need to scan not-so-common or small 5- and 6-point fonts. Under the right circumstances, the DR-M160II could be a better solution than either the Epson DS-860 or the Xerox DocuMate 5445, but if you need document management software, the Xerox model delivers better value.