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Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Document Scanner

5 Stars
Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500

When I reviewed the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 document scanner last July, I wrote that it was one of my favorite pieces of tech hardware. The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 replaces the S1500/S1500M and is the best ScanSnap yet for home and small office users.

PROS

  • Faster performance (25ppm color)
  • Searchable PDFs are much faster to scan
  • PC-less scanning to iOS and Android over Wi-Fi
  • USB 3.0 connectivity
  • Improved paper feeding system
  • Supports scanning to cloud services
  • Mac and PC support

CONS

  • Includes an older copy of Adobe Acrobat Standard

HARDWARE
The size and shape of the iX500 is nearly identical to the S1500, except that it’s a tad taller. At 6.62 pounds, the iX500 somehow weighs exactly the same as the older S1500. The most obvious physical difference, however, is the new color and finish of the iX500. Bidding good-bye to the old two-tone silver of the S1500, the iX500 is now all black. It also has less of a curved appearance now, in favor of more angular look. Gone too are the chrome accents around the scan button. And if you’re looking for the Mac version of the iX500, there isn’t one. Fujitsu used to make a PC version (S1500) and a Mac version (S1500M), but the iX500 now supports both operating systems in a single unit.

ScanSnap iX500 front

At the back of the iX500, you’ll find the security cable slot, power connector, USB 3.0 port, WPS button and Wi-Fi ON/OFF switch. The WPS button and Wi-Fi switch are new, of course, because the iX500 now supports Wi-Fi. Another plus is that the ScanSnap is now a USB 3.0 Super Speed peripheral.

ScanSnap iX500 back

Just like the S1500, the iX500 only has a “Scan” button on the front of the scanner, keeping it super simple to operate. The iX500 powers on automatically when you lift up the ADF paper chute and shuts off when you close it. I’m a big fan of this design because it helps to protect the internal components from dust and makes turning the unit on and off very convenient. For light-duty jobs, you can feed the paper in the ADF paper chute, then press the Scan button and you’re good to go.

ScanSnap iX500 scan button

For heavy-duty scan jobs, you can flip open the stacker tray to neatly stack all the sheets of ejected paper.

ScanSnap iX500 front open

PERFORMANCE
The scanning speed of the iX500 has increased by 25%, to 25ppm. You can drop up to 50 pages onto the ADF, then scan away. The iX500 is incredibly fast and efficient, but the performance gain I noticed the most was during scans of searchable PDFs. Thanks to the built-in graphics processor, the wait time to process a searchable PDF has been virtually eliminated. Now you can process every page of a document for searchable text without much of a delay; the S1500 often required a lot of extra processing time for searchable PDFs.

ScanSnap iX500 side open

The paper feed on the iX500 uses an ultrasonic sensor to make it run as error-free as possible. The sensor was previously only available in Fujitsu’s higher end scanners. During my testing, none of my scans jammed and I didn’t experience any double-feed issues. The paper feed in the S1500 was already very reliable, but with the new sensor, it’s now even better.

ScanSnap iX500 paper feed

SOFTWARE
The iX500 comes with software for both Windows and OS X. On the Windows side, there’s the ScanSnap Manager (driver), ScanSnap Organizer (document management), CardMinder (business card manager), and ABBYY FineReader (OCR). All the programs, except for the ScanSnap Organizer, are available for OS X as well. Adobe Acrobat Standard still comes with the ScanSnap, but you get version X, rather than the latest version, XI.

ScanSnap Organizer (Windows)

The iX500 can scan into the usual document programs like, Word and Excel, as well as many cloud-based services. Evernote, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Sugarsync are all supported. You can also scan directly to an iOS or Android device, without a PC. Setting up the Wi-Fi connection on the iX500 was simple and scanning directly to a mobile device was quick and easy. I tried both the Android and iOS apps and they worked equally well. One of the features I like best about the ScanSnap is that scanned files are not stored in a proprietary database. The files are stored in your computer’s filesystem, which simplifies integrating them into your regular backup schedule.

ScanSnap Connect for iPad

CONCLUSION
The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 is a dream for paperless lifestyles. It is simple to use, rarely jams, and scans at very high speeds. At a retail price of $495, it is expensive, but I personally think it’s worth the investment. If you already have an S1500, the iX500 isn’t necessarily a must-upgrade, unless you do lots of searchable PDF scans or need the PC-less scanning. But if you don’t already own a ScanSnap, I highly recommend the iX500.

Available from Amazon.com.

* Review unit provided by Fujitsu

Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Ed is an IT veteran turned stay-at-home-dad of two girls. He reviews new gadgets at Techdad Review and his tech tutorials can be found online at Lifehacker, CNET, and eHow.


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