Are you still chasing the “paperless” dream? If you are anything like the millions of us who dream of a clear inbox with simplified capture and filing system, today is your lucky day. Today Fujitsu introduces the ScanSnap iX100, the 2nd generation of its world-renowned mobile scanning solutions.

Fujitsu ScanSnap iX100 Mobile Scanner

The dream of going paperless has been sold to us neat freaks and organization nuts for decades now. The idea has always been very enticing; however, the practical execution of getting all the paper we collect throughout the day into your computer has always felt somehow daunting and incomplete. This is never more evident than a bag-dump post trade-show, business trip or networking mixer. Fujitsu and its award-winning ScanSnap line have been making strides in the paperless movement for years now and aim to slingshot that movement with the brand-new ScanSnap iX100.

Key Features of the iX100

  • Compact Portable Lightweight at 14.1 oz.
  • Battery operated via Integrated Lithium Battery
  • Scan Anywhere via 2 Wireless Scanning Modes
    • Simple Home/Office WiFi Setup with WPS configuration
    • Direct Connect Access mode when WiFi access not available
  • Fast 5.2 Seconds Per Letter Page
  • Scan to Mac, PC, iOS, Android or Kindle Fire
  • Dual Scan Mode
  • Automatic Image Stitching
  • Custom GI Processor

First Impressions

Upon receiving the ScanSnap iX100 I immediately tore into the box and was pleasantly surprised by the extremely compact size of the device. Measuring in at a svelte 10.74 x 1.87 x 1.42 inches and weighing just a hair over 14 ounces, this scanner is small. Construction seemed pretty sturdy and up to par with previous Fujitsu ScanSnap products. In the box was the scanner, a USB cable, Setup DVD and documentation.

Setup for Mobile Scanning

I wanted the test the “no PC needed” mode of the iX100 and decided to do a mobile only setup first. Getting the scanner to work with my iPhone and iPad were amazingly easy. Initially I installed the ScanSnap Connect Application and launched it.

To power on the iX100, the paper feed door is opened; to activate the Direct Connect mode there is a small WiFi toggle switch on the back of the scanner. Within a few seconds the scanner was ready to go and was emitting a private WiFi SSID that my iPhone and iPad were able to connect to via the standard iOS WiFi settings menu. Login information for this private WiFi network is found on the bottom of the scanner.

Returning to the ScanSnap Connect Application, I saw that the scanner was discovered, connected and ready to scan. Having recently returned from a business training trip, I had a pretty nice stack of business cards, flyers and receipts I wanted to capture. With a quick press of the scan button on the app, the scanner woke up and started to purr.

Dual Scan Mode

The Dual Scan mode of the iX100 meant I was able to feed business cards into the scanner one after another without pause and from any position on the paper feed — even without waiting for the previous card to completely exit the flat path. The continuous document feed (CDF} saves time by allowing the user to keep feeding documents to the scanner, letting the Auto Deskew, Auto Orientation, Auto Color and Auto Paper Size Detection features do the work.

The Secret Sauce

Fujitsu’s custom GI Processor is amazingly fast at intelligently making all the adjustments and corrections that have plagued scanners up until now. Gone are the days of trash and rescans and manual image manipulation after scanning a pile of documents.

The small footprint of the iX100 means it is a simplex scanner, but don’t let that sway you if you’re used to duplex scanners. This scanner is so fast with its continuous document feed mode that you can scan a page, flip it over, scan the second side and auto-process the documents faster than most competing duplex scanners. Another amazing feature of the iX100 is the Automatic Image Stitching. If some sales person hands you a letter sized folded brochure with an image that crosses the centerfold, simply fold the pages backwards and scan both sides — the iX100 automatically stitches the pages back together.

Battery Life

The iX100 battery lasts surprisingly long when you consider the speed, power and compact footprint of the scanner. I was able to tote the scanner around in my bag for about a week on a single charge doing causal scanning of business cards and handouts at meetings (watching jaws drop on clients was secretly pleasurable). According to Fujitsu, the iX100 can continuously scan about 260 sheets on a single charge and about 140-160 per charge for normal casual operation. My favorite part about this mobile scanner is that it can be charged by a standard USB to 6micro-USB cable. No special adaptors or power supplies are needed. This is very convenient, as most users already carry such a cable in their go bags.

Back at the Desk

This superstar mobile scanner, believe it or not, is full of even more surprises once it meets the home or office WiFi network. Once back at my desk, I installed the ScanSnap Manager software on my Mac and fired off the ScanSnap Wireless Setup Tool which made setup a piece of cake via the WPS button on the scanner.

Typical of Fujitsu, the ScanSnap iX100 comes with some pretty powerful yet easy to use bundled software.

The iX100 ships with:

  • ScanSnap Organizer – search, view, edit, organize scans
  • CardMinder – captures and OCR business cards, merges duplex cards
  • ScanSnap Receipt – scans and extracts pertinent information off of receipts
  • Abby FineReader for ScanSnap – OCR package that allows direct scanning and conversion to Microsoft Office apps like Word, Excel and PowerPoint
  • ScanSnap Manager – Profile manager that allows one button scanning to folder(s), email, PDF, Dropbox, Evernote, Google Docs, Salesforce and more

Continuing to process the expense reports from my trip, I fed the iX100 about 15 receipts. ScanSnap Receipt quickly processed all the stubs and through some wicked voodoo plucked data off of the receipt and filled a ledger with information including Vendor, Amounts, Payment Type, Card suffix and more. Thanks to the iX100, tax season this year may be tolerable.

Scanning items directly to my favorite cloud apps was a huge time saver from the old AppleScript processing I have doing for years. Again, the iX100 GI processor made the process fast and seamless.

I found ScanSnap Organizer very powerful and easy to use; however, in the end it was not for me as my workflow is to scan directly to Evernote. In the frenzy of overzealous button pressing, I inadvertently scanned a few receipts into the organizer while testing. Just before I expunged the mistakes ready to start all over, I tried to drag and drop the mistakes from ScanSnap Organizer to ScanSnap Receipts. Amazingly this action worked — the misfiled items were imported into the appropriate place and were auto-processed as if they had been scanned correctly.

Final thoughts

The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX100 does exactly what it says, delivering high quality scans quickly regardless of whether you are at the office or on the road. Up until now, CIS Scanners (contact image scanners) were mostly low quality, cheap scanners designed as a stopgap for road warriors wanting to capture data on the move. The iX100 seems to have ironed out all of the kinks in mobile scanning. It is light, easy to carry, fun to use and is feature packed. I can honestly say that I don’t know how I managed to work thus far without an iX100.

The ScanSnap iX100 is available today for US$ 229.

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