Fujitsu – ScanSnap S1100 review

A tiny scanner with big capabilities
Photo of Fujitsu – ScanSnap S1100
£135 excluding VAT

As long as printed paper continues to dominate our lives, we’ll need document scanners. Fujitsu first introduced its ScanSnap range of portable colour scanners in 2003, and the S1100 is the smallest and lightest member of the family.

Portable and host-powered
Aimed at mobile users, the tiny S1100 isn’t much bigger than some laptop battery packs, and weighs just 350g. The only control is an illuminated blue scan button at one end, and there’s a mini-USB connector at the other (there’s no battery and the device is USB powered).

Two flaps, one at the front and one on top, allow two different document feed paths; with just the front one open, documents feed straight through. Open the top as well, and a 180-degree path returns the page to the front, a neat space-saving feature for cramped desktops. There are no real paper guides, just a couple of raised marks on the front flap, so you need to be a little careful positioning larger documents to prevent misfeeds.

We found the ScanSnap S1100 handled a variety of paper sizes and thicknesses pretty well, and it can scan business cards and embossed credit/ID cards with ease – although it was a little fussy about where cards these were inserted – it only worked completely reliably when they were inserted at the left-hand end of the slot. An optional plastic wallet is available for scanning folded A3 sheets.

Fujitsu claims the device can handle paper weights up to 206g/m2 using the straight paper path, or 80 g/m2 using the 180-degree path.

Scanning speed was impressive for such a small device – an A4 sheet scanned using the automatic resolution option (it chose 200dpi) took just seven seconds. At the maximum resolution of 600x600dpi, this increased to 30 seconds. Converting to Searchable PDF added another 10 seconds to the time.

A clever continuous scanning feature makes scanning multiple documents easy – you just feed them in sequentially with no need to press the scan button each time. Although the scanner is simplex, duplex scans can be made by feeding the document through again and setting ScanSnap manager to produce a multi-page PDF.

Proprietary software
Scanning is controlled by the ScanSnap Manager software – as with all ScanSnap models, there is no TWAIN or ISIS support, so you’re stuck with this. It works very well, though, and launches a graphical menu of options after the scan has completed (alternatively, you can a assign an application or setting to the scan button). Files can be sent to the ScanSnap Organiser document manager, or straight to PDF, printer, email or image file.

The bundled ABBYY OCR plugin also lets you send scans direct to Word, Excel or (in Windows only) PowerPoint. Cloud services aren’t forgotten, either, with plugins supplied for scanning to Google Docs, Evernote and Sharepoint. There’s a separate application, CardMinder (Mac users get Cardiris instead), for managing scans of business cards. This works very well, with surprisingly accurate OCR . The S1100 can also integrate with Fujitsu’s Rack2-Filer data archiving software.

Build quality
The scanner itself feels surprisingly robust for such a small device, with flaps and hinges that don’t seem as though they’re going to fall off at any moment. A carry case is an optional extra, which is a little stingy at this price, considering that dust and dirt could easily get into the scanning mechanism via the rear paper slot if it’s carried around unprotected.

Company: Fujitsu

Contact: 020 8573 4444

A well put-together miniature scanner that punches well above its weight. It's fast, extremely versatile and the software is easy to use. The lack of TWAIN drivers isn't too much of a problem, given the wide array of output options. Any mobile professional looking for a lightweight scanner should seriously consider it.