As Mugatu so famously said in Zoolander, “Wireless scanners are so hot right now.” Today Fujitsu America is releasing their second Wi-Fi scanning model – the ScanSnap iX100.
Fujitsu has sold a mobile ScanSnap (the S1100) since 2011, but it had one limitation – it needed to be connected to a computer via USB. Over time more and more scanners were cutting the cord, and the S1100 was starting to show its age. The [ScanSnap iX500][ix500] was the first wireless ScanSnap, but it is a little big to throw in your bag.
Fujitsu sent me a review iX100 to check out, so let’s take a look.
Size and Hardware
The ScanSnap iX100 is 10.74 x 1.87 x 1.41 inches (273 x 47.5 x 36 mm) and weighs 14.10 ounces (400 grams). It is extremely portable. In fact, when I sat down to write this review I initially couldn’t find it because it was tucked away in my bag and I initially missed it.
Like the S1100, the iX100 can scan “flat” where your paper goes through the back of the scanner, but it has an exit guide that you can flip up to have it return the paper to you. This is really handy for scanning dual-sided documents as the iX100 only scans single-sided. The video later on in this review shows how this works.
Being a mobile scanner, it obviously does not have a document feeder, so to improvise Fujitsu implemented what they call “continuous document feeding”.
You put the first page in the scanner and hit the scan button. Then you can keep feeding paper in and it will grab it and keep scanning. It will keep waiting for pages until you hit the Scan button again to signal that you’re done. Again, a nice touch to make scanning faster and easier without a document feeder.
Speaking of faster and easier, the ScanSnap iX100 scans at 5.2 seconds per page. This is two seconds faster than the S1100, and almost as fast as the ScanSnap S1300i which is pretty remarkable when you consider the size.
Like the S1100, the iX100 has a USB port on the side. If you’d like, you can use the iX100 as a USB-connected scanner, and this port is also used for charging the device – this is the first ScanSnap with a Lithium battery.
While you can use the ScanSnap iX100 as a USB scanner, I expect that most people (myself included) will use it wirelessly.
With no wires connected whatsoever, you can scan to a computer or mobile device. How you do this depends on whether you are connected to a known Wi-Fi network or not.
Scan To Existing Wi-Fi Network
If your computer or mobile device is connected to a wi-fi network, you can set up the iX100 to connect to it. There’s a Wi-Fi switch on the back that controls whether it will attempt to connect or not.
A nice touch – the scanner will remember up to five Wi-Fi networks and switch seamlessly between them. I set it up for my network at home, then set it up at a friend’s house, and it switched back when I arrived back home without me needing to reconfigure anything.
Once the scanner is connected to a Wi-Fi network, it can scan to a mobile device running the ScanSnap Connect app (currently available for iOS, Android, or Kindle Fire), or it can scan to a Mac or Windows computer.
This is nice and everything, but what if there is no Wi-Fi network that you can connect to?
Scan Using Direct Connection
If there is no Wi-Fi network that the iX100 knows about, it will attempt to create its own.
This video shows how this works:
Video summary: the iX100 can create its own Wi-Fi network that you can connect to using your iOS, Android, or Kindle Fire device running the ScanSnap Connect app. You can also connect to it with a Mac or Windows computer if the computer has the ScanSnap software loaded on it.
The ScanSnap iX100 has a Lithium battery, and they rate it as being able to do 260 scans per charge.
That is one of those “ideal conditions” numbers, and from talking to the folks at Fujitsu about this, they say with switching between wireless networks and that sort of thing, around 140 pages is more likely in the real world.
I haven’t hit any battery issues yet. If you ever need to charge it, you can plug the included USB cable to any computer USB port or other USB charger.
I will talk about software in a bit, but I want to focus in on one particular new feature that almost made me fall out of my chair: the ScanSnap iX100 comes with receipt management software.
Frankly, this has been a hole in the ScanSnap offering for quite some time and it is great to see it being plugged.
Unfortunately, I have been getting reports that ScanSnap Receipt is only showing up for customers in the United States. I’m looking into more details on that.
I will have a separate blog post on ScanSnap Receipt specifically butYou can now have the ScanSnap scan receipts and it will attempt to read the information from them. You can then categorize the receipt information and export. Super handy for taxes.
Update 09/23/2014:I have now written a separate blog post. Click here to read about my ScanSnap Receipt overview.
If you have small items to scan the iX100 has a feature called dual scanning that I hope makes it to other models in the future.
If you put two small documents in, the scanner will recognize them as separate documents and either export two PDFs or a single PDF with two pages, depending how you have it set up. Handy for receipts and business cards.
Automatic Image Stitching
Another new-to-ScanSnap feature is the ability to take a wide document, fold it in half, and have the ScanSnap automatically stitch it together as if you scanned one large document.
Essentially, it is doing this without the need to use a Carrier Sheet.
I have to admit, I couldn’t get this feature to work. Maybe I had something set wrong or maybe I wasn’t using the right type of wide document, but here is what the Help says should work:
- A3, B4, or Double Letter size documents with a double-page spread
-Documents folded in half that have characters, a figure, or table on the fold line
The scan quality of the iX100 is the best of any portable scanner I have reviewed. It is remarkable for a scanner this size.
That being said, scan quality is subjective. What I have done is zipped together a group of documents of a variety of types and resolutions. Take a look if you want to see some samples.
As with all ScanSnaps, by default the iX100 has the more-and-more-useful Quick Menu enabled which makes scanning very easy.
It will detect the type of document that you are scanning and recommend some options. You can also add your own applications to it, and hide the ones you don’t use.
ScanSnap Organizer For Mac
As I mentioned earlier, ScanSnap Receipt almost made me fall of my chair. The release of ScanSnap Organizer for Mac finished the job. The lack of a document organizer for Mac OS X has been another sticking point for a long time, so it is great to see them addressing that.
Here is the software that comes with the iX100:
- ScanSnap Organizer (Windows, Mac)
- CardMinder (Windows, Mac)
- ABBYY FineReader for ScanSnap (Windows, Mac)
It also comes with the ability to scan to the cloud with Evernote, Dropbox, SugarSync, Google Drive, and Salesforce. You can also scan to Word, Excel, and Powerpoint.
Is The S1100 Gone?
I assumed that the iX100 replaced the S1100, but that is not entirely true. Fujitsu will replace the S1100 with the S1100i, which will be released at some point in the future. It is like the iX100 but while the iX100 scans at 5.2 seconds per page, the S1100i scans at 7.5 seconds. Also, the S1100i does not have the ability to scan wirelessly and does not have a battery.
The S1100i does come with the same software as the iX100, and they have added the dual scanning and image stitching capabilities. I’ll update when it is available.
Pricing And Availability
For some reason it often takes a while for ScanSnaps to show up on Amazon, and at the time of writing the iX100 does not seem to be there. I will update this post when it is available. The retail price is $229 USD.
The ScanSnap iX100 is a great update to the S1100, and has some killer software improvements that I hope will make it to other ScanSnaps in the future. I’ve found it really helpful to have a small wireless ScanSnap to carry around in my bag, and if you are someone who has a need for a mobile wireless scanner, it is hard to go wrong with this one.