HP ScanJet Enterprise Flow N6600 fnw1 review

Sheet-fed document scanners have become paperclips, but high-volume, business-class scanners that combine sheet-fed and flatbed designs have been scarce in recent years. In fact, the sheetfed/flatbed combo shown here, the $1,499 HP ScanJet Enterprise Flow N6600 fnw1 replaces a model we reviewed back in January 2014 (the ScanJet Enterprise Flow 7500). As the name suggests, the N6600 is an enterprise-class device for busy offices with countless scanning tasks. Fast, accurate and robust, it comes with highly competent scanning and document management software. Only its price keeps it from becoming our newest favorite business scanner.


Scanners are slowly changing: Eight years have passed

Over the years, not only have scanner product names and nomenclatures changed, but the products themselves have changed – drastically, as you can see in the image below. Modern scanners that are half the size of their long-lived predecessors mostly do the same or more work. At 5.2 x 21.1 x 12.8 inches (HWD) with the input tray closed and weighing just 13.4 pounds, the ScanJet Enterprise Flow N6600 is a few inches smaller and about 10 pounds lighter than the ScanJet 7500 mentioned above.

HP ScanJet Enterprise Flow 7500 and N6600

The Enterprise Flow N6600 fnw1 (right) is roughly half the size and weight of its 2014 predecessor (left).

And unlike traditional sheet-fed scanners, whose paper trays often expand to two or three times their unused length, the HP’s combined sheet-fed/flatbed design has the input tray extend upward, but the scanner’s real footprint – the space that the device occupies on your desk or counter – does not change. (I should add that this ScanJet is one of four flatbed models HP unveiled in May; the others, branded ScanJet Pro rather than ScanJet Enterprise Flow, are due to be reviewed soon.)

The 2015 Fujitsu fi-7260 (replaced by the soon-to-be-reviewed fi-8270) is similar in speed and specifications to today’s ScanJet, although slightly larger and a few pounds heavier (as is another recently reviewed scanner, the Raven Pro Max ). Two newer but less robust and less expensive competitors, the Epson DS-1630 color flatbed scanner and the Xerox Duplex Combo Scanner are closer in size and scope to the N6600.

The point, of course, is that the compact design of this ScanJet flatbed takes up little desk space, and unlike most sheetfed presses, its footprint doesn’t change whether it’s in use or at rest.

Being an enterprise-class scanner, most applications for the N6600 require access over a network through document management software, which we’ll get to in a moment. Alternatively, you and your team can work from the device’s control panel, which combines back, home, help, and power buttons with a 2.8-inch touchscreen.

Control panel of the HP ScanJet Enterprise Flow N6600

You can configure and run scan jobs from the control panel’s 2.8-inch touchscreen.

From here you have a variety of options including setting up a scan job and configuring its file type and other destination options, as well as running the scan itself. You can also select workflow profiles, which contain all of the characteristics of a scan job: the resolution; whether to scan to image or searchable text; and whether to send to local drive, email, cloud site, and/or multiple destinations. Scanning resolutions (both optical and hardware) are up to 600 dpi for scans made through the automatic document feeder (ADF) and up to 1,200 dpi through the flatbed.

HP ScanJet Enterprise Flow N6600 ADF

The ADF holds up to 100 pages and the output tray is located above the scanner bed.

Of course, the secret of a sheetfed/flatbed combo scanner is combining an ADF with a classic flatbed design. In this case we are talking about a 100-page ADF, as good as it gets in this category. The flatbed holds pages up to legal size, and the automatic document feeder can handle sheets that are 8.5 inches wide and 5.1 meters long.

As much as you can scan day in, day out, HP rates the N6600’s daily duty cycle at 8,000 pages. That’s 2,000 more than the Raven Pro Max, whose ADF also holds 100 sheets. The Fujitsu fi-7260 only holds 80 pages (but the forthcoming fi-8270 will hold 100 with a daily duty cycle of 10,000 scans). The ADF of the Epson DS-1630, on the other hand, only holds 50 sheets and, like the Xerox, its daily maximum is 1,500 scans. (The Xerox’s ADF is even smaller at 35 sheets.) Loading and reloading the ScanJet’s ADF is almost a full-time job if you want to challenge the daily work cycle.


connectivity and software

Most computing devices can connect to this ScanJet using at least one of its four standard interfaces: 10/100/1000BaseT wired Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi, connection to a single computer via USB 3.0, or Wi-Fi Direct. The latter is a peer-to-peer wireless network protocol that allows you to connect your mobile devices and those of your team directly to the scanner without being part of the same local network.

HP ScanJet Enterprise Flow N6600 ports

Standard interfaces include Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi 802.11n networks, USB 3.0 and Wi-Fi Direct.

In addition to the standard HP scanner device driver, HP provides TWAIN and WIA drivers that connect the scanner to a variety of applications (such as Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Word) that support scanning directly to them. You also get the HP Scanner Tools utility and HP Scan Premium software.

HP Scan web app

HP Scan allows you to create and modify workflow profiles or shortcuts.

The Scanner Tools Utility is what it sounds like, a program designed to help you monitor and maintain your scanner. HP Scan Premium is a scanning utility that allows you to set up and manage what HP calls “tasks”, also known as workflow profiles or shortcuts. These profiles define your scan jobs from start to finish. They contain information about resolution, file type and format, and destinations for your scans.


Testing the ScanJet Enterprise Flow N6600: Fast, Accurate Captures

HP rates the ScanJet Enterprise Flow N6600 fnw1 at 50 single-sided (simplex) pages per minute (ppm) and 100 two-sided (duplex) images per minute (ipm), which is actually a bit cramped for an enterprise-level scanner. The Raven Max Pro, for example, is rated at 60 ppm and 120 ipm, as is the Fujitsu fi-7260; the fi-8270 is rated at 70ppm and 140ipm. The low-end Xerox Combo, Epson DS-1630, and HP ScanJet Pro 3500 are all well below 50 ppm/100 ipm.

I ran my tests using a USB 3.0 connection from our standard test environment PC, an Intel Core i5 desktop running Windows 10 Pro and HP Scan Premium. For the first test, I clocked the N6600 while it scanned our 25-page single-page and 25-page double-page (50-page) text documents, then converted and saved them as image PDFs. It captured and stored the single-sided pages at a rate of 51.2 ppm and the two-sided pages at 106.2 ipm.

Unfortunately, the other scanners mentioned above, with the exception of the Raven Pro Max, Epson DS-1630 and Xerox Combo, have been tested with a previous set of benchmark tests using different documents and protocols, leaving this 2022 HP model with a compared by them would be misleading. For the record, the Raven scored 62.5ppm and 124.2ipm, and the bottom two models were significantly slower.

Next, I clocked the N6600 while it scanned our 25-page two-page text document and converted it to the more versatile searchable PDF format. It captured and stored all 50 pages in 28 seconds, just 4 seconds behind the Pro Max. Again, the other high-volume scanners were tested using different methods and are therefore not comparable; Reviews of their replacements are in preparation.

Scan Accuracy: Sharp Stuff

Just as crucial as the speed of a document scanner is the accuracy of the optical character recognition (OCR), which is usually performed by the software. While commendable, the N6600’s flawless conversion of our serif (Times New Roman) and sans-serif (Arial) test documents to 6-point is only average for today’s crowd.

Again, I can’t compare the results of this ScanJet to some of the earlier machines reviewed here; OCR accuracy wasn’t quite as accurate seven or eight years ago. In each case, the Raven Pro Max was only marginally better, matching the HP’s accuracy to within 6 points with Times New Roman and 5 points with Arial. As I’ve noted in other scanner reviews, OCR technology has matured enough that most of today’s scanners—even sub-$100 handheld devices—can easily handle common fonts this small in size.

I also scanned several photos and other colorful documents on the flatbed, not to test its speed but its accuracy in terms of color reproduction and detail. The flatbed’s resolution supports up to 1200 dpi and is high enough to capture most types of photos and other graphics. Between the hardware and the software, the N6600 produces brilliant, highly usable scans for applications right through to high-resolution print output.


The Verdict: A sleek, clean, slightly mean machine

HP’s sleek, compact ScanJet Enterprise Flow N6600 fnw1 doesn’t see like a corporate scanner. Likewise, its rated speeds of 50 ppm and 100 ipm are on the low end of what we consider high-volume scanning. But unless your Scanstation (or, if your ScanJet is part of a fleet, scan stations) are very active, it should be fine for all but the busiest environments. This is a reliable device with a great software package for archiving your documents, business cards, receipts, bills and other financial documents, making it a great alternative to our current favorite sheet/flatbed combo, the Raven Pro Max.

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