Fujitsu ScanSnap S1100: Slim Mobile Scanner Offers Workhorse Performance
At a Glance
The slender Fujitsu ScanSnap S1100 ($199 as of February 1, 2011) is barely the size of a slim, three-hole paper punch, but this USB-powered, single-button portable scanner packs quite a punch of its own.
Weighing barely 12 ounces and measuring 10.7 by 1.9 by 1.3 inches (width by depth by height), the S1100 is a 600-dpi, simplex (one-sided) page scanner capable of digitizing both single- and multiple-page documents with aplomb. I was impressed by the overall speed and fine image quality (accurate colors, sharp edges) of the production unit I tested, and I recommend it to anyone who needs a mobile scanner that's both easy to carry and easy to use.
What distinguishes the S1100 from competing models is its versatile feed mechanism. The scanner's flexible paper guides support both straight-path feeding (in and out in a straight line) and turn-path feeding (paper exits upward), the latter of which is a handy option when you're operating in tight or cluttered quarters. After you push the S1100's Start button, you can scan single sheets or multiple pages continuously by manually inserting them, one after another, without pressing or clicking anything--a major productivity plus for a scanner with no automatic document feeder.
After you finish scanning, the S1100's on-screen Quick Menu prompts you with simple choices for sending the completed scan to various locations, including Google Docs, Evernote, and such Microsoft applications as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and SharePoint. Unlike most other scanners, the S1100 uses a nonstandard driver (ScanSnap Manager) that is not compliant with the TWAIN, ISIS, or WIA interface protocol, so you can't access the scanner directly from within applications that have a scan command. That might be only a minor limitation to some users, but it's worth noting for anyone who prefers operating a scanner while using a different program.
In our speed tests, the S1100 earned an overall rating of Very Good. It took less than 12 seconds to scan a full-page color document (one side, at 300 dpi), faster than any other ultramobile scanner we've tested (including models from Apparent, IRIS, iVina, Plustek, and Visioneer). Using its continuous-page-feeding capability, the S1100 scanned and converted a manually fed, 15-page monochrome document (one side, at 200 dpi) into a searchable PDF file in less than 3 minutes. That's an impressive speed when you consider that it's only 60 seconds longer than a portable ADF-equipped scanner, the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 ($295), required to perform the same task.
The S1100 comes bundled with the same software as the ScanSnap S1300, including a useful file manager (ScanSnap Organizer) and a capable business-card recognition application (CardMinder), both of which perform proficiently overall. Although no optical character recognition application is included (and thus no instant proofreading or editing tools), the S1100's scanning software uses a built-in OCR engine (ABBYY FineReader) to create editable files, which we found reasonably error-free in assorted tests. The S1100 comes with a one-year warranty, but you have to pay extra ($25) if you want the carrying case that Fujitsu offers for this model.
All in all, the ultramobile Fujitsu ScanSnap S1100 portable scanner is an excellent choice for scanning forms, business cards, receipts, and other paper documents in the field and on the road.