Overview and how it works
Before I had the opportunity to review the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX100 ($199, £186.40, AU$232) I doubt I would have ever written the following opinion: scanning documents can be fun. Most of us have had jobs and internships that required us to stand for hours at a time in front of massive, radioactive, multi-function scanners. We fed documents into feeders. We lifted and lowered trays. We hated every second of it.
With the ScanSnap iX100, you’ll never have to expose yourself to the horrors of Oldsmobile-sized scanners again. At just 14 ounces and 10.7-inches wide, the ScanSnap is a powerful, portable and easy-to-use device.
The miniature scanner allows you to wirelessly scan documents to the computer, mobile device or cloud storage utility of your choosing. Images and documents will be replicated perfectly into PDF and JPEG in just a few button-clicks. This can sometimes be problematic (more on that later), but your experience with the device will be thoroughly enjoyable (especially when compared to your grandfather’s scanner).
How it works
To scan documents into a computer, all you need to do is plug your ScanSnap cord into your USB port, insert your document into the feeder and press the blue Scan button. Your document will be fed through the device. On your computer monitor you will be prompted to decide whether to end scanning or to add a new document to the feeder.
When you’re done scanning you will be prompted to choose where the image will be saved. You can choose from a variety of options, including any folder on your device, any printer connected to your network, email, iPhoto or cloud storage utilities like Google and Dropbox.
That’s it. You’re done.
If you prefer to scan to a mobile device you will have a different but equally simple experience. You will be required to download the ScanSnap Connect App on your smartphone.
Once you’re all set up and ready to scan, you will press the blue Scan button within the app, the document will be fed through the ScanSnap, and the document will be sent to your phone. Voila!
Mobile users have two options for connecting the device: 1) using an existing wi-fi connection within your home or office or 2) using the ScanSnap’s dedicated wi-fi network to scan wherever you might find yourself needing a quick scan.
Use cases and final verdict
The ScanSnap is ideal for people who constantly gather business cards, photos or other paper items that don’t necessarily require physical copies. You can quickly load a business card into the machine, scan it and then use the device’s CardMinder tool to store the card-owner’s name and business information.
It’s also great for organizing receipts from business trips or from the grocery store.
You won’t want to use the ScanSnap for multi-page scanning. Because you need to load each page individually, the scanner is best-suited for one-off scans. If you need to create a PDF of your graduate thesis, then your grandfather’s scanner is probably a better bet.
The ScanSnap is incredibly fast. Fujitsu says the scanner can create a digital file of a Letter page in 5.2 seconds. I actually had a better experience. My full-color image was sent to and pulled through the machine in 3 seconds.
The business cards I scanned went through the device in about one second.
If speed is your top requirement for purchasing a scanner, and you’re only concerned with one-off scans, you’ll absolutely love this machine.
Because the device is so good at recreating images, you’ll find that less-than-mint images will look even worse in digital formats than they do on paper. Dust, creases, and scratches will appear on images if the pages aren’t completely clean. The image I scanned looked perfectly fine to the naked eye, but the scanner returned the following digital file:
The device claims to offer "Automatic Image Stitching," which allegedly connects folded or disattached images along their centerlines. I tried to do this, and it does work, to an extent; however, the image created won’t be exact and you’ll definitely see creases or tear marks when the final digital image is created.
Smartphones can create digital files of images. It’s called a camera. If you simply take a photo of your receipt or document, you can run the file through Photoshop to convert it to a PDF or a JPEG. This means the ScanSnap is doing something you could already do. However, it does make it easier and more practical – if you’re willing to spend almost $200.
The ScanSnap is incredibly fast, versatile and handy. It’s a small device that can travel with you wherever you go and it can send your files wherever you need them sent.
Because it can only scan one page at a time, you’ll likely want to use a normal scanner for multi-page jobs. Also, be careful how you treat your physical files – the ScanSnap will copy all image flaws (even the ones you can’t see) and reproduce them on digital files. Because this is a luxury item and not a necessity, you may not want to spend $200.
I thoroughly enjoyed using the ScanSnap. It made creating expense reports and storing business cards easy and fast. It was so much faster than Fujitsu advertises it to be, which is always a pleasant surprise. However, I’m not sure I’d spend $200 on something that can only be qualified as a luxury item.