One on One: ScanSnap S1300i

One on One is a series of reviews. Instead of a long-winded breakdown, I give you a quick summary along with one positive and one negative.

For this One on One, I'm featuring my first bit of hardware.

A good quality scanner is a bookkeeper's best friend. Without a good scanner and shredder it wouldn't take long for my office to look like a scene from Hoarders. The brand of scanner I coveted for years was Fujitsu and it's line of ScanSnap scanners. All my favourite podcasts talked about them, and all the reviews made them seem like a dream. A little over a year ago I finally got the chance to use one. One of my clients bought the ix500 and I borrowed it a few times to scan a few boxes of their paperwork.

Wow. That scanner is the ultimate example of hardware living up to the hype. It's a $500 scanner, yet easily worth every penny. When it was time for me to buy a scanner of my own, $500 just wasn't in the budget. Thankfully, Fujitsu has 2 other scanners in their ScanSnap line below that price point.

Name: Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i

Description: A desktop document scanner with most of the features of the flagship ix500 but with a smaller footprint for less than half the price. The S1300i sports a 10 page automatic document feeder. It can scan double sided pages and quickly convert them to searchable PDF's, send them straight into Evernote, or dozens of other possibilities with Fujitsu's included software.

Price: MSRP is about $270 but I got mine on sale for $230.

One Positive: It's hard to pick just one, but I think I'll choose the way the software and hardware work together. That's a bit vague until you've used one. The scanner has 1 button, but matched with the included software it becomes a very powerful button. You can setup profiles that are like templates for how the scanned pages are handled. Select a profile and suddenly a touch of the button converts the 5 pages you scanned into 1 searchable PDF, 5 searchable PDF's, or 1 Evernote note. If you have a big stack of paperwork that needs to be saved the same way, you can really make that pile disappear quickly.

One Negative: If I hadn't tried out the ix500 first...ignorance is bliss. My scanner has a 10 page ADF but it doesn't have the same sturdy feel that the ix500 has. If the pages are flimsy or folded I have to babysit them as they go through the feeder. If I don't set them properly they'll go off course and run through the feeder diagonally. Now, having said that, the software still somehow creates a really nice PDF no matter how awkwardly the page goes through, but sometimes the page will get stuck if it goes really badly off course. If you're scanning 1-2 pages at a time this won't be an issue. I just think I got used to loading a huge stack of paper into the ix500 and wanted to do the same with this one.

Final Thoughts: If you need a scanner that will do a lot of work, and you have the budget, get the ScanSnap ix500. If you have lighter needs or a smaller budget, the S1300i is still an amazing scanner, and you still get the incredible software that comes with the other ScanSnap models.