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Review: Fujitsu Scansnap S1300 Mobile Scanner - Thinkmac Reviews

Hear all about the Fujitsu Scansnap S1300 on our latest Episode of Thinkmac Reviews. 

Host: Jonathan Cost / Co-host: Tim Verpoorten
Running time: 32:37  Subscribe in iTunes / Listen Here

Going Paperless is all the buzz right now. Fujitsu has a new mobile scanner that might just do the trick. Fujitsu's Scansnap S1300 is a perfect companion to the road warrior or the guy/gal with a small office at home.

Setup

Setup is painless and you can be up and running in under 10 minutes.  You follow the quick start guide and install the software on your Mac or PC. You do this first, and  and once it's done, plug in your scanner, flip the top open and when the solid blue light illuminates it's ready to scan. Insert your document and it launches the scanning tools, the Scansnap Manager.  You have to keep the Scansnap software running, or this won't work and the blue light will flash at you until it is launched. By default, it will make it a login item, so it's always going to be open down in your Dock. 

Hardware Requirements

Fujitsu recommeds at least 1.83 Core duo and USB interface. If you use a slower processor, scanning will slow down. 

Software

You get the Scansnap manager, which is the interface to the scanner. After you scan the document, you choose how you want to manage it with the Scansnap manager. It's there that you choose to launch the appropriate applications to scan in business cards (Card Iris) or scan to MS Word / Excel (ABBYY FineReader in the background for conversion). Other options are to scan it to a folder, email message, or an iPhoto image.

Each of these options makes it very easy to manipulate the scanned document. Some might see using the Scansnap S1300 as a negative, since it doesn't use the standard TWAIN drivers to interface with 3rd party applications. However, I found that once you use the Scansnap to get your document inside of your Mac, then you can usually import your document into whatever tool you wish.

I am only reviewing the Mac portion, but I did try it on the Windows 7 & XP installs I have as well, and the software there was just as good, if not more robust, offering several features that the Mac software doesn't have.   That is what is really nice about this scanner, it's cross platform, and it works for me no matter if I am running my Windows install or OS X Snow Leopard.

Here is a quick overview to each of the Scansnap manager options.

Scan To Folder

Does exactly what you think it does. It saves the file in a pre-determined folder on your computer. You can change the default location in the settings. It can save it as PDF or JPEG, depending on what you have configured it to do. You can save your scan to a local, networked, or MobileMe folder. 

Scan to Email

Scan a document, click the Scan to Email and it will scan it and then prompt you for the Filename and provide you with a preview of the document. Once you are satisfied, click Attach to Email and it opens up Mail.app with a new message and your scan attached. This is great if you really need to get something out quick. 

Print

You can scan a document and then click the print option from the ScanSnap manager and it will bring up your standard print dialog box to print it. 

Card Iris

It allows you to scan in business cards and then convert them into an address database.  It uses OCR and tries to extract relevant data so that you don't have to type it in. It alllows you to directly export the data to VCard, text, html, and other contact management software, such as MS Entourage. It did an ok job of scanning in cards and detecting the relevant fields to enter. I would have to go through and correct some, but that is to be expected. Unfortunately, get ready to go back in time. CardIris software looks old and not up to current Mac interface standards (it requires rosetta to be installed).  

Scan To WORD & Excel

You scan the document, choose Scan to word, and in the background ABBYY FineReader converts the document into text and images and inserts it into a new MS Word document. I found this worked incredibly well and allowed me to make editable documents very quickly.  The best results were with items that were already printed and not hand written. I tried to scan in some hand printed info and it wasn't able to decipher my writing at all. Not one decipherable word. You can setup a plethora of recognizable languages for it to interpret, have it highlight uncertain characters, keep line breaks and a few other things that give you that extra bit control.

From Quick to Advanced

You can go into the more advanced ScanSnap Setup menu and choose not to use the quick menu, but to use some predetermined profile options, where you can get extremely granular with how you like to have your scanning done. I setup one for receipts, and was able to customize the output folder, filename format, precise image quality, single/double sided, and set them to become searchable PDFS.    You can do multiple profiles and I found this worked out very nicely and allowed me to speed up my workflow. It's a very nice feature. 

Target Audience

I think it's aimed at the Small Office Home Office or road warrior on the go. Since it is lightweight (3lbs) and small in size, it makes it quite easy to take a long. You can power it totally by USB, making it the perfect mobile scanner. It's not aimed for the person who  wants to scan in photos. While it can scan a photo, the optical  image resolution of this scanner is 600x600, so it's not going to provide great quality. Additionally, it's an Auto Document Feeder scanner, so it's not a Flatbed style, and that's usually better for photos anyway.

Conclusion

Now is the time to go paperless. This scanner is super fast, does double sided color and black and white documents, optical character recognition and can even make your documents searchable. It's an incredibly smart scanner and the software is some of the easiest I have used. Highly Recommended!

PROS

-Mac or PC

-Very mobile. Small size, weight, and can be powered via AC or USB.

CONS

-Price Upper $200 range

Product: Fujitsu Scansnap S1300
Price: $295 USD

Amazon Price: $264