Okay, let me get one thing straight - when I was offered to review the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX100, I didn't really see the point in having a scanner. After all, I already have a scanner app on my smartphone and I was pretty happy with it.
But every gadget deserves a chance, no?
The first thing that struck me when I unpackaged the iX100 scanner was how small and incredibly lightweight it was. Measuring 273 x 47.5 x 36 mm and weighing just 400 grams, it is extremely portable.
The device boasts a rechargeable Lithium battery, which means freedom from a power cord!
Basic setup consists of connecting the iX100 to a computer with the supplied USB cable to charge its battery, and downloading and installing the ScanSnap program on my laptop.
While one can use it as a USB scanner, I expect that most people (myself included) will use it wirelessly. Doing away with the need of messy and troublesome wires, I could connect the scanner to my laptop effortlessly via a WiFi network.
And that was all about it regarding the set-up. Fuss-free, simple and no tear-out-hair moments. In fact, the set-up was so quick that after I was done with it, I threw it into my work bag and promptly forgot all about it... until a week later.
I was meeting a client of mine and after letting him sign some documents, he required an e-copy of them urgently so that he could submit them for claims. I took out my smartphone and took a few photos but unfortunately, the quality was not quite ideal. I then remembered the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX100 sitting idly somewhere in my bag, and whipped it out. I linked the scanner to my laptop and the rest was history. Although I have to add that the scan quality of the iX100 is remarkable for a scanner this size.
A few days later, I had to get a few bills paid while in between appointments. I had the physical paper bills in my bag so I took them out, paid them online, scanned the bills into my laptop and disposed the paper bills. Soon, I came to realise I have been using this small portable scanner in different situations I never would have anticipated... thanks to its presence in my work bag!
BUT the biggest use of the scanner for me so far has got to be dealing with those 'pesky' business cards!
Don't get me wrong - business cards are essential to my line of work, and even for my blogging contacts. But these physical card DO build up over time and storing them can be a headache at time. And don't even get me started on the times when I need to search for a specific business card from the stacks and stacks of cards!
With the ScanSnap iX100, all my woes of cluttering and digging through a pile of cards are a thing of the past. Well, of course I just have the tiny step of scanning all of my business cards using the scanner first... which isn't a big problem actually because since the scanner is so simple (and fun, in the eyes of the monkies) to use, Ale volunteered to help me to feed all the cards through the scanner!
For small items like business cards and receipts, the iX100 boasts dual scanning where you can feed two small items into the scanner at the same time. The scanner then recognises them as separate documents and either exports two scanned files or a single file with two pages, depending how you have it set up. Very handy!
But the most amazing thing about the scanner isn't actually the scanner itself. It is the software that comes bundled with it.
After scanning multiple business cards, the ScanSnap will automatically open and recommend the most suited program for scanned document. In the case of business cards, ScanSnap's CardMinder automatically collates the information on the cards and segregates them into the various fields of 'Name', 'Company', 'Job Title', 'Address', 'Phone Number', etc which I will be able to export them to an Excel spreadsheet. HOW COOL IS THAT???
Remember I mentioned that the scanner is able to connect to a device via a WiFi network?
What if there is no Wi-Fi network that you can connect to? If there isn't one, the ScanSnap iX100 will attempt to create its own.
Setting up the connection is straightforward. All you have to do is to set the scanner's Wi-Fi switch to On, open the front panel to turn on the scanner, and launch the app on your smartphone or tablet.
The first time you connect, you have to enter the scanner's security key and password. After that, the app will remember the settings and automatically connect the scanner is available.
Did I mention that scanning is a breeze?
I have to admit, incorporating the paperless routine through the ScanSnap iX100 was an immensely liberating experience. There is a LOT of paper to handle in my course of work, and filing them and then trying to find specific documents usually end up in me having to spend lots of precious time - time that I would rather spend playing with my monkies.
With the scanner, not only did I free up space by getting rid of my hard-copy filing system, I had fast, easy access to all my paperwork no matter where I happened to be.
Besides being the fast and tiny scanner that the iX100 is, I truly appreciate its easy portability. Being able to scan a stack of papers (up to 250 pages on a full charge!) anywhere and anytime is a huge convenience.
I may not have realised it then, but I have now come to discover what it is like to have a good scanner with me in my work bag all the time.
My next de-cluttering goal? The monkies' huge collection of artworks and drawings!