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Product Review of ScanSnap Scanners

Jeffrey M Allen

Summary

  • Every Road Warrior needs a good, reliable, powerful, and relatively portable scanner.
  • I consider the ScanSnap iX1600 the best value for the money in a small desktop scanner. 
  • If you want to get by with a little less scanner at a slightly lower cost, Fujitsu has an answer for you: the new iX1400.
Product Review of ScanSnap Scanners
Grace Cary via Getty Images

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Every Road Warrior needs a good, reliable, powerful, and relatively portable scanner. In today’s world, pretty much all lawyers need scanners in their office, but to a Road Warrior, the scanner becomes an essential tool. Fortunately, you have your choice of many scanners that will do the job. I have had a strong preference for the Fujitsu ScanSnap (https://www.fujitsu.com) for many years. In fact, I have owned and/or used almost every model of the ScanSnap. Fortunately, the folks at Fujitsu have generously provided me with samples to test and write about, so I have not had to buy all of them. In fact, I would not have had to, as the scanners tend to last a long time. To call them workhorse scanners seems a bit trite, but they do fit that definition.

I have never had a ScanSnap break or wear out. I have passed several on to others in my office, and they continue to function just as well as before. My last ScanSnap, the iX1500, worked perfectly well for several years and now sits in the home office of my associate, as I have replaced it with the iX1600, just as Fujitsu has replaced it in its lineup. The iX1600 offers some notable improvements over the iX1500, primarily in its speed, as the iX1600 scans documents about 30 percent faster than the iX1500. I will cut right to the chase and tell you my conclusions; then, I will discuss how and why I reached them.

I consider the ScanSnap iX1600 the best value for the money in a small desktop scanner. If I did not have a scanner, I would immediately get an iX1600. That said, if you have an iX1500 and it still works (which it likely does), I would not advise you to rush out and upgrade to the iX1600. I say that because I consider the iX1500 an excellent scanner, and while I like what Fujitsu did in upgrading to the iX1600, I do not think that the improvement justifies the expense of a new scanner. On the other hand, if you have an iX1500 and someone else in your office needs a scanner, give them the iX1500 and grab a new iX1600 for yourself. I do not think you will regret that. Your colleague will have an excellent scanner, and you will have a better one—a win-win proposition.

Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1600

Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1600

Courtesy of Fujitsu

Okay, now let’s talk about the iX1600. You can get a detailed description of the iX1600 and its features as well as a full list of specifications for the iX1600 on the Fujitsu website at https://tinyurl.com/2jeeh87e.

What I like about the iX1600:

  • Fujitsu improved the physical design. The iX1600 has a better design and seems to handle paper flow better than the iX1500. I like what they did with the receiving end of the sheet feed. The iX1500 sometimes had problems with keeping the pages together. The longer, curved receiver on the iX1600 seems to have solved that issue.
  • Fujitsu made the iX1600 faster than the iX1500 by almost a third. When it comes to scanning, faster beats slower. Even though the scanning rate of the iX1500 qualifies as rapid, the iX1600 bumps the speed from 30 pages per minute (60 in duplex mode) to 40 pages per minute (80 in duplex mode).
  • I am not sure what they did respecting the WiFi as the iX1500 and iX1600 both have WiFi and USB connectivity, but the WiFi seems to work better on the iX1600. By better, I mean that to me, it appears that connection is easier and more consistent with the iX1600.
  • The iX1600 can connect directly to a cloud server or to portable devices such as phones and tablets using WiFi. That seems to work pretty well.
  • Fujitsu improved its software significantly in recent iterations. That software works with both the iX1500 and the iX1600, so you get the benefit of the improvements on the iX1500 as well. They call the new version of their software “ScanSnap Home.” In addition to controlling the scanning process, it serves as a document management system to help you keep track of the documents you have scanned. In truth, I think it is excellent as scanning software and competent, but not exceptional, as document management software.

What makes no difference to me:

  • Fujitsu decided to one-up Henry Ford. You can buy the iX1600 in any color you want, as long as you want either black or white. That is a new innovation as, historically, the scanners came in whatever color they came in, and they were all the same color. Now, you get a little bit of a choice. I guess to some people, that may prove a big deal, but I am not designer-conscious enough that it makes any difference to me.

What I do not like:

  • In the old days Fujitsu sold the ScanSnap with a copy of Adobe Acrobat (the Standard version for Windows and the Pro version for the Mac). I always thought that was a great deal because Acrobat Pro has features that lawyers want and Acrobat Standard lacks. Because Adobe did not have a Mac iteration of the Standard, Fujitsu gave you the top-of-the-line Acrobat Pro if you purchased the Mac version of the ScanSnap. As a Mac aficionado, I felt a little bad for the Windows people. Sadly, Fujitsu does not include Adobe Acrobat with the ScanSnap iX1600. Included software per the Fujitsu website: ScanSnap Home (all-in-one document management software/driver); ScanSnap Manager (conventional driver); Kofax Power PDF Standard (Windows); Kofax Power PDF Standard for Mac (Mac); and ABBYY FineReader for ScanSnap.

I have seen retailers offering “deluxe” packages that include a one-year license for Adobe Acrobat Pro DC at an increased price. One such example, Amazon, sells the iX1600 (which lists for $495.99) for $399.99 and sells a deluxe package for $429.99. The deluxe package includes a one-year subscription to Adobe Acrobat Pro DC for the Mac or PC. As the current subscription rate for Acrobat Pro DC is $14.99 per month with a one-year commitment, you stand to save a few dollars by getting the deluxe package. Actually, you save $150 that way, making it a pretty good deal.

If you want to get by with a little less scanner at a slightly lower cost, Fujitsu has an answer for you: the new iX1400. I think that the iX1400 brings a lot to the party, but I strongly prefer the iX1600. The iX1400 lists for $395.99 and sells for $349.99 on Amazon. Unlike the iX1600, you do not get the option of a white iX1400. Fujitsu went back to the Henry Ford formula for the iX1400 and lets you have the scanner in any color you choose, provided that you choose black. The iX1400 comes with the same software as the iX1600, so you get mostly the same features and serviceability. The two scanners work equally quickly and accurately, take up the same space on your desk, and weigh almost the same amount (the iX1600 weighs 0.4 pounds more). Each has a 50-page document feeder for your convenience.

Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1400

Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1400

Courtesy of Fujitsu

While they have many similarities (and look almost identical when closed), the two scanners have some significant differences as well.

What the iX1400 has that the iX1600 lacks:

  • In the iX1400, Fujitsu returns to the one-touch scan button (see the blue button in the image above of the iX1400). As you can see, the iX1600 does not have that feature.

What the iX1600 has that the iX1400 lacks:

  • A very nice 4.3” touch screen (see the image below).
  • WiFi connectivity.
Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1600 touch screen

Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1600 touch screen

Courtesy of Fujitsu

While I like the iX1400 and would find it quite satisfactory if I had not seen and tried the iX1600, having used the iX1600, I would spend the extra $50 to get the iX1600 for its WiFi connectivity and because I like the touch screen operation.

If you need a new workhorse scanner for a small office or for home use, you will find it difficult to do better than the ScanSnap. If someone in your office needs a new scanner, give them yours and get the iX1600 for yourself!

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