If you need a workhorse scanner that can handle lots of documents, experts say the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 (Est. $420) is the scanner to get. This sheet-fed scanner produces great quality scans of documents, and does so quickly. The 50-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF) works well and automatically adjusts to different sized pages in a stack. Reviewers praise its Wi-Fi capabilities, including the ability to scan directly to mobile devices. It can scan both sides of a document in a single pass.
Fine lines and fast speeds. The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 produces high quality scans of documents at resolutions of up to 600 dots per inch (dpi). Experts say the scanner reproduces text and fine lines accurately and in great detail. While sheet-fed scanners aren't typically known for great color reproduction, the iX500 handles documents with colored graphics just as well as any of its closest competitors. It's fast too -- it's rated to handle 25 pages per minute (ppm), though Robin Morris, who reviews the scanner for Britain's PC Advisor, reports speeds of about 32 ppm, thanks in part to its USB 3.0 interface. The ability to scan both sides of a page at once also cuts down on overall scanning time.
Scanning to mobile devices made easy. The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 is fairly easy to set up – just install the proprietary drivers (no TWAIN or ISIS support, so make sure your third-party applications are compatible) and follow the installation prompts. The user interface isn't the most intuitive, though it's adequate once you get used to it. The ability to scan both sides of a page at once makes short work of long, double-sided documents. Experts and users laud the scanner's built-in Wi-Fi capabilities. The ScanSnap iX500 lets you connect with and scan directly to Android- or iOS-based mobile devices. A July 2013 update lets you connect with a single Mac or PC computer wirelessly as well. The aforementioned USB 3.0 port is a boon for those who'll use the scanner while tethered to a computer. The ScanSnap iX500 comes bundled with Adobe Acrobat Standard software, which is ideal for when dealing with PDF formats. But the included version is PC-only, however.
Solid build quality for the long haul. Experts say the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 is solidly built, and can churn through pages and pages without jamming. Robin Morris, writing at PC Advisor, says crumpled paper is very minimal thanks to the scanner's "superior" loading mechanism. The 50-sheet ADF works well, supports duplexing and rarely mangles or feeds crooked. Judging from owner feedback on user review sites, the ScanSnap iX500 seems very reliable overall, though, we spotted a small number of quality control complaints from owners posting at Amazon.com.
One-year warranty, but most never use it. The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 includes a 1-year limited warranty, which is typical among scanners at this price point. Though a small number of users report initial defects, most never need to call on the warranty. Feedback on the quality of customer service with the manufacturer is generally positive, though some owners report dissatisfaction with the available phone support.
1. PC Advisor
The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 receives 4 stars out of 5 from Britain's PC Advisor, where it earns much praise as a document scanner. "It's not cheap," writes reviewer Robin Morris, " but this is the best of its kind on the market." It earns particularly high marks on build quality.
Review: Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Review, Robin Morris, Feb. 14, 2013
The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 faces off against the NeatDesk for Mac for the title of best document scanner. The iX500 wins hands-down, and receives a score of 4.5 "mice" out of 5. "If you're in the market for a desktop scanner, look no further," writes Landau.
Review: Document Scanner Showdown: NeatDesk Versus ScanSnap iX500, Ted Landau, Jan. 21, 2013
3. Expert Reviews
Britain's Expert Reviews gives the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 5 stars out of 5. Analysis here is detailed and includes hands-on testing. Reviewer Kat Orphanides says it's great for businesses or those with heavy document scanning needs, though a multi-function printer may suffice for casual use.
Review: Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Review, Kat Orphanides, March 18, 2013
James Floyd Kelly reviews the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 for Wired.com's "Geekdad" blog. Analysis here is thorough, and Kelly puts the scanner through the paces with hands-on testing. While the scanner doesn't receive a numerical rating, the review suggests a strong recommendation.
Review: See the iX500 – Super-powered Scanner!, James Floyd Kelly, Jan. 7, 2013
5. PC Pro
In this brief review, Dave Mitchell gives the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 an overall rating of 6 stars out of 6 for PC Pro, a computer review site from across the pond. The scanner earns an "A-list" nod. Mitchell praises its ease of use, feature-set and scan speed.
Review: Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Review, Dave Mitchell, July 9, 2013
Nearly 600 owners review the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 at Amazon.com. Here the scanner receives an overall score of 4.7 stars out of 5. Feedback is overwhelmingly positive – most owners are pleased with their purchase. However, a handful of 1-star reviews report defective hardware either out of the box or soon afterwards.
Review: Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Scanner for PC and Mac, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of November 2013
Roughly 180 owners weigh in on the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 at B&H Photo, where it earns an overall rating of 4.8 stars out of 5. Reviews here are briefer than those found at higher ranked user review sites, but lists of pros and cons make it easy to identify the model's strengths and weaknesses. Most reviews are from those who are verified owners of the scanner
Review: Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Wireless Desktop Scanner, Contributors to B&H Photo, As of November 2013