Fujitsu ScanSnap S1100 Portable Scanner Review

snapscan-640x440 Fujitsu ScanSnap S1100 Portable Scanner Review

The Fujitsu ScanSnap S1100 scanner might just be the ultimate portable scanner. Ultra-mobile, high-quality, easy to use and surprisingly fast; the hardware’s solid, the software is versatile and the bundle is very affordable. In fact, it seems to have achieved all of the benchmarks with little to no sacrifice in any area.

Features and Design

First off, the hardware. At only 10.74” x 1.33” x 1.87” (273 x 47.5 x 34 mm) and about 12 ounces (350 g), it seems to almost blink out of existence when slipped into your bag. It needs no power cord and has no battery to recharge, as all of the power it needs is pulled from the USB. One cord and it’s ready to go whenever you are.

And not just one cord. The ScanSnap only has one button, too: A big, blue, illuminated “Scan/Stop” button.

Before you get to push this button, the drivers and software need to be installed. For this hands-on, I’ve installed all of the Mac software options from the included disc.

The first thing you’ll notice when you put in that disc is that it needs 1.3GB of space on your hard drive. That seems like a lot at first, until you realize it’s 1.3GB of OCR glory and a long list of programs, formats and connectivity options.

But I’ll start from the beginning.

In Theory

Bring a piece of A4-length paper, envelope, photograph, receipt, credit card, business card or anything in between up to the scanner’s feed slot and it’ll grab the end of the sheet. Hit the big blue button and whatever you’re scanning slides through, taking only 7.5 seconds to scan in a full letter-sized paper using its single Contact Image Sensor.

It only does one side at a time, but if you need both, simply flip the sheet over and insert again. No buttons to push, no settings to change, it just pulls in and keeps scanning. Multi-page document? No problem. It’ll keep scanning whatever you throw in there until you tell it you’re done. Different sizes? Still no problem. It automatically recognizes the sizes of each individual sheet.

Once you’re finished, the ScanSnap Manager program takes a moment to convert the image to a PDF and give it a once-over with its Optical Character Recognition software. Depending on the OCR settings and languages you have on and how many sheets you’ve put through, this can take anywhere from a couple seconds to a few minutes.

Once it’s finished, you’ll get this screen:

A quick run-down of these options:

  • Scan to Folder: Sends a searchable PDF version of your scan to any folder on your computer or network
  • •• Scan to Email: Turns your ScanSnap into a digital fax, converting documents to a searchable PDF and pushing directly through to your email client
  • •• Cardiris: Sends to the included Cardiris program, which automatically extracts information from your scanned business cards and helps create a digital archive of your rolodex
  • •• Scan to Print: Uses the ScanSnap in conjunction with your printer as a photocopier
  • •• Scan to Word (.doc): Scans directly to an editable Word file using ABBYY OCR (opens in Pages or other word processing programs if Microsoft Office isn’t installed on your computer)
  • •• Scan to Excel (.xls): Scans directly to an editable Excel file using ABBYY OCR (opens in Numbers or other spreadsheet programs if Microsoft Office isn’t installed on your computer)
  • •• Scan to Evernote: Sends your scan as either a PDF or Jpeg to your Evernote account
  • •• Scan to Google Docs: Converts the scan into an editable text document using ABBYY OCR and sends to your Docs account
  • •• Scan to iPhoto: Converts the file to a Jpeg image and imports into iPhoto

The Manager program allows you to choose your resolution – anywhere from the 150 colour/300 B&W minimum dpi to the 600 colour/1200 B&W maximum dpi – and compression rate, plus extra options for OCR language and which pages to look for text in.

In Practice

So how long does it take to turn your life paperless with this scanner? Using the “Automatic” settings for paper size, colour detection and image quality, I managed to push through eight years worth of notes, legal documents, artwork, photographs, tax receipts – everything I’ve gathered in that much time – in a paltry seven hours.

All of my photos and artwork are now together on iPhoto, all of my notes are searchable (findable, really) and readily available from anywhere on Evernote; papers of all sizes and levels of importance are neatly filed and old notebooks have been completely converted to PDF e-books. I’ve cut easily two hours and 40 lbs off of my next move. Through all this, the ScanSnap didn’t even break a sweat.

The paper shredder I borrowed, on the other hand, overheated six times from the exact same stack of papers and took nearly twice as much time.

The Bottom Line

The Fujitsu ScanSnap S1100 is everything a portable scanner should be: Portable, and a scanner. Fujitsu has demonstrated perfectly that these two traits aren’t mutually exclusive by any means. There’s been no sacrifice to quality whatsoever in bringing down the size or power usage.

There are a small handful of drawbacks I noticed. Over the course of those seven hours, it sometimes jammed up when a paper wasn’t aligned just right with the feed slot and the edge folded over on itself a bit. But even this only happened three times, and I’m assuming the same thing would have happened to any other scanner in the same situation.

It only loads one sheet at a time, and only reads one side at a time, but that’s still pretty standard and is more than enough for the average user.

The other thing is that it isn’t compatible with TWAIN or ISIS drivers and can’t be selected as a WIA source, so programs that use these drivers won’t be able to manipulate the ScanSnap directly. But I think the included software gives enough other options that this shouldn’t be a problem for most people.

And at about $200, neither should the price.

All in all, whether it’s for everyday use or solely for the road warrior, the ScanSnap S1100 is getting a well-deserved 9/10.

mbarscore-9 Fujitsu ScanSnap S1100 Portable Scanner Review

[Fujitsu S1100 product page]

Review: Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 mobile scanner

fujitsu-scansnap-s1300-009 Review: Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 mobile scanner

Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 mobile scanner Photo: Mobile Magazine


mscore-8 Review: Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 mobile scannerWith a small but steadily growing population of the computing force being Mac users, it’s nice to see Fujitsu thinking of us by offering a serious mobile scanning hardware solution.  The Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 is just under $300, and will appeal not only by Mac users, but any mobile professional serious about document processing.

The S1300 is silver and gray.  It folds down nicely in to a compact 11.18 x 3.90 x 3.03 inches and weighs in at 3.08 lbs.  It’s a little bit thick at 3.03-inches, but will fit in to larger laptop bags, perhaps even a large briefcase. I think it could have been a bit thinner, but Fujitsu did a good job of keeping it looking sleek.    Power is via USB, either a single connection to your computer with the included power adapter.  Or go ultra-mobile by using two USB ports.  The interface is simple and clean, with one-button scanning initiated at the touch of a finger.

Scanning times are a fast on the S1300.  Software processing after the document passes through your scanner is very efficient.  Results were sharp and crisp, contrast was better than average without any adjustments.  The ADF (automatic document feeder) only holds 10 sheets, but its alignment is bang on, no issues of pages shifting were encountered in my tests.   The Fujitsu S1300 really shines in the software department.  

fujitsu-s1300-scan Review: Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 mobile scanner

Software prompt for you to manage the most recent scan.


Bundled with the standard model is the following:

ABBYY FineReader for ScanSnap (Mac and PC): ABBYY FineReader for ScanSnap allows users to be productive by quickly transforming their paperwork into editable Word and Excel files at the push of a button.

ScanSnap Organizer 4.1 (PC): Offers PC users a convenient way to store, manage and view PDF and JPEG files as well as perform post-scan editing, keyword entry and searchable PDF conversion.

CardMinder 4.1 (PC): Provides PC users a fast way to capture both sides of a business card, extract the information automatically and export it to Outlook, Excel, Act! and other contact management software.

Scan to Functions (PC): Offers PC users an easy way to scan to a folder, attach scans to an email, send scans to a printer, or scan to Microsoft SharePoint for ad-hoc efficiency.

ScanSnap Manager (Mac and PC): Provides Mac and PC users one button searchable PDF creation, access to intelligent features and custom scan settings (profiles) for simple operation with sophisticated results.

Scan to Functions (Mac): Offers Mac users a flexible way to manage their PDF, searchable PDF and JPEG files. Users can save content to a folder, a network folder, iPhoto, and even directly to their iDisk account.

Cardiris 3.6 (Mac): Provides Mac users a convenient way to scan their business cards and export the contact information directly to Address Book or Entourage.

If you are interested in Rack2-Filer software, Fujitsu sells the S1300 deluxe model that gives you this software for an additional $50.  It provides the look and feel of paper to your scanned documents.

Here are the scanning times encountered:

8.5×11 single sided 14 seconds 300dpi 24bit
8.5×11 double sided 48 seconds 600dpi 24bit
8.5×11 double sided 16 seconds 300dpi 24bit
8.5×11 single sided 47 seconds 600dpi 24bit
8.5×11 single sided 9 seconds 150dpi greyscale
10 page stack single side 150dpi greyscale 59 seconds
100% Crop Magazine Ad Scan (2.53 MB)

Bottom Line
Fujitsu packs a nice suite of applications with the S1300 scanner, for both Mac and PC users.  The ScanSnap manager is simple and easy to use, letting you select what you want to do with the document after it’s scanned. Default settings can be modified and saved, letting you adjust what it should do. For example: save as PDF 150dpi to folder /scans.  AbbyFineReader lets you scan automatically to Excel, searchable PDF, or Word.  Mac support is a huge plus, but this one lacks a carrying case of its own.

mbarscore-8 Review: Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 mobile scanner

Review: Addonics NAS2XU2 NAS 2.0 adapter

Addonics-NAS2XU2 Review: Addonics NAS2XU2 NAS 2.0 adapter

I just finished testing the Addonics pocket NAS 2.0 NAS2XU2 device that was announced just a couple weeks ago.  My first thoughts are that it’s loaded with features, faster than expected, and small enough to use with your mobile office on any budget.

The predecessor to the NAS2XU2 was the single port NASU2 with only 10/100 MB/s ethernet support, at $59.99, a price increase of only $15, it’s really worth it.  Many of the features remain the same, but Addonics took some customers feedback into consideration and made some necessary changes for the next-generation NAS.  This version supports gigabit ethernet, has dual USB ports and an added dedicated port just for a USB printers.

CrunchGear had a look at the original version and found it a bit slow only transferring data at 1.3MB/sec.  I did not have a Gigabit network to test on, but sending files over WiFi to the USB thumbdrive connected to the Pocket Nas 2.0 on a 10/100 MB/sec Cisco Linksys router was able to reach 2.8MB/s speeds.  That is more than double that of the previous model, showing that there is an improvement in throughput and it should be drastically noticed on a Gigabit network.

Setup, Installation and Administration

After plugging in the NAS 2.0 to a router, power outlet (no PoE just yet) and adding a USB drive and USB printer, you are nearly finished.  There’s really not much to setup and install for the pocket NAS 2.0, it’s very user-friendly and straight forward.

I popped in the driver disc that it came with, but my MacBook just spit it out.  I tried it in another machine and it didn’t work either.  Luckily there is very little needed to get this up and running.

NAS2XU2-searchdisk Review: Addonics NAS2XU2 NAS 2.0 adapter

You can check your DHCP client table list on your router to see what IP your NAS 2.0 has picked up, then just connect to that IP with your web browser and use the default admin/admin login and password.   The Addonics software is a java application and I was able to get it from their website and it gave me the IP address without a problem.  If you are not running DHCP on your router your NAS 2.0 will auto-assign itself an IP based on it’s own internal DHCP server.

Administration options are sufficient for this devices capabilities.  Obviously you have the option to change Administrator passwords, and an Identification Page for Hostname and Workgroup settings.   Time Settings lets you change the time on the device, or use a remote Time Server.  LAN Config is for DHCP or Static IP configuration, MAC address display and PpoE setup.  A Disk Tool setting lets you Format a USB drive, or use Scandisk.  Finally, a Maintenance tab setting lets you upgrade firmware, reboot or reset the adapter to factory defaults.

Note: Addonics has updated the web administration on the NAS 2.0 device but they do not reflect the changes in their User Manuals on their website. It may look different, but essentially it’s the same.

SMB File Server

When you access the file server you have the option to add users to access the shared folders.  There is no access restriction functionality for specific folders, so accounts added here will be able to see anything you share with only the option to restrict read or write access.

NAS2XU2-connect2server Review: Addonics NAS2XU2 NAS 2.0 adapter

From a Mac you just enter the smb://192.168.1.103 address (yours will be different) into the server connection dialog box (command+K in Finder), hit connect and you will be prompted for the username and password you created.  After connecting you will have your NAS 2.0 appear in your finder window where you can access the shared folders and files.

A transfer of 1.17GB file took only 6:51 seconds, 2.8 MB/s over WiFi on a 10/100 connection.  This is fast considering the limitations of WiFi speed and transferring data to a USB flash memory drive.

NAS2XU2-samba Review: Addonics NAS2XU2 NAS 2.0 adapter

FTP Server

FTP is pretty much like what you would expect it to be, limited by your internet service providers upload cap if you are sending from a remote location.  Nonetheless, a great feature to have for a quick and easy way for someone to send you large files.

An anonymous account is present right off the bat. From the configuration you can add FTP users, change the FTP port (very handy for ISPs that block port 21) and just turn off the FTP service if you like.

NAS2XU2-ftpserver Review: Addonics NAS2XU2 NAS 2.0 adapter

Media Server

Unfortunately, Xbox 360 connectivity did not work entirely because it didn’t show any of my files.  After jumping around in the Xbox 360 Media Menu (you access this by pressing the round xbox button in the center of your remote), and going in to each of the USB drive shares in Video, Music and Pictures, finally the STORAGE device appeared.  As with iTunes, when you go to access files from your shared folder, they do not show up, not even MP3 or AVI files.

NAS2XU2-mediaserver Review: Addonics NAS2XU2 NAS 2.0 adapter

P2P Server

The P2P server, aka Bit Torrent Setup, works quite well.  You upload a torrent file that it will begin to connect to peers to receive the data.  Each file is shown in your Download Queue with the percent status of completion.  You can modify most settings that you could in a standard BT client, like port, download path, upload and download limits and max peers.  One interesting features is the Mail Notification, you can set mail delivery info to be notified when your download is complete.

NAS2XU2-p2p Review: Addonics NAS2XU2 NAS 2.0 adapter

NAS2XU2-bittorrent Review: Addonics NAS2XU2 NAS 2.0 adapter

Network Print Server

This was feature was easier to use than I thought, and very convenient.  You add a printer to your computer as you normally would, but set the port to the IP address of the NAS 2.0.  A complete walk through on this is available in the NAS2XU2 – NAS 2.0 Adapter User Manual if you are unsure of how to setup network printers.  This is a great feature for setting up a remote mobile office quickly with print sharing for all of your users.

NAS2XU2-printer Review: Addonics NAS2XU2 NAS 2.0 adapter

Bottom Line

The Addonics NAS 2.0 – NAS2XU2 unit is cheap, silent, easy to setup, and best of all, small enough to toss in your laptop bag and take with you anywhere you go.  At $59.99 it’s quite the deal for a basic NAS device for USB devices and printers.  However, if you wan’t to go the route of accessing music, video or other media from your XBOX 360 or iTunes, this is probably not the way you want to go.  This was disappointing, but if you are clever enough and know how to use SMB you really don’t need the built-in sharing options that are provided.

Official website for the Addonics NAS2XU2.

Addonics-NAS2XU2-multi Review: Addonics NAS2XU2 NAS 2.0 adapter

REVIEW – Brother QL-570 Professional Label Printer

Whether you’re living in a college dorm and you want to keep tabs on all of your belongings or you’re working in an office where your stapler always seems to go inexplicably missing from your desk, having a good label maker can go a long way. This is also useful for when you have multiple seemingly similar items and you want an easy to differentiate between them.

Going well beyond the basic traditional label makers is the Brother QL-570 Professional Label Printerir?t=mmg04-20&l=as2&o=15&a=B000ZHEVZ8 REVIEW - Brother QL-570 Professional Label Printer. Instead of working as a standalone product with very little customization, the QL-570 works just like a regular printer that you’d connect to your computer. While it may not be quite as convenient as the handheld equivalent, you get many more features and options with this package.

brother-1 REVIEW - Brother QL-570 Professional Label Printer

Inside the box, you get the Brother Label Printer itself, a USB cable, a power cable, the supporting documentation, a cleaning sheet, installation CD, and a pair of starter rolls of thermal paper. The QL-570 doesn’t use any ink, relying instead on this thermal paper. After it prints your label, you can peel off the backing and use the sticker-style label immediately.

Retailing for just over $60, the Brother QL-570 is quite affordable, especially since it comes with two rolls of DK thermal paper. The wider roll is a continuous strip of label paper measuring 58mm across and the narrower roll offers several consecutive address labels.

brother-2 REVIEW - Brother QL-570 Professional Label Printer

Measuring 20.8 x 13.5 x 14.2 cm, this Professional Label Printer offers up to 300 x 600 dpi resolution, speeds of up to 68 labels per minute, compatibility for both PC and Mac, and included software to create all sorts of labels. The P-touch Label Creation software is good for making shipping labels, name badges, folder labels, and more.

While the handheld label makers will only output a single line of text in only one font style and size, the Brother QL-570 acts just like a normal inkjet or laser printer. You can print images, albeit only in black and white, as well as all kinds of text.

brother-3 REVIEW - Brother QL-570 Professional Label Printer

Setup and configuration is very easy and I really like the design for slotting in the thermal paper. On the right side of the roll, you’ll see a vertical wedge that fits perfectly into a slot in the printer. The left side fits into a series of slots closer to the front of the printer too, so it doesn’t matter if you have the size that spans the width of the printer or you’re using a narrower version.

Looking at the build quality of this printer, you won’t get anything that resembles anything near the top of the line. The plastic can feel quite cheap, but it’s not like you need this device to be particularly rugged. You also have to realize that it’s only a $60 product.

brother-4 REVIEW - Brother QL-570 Professional Label Printer

The print quality is a little hit or miss. Since it uses thermal paper, there is no time needed for the ink to dry. There’s no ink. This also makes for a remarkably smooth and clean surface for your labels. Text comes out quite crisp and you can use whatever fonts you’d like. The software allows for integration with Word, Excel, and Outlook as well.

Images can be printed, either on their own or as background images to text, but they do only come in grayscale. I wouldn’t want to use a photo that has too much detail to it, but this kind of functionality is good for basic pictures and company logos.

All in all, I’m quite pleased with the Brother QL-570 Professional Label Printerir?t=mmg04-20&l=as2&o=15&a=B000ZHEVZ8 REVIEW - Brother QL-570 Professional Label Printer. The setup process is easy, the footprint is small enough to fit on nearly any desk, and the software is very robust. The auto-cut feature when you print out a label is very handy too. I wish there was a way to use it without a computer though.

OVERALL RATING: 8.0/10

REVIEW – Verbatim AquaAce Glossy White Inkjet-Printable DVD-Rs

While most of us have come to rely on online storage and USB flash drives, there is still a definite need for writable optical media. We still burn CDs and DVDs for a number of different reasons, whether they be to watch movies or to have a more cost-effective way of distributing marketing materials.

verbatim-3 REVIEW - Verbatim AquaAce Glossy White Inkjet-Printable DVD-Rs

In this latter implementation, you want to maintain a certain air of professionalism and that’s why burning your material onto a generic disc may not be the best of ideas. The point is that the distributed disc has your company branding and not that of TDK, Fujifilm, or Memorex. That’s why having personalized labels can be so important, not to mention the personalization that the average consumer can enjoy as well. Sharing family photos and movies this way can be great.

One possible solution that you may want to consider is the Verbatim AquaAce family of discs. More specifically, we’ll be taking a closer look at the Verbatim AquaAce Glossy White Inkjet-printable DVD-Rs. These writable discs can be used with compatible inkjet printers for disc printing.

The Deal with AquaAce Technology

This family of discs makes use of Verbatim’s patented AquaAce glossy white disc coating. The glossy white surface has an appearance not unlike the glossy white photo paper that you may find in a variety of different stores for printing your favorite pictures.

verbatim-1 REVIEW - Verbatim AquaAce Glossy White Inkjet-Printable DVD-Rs

The idea here is twofold. First, it allows for a very professional glossy appearance that can be printed on directly using compatible inkjet disc printers from companies like Primera, Microboards, Epson, Microtech, HP, and so on. There is no Verbatim branding on the discs themselves, so you really can make them your own.

It’s also notable that this photo-quality printing surface is resistant to smudges and bleed due to water and humidity. I normally associate water-resistance with matte finishes, but I found that the glossy surface of these Verbatim AquaAce discs was smudge resistant right away. No more messy fingers.

And the Burning Speed and Quality?

I was provided with a sample of standard DVD-R discs with just 4.7GB of storage. These are not dual-layer discs. They are also rated at just 8x speed and they are single-write discs (not -RW). With the 8x speed, you can fill the disc to capacity in less than 10 minutes.

verbatim-2 REVIEW - Verbatim AquaAce Glossy White Inkjet-Printable DVD-Rs

In terms of reliability, the first disc that I used on my Dell laptop failed to finish. It’s hard to determine whether this is the fault of the software, the DVD burner, or the disc itself. The burning process looked like it finished, filling it with 4GB of photos as a data disc, but the disc showed up as empty when I tried to read it later on.

Repeating the process with a second disc resulted in absolutely no errors and no problems. As mentioned, the initial problem may be due to my computer or it could have been a faulty disc. I can’t say for sure.

Conclusion

Printable DVD-R media isn’t exactly the most exciting thing in the world, but if you have the right printer, these discs are much more convenient that the printing label solutions that you may find elsewhere.

The glossy white surface really is as good as the glossy print paper that photographers use and the high-sheen surface really does give a sense of professionalism. The smudge-resistant surface is quite nice. A 50-disc spindle sells for about $35.

Overall Rating: 7.5/10