The Fujitsu ScanSnap S1100 scans a single A4 page at 300ppi in just 10s, which is surprisingly fast for a mobile scanner. If you add on the time to perform OCR, you can still obtain a page in 19s. The whole scanning system is heavily PDF-based and if you want a PDF image file, a simple scan is all you need. You can set the software to produce a searchable PDF instead, which takes 19s, as with OCRed documents.
This ability to produce PDF files so easily makes the scanner particularly useful for archival, though it’s only really suitable for low-volume applications. It’s also not that useful for research purposes, as most of the documents you’d want to extract from will be in book or magazine form and this is a sheet-feed scanner.
As we’ve said before, we feel there’s an excellent market for a wand scanner you can swipe across book pages, which can also clip into a powered cradle and be used for sheet feed applications. We remember Fujitsu marketing this kind of device in the early days of personal scanners, though that was a low resolution, black and white-only device.
This scanner can handle colour scans at up to 600ppi and black and white ones up to 1,200ppi. The results from our tests were very reasonable document files, even at the lower 300ppi resolution suitable for OCR. Photo scans give better results than from many portable scanners we’ve seen, though solid colours, like reds and greens, tend to be over-saturated by default.
This is a very good portable scanner for the money and is exceptionally easy to use, particularly if your main requirement is to produce PDF files. However, it can also scan to Office and GoogleDocs applications and handles both plain paper documents and photos well. Also, on a portable device like this, it would be useful to have some kind of protective case, even a simple slip sleeve.