The Fujitsu ScanSnap S300 is a portable duplex document scanner.

Fujitsu's ScanSnap S300 takes the technology from the company's well-received desktop document scanners, such as the ScanSnap S510M, and puts it into a device that's easier to carry from location to location.

The Fujitsu ScanSnap S300 is a speedy scanner that's very easy to use, though it does have some limitations.

The Fujitsu ScanSnap S300 measures 770x284x95mm when the paper feeder is folded, and weighs 1.4kg, including the power adaptor. It fits in larger backpacks or briefcases, and feels sturdy enough to withstand daily travel; save some room for the power cable, which is attached to a sizeable power brick. The S300M can also draw power from a USB port and comes with a USB-to-power cable. However, if you use bus power, you need to use two USB ports on your Mac: one for the data transfer, the other for power.

The ScanSnap Manager is the main software interface for the scanner, and it's just like the software shipped with the desktop ScanSnaps. The software lets you save scans to a folder, scan and print, scan directly to your desktop, or scan to an application, such as the bundled Iris Cardiris software for scanning business cards.

You can also scan to an email, which automatically generates an email message with the scan as an attachment.

Unfortunately, Fujitsu doesn't bundle any OCR software with the Fujitsu ScanSnap S300. However, since you can scan to a PDF file, you can use Adobe Acrobat's OCR Text Recognition feature.

The bundled Iris Cardiris ends up being a useless program because of its inaccuracy. The software scans business cards and then performs OCR to add the entry into its own contact database, but of the dozen business cards we scanned, each and every one needed major corrections. Cardiris lets you export the contact data in vCard format, which you'll then have to manually import into your contact program of choice. But since you practically have to re-input the business card data after you scan a card, using Cardiris isn't much faster than creating a new contact in your address book and typing in the data.

Performance

When using the power adaptor, the Fujitsu ScanSnap S300 performs quickly at its default image quality settings (called Normal by the ScanSnap Manager software, which is 300dpi for black and white, 150dpi for colour).

The Fujitsu ScanSnap S300 took only 8 seconds to scan a single-sided 1-page text document, 59 seconds to scan a 10-page single-sided text document, and 14 seconds to scan a 2-page colour document containing both photos and text.

Speed takes a considerable hit when you use USB power-expect the Fujitsu ScanSnap S300 to take nearly twice as long to scan. It took 14 seconds to scan a single-sided 1-page text document; a 10-page single-sided text document took 1 minute, 54 seconds; and a 2-page colour document with photos and text took 27 seconds.

The Fujitsu ScanSnap S300, like the desktop ScanSnap scanners, has two image sensors, which gives the scanner the ability to scan a double-sided page with a single pass. That means it takes just as long to scan a single-sided page as it does a double-sided page: about 8 seconds.

NEXT PAGE: scan quality and our expert verdict > >

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The Fujitsu ScanSnap S300 is a portable duplex document scanner.

Text scanned at the default Normal setting looked jaggy, much like text from an inkjet printer set to draft mode. It's usable, and it doesn't seem to affect Acrobat's OCR accuracy. Scans performed at the Fujitsu ScanSnap S300's top image quality setting (called Excellent in ScanSnap Manager) produced dark, smooth text that was a bit thick, but looked good.

Using the Excellent mode setting results in slower scan times, however; using the power adaptor, the Fujitsu ScanSnap S300 took 40 seconds to scan a single page of text, five times slower than scans at the default setting.

The Fujitsu ScanSnap S300 was also able to handle different paper sizes stacked in the hopper without a glitch. We scanned a stack that included letter- and legal-sized paper, 5-by-7-inch lined notepad sheets, 2-by-3-inch receipts, a page ripped from PC Advisor magazine, and a business card. The pages fed through the scanner without getting caught.

Since the Fujitsu ScanSnap S300 can auto-sense a double-sided sheet, it even scanned the coupons on the back of our receipts, both sides of the magazine page, and both sides of our lined notepad sheets - even though the back of the latter were blank, the scanner sensed the lines on the paper, triggering the scan of both sides. (You can turn off the automatic double-sided scanning using the ScanSnap Manager.)

The Fujitsu ScanSnap S300M offers similar functionality and performance to the ScanSnap S300, but exclusively for Apple Macs.

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Fujitsu ScanSnap S300: Specs

  • ADF (Automatic Document Feeder). Duplex colour scanning
  • Color / B&W / Automatic Color & B&W detection
  • CIS (Color Image Sensor) X 2
  • 3 colour LED (Red / Green / Blue)
  • Optical Resolution: 600x600dpi
  • Paper Chute Capacity: Maximum 10 sheets (A4 size at 20 lb. or 80 g/m²)
  • USB 2.0 (USB 1.1 Compatible)
  • 284x95x77mm
  • 1.4kg
  • ADF (Automatic Document Feeder). Duplex colour scanning
  • Color / B&W / Automatic Color & B&W detection
  • CIS (Color Image Sensor) X 2
  • 3 colour LED (Red / Green / Blue)
  • Optical Resolution: 600x600dpi
  • Paper Chute Capacity: Maximum 10 sheets (A4 size at 20 lb. or 80 g/m²)
  • USB 2.0 (USB 1.1 Compatible)
  • 284x95x77mm
  • 1.4kg

OUR VERDICT

The paperless office is a nice sentiment, but there are professions that are slow to evolve from creating reams of paper on a regular basis - law, estate agents, and medicine, to name a few. For mobile professionals looking for a way to manage paper documents digitally, the Fujitsu ScanSnap S300 is a good choice if scanning to PDF will suffice. But if you need OCR capabilities in order to import text into a modifiable format, be prepared to dish out some extra money.

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