Under its fairly conservative cover lies a powerhouse. The ADS-3600W is capable of churning up to 50 pages per minute (monochrome or colour), that's with all advanced features turned off and using a 300dpi resolution on letter media.
As expected, your mileage will vary a lot. We scanned 42 colour sheets (84 pages for both sides) in 120 seconds, thanks to a dual CIS (contact image sensor) that has a maximum optical resolution and colour depth of 600 x 600dpi and 24-bit respectively.
As such, the scanner processes sheets in duplex mode and excludes empty sheets by default.
The selected format was multipage PDF at 300dpi, storing the file to a USB key. Selecting JPEG as our default file increased the processing time by nearly 50 times! It took the ADS-3600W a whopping 95 minutes to go through the same 42 sheets.
Clearly, users will need to choose their file format very carefully and possibly the image resolution in order to fine-tune the scanning speed. Otherwise, they might end up twiddling their thumbs for some considerable time should they have to scan thousands of pages in one go.
As expected, the ADS-3600W supports a number of scanning destinations: USB being the most obvious (and straightforward) but you can also scan to a mobile device, cloud-based apps (Evernote, Dropbox, Box, OneNote, Google Drive), email, FTP, printer, and the network.
That's achieved using Wi-Fi (Direct) but there's no Bluetooth connectivity; that's not a big loss though.
Using the touchscreen display to navigate through the scanner's features proved to be very intuitive and we didn't need to check the accompanying manuals or user guide. You can also use the NFC card reader to activate the scanner – the former supports most of the NFC formats on the market.
We scanned about 2,000 pages during our test period which was hardly pushing this device to its limits – the ADS-3600W has a daily duty cycle of 5,000 scans per day – and for 99% of scans we performed, things went perfectly well.
For the remaining 1%, the scanner did have issues with slightly dog-eared sheets, randomly laid out ones (like receipts) or glossy magazine sheets that stuck together.
And that's where the trouble starts: the scanner asks you to pull out the culprit page(s) and then you have to restart the scanning process again as the scans are usually stored to memory before being moved to the USB drive.
Brother bundled an interesting array of applications with the scanner that includes ABBYY FineReader Pro 11, Nuance PaperPort 14 SE and ABBYY PDF Transformer Plus. On close inspection, all of them are either old or limited editions.
Fortunately, also part of the bundle is Brother's proprietary "Connect Print Share" bundle with a free suite of touch-enabled, cloud-based apps at its core. We didn't test its OCR capabilities since this depends on a third-party and can even be done through the cloud (via OneDrive for example).