Amazon Review by EastSide
687 people found the following review helpful
Upgraded my ScanSnap S1500
**I copied here my review of the standalone iX500 (without the software bundle) since it is the same scanner**
*** UPDATED ***
I've been using the previous model, the ScanSnap S1500 for almost 4 years now. I liked it so much that I bought a second one. To me, it completely transformed the concept of going paperless: from painful and time consuming to cool and even fun. If you have used a regular flat-bed scanner trying to go paperless, you probably know what I mean. I feel your pain. And this is coming from a hardcore paperless guy since 2001. Back then there weren't that many options.
If you are reading these reviews, you probably already know that the S1500 is currently (January 2013) pretty much the gold standard in the automatic document feeder (ADF) scanner consumer market with excellent user friendly software, pretty fast, reliable, built like a tank, excellent optical quality and on top of that you get the standard version of Adobe Acrobat (worth alone >$100). Not that it is a cheap scanner but compared to other consumer-grade ADF scanners it is a good deal, and like most things in life, you get what you pay for. It is one of those rare pieces of electronics that just work. It makes something relatively complicated extremely easy. Also wanted to point out that those all-in-one scanner/copier/printers, etc. are just Ok in my honest opinion. Their relatively low price is very tempting however, from experience they are “jack of all trades, master of none”. They are no competition for this scanner, not at all!
That said, I bought the iX500 as soon as I learned it was available on Amazon. It was hard to believe the S1500 could be improved but hey, even as a geek myself technology never cease to amaze me. Well, I’ve been playing with the scanner for two days so I will give you my first impressions.
Not that it matters but the first thing I noticed is that the box is now very plain and vanilla (pun intended) colored without even a handle as opposed to the fancy S1500 box. I can’t care less but I just hope they put the savings in the scanner and not the profit margins because this one costs more. Upon unpacking, the iX500 has a nice sophisticated industrial look with matte/shiny black surfaces and blue LED lights. Unlike the S1500, it does not look like an old cheap plasticky silver colored ink-jet printer from the 90’s. Overall the materials and quality of construction seem as good as the S1500. The paper rollers seem improved. Also new is a physical switch to turn on/off the WiFi radio and WPS button to automatically set up a secure WiFi connection.
Let’s cut to the chase and explain the positives and negatives:
-Faster feeding/scan. I don’t think it makes a huge practical difference compared to the S1500 but it is undeniably faster. The higher the number of pages you are scanning, the more significant it will be to you.
-Faster processing. Here is where the difference is very noticeable. With the S1500 the processing can take some time and you will always see the processing progress bar. With the iX500 you barely see it or if you see it it goes way faster!
-USB 3.0 connection. Can’t argue about the advantages of having a theoretically max speed of 5 Gbps (USB 3.0) vs 480 Mbps (USB 2.0). The provided cable is truly 6 feet long which is a plus. With USB 3.0 I wouldn’t recommend using extension cables because the USB 3.0 protocol is very sensitive to increased cable lengths (>2m). If the cable is not long enough for you, get a powered USB 3.0 hub not an extension cable.
-Improved paper handling mechanism. Regular paper documents rarely jam or misfeed on the S1500. Only if you have stuck, very thin, bended, irregular or wrinkled sheets. I threw in different types of papers and it seems to take them in better! This is a real usability improvement.
-WiFi capability. Meh… Honestly, this is not one of the main reasons I got the iX500. For me, for this specific task of scanning documents, speed, security and reliability are more important than going all wireless but that is just me. I have the scanner in my home office next to my desktop and scan a fairly regular amount of documents, some with personal, work and financial information that needs to be encrypted before storing, never online or on mobile devices.
It also has scan-to-the-cloud capability using DropBox, GDrive, EverNote, Salesforce, SugarSync (some with never heard before silly names) but seriously, would you trust a hardly profitable -except maybe Google- private online cloud company to store all your documents for the long term? Maybe temporarily until you download but that’s it. I wouldn’t trust them even for just a backup. Also, try downloading just 100 300-dpi full color scans online and you will realize how painfully slow it is. I do however, see some situations were this may be useful like online sharing of docs or as temporary storage of trivial stuff but only as an add-on capability and not as a main way of connectivity. I will try it with my Android phone and tablet, though but nothing serious.
Throughout the years I’ve learned that the most efficient way to go paperless without wasting time is to: 1)read the document once and decide if you need to scan or throw it away. 2)if its important enough to scan, do it and file the pdf right away in the corresponding computer folder. 3)shred the paper original right away otherwise later on you will waste time picking it up and reading it again. Make sure you have backed up your files before you shred your originals; you can put the scanned sheets in a “to shred” bin until you backup your pdf files. If I were to scan something without my PC I would eventually have to read that paper again online to decide where to put it so that would be 2 reads of the same damn document. Not too efficient if you have say 20+ docs. Also, keep in mind that with this scanner, it is very easy to scan lots of stuff so if you don’t have your own paperless system/routine/strategy, you may end up with digital clutter rather than paper clutter. Develop a system that works best for you.
-I haven’t replaced any “consumables” on my S1500 in almost 4 years so I wouldn’t be worried about that with the iX500. Seems to me like a marketing ploy from Fujitsu to make more money. I have emptied two big 3-drawer file cabinets plus regular scans all these years without any problem. Just keep the rollers sticky clean and vacuum the paper dust that accumulates after a while and you should be fine.
-All the nice “minor” features on the S1500 that make it so great are also on the iX500: ultrasonic double paper feed sensor, automatic de-skew (alignment), double side scan, auto color detection, automatic paper orientation, scanning long papers (legal size), blank side auto deletion, etc. I’m sure they must have improved these.
BTW, you can easily scan hundreds of sheets per run not just the 50 pages they mention. Just keep loading the ADF top tray before it scans the last sheet and it will keep scanning!
-The optical sensors on the iX500 are CIS and not CCD like in the S1500. Theoretically, CCD is better, especially for color reproduction. CIS is better for text and details however, honestly, I don’t see any difference compared to my S1500 which basically uses 7-year old technology. This means that probably current CIS technology has caught up with the older CCD quality in the S1500. Of course this doesn’t mean that current CCD quality is not better yet. Anyway, I use a Canon flat-bed for high-quality scans like paper photographs, cards and the likes so not really an issue for me.
-no Adobe Acrobat XI, just the same version X as before even though XI has been out for a while now. (Note that the provided Acrobat is Windows only. If you have a Mac, you can use Preview which comes with MacOS).
Regarding software, I will also mention that personally, having gone completely paperless for many years, I avoid like the plague using commercial “paperless office managing software” (read Rack2-Filer, ScanSnap Organizer, FileCenter, PaperPort, Sharepoint, etc). Nothing wrong with them at all, its just that many of these programs and their supporting software companies may not be around 10+ years from now so you don’t want to depend too much on their proprietary file indexing system or formatting (a reason I wouldn’t touch NeatDesk scanners not even with a 10-foot pole!) or deal with some compatibility issues that may arise in the future if say you switch to a new operating system. This is very important because the reason you are digitizing documents/photos, etc is for archiving and future use. I only trust the PDF format which is an open standard (many programs and platforms can open it) and plain hierarchical Windows folders for organizing the files, so I’m never more than 5-6 mouse clicks away from every single file I have (i.e.: Finances>credit cards>American Express>Statements>2013) This will guarantee that 20, 30 or 40 years from now your files will be as organized and readable as today.
-no TWAIN support. Even though not that important nowadays, it can be an issue for small business that rely on specific software for scanning. I mostly scan directly to PDF so in my case -and I’m sure for most people- it will not be an issue. TWAIN is a standard protocol that most scanners and imaging hardware use to communicate with software programs. This means that you cannot directly scan images from within some graphic or other type of software that require a TWAIN driver. You will have to scan and then open the image file.
In summary, I will say that coming from the S1500, other than the new wireless capability, the iX500’s big overall improvement is in speed. The iX500 won’t make your S1500 obsolete, not at all unless of course you must have the wireless connectivity. The improvements are more evolutionary than anything else because the S1500 is already very fast. We are talking about differences in seconds. If you add all the speed improvements: a faster feeding mechanism/optical scan + faster image processing due to the new “GI” dual microprocessor + USB 3.0 connection, you get a much faster experience, specially if you scan a lot. Few years ago, a scanner this good and fast would have cost thousand(s) of dollars like commercial grade Canon and Fujitsu doc scanners. I have recommended the ScanSnap series to friends and family who were interested and from their feedback I can say that the iX500 would also be perfect for both beginners and experienced users alike more so with all the improvements.
Few more things: 1)from personal experience, having a good file backup routine is as important -if not more- as having a good scanner. Going all digital is fantastic and very practical but it also makes it extremely easy to lose it all, so I wouldn’t skimp on that side. Backup, backup and b a c k u p your files. I can’t say this enough. 2)The scanner doesn’t come with a paper manual -that would be ironic…ha ha!. You can download the 480-page PDF manual from Fujitsu.
Hope this was helpful.
**** UPDATE 02/11/13 ****
After almost a month of daily use, I’ve had no problems with the iX500 whatsoever. It definitely is as reliable as the S1500. I’m very happy with my purchase. My setup is a custom built PC i7-3770 w/Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bits. Haven’t tried it yet on my Win 8 laptop.
I had the opportunity to play with the wireless function… Well, the WiFi wireless function does NOT replace the USB cable. In other words, it does NOT connect to your PC via WiFi only. In that sense it is not really wireless. It only connects the iX500 to your tablet or smartphone. And actually they say that clearly, I’ll give them that. You cannot have both the USB cable and the WiFi mode active at the same time. Also, you need to turn on the ScanSnap App on your smart device for the iX500 to be able to start scanning (the Apps are free to download on the iTunes and Play Store). The “PC-less” wireless scanning does work as advertised, though. It is very cool and surprisingly fast. I tried it on my Google Nexus phone, tablet and iPod Touch and they all worked very well. Using a Google device you could also save files to the micro-SD memory card.
Also, it is not really standalone-connected-to-the cloud as one would think. It cannot send the scans directly to say DropBox without your intervention. Not even using the App. You must go through the Quick Menu while using your PC and choose one of the cloud services and then save “directly” to DropBox but only when connected via USB. It cannot be done just by pressing the “Scan” button on the iX500. You need a PC for that. That makes sense because you need a computer to do the log-in into a cloud file hosting service. The iX500 alone can’t keep your login information. They should add that direct capability to the App, though. If you don’t want a PC attached, you can still scan with your smartphone and then once in your smartphone, you can send the documents anywhere you want (Google Drive, Dropbox, text message, email, printer, SD memory card, etc).
Regarding the wireless setup process, as a first step your scanner needs to be connected to the computer via USB and run the “ScanSnap Wireless Network Setup” program. If your network is protected, you will also need the security password unless your router has a WPS button (Wireless Protected Setup). I don’t like to read manuals (I’m a guy, ha ha) so I just followed the easy interactive steps. It will also tell you that your iX500 has a unique PIN number that you will need to enter in you ScanSnap App. This is in case you are in an office with more than one iX500s; it will only connect to yours. After that you can unhook the USB cable.
Again, in my specific case I don’t care much for the wireless connectivity but I already can imagine interesting uses for it. BTW, I also tried to use my Google phone as a WiFi HotSpot and connect it directly to the iX500 but it doesn’t work that way. Apparently the iX500 needs a common access point for both. My phone has WiFi-Direct but not the iX500.
**** UPDATE 08/11/13 ****
FYI, you can now scan directly to your PC WITHOUT the USB cable. Download the new software and firmware upgrade from within the ScanSnap Manager’s ‘Update’ option. I don’t really need this function but I can already imagine many useful applications…
BTW, after 7 months of regular use, my iX500 keeps scanning like a champ. I take it for granted and most of the times I’m not too aware I’m actually using it, which is something very good to say about the reliability and ergonomics of this machine!
Also, apparently new units are now shipping with Acrobat XI! I wish they could give early purchasers a software upgrade option since Acrobat XI was already available when the ix500 was introduced…