Which document scanner to buy?
May 27, 2009 5:02 PM   Subscribe

Should I buy epson or fujitsu document scanner ?

I've pretty much narrowed it down to the Fujitsu snapscan s1500 (descendent from the s500) or Epson workforce gt-s50.

Purpose is to get rid of paper in home office by scanning into pdfs. This is for windows xp environment. Speed and price difference not critical. Desk footprint not important. Plan to use 3rd party indexing software (copernic) so built in filing software not important.

Pluses/minuses are from specs and reviews:

Pluses for the Epson: sturdy (11 lbs) and high quality mechanism, lcd instead of fluorescent illumination, twain drivers provided.

Minuses for Epson: Epson's first document scanner, clunky software, apparently does not autocorrect for orientation. Pages in input hopper must be of same size.

Pluses for snapscan: autocorrect orientation, new product but based on previous models, ultrasound duplicate detection. Accepts varried sized paper in input hopper.

Minuses for snapscan: not as sturdy (6lbs), no twain driver.

I'm "torn" between above tradeoffs. Any observations or thoughts appreciated.
posted by Kevin S to Work & Money (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Lots of people here have the Snapscan and love it, myself included. I doubt the Epson is better than the Spanscan and there is a fair chance it is worse. Unless you are carting your scanner around with you or moving it frequently I don't think weight is really a factor either way.

The level of polish and integration on the Snapscan is really what sealed the deal for me. I doubt you will find that in the Epson on their first try.
posted by ChrisHartley at 5:16 PM on May 27, 2009

I know nothing about the Epson but I've heard very good things about the Snapscan. I would say that the software is pretty important for a document scanner, unless you are only using it to feed something custom and are just going to toss the bundled stuff. (In that case you probably wouldn't have a choice of scanner, though.)

Really good scanners can be absolutely hobbled by bad software.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:53 PM on May 27, 2009

I just ran across this positive review of the SnapScan, by someone using it in a law office.
posted by smackfu at 7:10 PM on May 27, 2009

I am not familiar with the Epson, and I use Vista, but I (expletive) love my SnapScan S300 (the little "portable" model).

In my experience the supplied software is entirely harmless -- I'm not required to use it when searching (OCR'ed PDFs are searchable by the OS), I'm not required to use it when organizing (I can use Windows Explorer when I feel like it), and overall it doesn't really seem to do much of anything beside simplify the OCR'ing process for newly-scanned PDFs.

Point being: I've had nasty experiences with scanners (insert swearing about HP here), but my ScanSnap S300 has been unquestionably the easiest and most generically useful scanner I have ever owned. Keeping in mind that I am utterly uninterested in photo scanning.

One point: the OCR process will not invoke for any PDF which was not scanned by the ScanSnap, even though technically that should be possible. Perhaps some PDF post-processor could change PDF header info to enable that.

...but FWIW I'd buy the Fujitsu in an instant.
posted by aramaic at 8:04 PM on May 27, 2009

Just saw this article yesterday. Get Organized Covers that topic.
posted by CodeMonkey at 6:39 AM on May 28, 2009

If the software is clunky, scanning your documents will feel like an annoying chore and you'll avoid doing it. For that reason alone, I'd go with the Fujitsu ScanSnap.

Same goes for the varied paper size issue: ScanSnap will, Epson won't. That small thing will eventually wear on your nerves. I have the ScanSnap S300M because I valued it's compact size and portability over the larger ScanSnap's document feeder, but when I'm scanning a ton varied-sized papers and I have to adjust the sliders for each one, I often wish I would have went for the larger model.

I'm confused about your minuses for the ScanSnap: weight has little to do with "sturdiness" when you're talking about a document scanner and you won't need TWAIN support because TWAIN is designed for image standardization -- not for documents and OCR -- which is what you're using the scanner for, right?

Here's a link with some good tips for going paperless.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 8:38 AM on May 28, 2009

I have to adjust the sliders for each one

Random remark: I have the S300, and I don't bother adjusting the sliders, ever. Just stick the sheet in, up against the left slider, and let the automatic de-skew handle any rotation that occurs.

I've only done this for "half-width" type sheets, not tiny little receipts, so it may not work for truly dinky sheets.
posted by aramaic at 2:07 PM on May 28, 2009

Response by poster: Given the overwhelming recommendation, I will go with the snapscan s1500.

LuckySeven - re "sturdiness". Agree that weight not equivalent to sturdiness, but could be an indicator; i.e., more metal parts vs plastic. Anyway, a moot point now.

Thanks very much everyone for your responses; just what I needed to resolve the impasse.
posted by Kevin S at 2:38 PM on May 28, 2009

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