The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1500 ($495) is a friendly little entry-level scanner for home or small-office use. Like its predecessor, the ScanSnap ix500, it’s fast, highly accurate, and comes with a comprehensive bundle of easy-to-configure-and-use software. While it doesn’t quite top the feature set or attractive price of the Editors’ Choice Brother ADS-2700W, it’s still an excellent pick for light-duty service.
Simple, Small, Smart, and Smooth
At 6 by 11.5 by 6.0 inches (HWD) with its trays closed and weighing 7.5 pounds, the iX1500 is nearly identical in size and weight to its iX500 predecessor and not far off from several other entry-level models. These include the aforementioned Brother ADS-2700W and Epson’s WorkForce ES-500W Wireless Duplex Document Scanner, as well as the Epson ES-500WR, which is essentially the same machine as the ES-500W, except that the latter comes with the Accounting Addition of Epson’s ScanSmart software, making it a closer competitor to the iX1500 than the $100-less ES-500W iteration.
The fold-up cover over the face of the scanner opens to reveal a 50-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF) that holds originals 11 inches wide by up to 118.1 (9.8 feet) inches long, allowing you to scan the longest of contracts. The ADF supports stacks of pages up to tabloid-size (11 by 17 inches), and you get a snap-on adapter for scanning stacks of receipts and business cards.
Connectivity consists of Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, and tethering to a single PC via USB. When connecting to the iX1500 wirelessly, all devices on your network, including PCs, Macs, and smartphones and tablets, can connect to and use the scanner, or you can scan directly from the face of the scanner to the control panel, shown here.
What you see on the control panel, ScanSnap Home, looks identical to the software by the same name installed on your computer (and close to the ScanSnap mobile app), which decreases the learning curve. Most of the configuration options, though, such as creating workflow profiles and assigning them to buttons, are handled via your PC or Mac.
ScanSnap Home and Other Software
I’ve seen many scanner interfaces over the years, and ScanSnap Home is one of the simplest and well-thought-out applications of its kind. First, though, let’s talk about the ScanSnap iX1500’s entire software bundle, which includes, of course, ScanSnap Home, Nuance Power PDF Standard (Windows), Nuance PDF Converter for Mac, and Abby FineReader for ScanSnap. The first two, obviously, are utilities for working with Adobe’s portable document format (PDF), and Abby FineReader is a state-of-the-art optical character recognition (OCR) program for converting scanned text to editable text.
ScanSnap, though, is where you’ll configure and initiate your scans. Like most scanner interfaces, from here you can create workflow profiles to dictate resolution, file format, destination (email, the cloud, local folder, and so on), and more. When you click or touch Scan from within the software or on the face of the scanner, the rest of the process is automated.
My only complaint about ScanSnap Home is that it’s almost too simple. For example, instead of standard resolution quantifiers like 200dpi or 300dpi, for Image Quality you are given vague options, like Good, Better, and Best. Otherwise, ScanSnap Home should provide a robust enough set of features for most home and small business scanning and document-management settings.
The software, for instance, provides automatic naming routines, tagging, and other methods for archiving your scans, and it maintains a database of not only your scanned documents, but also business cards and expenses. You can even associate and export data for use in specific applications. Another feature, ScanSnap Cloud, identifies and routes documents to specific cloud sites based on document type or user-defined parameters.
ScanSnap Home has built-in support for 12 different cloud sites, including Box, Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, QuickBooks Online, and OneDrive.
Spot-On Speed and Accuracy
Fujitsu rates the iX1500 at 30 pages per minute (ppm) for one-sided pages and 60 images per second (or ipm, where each page side is an image) for two-sided pages. I tested it over USB 3.0 using ScanSnap Home on both our standard Intel Core i5 testbed PC running Windows 10 Professional and from the scanner’s control panel. Both methods produced similar results. Before getting into the numbers, though, I should point out that this scanner fed and ejected pages as smoothly and surely as any sheet-fed document scanner I’ve seen—even those rated at two or three times as fast—without even a hint of a jam or any other mishap.
Without the lag time required to save the scans to a useable file format, the iX1500 scanned PCMag’s standard one-sided 25-page Microsoft Word test document at the rate of 34.3ppm and our two-sided 25-page (50 sides, or images) at 69ipm. These scores are well beyond Fujitsu’s ratings, but much more meaningful scores include the time required by the accompanying software to process and save the scans to formats usable by other applications, which, for our test purposes are image and searchable PDFs.
The iX1500 scanned and converted the same test documents to image PDF at the rate of 31.6ppm and 61.9ipm. These scores are slightly behind those of the Brother ADS-2700W and Epson’s ES-500W and ES-500WR, but then these three scanners are rated slightly higher, at 35ppm and 70ipm, then the iX1500.
The iX1500 scanned our two-sided 25-page test document to searchable PDF in 49 seconds. This score came in a few seconds behind the two Epson models and a second faster than the Brother. In any case, unless you’re scanning thousands of pages daily, these differences are minor and not nearly as important as how accurate these machines (and their software) convert scanned text to editable text.
To that end, my Fujitsu test unit scanned PCMag’s Arial font test page error-free down to 5 points and our Times New Roman test page without mistakes down to 6 points. These are excellent scores for any scanner, entry-level or otherwise. Even so, among the scanners discussed here, at 5 points error-free for Arial and 4 points for Times New Roman, only Brother’s ADS-2700W is more accurate.
Meanwhile, the Epson ES-500W managed 8 points on both tests without mistakes, and the ES-500WR turned in a very respectable six points error-free for both fonts.
Excellent Entry-Level Scanner
If a light-duty document scanner is what you’re looking for, the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1500 will serve you well. In fact, if the receipt-scanning feature sounds attractive to you, you should choose the ix1500 over our current favorite networkable entry-level model, the ADS-2700W. If it weren’t for the lack of Ethernet support, slightly lower accuracy scores, and a $100-higher list price, this ScanSnap would have easily walked away with our Editors’ Choice nod. The iX1500 is still a terrific scanner worthy of your short list (and your desktop).