Brother ADS-3600W review: The perfect choice for SMBs

Ideal for busy SMBs, this highly versatile network scanner has a destination for every occasion

IT Pro Verdict

The Brother ADS-3600W is highly recommended for SMBs that want fast, top quality desktop scanning services at a low price. Connection options are extensive, Brother’s software bundle makes it highly versatile and cloud support is second to none.


  • +

    Strong scan speeds

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    Great management tools

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    Excellent connectivity


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    No passport scanning

The ADS-3600W sits at the pinnacle of Brother’s desktop scanner family – and, as you’d expect from such a premium product, it offers a comprehensive set of features. It can connect over USB, Gigabit Ethernet or 802.11n Wi-Fi, boasts fast 50ppm scan speeds and includes a software suite that covers every need.

That starts with Brother’s own ControlCenter4 scan management utility, which comes partnered with the iPrint&Scan Windows workflow app. On top of that, you get Nuance’s PaperPort 14 SE digital file cabinet, along with the ABBYY FineReader Pro 11 and PDF Transformer+ OCR tools, while mobile users can get in on the act with Brother’s free iPrint&Scan iOS and Android apps.

Cloud support is as good as it gets, with native support for scanning directly to Box, Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, OneDrive and OneNote. Whichever service you’re using, it’s a cinch to set up: we simply entered our Dropbox credentials into Brother’s Web Connect portal, which then generated a unique 11-digit code for us to enter at the scanner’s large 9.3cm colour touchscreen.

Walk-up features are outstanding too. Any networked PC that has Brother’s software installed can be selected as a destination directly from the touchscreen, and you can configure up to 25 standard profiles for scanning to FTP and SharePoint sites, email servers and network shares. Tap the touchscreen’s Apps icon and you can even scan a document directly to Office.

Unauthorised use, meanwhile, can be blocked with the web console’s Secure Function Lock feature. This lets you restrict public access and configure individual privileges to block or allow each user to scan to PCs, FTP servers, the web and storage devices plugged into the scanner’s local host USB port.

For desktop use, the Windows iPrint&Scan app streamlines scanning with one-touch workflows that scan directly to local, cloud, email or other applications, with preset resolution and format options. The iOS app can also be used to remotely connect to the scanner and pull in scans to be saved locally or emailed as JPEG or PDF files. A built-in NFC chip enables mobile tap-to-scan operations, and can remember registered ID tags for fast swipe-to-scan manoeuvres.

In use, the ADS-3600W performed almost impeccably: we found it had no problems churning through our sheaf of well-thumbed bank statements, happily achieving the quoted scan speeds at 200dpi and 300dpi for greyscale and colour. Switching to 600dpi caused speeds to fall substantially to only 8.5ppm – but that won’t be an issue for most businesses as quality at 200dpi is absolutely fine for producing clear, readable and searchable PDFs.

The scanner coped gracefully with more awkward documents too. It happily accepted a mix of statements, till receipts and waybills, and while the odd jam did occur, this was immediately detected and the scan was aborted before anything could get damaged. The only thing the ADS-3600W couldn’t handle was passport scanning: it’s only designed to handle documents of up to 1.4mm thick, and when we tried with our passports it jammed every time.

Remote management is supported via a web-browser console, and you can also monitor the scanner (and all other Brother networked devices) using the manufacturer’s free BRAdmin 4 SNMP-based software. This took just a minute to install on a Windows 10 host: it then ran a quick network discovery process and immediately picked up the ADS-3600W, along with the lab’s Brother MFPs. Once installed, the software checks device status at predefined intervals, sends logs via email and can be used to access the scanner’s web console, reboot and remotely update the firmware.

As a general-purpose networked office scanner, the ADS-3600W is hard to beat. Passport scanning aside, it offers every feature you’re likely to need, with fast speeds and excellent output quality for a competitive price.

Brother ADS-3600W specifications

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Format600dpi A4 colour scanner
Scan speed50ppm at 300dpi colour/mono
Display9.3cm colour touchscreen
ConnectivityUSB 3, USB 2 host, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n wireless, NFC, Wi-Fi Direct
Scan typeSimplex/duplex
ADF50-page ADF
Recommended monthly duty cycle5,000 pages per day
Bundled softwareControlCentre4, Nuance PaperPort 14.5 SE, ABBYY FineReader Pro 11 and PDF Transformer+ software
Dimensions306 x 258 x 250mm (WDH, closed)
Warranty1yr RTB warranty
Options (exc VAT)N/A
Dave Mitchell

Dave is an IT consultant and freelance journalist specialising in hands-on reviews of computer networking products covering all market sectors from small businesses to enterprises. Founder of Binary Testing Ltd – the UK’s premier independent network testing laboratory - Dave has over 45 years of experience in the IT industry.

Dave has produced many thousands of in-depth business networking product reviews from his lab which have been reproduced globally. Writing for ITPro and its sister title, PC Pro, he covers all areas of business IT infrastructure, including servers, storage, network security, data protection, cloud, infrastructure and services.