Here’s a question I get quite a bit: “I use Evernote and I want a ScanSnap scanner to go paperless – should I buy the ScanSnap Evernote Edition, or a ‘normal’ ScanSnap like the ScanSnap iX500?”
Like most things in life the answer is “it depends”, but I won’t leave you hanging. This guide will hopefully help you make a decision one way or the other.
ScanSnap Evernote Edition vs. iX500 – Hardware
Here’s a picture of the ScanSnap Evernote Edition:
Here’s the ScanSnap iX500:
They look pretty similar, right?
Hardware-wise they’re the same. The ScanSnap Evernote Edition is basically an iX500 with a green light and a more Evernote-y design. Fortunately the iX500 is a great scanner, so it’s a win either way.
So with the hardware being a wash, the main difference comes down to software and workflow.
Pros and Cons of the ScanSnap Evernote Edition
If you are a heavy Evernote user and plan to stay one for a long time, the ScanSnap Evernote Edition has some great features.
The marquee feature is it will try to recognize the type of document you are scanning, and will then automatically file it away to the Notebook and Tag that you specify.
So you can have Receipts go to one Notebook, Business Cards go to another, Documents to another, etc.
Speaking of Business Cards, it has a pretty nice feature if you connect the Evernote software with your LinkedIn account.
When you scan a business card it will look the person up on LinkedIn, pull some of the data, and create a nicely-formatted Note for you with the card and the person’s contact information.
The nice thing about the ScanSnap Evernote Edition is that it is simple to use, especially if you are familiar with Evernote. You scan, your documents appear in Evernote, and you go from there.
To me, the ScanSnap Evernote Edition’s main advantages (simplicity and Evernote integration) are also its biggest drawbacks.
It’s awesome if you want to scan to Evernote, but what if you want to scan somewhere else other than Evernote? Or what if you decide someday to stop using Evernote altogether?
You do have the ability to scan to a folder on your computer, and you can use the ScanSnap Evernote Edition to NOT upload to Evernote, but that is a bit fiddly and everything still has to go through the Evernote software.
Also, at the time of writing, the ScanSnap Evernote Edition is only available directly from Fujitsu since Evernote killed its Market. Your purchase and return options are much more limited.
Pros and Cons Of The “Normal” ScanSnap
With all this said, why might you want to consider a “normal” ScanSnap like the iX500?
The main advantages of the iX500 and similar models is flexibility. You can scan to Evernote very easily, but you can also scan to any other piece of software or location.
You can create pre-defined Profiles to automatically scan to all sorts of locations with all sorts of settings.
The “normal” ScanSnaps are also available through Amazon and all sorts of retailers worldwide. At the time of writing, the iX500 is $410 on Amazon vs. the ScanSnap Evernote Edition’s $495 from Fujitsu.
If you want to scan to Evernote, it is easy with the iX500 but not as seamless as with the ScanSnap Evernote Edition. You have to either choose an Evernote Profile when you scan, or hit the Evernote button on the Quick Menu.
The ScanSnap software doesn’t have the document auto-detection features that the ScanSnap Evernote Edition does. You can fake it by setting up Import Folders on Windows or using Automator or Hazel on the Mac, but it is certainly not as simple.
To answer a question many of you are going to ask: no you can’t use the ScanSnap Evernote Edition’s software with an iX500. If you’ve found a way to do it, please leave a comment.
So Which Scanner Should You Use To Go Paperless?
At the start of this piece, I said “it depends”, which I recognize is a cop-out, but it’s the truth.
If you are a heavy Evernote user and you are planning to use Evernote for a long long time and don’t have any worries about it going away, the ScanSnap Evernote Edition is certainly an easy to use scanner.
For me, I prefer flexibility so I generally point people towards the iX500 or other ScanSnap models. It can still scan to Evernote, but it can do so much more and you are not locked into any particular platform.
Do you have one or the other scanner? How do you like it? Did I miss any Pros or Cons? Leave a comment and let us know.