Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500 review
The ix500 is a compact desktop sheet-fed scanner but unlike many scanners it is mains powered and has a USB3 port. The standard ix500, which we’ve reviewed, comes with Fujitsu's driver and document management software, business card scanning software and full versions of Adobe Acrobat X Standard (for Windows only) and ABBYY FineReader OCR, which is a very useful software bundle.
When setting up the ix500, it's important to install Fujitsu's ScanSnap driver before you connect the scanner because the ScanSnap's drivers are closed, proprietary and absolutely essential for using the device.
The installation disc installs all the ScanSnap software by default and also gives you the option of installing Dropbox, Evernote, SugarSync and Scan to Microsoft SharePoint clients, should you need them. Indeed, Fujitsu has put much effort in to integrating its ScanSnap software with popular third-party document sharing and management tools.
The ix500 has built-in Wi-Fi, and once it’s set up the installer prompts you to enable scanning to iOS or Android devices so that you can use it with smartphones or tablets via your wireless network. You must also install Fujitsu's ScanSnap Connect app, which is available for free download on both iTunes and Google Play.
Press one button and the ix500 will scan directly to your smartphone or tablet. You can configure the app’s scan profile to save files to your phone in either JPG or PDF formats, change the resolution, opt for one image per page rather than a collated document, change the way files are named and more. This means that staff can easily scan any document they'll need to have with them on a job to their mobile or tablet within seconds.
Although the scanner's Wi-Fi connection lets you scan to mobile devices, you use its USB connection if you want to scan to your PC. One thing to note is that you can't use it to scan documents from within another application, such as Photoshop, because it’s entirely dependent on its proprietary interface. You can, however, create profiles that automatically open scans in the application of your choice, and the ScanSnap interface has built-in support for scanning to applications such as Microsoft Word, Adobe Reader, Google Docs and other popular applications and cloud services. If the one you use isn't available by default, you can add up to 10 additional applications to the list.
The ScanSnap software interface doesn't let you start scans directly, it's purely intended to create profiles that you can associate with the scan button on the device itself. This is great if you just want to create a profile and know that everything will be saved automatically wherever you want it, but it's not very well suited to those who want to scan media in different ways. A flatbed scanner with an integrated document feeder provides greater flexibility for users with broader requirements.