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Lifewire / Gannon Burgett
Custom scanning profiles
Clunky mobile experience
The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1600 is a top-of-the-line desktop scanner that can tackle all of the needs of your home office or business with its robust software and controls.
Fujitsu provided us with a review unit for one of our writers to test. Read on for the full review.
Whether it’s to get organized tax time or save space that would otherwise be taken up by binders of paper, one of the best investments you could make for a home office is a document scanner. Unlike flatbed scanners, which are limited in functionality, desktop document scanners make it easy to digitize everything from business cards and financial documents to receipts and reports.
One of the most popular options is Fujitsu’s ScanSnap line. It’s been a staple at receptionists’ desks and home offices for years, and with good reason. They’re affordable, reliable, and robust. For this review, I’ve spent two weeks and nearly 15 hours testing the flagship offering in Fujitsu’s lineup, the ScanSnap iX1600.
All in all, the ScanSnap iX1600 builds upon a long-respected line of scanners, adding new and improved features over its predecessors.
The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1600 is nearly identical to every other desktop document scanner on the market, including its predecessor, the iX1500. The device comes in black and white color options, features fold-out trays for creating a more compact device when not in use, and overall has the same form factor as every competitor on the market. But it’s for a reason — it works.
When collapsed down, the ScanSnap iX1600 takes up minimal space on a shelf or desk. When opened up, the machine stands tall and is plenty robust enough to handle dozens of documents at once. Unlike its single-button sibling, the ScanSnap iX1400, the iX1600 has a built-in 4.3-inch touchscreen display used to navigate the menu, trigger scanning profiles and overall customize the experience to meet your needs. As we’ll cover in the section below, this screen proves to be all you need to use the device once you get the proper scanning profiles in place.
The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1600 is nearly identical to every other desktop document scanner on the market, including its predecessor, the ix1500.
Once removed from its box, setup is as simple as plugging in the power adapter and turning on the device. If you’re planning on using the wired connection, the next step is to connect the scanner to your computer using the included USB cable. If you’re going wireless, you can keep the cable in the box and start the setup process right from the screen on the scanner.
When it comes to connecting the scanner to a mobile device, there are two Android and iOS apps to choose from: ScanSnap Connect (Android, iOS) and ScanSnap Cloud (Android, iOS). Fujitsu doesn’t do the best job describing the differences between the two, so here’s a quick rundown: ScanSnap Connect uses a Wi-Fi connection (either a direct connection or over an existing wireless network) to enable your mobile device to connect with the ScanSnap iX1600 and control essentially all of its features, including the ability to scan directly to your mobile device; ScanSnap Cloud, on the other hand, is an app for connecting the scanner to various cloud services (Box, Concur Expense, Dropbox, Evernote, Expensify, Google Drive, Google Photos, Hubdoc, LedgerDocs, OneDrive, QuickBooks Online, Rocket Matter, Shoeboxed, and more) and creating profiles that will enable you to take a more hands-off approach.
For example, once set up with the appropriate cloud services via the ScanSnap Cloud app, the ScanSnap iX1600 is able to automatically detect if the scanned document was a receipt and automatically sent it to your Expensify account for tracking business expenses, whereas a scanned tax document would appropriately be recognized and saved as a PDF to a specific folder in Dropbox.
Having this option is excellent, but the experience was lackluster on mobile devices, as it didn’t always label the document as the right type (PDF for documents and receipts versus JPEG for photos), and even after creating these connections, the scanner itself wouldn’t always show all the profiles as options on the screen. This hiccup could be an application or firmware issue, but it was much easier to use the more hands-on approach offered by the ScanSnap Connect app.
On mobile devices, the ScanSnap Connect app connects to the iX1600 over either a direct connection or a local wireless network and effectively uses your mobile device as a hub for all the scanned data to be sent to. When you scan a document, the file is sent directly to the app on your mobile device. From there, you can choose to save it locally or send it to another application for further organization. There’s also an option to use the ScanSnap Sync functionality, which allows you to automatically back up all scans sent to your mobile device to Dropbox after linking your Dropbox account.
The mobile apps could use some polish, but the computer app works great for setting up all your profiles to ensure what your scanning goes right where you need it to.
When using the ScanSnap iX1600 with computers, you’ll connect to it via the ScanSnap Home app. This app serves as a hub of sorts, where you can create scan profiles for specific types of documents for easy automation. For example, ScanSnap Home comes with a default ’Scan to Folder’ profile for scanning documents as PDFs directly to specific folders on your computer, as well as a ‘Scan to Email’ profile for scanning and sending a document as an email. The best part of this is, once you have the profiles set up on your computer, all you need to do is select the profile you want to use on the iX1600’s touchscreen, press scan, and the rest will happen behind-the-scenes on your computer so long as it’s connected to the scanner.
This versatility makes the iX1600 a great scanner for those who plan on scanning all kinds of different documents where each type needs to go to a specific person or location. The mobile apps could use some polish, but the computer app works great for setting up all your profiles to ensure what your scanning goes right where you need it to. Just make sure your computer is on and connected to the scanner when using the ScanSnap Home app. Otherwise, your scans might get lost in the digital abyss in an attempt to locate your computer on the network.
The ScanSnap iX1600 is the most capable desktop scanner Fujitsu has created to date, and the specs reflect that. The scanner features dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity in addition to the onboard USB port, the automatic document feeder (ADF) can hold up to 50 sheets at once, and it can scan up to 40 pages per minute (A4-size color documents at 300dpi).
I actually found the ADF can hold upwards of 55 sheets (of standard legal printer paper) without issue, and wireless connectivity proved to be as fast as the wired USB connection, even when dealing with dozens of pages or hundreds of images in one session. As for speed, I averaged around 43 pages per minute (with color standard legal printer paper at 300dpi), which is above what Fujitsu rates the scanner for.
The ScanSnap iX1600 is the most capable desktop scanner Fujitsu has created to date, and the specs reflect that.
To really put the scanner to the test, I scanned more than 1,250 4x6 inch and 5x7 inch photographic prints from my childhood that I’ve wanted to archive. The ADF was able to hold approximately 35 prints at once, and even at 600dpi, it was able to consistently scan at a rate of 30 per minute (slightly fewer when scanning both sides of the print to document notes on the back). The only issue I would run into is that every once in a while, photo prints would stick together when being pulled through the scanner’s automated feeder. Thankfully, Fujitsu expected this would be a common issue, and the scanner would immediately let me know overlapped images were detected.
Something that didn’t go unnoticed is that the scanner could keep up with transferring data to my computer while simultaneously scanning. By the time I removed the prints from the tray at the bottom, the ScanSnap Home app was ready to save the images at a location of my choosing. That hasn’t been my experience with other photo scanners, so the instant processing was a welcomed change.
Document scanning fared just as well, with the scanner quickly getting through stacks of documents and receipts. Fujitsu includes a dedicated guide for easily feeding receipts and business cards through the scanner. This proved useful, as receipts tend to be longer and more flimsy than other documents. Occasionally, I’d have a receipt get stuck if it was a bit thin, but so long as you center the thinner receipts within the guide, it’s not much of an issue.
As for the reliability of the Wi-Fi connection, I didn’t experience any drops in connectivity once it was set up. When set up as an access point, the connection did prove to be more reliable than when connected to my router, as other devices couldn’t take up the bandwidth of my wireless network, but the versatility is diminished as you specifically have to connect your smartphone, tablet or computer directly to the scanner rather than your router. That said, I only ever had one issue with the scanner not connecting over my wireless network, and that was fixed with a quick reboot of the scanner.
The ScanSnap iX1600 retails for $499. It's an investment, but it offers everything similarly-priced desktop scanners offer at this price range and is well worth it if you’re planning on scanning dozens of documents a week or hundreds of photos at once.
The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1600 has a few contemporaries, but one of the more popular options is the Brother ADS-2800W. The ADS-2800W features a similar design with a 3.7-inch color touchscreen display and smart profiles, not unlike the ScanSnap iX1600.
It also features duplex scanning with the same 40 ppm rate the iX1600 offers and includes the option to connect it to your devices either wirelessly or with the included USB connector. Both scanners also work for a range of documents with smart sorting capabilities thanks to their respective macOS, Windows, Android and iOS applications.
Overall, the specifications and features offered by both scanners is almost identical across the board, and the prices even match at $499. Ultimately, if you have a preference for one brand over the other, go with that one, otherwise, you could probably flip a coin because you’ll likely have a similar experience with both scanners.
A robust all-in-one desktop scanner.
All in all, the ScanSnap iX1600 builds upon a long-respected line of scanners, adding new and improved features over its predecessors. Fujitsu could work on its user experience, especially when using the scanner with both a mobile device and a desktop. Once set up, though, the device has no problem churning through page after page and image after image, turning your physical collection of documents into well-organized digital archives.
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