ScanSnap 1100 Fits the Bill for Personal Scanning

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I have one of those all-in-one printers in my house, and part of the “all” is that it has a flatbed scanner on its top. The problem is that it’s a pain to use. I don’t keep it on my desk because it’s too big, so I hooked it up to the kids’ PC to serve as their printer. I can use it when I want to, but I usually don’t bother until I have a stack of scanning to handle at once.

Enter the ScanSnap 1100. At just over 12 ounces, this long, slim device is lighter than many flashlights I’ve owned, and at under 11″ x 2″ x 1.5″, it’s small enough to fit in just about any briefcase or backpack worthy of its name. On my desk, it sits nestled on my monitor’s stand, blending in so well that I almost never notice it until I need it.

Using the ScanSnap is simple. You just flip down the front door, feed the paper in, and press the glowing blue button. If you want to scan more than one page at a time, just feed in another and watch it go. You can even scan rigid items like business or ID cards straight through. It’s simple and easy, and the included software (which works with both Windows and Mac OS X) lets you save your scans to all sorts of formats, including PDF, Word, Excel, Evernote, and Google Docs — even straight to iPads or iPhones.

I mostly use mine to scan in business cards after a trip or receipts for my family’s FSA. It’s so convenient, I just do them as they come in and then toss the originals into the recycling bin. Last week my youngest kids made short illustrated books for school, and I scanned each of them into my computer in under two minutes.

The device connects via a USB cable, and it draws all the power it needs from that too. That means you only have to deal with the one cord, which makes it even easier to toss the scanner in your bag along with your laptop when you want to use it on the go.

At 300 dpi, the scans are crisp and clean in both color and black and white, and the included software made everything easy to use. My only complaint was that the included business-card reading software — which imports data from a scan straight into your address book — didn’t work out of the box with the latest Mac OS (10.7). I was able to find a free update with a little digging though, so that wasn’t too much trouble.

Unlike the other SnapScans, the s1100 only scans one side of the paper at a time. It’s so simple to flip the paper and feed it back through, though, that I didn’t find it a bother at all.

With a list price of just under $200, the ScanSnap s1100 isn’t cheap. If you grab one before March 31, though, Fujitsu will send you a carrying case to go with it. If you’re short on desk space or if you need to be able to bring your scanner with you wherever you go, it might be perfect for you.

Disclosure: GeekDad received a review copy of this scanner.

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