Fujitsu’s handy ScanSnap S300

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When I was asked to look at Fujitsu’s new ScanSnap Scanner, the S300, I was a little taken aback. I wasn’t really the scanning type, and like most people I always ask, “When would I use it?” The answer: “Pretty darn often.”

The feature set in the ScanSnap, and its small size, really changed my mind, as someone who didn’t think they really needed a scanner. It makes scanning an easy thing to do and an extension of your day-to-day life. By making it so convenient it’s easy to organize all your data — and reduce your paper consumption — quickly and efficiently.

The S300 is marketed as a briefcase size ‘printer-style’ scanner, a scanner that doesn’t scan from a flat bed, but auto-feeds the paper through like an inkjet printer. Because of it’s size, Fujitsu assured me that I could pack it into the same case I store my laptop in.

This was all well and good, but to be a really good portable scanner, it has to be convenient to set up and use. That’s exactly where this product becomes valuable.

Let’s say you are on a business trip and, during your day, you collect four receipts you need processed, two business cards for potential clients and an invoice for a shipment of documents you sent ahead of time to meet you there.

With the S300, you just load it up with all of those documents, all different shapes, sizes and colours, press the scan button, and let it go.

It really doesn’t matter whether you put the documents in straight or crooked, front-ways or backwards, the scanner will compensate. It lines up crooked documents, scans only the sides that have writing on them — and is able to scan double.

As for the business cards, there is a special setting for that in the software that not only reads and scans the cards, but also can also automatically enter data from the cards, such as name, address, phone number and e-mail. The only failing of that particular function is the inability to read white text on colour, as opposed to the traditional, white paper with black text.

To power the scanner, all you need is one USB cable to the computer for data and a power adapter. But for the truly mobile, there is a second USB cable that can double as a power source for the unit — which is especially useful in hotel rooms where the one outlet already has your computer and cell phone charger plugged in and there are no other outlets visible.

If you’re looking for a fully featured scanner that has a built in fax and data options or WiFi functionality, this is surely not the scanner you are looking for.

You’ll probably find new reasons to start scanning documents and clearing up the clutter in your filing cabinet, without sacrificing work space or features.

It really is the ultraportable answer to a scanner and a great addition to the ScanSnap line. Grab one if you think you can use it, as they’re not the priciest buy either, at $250 to $300. It’s the ideal choice for the road warrior, small business owner or occasional scanner who doesn’t need a really fast document feed or exceedingly detailed scans.

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