Until now their most portable scanner has been the ScanSnap S1300, which while smaller than its desktop cousins the S1500 and S1500M, isn’t something you are just going to throw in your bag as you are heading out the door.
The S1100 is a “hybrid” scanner in that it works with both the Mac and PC. Fujitsu calls it an “ultra-portable” scanner and they are clearly targeting people who are on-the-go as well as people for whom desk (or cafe table) space is at a premium.
I was sent a review unit of the S1100 so I thought I’d break it down for the DocumentSnap readers.
Ultra-portable is a pretty good description. This thing is small. I had my first indication of this when I received the box. I was pretty surprised how tiny the box was. Here it is in comparison to a shoebox. My first thought was “is assembly required?”. Thankfully, it was not.
Once I had it unpacked, the S1100 is 10.74 x 1.87 x 1.33 inches. That’s smaller than other similar scanners in its class. Weight wise, it is 12.3 ounces.
For people who are familiar with other ScanSnaps, here it is in comparison to the ScanSnap S1300:
The ScanSnap gets all of its power from one USB cord. No AC adaptor, no dual-USB cord like the S1300, just one cord. In fact, as you can see, it doesn’t even have a port for an AC adaptor:
Two-Way Paper Path
One of the knocks against other ScanSnaps is that paper can’t go through “flat”, but needs to go through the scanner’s “L-turn” (I have no idea what the technical term is there).
The S1100 solves this in a pretty clever way.
If you leave the top of the scanner closed, paper will be fed straight through like most portable scanners. You put the paper in the front, and it comes straight out the back. This is great if you are scanning photos, business cards, post cards, plastic cards (!), and extra-delicate paper.
If space is at a premium or if you are doing a lot of scanning (more on that in a minute), you can flip the top up. When you do that, you feed the paper in the front and it turns it up and flips it back to you. Very smart.
I found that for magazines articles, scanning using the turn-path (with the top flipped up) worked better than scanning it straight through. Maybe the paper is a bit too thin for the rollers that feed it through the back.
When you think about it, this scanner is a bit of a risk for Fujitsu. The ScanSnap brand has been built on “throw a stack of paper in, hit the button, and you have fast double-sided scanning in one pass”. The S1100 will take neither a stack of paper nor will scan double-sided in one pass.
My personal theory, with no evidence whatsoever, is that the company took their time introducing an ultra-portable scanner similar to the way that Apple took their time bringing copy & paste to the iPhone; they wanted to wait until they could figure out a “ScanSnap-y” way to do it.
If you have double sided documents or a stack of pages, the ScanSnap S1100 has what they are calling “Continuous Document Feeding”. Here’s how it works:
- You flip the top of the scanner up
- You put the first page in the front of the scanner, and you can feel it grab the paper a little bit
- You hit the scan button and it feeds the page through
- Since the top is up, it returns the paper to you
- If you want to scan the back of the paper, you just feed in the already-flipped page on the other side. You don’t need to hit anything
- If you want to scan the next page of the document, you just feed in the next page. You don’t need to hit anything
- When you’re done the document, just hit the Scan button again and it will then save and (if you desire) OCR the PDF
Pretty clever use of just one button if you ask me.
The ScanSnap S1100 scans a page in 7.5 seconds. If my math is right, which it usually is not, that makes it 8 pages per minute. That is obviously slower than the rest of the ScanSnap family, but it is faster than other ultra-portable scanners. You probably wouldn’t want to run your law office off a S1100, but that is not what it is for anyways.
I am pretty impressed at the scan quality of the S1100, to be honest. Since quality is pretty subjective, I scanned a few documents with both the S1100 and the S1300 for you to compare:
- Here is a magazine article scanned with the S1100
- Here is the same magazine article scanned with the S1300
- Here is a menu scanned with the S1100
- Here is the same menu scanned with the S1300
Installation is easy as always. You just pop in the DVD and it installs everything you need. Then you plug in the one USB cable and you are good to go.
I installed the software on my Mac which already had the S1300′s software installed and it recognized my old profiles. A nice touch.
Here is the software that the S1100 comes with:
- ScanSnap Manager (Mac and Windows)
- ScanSnap Organizer 4.1 (Windows only)
- CardMinder 4.1 (Windows only)
- ABBYY FineReader for ScanSnap (Windows and Mac)
- CardIris 3.6 (Mac only)
- Evernote 3.5 (Windows) or 1.1 (Mac)
So, it comes with the scanning drivers for both platforms, PDF organization software for Windows, business card software for both platforms, and OCR software for both platforms.
By the way, it also comes with a printed manual. Not many devices come with those anymore!
You might have noticed that Evernote comes on the DVD. Why is that you might ask? Well, the ScanSnap S1100 now features “scan to the cloud” functionality and has support for scanning to Evernote.
Longtime DocumentSnap readers will know that it has been possible to integrate the ScanSnap with Evernote for quite some time, but now you don’t need to mess around with setting up profiles anymore. It’s built into the Quick Menu.
I tested it out and it works well. Throw in a document, hit scan, choose Evernote from the Quick Menu (or make your own profile if you’d like) and it will import it to your Evernote local client to be synced up.
Google Docs Integration
Evernote is not the only cloud service supported. The S1100 also has support for Google Docs built in to ScanSnap Manager. When you scan, it asks you for your Google Docs (Google Apps works too) credentials which you can save or not, and then it uploads as a PDF right into Google Docs.
You know how sometimes you scan a page that has some glue or something on it and you then need to clean the scanner? Like other ScanSnap models, the S1100 will open up so that you can clean the inside. That’s a pretty helpful feature since given the portable nature of this thing, I can see it being used in some pretty funky situations.
All in, I think the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1100 is a good choice if you need a fast portable scanner. As I said, you probably wouldn’t want to run your whole office on it (though you could!), but for light home use and particularly for travel use, it is a good mix of size, speed, and the normal ScanSnap touches.
For me, it wouldn’t replace my ScanSnap S1300 because I like having a document feeder and double-sided scanning, but if I traveled a lot I could see myself using it for sure.
Normally I would have a video showing all this stuff, but for a variety of technical reasons that has to wait for a few days. When I have one up, I will post it.
Apparently it is released today, but I don’t see it on any online sites yet. As soon as I see it on Amazon etc., I’ll let you know. The retail price is $199 USD.
Update: It is now on Amazon.
Are you going to get one? What are your thoughts about the ScanSnap going ultra-portable? Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts.