What does it take for the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX100 to earn this title? By being the fastest, most easy to use, super mobile and incredibly powerful scanner in its class.
I had the utter joy of reviewing the ScanSnap iX100 and I am beyond pleased with its performance. If you’re looking for a scanner for personal or home office use this is exactly what you’ve been looking for. I’m already a big ScanSnap fan as I own their S1500 model so I was super excited to check out the latest, more modern offering. I needed something that I could take anywhere and scan practically anything–and I found THE ONE.
Upon impatiently ripping through the FedEx package that contained this gem, I found a neat, no-nonsense cardboard box with the product name and diagram. The scanner box was so creepily light in weight that I instinctively shook it to make sure there was actually something inside and that it wasn’t some cruel “WE LIED!1!11!!” joke from Fujitsu.
Inside is no frills. You get a “Setup DVD-ROM” (which honestly seems pretty archaic nowadays); the manual (which I admittedly tossed to the side, never to read again unless something went horribly wrong); a paper with a code for three months of free access to Evernote Premium (nice!); the scanner and a USB cable. I appreciated the lack of packaged fluff and bloat that tends to accompany device packages. Sometimes you end up getting a mountain of plastic and packaging doodads that have nothing to do with anything, and makes you wonder if the company thought protective bubble wrap was more important than the product. Granted bubble wrap is AWESOME but that’s neither here nor there.
PRODUCT & SETUP
The ScanSnap iX100 is a cute device. It’s actually shorter than the length of a standard ruler and weighs an impossibly light 400 grams (equates to about 14 oz, which is less than 1 lb) yet it feels sturdy. Its all black matte finish is professional-looking and its small profile means you could definitely pop this in a computer bag, bookbag, purse/murse with ease. One irritation was the included USB cable. At a ridiculous ~20 inches in length (~1.7 feet) you’re going to have to connect the iX100 to your computer or laptop within relatively close distance. In many cases this isn’t going to matter much. However if you have a computer that sits under a standard height desk and you have the scanner on top the desk (like I did)–it’s not going to reach. The USB cord also serves to charge the scanner’s built in battery for wireless use. However this wired connection is USB 2.0 so you won’t be able to take advantage of faster USB 3.0 speeds. Still, I felt this was a minor annoyance–particularly because Fujitsu included the extremely smart move of enabling a wireless connection to the scanner via Wi-Fi.
For no reason other than it being in front of me, I popped the setup disc into my Windows desktop to start the install. I was still given the choice of of installing the ScanSnap software from the DVD-ROM or the product website. Installing from the DVD-ROM, is noted on screen as the “recommended” method. I thought that was weird so I chose to install from the website since it was listed as “most up to date”. In about 15 minutes I had downloaded the main software (the ScanSnap Manager). Later that evening I also decided to download practically every optional application available for the device (ABBYY FineReader).
Once the ScanSnap Manager was installed, the incredibly easy to follow instructions had me to plug the iX100 to my computer and open the front flap. This flap serves not only as a little ledge to balance whatever it is you want to scan, but it’s also the mechanism by which the scanner knows that its been turned on for use. When the scanner is active, there is a glowing blue “ready” light ring on the iX100 Scan button which both looked great and was kind of soothing.
Next, I was asked if I wanted to connect through my Wi-Fi–of course I do! You’re instructed to flip the WiFi switch on the back of the device to “On”. I then chose my home network, entered in the password and security type and the scanner hopped on with no issue. I realized this would be a great time to set the scanner to connect to my iPhone 5S as well, so I downloaded the app. Your phone needs to be on the same WiFi network for this to work so make sure the WiFi on your phone is actually on and that you’re already connected. The setup wizard for the iPhone involved touching one button on screen, then entering in the Password of the iX100 (located on a sticker under the bottom of the scanner). It took about 5 minutes to complete. In a second I was connected and I got a notification on my computer that the connection was “switched to mobile”. Total setup time was about 20 minutes for computer and mobile considering I wanted all the extra bells and whistles.
Holy-smokes this thing is fast! I already had high expectations as the older S1500 model I own always outperformed larger, business-class scanners in my house. So needless to say I was thrilled when the Little Scanner That Could scanned all sorts of things in seconds. I had recently attended a tech conference so I had about 35 business cards I had to load into my contacts, a couple of two-sided brochures, and a one-sided 8.5 x 11 document. I decided to use the PC interface to run my tests.
Pretty much everything is automatic if you leave the default settings on. I first fed a business card to the scanner and it hummed briefly to let me know it had the object in its grip and was ready to scan. I pushed the Scan button on the iX100 and the card flowed through in 3 seconds. It took another 2 seconds for the scan to load on screen, so in total each card took about 5 seconds to enter. The default scan setting is to continue scanning after the last page. Which means once I scanned one item the machine sat ready for the next item without having to press the scan button again. So I began sending cards through one by one. I figured why waste time so I started feeding cards in two by two, then in threes. Each time the cards glided through from one side to the other and then were scanned as individual cards. This is important to note as I was sure trying to send more than one item would make the scanner bunch them all together as an image–it didn’t and I was impressed. When I tried to go for the gusto and do a max of four cards, they inevitably started overlapping each other and the scanner software bunched them all together in one image. Nevertheless I was able to zip through a mountain of business cards in about 4 minutes which was phenomenal. Imagine having to enter 6 to 7 fields of contact information (First Name, Last Name, email, phone, etc.) for 35 different cards one by one–garbage. So the iX100 certainly saved me from that atrocity. Continuous scanning is a smart and pretty addictive feature. Enough so that I started finding any scraps of paper (including my printer’s ink cartridge banner) to send through the device to see if I could trip it up—there were no trip-ups to be had.
The one-sided 8.5 x 11 document flowed through at the same total speed of about 5 seconds. While I was having a great time scanning everything I could get my hands on with wild abandon, the only disappointment was that I discovered the scanner could only do “Simplex” scanning. This meant it could not scan my double sided items in one pass (the larger ScanSnap models have the “Duplex” mode needed for two-sided scanning). For the iX100 you’ll have to send the document through once for each side in order to capture everything. That being said, the continuous scanning feature worked well to lessen the impact of completing the same action twice.
One you click the Finish Scanning button on screen, the software smartly recommends a document manager based on the size of the item you scanned. For the business cards or small sheets of paper it recommended the ScanSnap Receipt or Scan to Card Minder. I used the latter application which reads the data off of the card scan and automatically enters it into related contact fields. I was then able to then export all the information in several different formats which would allow for me to import the new contacts to places like Google Contacts or Outlook. There’s also a cool option to generate an email or visit the website on the business card at the touch of a button. Out of the 35 cards I scanned, 10 of them required manual edits to a few contact fields (such as moving the company name to the correct section). This was particularly true for the cards that had wilder fonts. Even with the cards where the information was placed in more uncommon areas, the Card Minder software was able to accurately identify the type of information it saw. For example, it had a pretty good track record of “knowing” what what belonged to the Name field, versus what belonged in the website or phone number field.
Besides the recommended applications to manage your scans, the additional available choices are seemingly endless. For simple scans you can either choose to save your scan as a jpeg or to pdf. If you want to go off the deep end, there’s Scan to Folder, Scan to Email, Scan to Print, Scan to Mobile (i.e. your phone), Scan to Dropbox, Scan to Google Docs, Scan to Salesforce Chatter, Scan to Excel, Scan to Word, and so on. You can pretty much do whatever you want. Scanning via the mobile app (i used the iOS version) is pretty much the same in terms of method and speed. All documents scanned are sent to your phone as either pdf or jpeg only. The main point is the option of controlling the scanner directly from your phone –which is a nice touch.
I admit when I first peered over the unit I thought, “Ha! This is a baby scanner! This is going to be a short review.” Fortunately looks are deceiving and I was wrong. Not only did I have a range of scanning options, the device never stalled or stuttered during operation. Installation for both my PC and phone were painless, and I actually had fun performing the seemingly menial task of scanning. The small yet sturdy stature of the scanner means I can literally take it anywhere, no matter how little space or time I have, and still be able to be productive.
While the iX100 retails for $199.99, it’s worth every penny. Whether for personal or business use I confidently recommend the Fujitsu iX100 ScanSnap. LoveAt1stByte rates the iX100 4 and a half stars.
Update: Yes there is full support and software for the Scansnap ix100 for Macs.