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Fujitsu iX500 ScanSnap Review
Price: $495 List | $419.99 at Amazon
Pros: Fast, high quality scans, easy operation
Cons: Expensive, character recognition not perfect
Bottom line: The best model you can buy if you your scanning needs are frequent
Weight (pounds): 6.6
Resolution (dpi): 600 x 600
If you're looking for the best performance you can get out of a scanner, the Fujitsu iX500 ScanSnap is the clear choice. With high quality scans, a 50-page document feeder that takes care of long documents in a flash, and a software package that makes managing all of your newly digitized documents easy as pie, it is the clear leader of the scanning world. The only area where it isn't perfect is in its optical character recognition. The OCR was plenty accurate for finding documents by searching for a keyword, but if you wanted to find the exact number of keywords within a document it may miss a couple. If text recognition is your top priority, you may want to sacrifice some speed and performance and get the Canon imageFormula DR-C225, which is near perfect in that realm.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Fujitsu iX500 ScanSnap was far and away the best scanner we tested and is our top recommendation for those that regularly have to digitize paper documents.
The Fujitsu iX500 ScanSnap earned the highest overall score in our testing, as you can see in the table above. We used a series of different tests to calculate those overall scores, which we divided into four testing metrics. In the sections that follow we detail the Fujitsu iX500 ScanSnap's performance in each of those tests.
The Fujitsu iX500 ScanSnap shared the top score of 8 out of 10 in our scanning quality testing with two other models.
It rendered perfectly crisp text and handwriting with almost no imperfections. It did create some minor smudges when scanning receipts, but never to an extent that anything was rendered illegible. Though you likely wouldn't use this scanner for photos, as the feeding tray would bend the original, it did quite well when we put a photo through it. The scan ended up with good resolution and fairly accurate colors. Other than the Epson WorkForce ES-400, which produced fewer smudges when scanning receipts, no model was able to compete with the Fujitsu iX500 ScanSnap's scanning performance in any capacity.
The Fujitsu iX500 ScanSnap was the fastest model we tested, earning the top score of 9 out of 10 in this metric.
This scanner was able to zip through a 10-page, double-sided document in just 13 seconds. That works out to a whopping 46 pages a minute. However, it didn't earn our Top Pick for High Volume Scanning because its automatic document feeder can only fit 50 pages. Though the Fujistsu Fi-7160 Sheetfed is slightly slower than its sibling, it has an 80-page automatic document feeder, making it slightly more suitable for very large scanning jobs.
Software is the only metric where the Fujitsu iX500 ScanSnap didn't earn a top score, but it still managed a very respectable 7 out of 10.
The scanner itself comes with both PC and Mac compatible software, and we found installation to be painless on both platforms. The ScanSnap Manager allows for intuitive file management and lets you easily select the destination of each scan you complete. The only slight downside was the optical character recognition (OCR), which is used to create PDFs with searchable text. Generally the OCR worked quite well in our testing, and we were always able to find a scan by searching for a keyword. However, searching within a document we did find some errors. For example, searching for 'government' within a document would yield 20 results, when the keyword was actually used 23 times throughout the document. We found that level of accuracy acceptable for most uses, but if you need to find every single mention of a word you'd be better off with the Epson WorkForce ES-400, which has near perfect OCR.
The Epson WorkForce ES-400 was one of the more user friendly models we tested. It earned a top score of 8 out of 10 in this metric, which it shared with 3 other models.
We found setup, software installation, and pairing to be quite easy whether you are a Mac or PC user. We had the scanner up and running in just 15 minutes, which was on the quicker end of the scale. The software makes it easy to select settings, allowing the scanner itself to have a very simple, single button interface. We also found the automatic document feeder to be easy to load, and the paper tray kept everything tidy while we were scanning.
The Fujitsu iX500 ScanSnap is quite expensive, listing for $495. Its performance is well worth that price if you find yourself scanning multiple long documents everyday, or if you're looking for a scanner to serve everyone in a large office. However, if your scanning needs are more occasional this is definitely overkill, and you might want to consider something like the Brother DS-620, or even the Scanner Pro App if you only scan a few documents here and there.
The Fujitsu iX500 ScanSnap is the best document scanner currently on the market. If your scanning needs include multiple documents everyday, it is well worth the high price tag.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata
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