The Fujitsu fi-6130Z is the latest salvo in the battle between Canon and Fujitsu to create the best desktop sheet-fed scanners.
These business-friendly devices are relatively portable, and allow users to feed in quantities of documents (letters, bills, customer records, etc) and turn the information into an electronic form that can then be integrated within standard computer programs.
We last looked at a couple of models from Canon, including the high-end Canon DR-M160. Priced at around £850, this fi-6130Z takes aim at some of the same ground.
The design of the Fujitsu fi-6130Z is fairly typical, although the Fujitsu is larger than the Canon. The output tray folds up for easy storage, but the input feeder needs to be unfastened for transportation.
Although it’s not particularly onerous to remove, it is still another part of the scanner that needs to be stored safely – the Canon’s all-in-one fully-foldable design offers added convenience.
Neither this nor the DR-M160 can take a huge number of documents, and the Fujitsu fi-6130Z can be loaded with just 50 sheets, rather than the 60 of the Canon.
The duty cycle shows a larger disparity between the two, with Canon rating its device as being suitable for 7000 sheets a day. Fujitsu, on the other hand, is prepared only to suggest 4000 sheets a day. In truth, few users are likely to go beyond these figures, but we did feel the DR-M160 to be slightly more rugged in general.
Fujitsu fi-6130Z: Features
Unlike its rival, the Fujitsu fi-6130Z doesn’t have a long document mode, so you’ll need to stick to source material no larger than A4 in size. Like the Canon, the control panel is straightforward enough. You can alter the job number and choose where to send the scanned document.
In the case of any paper jams, Fujitsu’s software is intelligent enough to pause the job and let you remove the offending sheet before reloading and allowing you to resume at the same point. The rear-mounted release button allows you to quickly open up the Fujitsu and access its inner workings, so blockages are easy to clear.
The software titles contain little that’s ground-breaking, but nonetheless give you a range of nicely executed tools. ScandAll Pro 2.0 offers a colourful front-end that’s reasonably easy to use, allowing you to quickly load finished scans into Microsoft Office programs – Word, Excel, PowerPoint and SharePoint.
You can change the default settings with a few clicks, and then use the fi-6130Z’s dedicated scan button to create almost instant results. If you’re likely to be using the same settings (resolution, etc) again and again, this front-end will work extremely efficiently. The ability to take a single document and turn it into a number of different files could be useful too.
The tried and trusty Kofax VRS Professional (also included with the Canon DR-M160) offers a competent array of tools for enhancing the quality of scans.
OCR is taken care of by ABBYY FineReader ScanSnap 4.1. The ABBYY software continues to get solid support from document scanners, and with good reason. Accuracy levels are relatively strong, and the ability to create searchable PDFs is useful. Anyone who’s really serious about converting compex documents will still want to get their hands on the latest version, but the Fujitsu’s software bundle will do as a starting point.
It’s worth noting that the Fujitsu scanner freezes whenever you have a related program (ScandAll, for example) open. This conflict can be quite confusing initially.
Fujitsu fi-6130Z: Performance
In terms of speed, the Fujitsu is marginally slower than the DR-M160. At a resolution of 200dpi, the fi-6130Z converted our main 20-page test job into a searchable PDF at a rate of 33.9ppm – that’s jsut 1.4ppm slower than the high-end Canon. If you’re happy with image files instead of PDF, you can push this up to 49.4ppm.
It isn’t quite as strong on image quality as the Canon, though, and the text isn’t as cleanly reproduced. Even at higher levels of detail, flesh tones aren’t as well handled as on the Canon at a similar dots-per-inch resolution.
At 300dpi, the results are good, but we would lean toward the Canon for overall performance.
The Fujitsu’s OCR facilities work well, and we experienced few errors in standard text. As with the Canon, it isn’t perfect at recreating columns and tables. This, though, might be fixed with an up-to-date OCR software package.