Along with the previously reviewed Evernote, this ultracompact scanner is the best computer-related tool I’ve found in a long time. I’ve owned several flatbed scanners and an all-in-one printer-scanner-fax-copier. The S300 is so far out of their league it doesn’t seem right to call it a scanner. It’s more like a paperless life enabler.
Because it feeds itself (ADF or auto document feed) and scans in full color duplex (both sides of the paper in one pass), it scans piles of paper in laughably short time, converting them to .pdf (or whatever format you like), auto rotating and stitching pages together, and filing them to your preferences. You can set up and choose multiple scanning profiles depending on how you’d like the material scanned and stored. If some pages in a stack are double-sided and others are single-sided, it will discard the blank pages while stitching together your finished product.
There is only one button on the device: SCAN. The ScanSnap doesn’t even have a power button; opening the feeder turns it on and closing it turns it off. And scan it does. After initial setup and some test scans, jaw still hanging open at the sheer speed and quality of the first few scans I’d done, I decided on a torture test, ripping handwritten pages out of a spiral-bound notebook and feeding them into this diminutive powerhouse as fast as it could digest them.
It’s been a month. Stacks of disorganized and dusty papers have disappeared from my life, ready to be called up with a few keystrokes in Evernote or on my hard drive. I’ve jammed this scanner only a few times, and it couldn’t be easier to clear. My flatbed scanner will still have its place — for utmost quality photo scanning or the scanning of books and physical objects — but mostly it’ll now sit idle in my desk drawer.
The ScanSnap is powered via AC or dual USB ports (one for data, one for power) for true portability. The bundled software is excellent, intuitive, and snappy. The CardIris business card software also bundled with it was not impressive. If you do need to scan a lot of business cards, I’m sure there are paid versions that would be superior. This little scanner is one of the rare products I can find literally nothing to complain about. It comes in two versions, the S300 (Windows) and the S300m (Mac).
This brief demo illustrates the auto document feed feature as well as import to Evernote: