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Lifehack Product Review: The ScanSnap S1500

Lifehack Product Review: The ScanSnap S1500

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.

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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.

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    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.

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    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).

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      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.

      More by this author

      CM Smith

      A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

      Design Is Important: How To Fail At Blogging 7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively 6 Unexpected Ways Journaling Every Day Will Make Your Life Better Why Getting Things Done is the Best Productivity System For You How to Beat Procrastination: 29 Ways to Beat It Once and for All To Automate or not to Automate Your Personal Productivity System

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      Last Updated on February 15, 2019

      7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

      7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

      Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

      Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

      Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

      So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

      Joe’s Goals

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        Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

        Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

        Daytum

          Daytum

          is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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          Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

          Excel or Numbers

            If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

            What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

            Evernote

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              I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

              Evernote is free with a premium version available.

              Access or Bento

                If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                Conclusion

                I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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