Published on April 16th, 2012 | by Greg0
Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500M: Document Management For Macs
Tomorrow is tax day- the annual rite of Spring that leads many to panic, and consider brackets of an altogether different sort. It’s always a busy day at the post office, and apparently even accidents increase, as people get a bit frantic as the deadline approaches. But not us: between the miracles of e-filing, and the fact that we would never, ever procrastinate on something as important as helping out the Internal Revenue Service… OK, most of us finished our taxes in the last couple of days.
Part of that is thanks to the Fujitsu ScanSnap series. We have the S1500M on-hand today, which is quite similar to the S1500 that we checked out quite a while back. The key differences being the color (the M is fashionable decked out in white, the other in black), as well as the fact that the S1500M is aimed at Mac users. Beyond that, they offer much the same feature set and design, which is good- Fujitsu continues to set a pretty high bar for non-portable document scanners in this price range. We love their portable scanners as well- the S1100 gets regular use- but the advantage of the higher-end models is the automatic document feeder with a 50-page capacity.
It handles documents of various sizes and types as well, which includes things like invoices and receipts. Save yourself some time, and instead of arranging your receipts in a giant arc around some huge flat surface, just scan them in. Save the originals, of course, but the electronics copies will help save them from loss, damage, and most importantly allow you to easily input them into spreadsheets with fewer errors and less hassle. Part of this is the trustworthy OCR- optical character recognition, the technology that turns those sheets of paper into numbers and letters that the computer can work with, actually reading the information. We regularly throw some tough tasks at scanners- business cards with odd fonts, receipts that have a few spills or are faded- and though we certainly have to do some clean-up and checking, it’s much faster than manual input. And it’s a world above any all-in-one scanner/printer machine, at least for business purposes of multiple-page scanning. Speed is key, and you can reach speeds of up to 20 pages per minute! And it’ll handle double-sided sheets with aplomb too.
Installing the software is, um, a snap. Included helpfully is Acrobat Professional 9- not the latest version, but it still works quite well. Cardiris manages business cards, and even a scan-to-mobile option, that should make document viewing on your iPad or iPhone simple (we didn’t test this, so can’t say much). As with the other models, there are consumables here- odd, for those who aren’t used to them, but relatively inexpensive and durable. You’ll only need to worry about once a year, unless you’re a major scan junkie (50,000 pages or more), and then replace the pad assembly and roller for about $20 each.
The scan quality is impressive- everything is sharp and crisp, despite the fairly standard 600 dpi. Note that this is a text-optimized scanner, and perhaps not the best choice for photographers who want higher resolutions and care less about speed and the OCR functions. The S1500M folds up nicely, doesn’t take up much room on a desk, and is quiet and consistent- we only had issues with oily paper, and some crinkled receipts. You can create searchable PDF files with one click, and don’t have to worry about changing setting, as the device will automatically detect color or greyscale pages and act appropriately. In other words, it’s hard to think of much this little guy could do better- which is probably why it continues to sell years after introduction. About the only thing we could ask is that update it to include Acrobat Pro X. For $420 or so, it’s certainly not cheap, but stands as a near-perfect example of how to make scanning simple, easy, fast, and accurate. Make sure you buy the appropriate model- M for Macs, regular for PCs.