Disclaimer: This ScanSnap S1500 was sent to me free of charge to review. Also, I’m coming at this review from a Mac-centric angle as that is the platform I used while testing. Enjoy.

If you want to get your act together and get closer to a paperless lifestyle, you are going to need a good scanner. I’m not talking about one of those flatbed $99 jobs. I’m talking a full fledge, duplex, sheet-fed scanner.

Fujitsu makes some of the best scanners in the industry and when I had the chance to review the infamous ScanSnap S1500 ($449.99 retail) I jumped at it. Here are my thoughts and impressions of the S1500.

Design

The ScanSnap S1500 is designed extremely well and you won’t feel like you received an inferior product when you pull it out of the box. It’s made of a “Apple-esque” gray plastic (not aluminum) and is built well. The S1500 is extremely compact, much more that you can tell from photos and doesn’t take up too much space. In fact, I simply put it on top of my Mac Pro’s case on the side of my desk and it fit well.

The S1500’s document feeder has several different adjustments to handle paper sizes of letter, A4, B5, A5, and standard business card sizes. These are the “supported” sizes, but you can really scan anything up to letter size. What’s also great is that if your paper is a tad misaligned with the scanner, the S1500 will take care of it for you and realign it.

One thing that I truly love about the design of the S1500 is when you “fold” it back up to compact it and the different pieces sort of snap back together giving you some sort of acknowledgement that the pieces are in the proper place. This nice little touch makes it feel more of a high quality product. It’s almost the same experience that you have when you close a MacBook lid.

Software

There is a decent amount of software that is included with the ScanSnap S1500. You can easily call this software a “suite” of tools that enhance the S1500. Installation of the software was simple and the defaults seemed to be pretty well thought out. After you have installed the software and want to start scanning, it’s as easy as loading up the scanner with a stack of papers (supposedly up to 50 pages), hit the scan button and wait until they are finished. Once your paper is scanned the ScanSnap Manger kicks off and gives you options to scan the documents to a folder, email, print, mobile device, Evernote (JPG or PDF), Google Docs, SalesForce Chatter, Word, Excel, iPhoto, or even use the included Cardiris tool for business cards.

ScanSnap Manager

I tend to scan PDFs to file and then manipulate my PDFs with PDFpenPro, but it’s great to be able to send this documents to some very popular services. When scanning to folder you can choose the path, either local or network folder, and even pull up a name history for keeping your documents named in some sort of organized fashion. I was highly impressed with ScanSnap Manager and used it almost primarily rather than using the built in Apple scanning service (which you can use if you are so inclined).

Cardiris is a great little add-on that pulls contact information out of business cards and syncs them with your contacts. If you get a lot of business cards, this thing is a total time save and is quite accurate. What’s nice about Cardiris is that you can set it to format your contact information to match it up with Apple’s address book or even Exchange. It’s versatile and powerful.

Performance

What can I say more about the ScanSnap S1500 other than it is a total workhorse. Mind you, it isn’t as fast as some of Fujitsu’s higher quality scanners, but for just under $400, you are getting a highly capable, fast machine. I did notice that there were some jams here and there, but mostly due to my over-zealousness and excitement of using the S1500 (paperclips won’t work and staples sometime get stuck). But about 99% of the time the S1500 just works.

I would say I scanned nearly 1000 sheets of paper over the 30 or so days I reviewed the product and it held up fantastically.

Conclusion

If you are trying to live the paperless lifestyle that I talked about at the beginning of the year and you want a high quality scanner that won’t kill your pocket, this is the scanner to get. You could purchase a Doxie or some other cheaper scanner, but if you want high performance and a great software suite for going paperless, do not look further than the S1500. The out of box experience is all you need to get rid of the paper in your work and life.

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