The Fujitsu ScanSnap S1100 is a small and light USB-powered document scanner that manages to keep many, but not all, of the features found in its popular desktop siblings.

Unlike the rest of the ScanSnap lineup, the S1100 is a simplex scanner, meaning it scans only one side of a sheet of paper at a time. It also lacks an automatic document feeder, so you must load each sheet of a multi-page document individually. To lessen the pain, the S1100 will append multiple pages into the same document until you tell it to complete the scan job.

The S1100 offers 600 dots-per-inch optical resolution and scans in colour, grayscale and monochrome. The scanner switches modes as it automatically detects the type of page its scanning. You can save files as JPEG, PDF and searchable PDF. The S1100 is not TWAIN compliant.

The S1100 comes with Abbyy FineReader OCR software that allows you to scan documents directly to Mircrosoft Word and Excel (scan to PowerPoint is only available on Windows). Additionally, the S1100 can send scans directly to Evernote and Google Docs.

To scan a document, pages or photos are fed one at a time through a front slot. When you insert a sheet, the S1100 grabs and aligns it. Then you simply push the large, illuminated blue button and the S1100 moves the sheet through the device. To save desk space, you can flip down a small flap and have your documents exit upwards and back towards you. For heavier stock and photos, close the flap and the documents exit straight out the back, keep in mind that if you're scanning multiple documents, you'll need enough space in front and back of the S1100 to accommodate two lengths of paper.

In my tests with the S1100, it took about 7 seconds for an 8-by-10 photo scan at 150 dpi, 200 dpi, and 300 dpi. Choosing the highest (600 dpi) setting increased the scan time to 22 seconds. A text-searchable PDF took around 10 seconds using default settings.

Scan quality was good enough for its main purpose (digitising paper documents) but its photo and grayscale line art scans can't compete with flatbed scanners that are designed to handle a wider variety of documents, photos and sometimes transparencies.

S1100 photo scans were dark and overly saturated, but not bad. Our grayscale resolution test target scan showed four-point text to be legible, diagonal lines were clean, but moire patterns showed up relatively early in the converging lines tests.

OUR VERDICT

For anyone looking for a light-duty, portable document scanner, the ScanSnap S1100 is worth a look. It offers easy-to-use presets for scanning to Microsoft Office applications as well as cloud services like Evernote and Google Docs, but its single-sheet, single-sided scanning could turn digitising mulit-page documents into a tedious task.