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Published on April 16th, 2012 | by Greg


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.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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