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REVIEW: Fujitsu ScanSnap S300 Portable PDF Scanner

It’s time to go portable. We’ve gone mobile with just about every aspect of your home computers. There are notebook mice that you can stuff in your pocket. There are webcams that can easily fit into the smallest of laptop bags. But what about scanners? Scanners have typically been quite large, but this is seriously changing. While it’s not quite as functional as a flatbed, the Fujitsu ScanSnap S300 Portable Scanner is a heck of a lot easier to shove into your briefcase.

Measuring 11.18 x 3.74 x 3.03 inches, the Fujitsu ScanSnap S300 is one of the most portable scanners on the market. Because it has clearly been designed for business purposes, the output is that of a PDF file, rather than the JPG that many consumer scanners seem to produce. After giving this scanner a whirl for the past while, I can say that I’m quite pleased with its ease of use, its performance, and the ability to scan documents just about anywhere.

Key Specifications

Hitting up the official product page, you find the following key specs and features. You can also view the PDF data sheet for further information.

– Scanner Type: ADF (Automatic Document Feeder), Duplex color scanning
– Image Sensor: CIS (Color Image Sensor) x 2
– Optical Resolution: 600 dpi x 600 dpi
– Scanning Modes: Normal, Better, Best, Excellent
– Scanning Speed (Normal): Color 150 dpi or B&W 300dpi at 8ppm, 16 images per minute
– Scanning Speed (Excellent): Color 600 dpi or B&W 1200dpi at 0.5ppm, 1 images per minute
– Paper Weight (Thickness): 17 to 28 lbs
– Included Items: USB cable, USB bus power cable, AC adapter, AC cable, Getting Started Guide, Setup CD-ROM
– Power Consumption: 9W or less (operating), less than 5W (sleep mode)
– Device Weight: 3.08 lbs. without power adapter

Installation and Usability

Provided in the box of the Fujitsu ScanSnap S300 scanner is an installation CD with three pieces of software. I would have preferred if the scanner was completely plug-and-play, but that’s just not the case. Drivers and software need to be installed on the computer before you can use the scanner. After that, however, this is about the easiest piece of hardware you’re ever going to use.

In terms of power, you have two options. The first is a little more conventional, getting you to plug the AC adapter into an available wall outlet. This is fine when you actually at home or at the office. For true mobility, however, you can actually draw USB bus power from your notebook through the provided secondary USB cable. Again, it would have been nice to have a single USB cable connecting to your computer — which is the case if you use AC power — but to use your laptop’s power, you’ll need two cables: one for data, one for power.

They say that pictures are worth a thousand words, so videos have got to be worth like a million. Hence, here’s a demo video of me using the ScanSnap S300 with a single document. As you can tell, all it takes is a single press of the “scan” button to get the process going.

It’s not as hard as it looks in the video to feed a piece of paper through the scanner; it was just a little awkward trying to do it with one hand. I turned on the OCR software for text recognition within the PDF file produced, but you can opt to turn this off and save some time.

Build Quality, Cosmetics, and Overall Impressions

Fujitsu targets the majority of its products at the corporate and enterprise customer, so it goes without saying that the build quality on the ScanSnap S300 Portable PDF Scanner is absolutely top-notch. There was virtually no flex in the chassis at all. I’m not a huge fan of the boring matte silver and black finish, but as I said in the video above, it should fit right into a corporate environment filled with grays.

When you open the lid, it automatically turns the scanner on and prepares it for your document to be scanned. If you happen to get a paper jam, it’s very easy to open the inner lid to access your crumpled piece of paper. A small detail that may have been useful is some sort of “click” for when the top cover is closed. As it stands, you just sort of close it and that’s about it.

Despite its relatively small stature, the portable scanner is definitely on the heavier side of things. The stat sheet says that it’s a hair over three pounds, but it feels heavier than that. You’ll definitely feel this weight when you place the ScanSnap in your laptop bag or briefcase. I wouldn’t recommend putting it in a plastic bag, because it’s likely to tear right through.

Conclusion

Overall, the Fujitsu ScanSnap S300 Portable PDF Scanner is a fantastic product backed up by a very trustworthy name in the business sector. The construction is rock solid and the software is an absolute breeze to use. It’s nice having such a powerful scanner in such a portable package and it’s also handy that it can scan both sides of your document at the same time.

There are shortcomings, of course. While it can run completely off of USB power, you do need two cables to do this. It’s also quite heavy for its size and I would have appreciated plug-and-play usability. A thinner package would have also been nice.

If you’re in the market for a portable scanner and don’t need the added versatility of a flatbed, the Fujitsu ScanSnap S300 will certainly serve you well as a business executive who is constantly on the go.

The Fujitsu ScanSnap S300 Portable PDF Scanner is available now for $295.

About Michael Kwan

A freelance writer and tech geek from Vancouver. Find me at michaelkwan.com and follow me on Twitter @michaelkwan.

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  • Alex nej

    Video is very shaky. Maybe you should re-post a new one w/out the start-up issues of the "feed".
    A video is worth a thousand words though, but it does NOT seem as fast as the advertising is attempting to say…