Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 review
Considering you can get a decent scanner inside most sub-£100 all-in-one inkjets these days, £188 exc VAT is an awful lot to pay for a standalone unit, and a portable one at that. Yet the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 has some neat time-saving features that any travelling worker would appreciate.
It’s an A4-width unit, with a paper tray that extends upwards to hold up to ten sheets ready for feeding. Scanning is as simple as pushing the single blue button on the top to start the feed; the bundled software takes care of the rest. Better still, the S1300 has a neat dual-sensor design so it can scan in duplex mode, capturing both sides of the page in a single pass.
ScanSnap Manager runs in the background at all times, and clicking the taskbar icon lets you set the scan settings before a job. Then the paper rolls through and the scan appears as a PDF in ScanSnap Organizer, where the fun starts. From there, provided you have the relevant applications installed, you can convert that scan to a Word, Excel or PowerPoint file, send it to email or a printer, or move it to a chosen folder.
If you’d rather keep it as is, there’s the added option of converting it to a searchable PDF via the included Abbyy FineReader OCR software, or you can set the device to do this during the scan. For the most part it works well: in text documents it had no trouble recognising and finding our search terms, but images were hit and miss, with some captions and chart labels being converted to text and others being lumped in with images. It’s a useful feature but by no means flawless.
The ScanSnap S1300 gives you two power options, which affect scan speed. If you’re at your desk, plug it into the mains and each page will take just under six seconds to scan at normal (150dpi) settings; when you’re out and about you can power it via USB using the supplied adaptor cable, and the scan rate drops by around half. Impressively, the speed doesn’t drop at all when you switch from simplex to duplex mode.
Quality was unspectacular in our tests, but for the needs of a mobile worker it’s perfectly adequate. Text was a little ragged, but colours were captured without any glaring inaccuracies. The most important point is that it captures detail sharply enough to allow the Abbyy software to do its job.
The S1300 also scans business cards, with yet another provided application called CardMinder. It’s a pretty basic tool, extracting a name and company, and a single phone number and email address. It struggled quite a bit with the array of cards we threw at it, so we doubt many will choose to rely on it, but it does at least allow you to export details to a variety of external applications, Outlook included.
Our biggest gripe isn’t with the device itself, but the software. It’s all a bit too clumsy and compartmentalised for intuitive use, with several amateurish applications doing jobs that could surely have been combined into one interface. You don’t strictly have to use Organiser, and we’re sure many will choose to bypass it and scan directly to the most suitable application for the task at hand, but you’re restricted to those already mentioned – so no scanning directly to Photoshop.
As a piece of hardware, though, the S1300 does its job well. It’s light and portable, has versatility in its dual power options, and can feed eight duplex pages through every minute. Its maze of software could do with a good polish and it’s rather expensive, but once you figure out its quirks it fills a niche really rather well.