Customer Reviews: Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 Instant PDF Sheet-Fed Scanner for PC
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VINE VOICEon March 29, 2009
My old HP scanner (actually, it wasn't that old) died a few months ago and it was time for me to get a new one. I accidently came across the predecessor to the ScanScap S1500 (the S510) last week while I was having my taxes done and was amazed at the speed and compactness of it. My tax person also gave it glowing reviews. As I wasn't aware that Fujitsu manufactured scanners, I thought I'd do a little research which led me to reviews of the S510 here on Amazon. Rather amazingly, I was very surprised to find that the S510 had so many extraordinarily high reviews (something that I don't believe I come across too often, especially with items such as scanners). One of those reviews mentioned that a new model (this one - the S1500) had just been released by Fujitsu. After some more research (it wasn't yet listed on Amazon), I found that this scanner was available and that it had many new features. As it turns out, I was the "first kid on my block" to acquire one and I'm glad I did! This machine is incredible!

The speed is absolutely blinding - an incredible 20 pages per minute but, because it scans both sides of a page at the same time, double sided documents scan at 40 PAGES PER MINUTE! Wow! As with previous models, this scanner is very small and appears to be well built: it's quite heavy for its small size and fits very nicely on my small computer desk. The scanning quality is equally spectacular - it scans up to 600 dpi in color, grayscale, and black and white and mine came with a good assortment of software (Adobe Acrobat 9, Rack2-Filer, and ABBYY FineReader). It scans documents beautifully! While I've been too busy scanning the billions of pieces of paper that have cluttered my life for years (this scanner will actually do that quickly and efficiently - something I've always just dreamed would be possible), I haven't yet tried to scan photos; I suspect that this scanner will do a good job but that another type of scanner would probably do better for archival purposes).

The only problems I've had were with Acrobat (I already have Acrobat 9 Pro on my computer) - I found that importing previously scanned documents into Rack2-filer were always listed in reverse order (ugh!) and Fujitsu tech support replicated the problem. They suggested, however, that I completely uninstall (not just repair) Acrobat and reinstall it. That did the job. BTW, I received great tech support from Fujitsu.

One interesting thing is that this scanner does not come with TWAIN drivers. Because of this, it is not possible to use it to the same extent as other scanners. Just the same, my reason for getting this scanner was to create .pdf files and this scanner does it like no other.

Overall, I'm thrilled with the Fujitsu S1500 - there is no question that it is the best one I've had (and I've had many) and is well worth the money (the S1500 is also the most expensive scanner I've ever purchased). I would recommend this to anyone who needs to scan documents.
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on May 6, 2009
I have never had a dedicated document scanner before. In the past, I used the Auto-document feeder on my all-in-one printer/scanner/fax machines to scan documents into adobe acrobat. That meant for each batch of papers, I needed to set the color/resolution/paper size/quality settings and then work through Acrobat in order to save each file. It worked, but it was slow going.

Then I bought this new scansnap 1500, based on the ratings of the earlier model (the scansnap 510). I installed only the main program to my computer (the software also includes OCR programs, organizational programs, and acrobat 9, which I already have). I hooked up the scanner and stuck in a stack of old notes I took from some college courses--some notes were in color, some were b&w, some on two sides, some on one side, and some of the pages were upside down. I hit the only button on the machine (SCAN), and to my sheer amazement, it started flying through the stack of notes without any additional prompts or effort. It then automatically saved my file as a pdf--all of the pages were in order, color pages were in color, b&w pages were in b&w, etc. The only issue I noticed was that if there were any marks whatsoever on the back side of my note papers, it included those blank pages in the file.

I repeated this process with any papers I could get my hands on. I even tried sticking in papers of varying sizes, and it sped through them all without a problem. I am officially hooked. (In a moment of either stupidity or genius, I sliced the spine off of an old book and scanned that in too.)

I did notice a few things that are worth mentioning specifically: 1) This scanner is much smaller than it looks. I was expecting something the size of a inkjet printer, but it is actually about the size of a loaf of bread. 2) You have to place the papers GENTLY into the scanner or it will jam. If I push the papers in too far, it pulls through several pages at a time and the software warns you to start over. 3) I am running the software on Windows 7 RC1, so I can tell you that, at least in my case, it will work on Win7.
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on December 21, 2009
I purchased this scanner as a first step in creating an electronic filing system for a home office. As I accumulated 20 filing cabinet drawers of paper documents going paperless seemed to be an answer.

Purchase of the Fujitsu S1500 was based on the numerous 5 star reviews. I am reasonably tech literate and have used the scanner for about 2 weeks. Here are my initial impressions:

Pros -

1. Speed: This scanner seems blazingly fast. Not a resource hog. Will scan duplex 20-25ppm at default settings on Win2K/1.8mhz/1gb platform.

2. Scan quality very good at all settings.

3. Size and looks: Small desk footprint. Looks great open or closed.

4. Excellent paper feeding as long as documents are same size and 20# or greater paper weight.

Cons -

1. NO TWAIN DRIVER. I knew this going in but did not appreciate how much this would cripple the device in day to day use. Let me explain. I had envisioned creating a virtual file cabinet in my computer using Windows Directory/Folder/File system then scanning my paper documents into this system as pdf files. The problem is that the native Fujitsu software does not let you append an existing pdf file!!!

As an example take a file for utility bills. D:/Home Expenses/Utilities/Gas_Electric.pdf. You can easily scan in all prior bills(limited by 50 sheet ADF)and a pdf with one page for each bill will be created. But if you had more than 50 prior bills or when next months bill comes then the next scan you perform to include these new documents will create a new pdf and does not allow the option of appending this current scan to the existing pdf. As you can see one could easily end up with 1000s of individual pdf documents in your filing system. The work around is to launch Adobe Acrobat (not reader) and use it to open the old composite pdf and use Acrobat to append the newly created pdf to the prior file. This work around takes longer than scanning in a 30 page document. Twain based scanners easily work with existing windows file structure and allow you to append an existing pdf without invoking Acrobat.

2. Paper catch tray very fragile and ADF paper support does not stay up (also reported by other reviewers).

3. Double feed sensor: stops scan and reports. This is good. However you cannot retrieve the double fed sheet and place it back in proper order because the next sheet is already in the scanner and cannot be backed out. You have to either cancel the scan and start over or put the unread sheet back in out of order and then use Acrobat to rearrange the pages in the resultant pdf document. If you choose to cancel the scan the document that is halfway into the scanner will not be ejected and you need to perform an new scan to retrieve that sheet.

4. A scanning run will only handle one size document at a time. In my experience if you have a mix of paper sizes you will need to do a scanning run for each paper size. Each run will generate a separate pdf file with you will then need to deal with.

5. I paid extra for the scanner bundle with Rack2File software thinking it would help me create the filing system I envisioned. After loading and spending several hours with this software I don't understand how it works or what it is supposed to do. I consider the extra $30 dollars I spent for the "bundled" scanner money poorly spent.

6. Other minor annoyances are:

While the scanner and snapscan software will run on older platforms the bundled software Rack2file and Acrobat require XPpro SP3 or newer. This is not clear from specs.

ADF will hold 40-50 sheets but output tray will start to jam after 20-25 sheets.

Documents printed on less than 20# paper and with printing on both sides the back side printing will show up on the front side scan. Many commercial invoices are printed both sides on thin paper.

Cannot set several default scanning profiles. You need to reset the scanner parameters each time you want a different profile.

Bottom line:

This would be a 5 star low end document scanner if it only offered a twain driver. As it is I can recommend it only to prospective buyers who understand the full implications of this limitation. I thought of returning this scanner and getting one of the twain based models like the Epson GT S50 but at this point I have learned enough of Acrobat to quickly append my pdfs retrospectively.

I strongly recommend avoiding the "bundled" product since I don't see what added value the Rack2File software brings.

I considered giving the scanner a one star review just to get people's attention but the hardware is so good 3 stars seems about right.
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on June 8, 2009
i really like this scanner. it does a great job of just being simple and functional.

things i like:
duplex scanning
automatic blank page removal (useful for duplex scanning single sided pages)
includes full Adobe Acrobat
initiate from scanner. you don't need to start from the pc
specialized biz card scanner - it identifies addresses, phone numbers, email, etc
auto-rotate & straighten - doesn't matter how you scan the sheet, it fixes the rotation for you.

things i don't like:
paper feeder errors out frequently - it's easy to jam the feeder or pull more than one page. This is the single most frustrating thing about it.
limited paper feeder - if i feed more than 10 sheets at a time, i have a very high chance of jamming the feeder.
biz card scanner ocr gets company names wrong more often than not.

overall though, i'm still pretty happy with this scanner.
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on July 12, 2009
The first evening we owned it we scanned about 2000 pages of old bills, receipts, insurance and tax information. It handled all kinds of papers from receipts to carbon forms to magazine pages to paper in one stack. For the most part it will take any mix of sizes and type of paper, but it is sometimes easier to scan separately and use the drag-and-drop PDF editor to combine the pages together.

The included OCR software is very easy to use, OCRs and coverts the PDFs in the background. The resulting PDFs are images of the original page with real text underneath, permitting searches and cut'n'paste.

The output tray is one of the few weaknesses of the hardware. Sheets emerging from the scanner tend to catch previous pages and push them, sometimes completely off the tray, but almost always into a fairly unruly pile. It's worse if the documents are of mixed sizes.

It really cannot handle photos at all. I'm not sure what causes it, but the results on a glossy photograph are unusuable. Far below the quality of other documents, with large color smears and other artifacts. The feed mechanism is not gentle enough for pictures, either, so you'd want to use the included carrier sheet for any photos you really cared about, which defeats the document feeder aspect of the scanner.

The software has flashes of brilliance and moments of stupidity. The business card app does an amazing job of extracting data from all kinds of odd business card layouts... but it can't handle inverse text (white on a dark background) at all. The multi-feed detection and the dialog that helps you recover is very nice, but the paper jam popup is different and uninformative. You can continue scanning from almost any condition with the one blue button on the unit, but if you want to do anything unusual (like simplex scanning) you have to navigate to the tiny systray icon and pick it from the right-click menu. It does a great job of eliminating blank pages and it can even split stacks of pages into many documents, but it *can't* split them up by original input sheets (unless you set it to leave in blank pages and split into 2-page documents). No one can be using the computer connected to the scanner because it steals focus at the beginning, end and for any error condition.

Overall I'm extremely happy with it and expect it to eliminate many filing cabinets worth of old documents. In the first week after I bought mine, two other people bought S1500s on my recommendation. If they weren't quite so expensive I'd probably give them to everyone I know as Christmas gifts!
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Note - This scanner is the next generation of the Fujitsu ScanSnap S500 Clr 18PPM/36IPM Dupl Scanner

Our office has dozens of HP Scanjets and Xerox Documates and, as the IT guy, I hate every one. Feeders wear out, get jammed, pull multiple pages through, and are slow. I decided to go with the Fujistu ScanSnap because of all the great reviews, despite the higher price. Our budget doesn't allow for a copier scanner or a high priced workstation scanner. For the price, the ScanSnap is excellent.

1. This scanner is very small. It is only slightly wider than a letter-sized sheet of paper, and when everything is folded up, it is half as long. Unlike other scanners, I can easily find room for it at any desk in our office. It is so small it could even sit on top of a workstation.

2. This scanner is VERY easy to use. Previous scanners had buttons all over them for different functions. You would press the regular scan button, and then have to wait for the scanner's software to start up, the lamp to warm up, the image to preview (I HATE previewing the image!), and the slow process of scanning. The Fujitsu ScanSnap has two buttons. A power button (which I never use since I leave the unit on all the time) and a big green SCAN button. Put the paper in, press the button, and literally within about 5 seconds it scans the image, and in another 3 or 4 it converts it to PDF and saves it. It is amazing how insanely fast this scanner is.

3. The Software provided by Fujitsu is great. It is very unobtrusive and easy to use. I scan most of my docs to PDF, so after it is done scanning, I just use their included software, which shows previews of the actual scans. I can click an "e-mail" button and 2 seconds later it opens my email program with the scan already attached. MUCH faster than scanning directly from Acrobat. It's also great that I can use their software standalone and don't have to deal with Acrobat at all, which is incredibly bloated in version 7.

It comes with some other software, such as an OCR reader which I haven't tried, and a program called CardMinder which you can use to scan in business cards. It will scan the card, use the OCR reader to categorize the contact information, as well as save an actual image of the card. I don't use this program either but it definitely seems useful for people who receive a lot of cards. It also comes with Acrobat Standard 7.0 so you don't have to buy Adobe's software.

This might be the best piece of office equipment I've purchased. If you are looking for a powerful scanner at a mid-range price it is great, and I definitely recommend it for anyone who does a lot of scanning to PDF. It is worth the extra $250 or so compared to the HP scanners simply for the copy of Acrobat and the speed of use.

The differences between the S1500 and its predecessor, the Fujitsu ScanSnap S500 Clr 18PPM/36IPM Dupl Scanner, are:

1. The S1500 is slightly faster at scanning, and the software seems to be a little faster at processing the documents. Given that the S500 was fast to begin with, the increase is barely noticeable.
2. Form factor - The S1500 has straighter lines and looks more modern while the S500 is a little more rounded. The differences are pretty dramatic and I probably prefer the S1500 more.
3. The S1500 comes bundled with a newer version of ScanSnap Manager. That's somewhat significant because it is pretty difficult to obtain the software/drivers if you don't have the disc it came with. You can't just go on Fujitsu's site and download it, you have to actually contact them and give them your model number, and then they give you an FTP site to obtain the software. So don't lose your discs. It also comes with Acrobat Standard 9. The Acrobat software is terrible, but it is a little better than the Acrobat Standard 8 that comes bundled with the S500.

Overall, I do think they improved a bit on the S500, but not enough where anyone needs to replace their S500 with the S1500.
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on November 18, 2009
I bought this scanner encouraged by very enthusiastic reviews here on Amazon. On the basis of my first two months of using this scanner every few days, I would agree with many reviewers that it is an excellent scanner...if it works or until it works properly. I liked it so much. But after it started to scan distortedly, I received no real repair from Fujitsu.I feel very disappointed about Fujitsu technical support/repair services and decided to write a review, just to warn any potential buyer that they should not count on Fujitsu support if there is any problem with the scanner. I thought in a country like USA, Fujitsu would really do their best to keep the clients satisfied. (I am aware that other buyers might have had a better experience than mine with Fujitsu customer service).

Here is my story. Two weeks ago I called technical support at Fujitsu. After 10 minutes of waiting I got through to an agent to whom I explained the issue of my malfunctioning scapsnap. 1/4 of a scanned text page is blurred and what is a straight line of words on my xerox copy looks later, after scanning, like a wave of words on the PDF, one word is higher one lower, just a like a wave on a storm ocean. It looks awful. Anyway, the agent asked me questions and I answered them. Then I emailed him a sample page to show the problem, the receipt etc. I received the case number and was allowed to send my two-month old unit for repair. The first agent confused my personal date which I exactly told him by phone and then additionally sent him by email. The second time I called Fujitsu customer service to correct the errors of the 1st agent, I waited 45 minutes and did not get through to any agent. They were busy. So I left a message and another agent called back 30 minutes later. He corrected my personal data. Then I needed to send a fax. I do not have one so I went to a place where there is one. Then packing. I packed the unit in the original box and I also put it in another, a little bigger box and wrapped in protective material, for additional protection in shipment. Everything took me almost half a day (including my time spent in UPS). Today I received my scansnap back. The additional box was dismissed or thrown away by repair services because my unit was shipped in the original box only and it does not look as good as it used to when I was sending it for repair. However, as for the so-called repair of this unit and Fujitsu technical support/repair, I found it the MOST FRUSTRATING EXPERIENCE with any technical support/repair services in 40 years of my life: half a day lost to be authorized to send this unit, plus $16.68 spent in UPS for shipment (never refunded), and now I got back the scanner without any note from the services about the problem. But when I started scanning I quickly understood why. The first scanned pages revealed the warranty claims of a customer do not mean much to Fujitsu repair services. They did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. The same problem is visible on any scanned page. Big portions of scanned pages look blurred and distorted (wave effect). Only I know how disappointing and humiliating I feel, with all that time lost, not to mention $400 spent in August on this scanner.
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on November 30, 2009
I upgraded to the Scansnap S1500 from an old HP ADF scanner and the difference is amazing. The unit scans super quickly, nearly silently, and quite well. And for duplex, it is twice as fast, since it scans both sides simultaneously. The experience with duplex scanning is indicative of the difference between my previous sheet fed scanner and this one. With my old unit, I dreaded duplex documents, which involved scanning one side of the page for the whole document, then reversing the whole document and scanning again, and then interweaving the page. Now with the Scansnap, I look forward to duplex documents because it means I get twice the number of pages scanned in the same time.

I am a social science grad student digitizing all of the source material for my dissertation. So my experience with this scanner is primarily with B+W text scanning directly to PDF. For this, the scanner is amazing. And needless to say, I am on a tight budget. So believe me when I say that this unit is worth at least twice the price. This is especially so when you factor in shipping costs for moving documents (ie reams and reams of paper) from place to place. For grad students, who have a lot of paper, shipping can be a big expense.

But perhaps most importantly, here's a tip on cross platform compatibility: Fujitsu sells two models, the S1500 for PC and the S1500M for Mac. HOWEVER, the device itself seems to be cross platform--and this can be confirmed with a quick google! While the device is, the software is NOT; however, the DVD that shipped with my S1500 came with BOTH Mac and PC versions of the Scansnap Manager. This is the basic software used to control the scanner. As a result, I am running my S1500 (which is sold as PC only) on a Mac. The only difference between the S1500 and S1500M (and this may be big if you do not already have a version of Acrobat Professional) is that the included Acrobat Professional disc is EITHER Mac or PC, not both, depending on the scanner version you purchase. SO ... if you want to use this scanner in a cross platform environment, you can. However, you must choose which version of Acrobat you want--PC or Mac. (It is important to note that PDF authoring software is important to have if you want to get the most out of this scanner. While it will produce PDFs without it, authoring software is necessary to manipulate the PDFs you create--to rotate pages, combine or divide documents, etc.) Let me be clear that I only know for sure that the S1500 comes with both Mac and PC Scansnap Manager software. I assume the S1500M does as well, although I do not know for certain.

Also of interest is that the scanner works under Ubuntu GNU/Linux using SANE drivers and gscan2pdf. However, in my experience the scanner controls are not as complete under SANE and gscan2pdf as with Fujitsu's proprietary drivers on a MAC and PC. Other seem to have had better experiences than I. Ultimately, Linux users should know that it is possible to use this scanner; however, it may take some tweaking. But if you use Linux, you are most likely used to this.
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on April 29, 2011
Background information
Age of Reviewer: Geeky guy older than 40 and younger than 50 :)
Skill of Reviewer: Highly technically adept, also used the help of the IT department in my company and Fujitsu support.
System: Dell Laptop Precision M4400 Quad Core running Windows 7 64-bit
Review on: Installation and software for Windows 7 64-bit AND Fujitsu support.
NOT a review of the scanner itself -I never got it to work.
Hours spent trying to get the product to work: 15
Outcome: Returning the product today.

To sum it up briefly, this is not a finished product for Windows 7 64-bit. The drivers will not work on my dell laptop with Windows 7 64-bit after serious troubleshooting including support with Fujitsu Tech Support.

Previous to purchase I did due diligence and while I found blogs, reviews and forums that reported problems they also reported solutions.

Upon receiving product I spent about 6 hours on my own installing software, uninstalling and re-installing, updating drivers, reading forums, trying fixes.

I spend subsequently 2 hours with my company's IT manager trying to find problems.

Finally, over the period of a week, I spent about 7 hours with Fuijitsu technical support running different diagnosis and fixes. They were diligent (but poorly organized) and followed up but could not fix the problem either.

Pass on this one for now, seems a good product according to other reviews, maybe one day they will get it working for Windows 7 64-bit.

My review of Fujitsu support:

1) Wait times until you get someone on the phone reasonable: 5 to 10 minutes.
2) Diligent and nice tech support staff.
3) Poorly structured/managed as every new guy I had to show what had been done in the previous troubleshooting sessions (for a process that is going to last days, would it not make sense to assign only ONE person to the case?)
4) Not forthcoming with information regarding failures as they did not want to comment on problems widely reported in the web with the product.
5) Overall I was impressed by their degree of effort, they called back to my phone twice, which I consider impressive for a product in this price range.
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on August 4, 2009
I got this scanner a month or so ago and I love it today as much as I did on day one.

For years I've wanted to organize my office, as in get rid of countless files, back tax returns, and mounds of paper.With the scanner I have thinned out filing cabinets and ripped through stacks of old papers. My desk is finally clear, and I plan to keep it that way.

The scanner is very fast, one sided or two, and with reasonable paper, rarely jams. When it does jam, it is very easy to clear.

You can scan to PDF files or Word or Excel files, all searchable, plus email and scan business cards. When you're done, it closes up into a very small footprint. It is a great piece of technology.

(Did I mention that my wife wishes I spoke as lovingly about her.)
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