A document scanner is one of the best investments you can make for your home office, whether it’s to stay organized during tax season or to save space that would otherwise be taken up by binders of paper. Unlike flatbed scanners, which have limited capabilities, desktop document scanners make digitizing everything from business cards to financial documents to receipts and reports a breeze.
Fujitsu’s ScanSnap line is one of the most popular options. For years, it’s been a fixture at receptionists’ desks and home offices, and for good reason. They’re inexpensive, dependable, and durable. I spent two weeks and nearly 15 hours testing Fujitsu’s flagship offering, the ScanSnap iX1600, for this review.
Overall, the ScanSnap iX1600 improves on a long-respected line of scanners by incorporating new and improved features over its predecessors.
Design: Everything you need on screen
Every other desktop document scanner on the market, including its predecessor, the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1500, is nearly identical to the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1600. The device is available in black and white, has fold-out trays to make it more compact when not in use, and has the same form factor as every other competitor on the market. But there’s a reason for that: it works.
The ScanSnap iX1600 takes up very little space when collapsed on a shelf or desk. When fully opened, the machine stands tall and is capable of handling dozens of documents at once. Unlike its single-button sibling, the ScanSnap iX1400, the iX1600 comes with a built-in 4.3-inch touchscreen display that can be used to navigate the menu, trigger scanning profiles, and customize the overall experience to meet your needs. As we’ll see in the section below, once you’ve set up the proper scanning profiles, this screen is all you’ll need to use the device.
Every other desktop document scanner on the market, including its predecessor, the Fujitsu ScanSnap ix1500, is nearly identical to the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1600.
Setup and Software: Lots of bells and whistles
It’s as simple as plugging in the power adapter and turning on the device once it’s been removed from its box. If you want to use the wired connection, connect the scanner to your computer with the USB cable that comes with it. If you go wireless, you can leave the cable in the box and begin the setup process directly from the scanner’s screen.
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 an existing wireless network) to connect your mobile device to the ScanSnap iX1600 and control essentially all of its features, including scanning 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,
The ScanSnap iX1600, for example, can automatically detect if a scanned document is a receipt and send it to your Expensify account for tracking business expenses after being set up with the appropriate cloud services via the ScanSnap Cloud app, whereas a scanned tax document would be appropriately recognized and saved as a PDF to a specific folder in Dropbox after being set up with the appropriate cloud services via the ScanSnap Cloud app.
Although having this option is great, the experience on mobile devices was lacking because it didn’t always label the document as the correct type (PDF for documents and receipts versus JPEG for photos), and even after connecting these profiles, the scanner didn’t always show all of the profiles as options on the screen. This hiccup could be due to an application or firmware issue, but it was much easier to use the ScanSnap Connect app’s more hands-on approach.
The ScanSnap Connect app for mobile devices connects to the iX1600 via a direct connection or a local wireless network, effectively acting as a hub for all scanned data to be sent to. When you scan a document, the file is automatically sent to your mobile device’s app. You can save it locally or send it to another application for further organization from there. After linking your Dropbox account, you can also use the ScanSnap Sync feature, which allows you to automatically back up all scans sent to your mobile device to Dropbox.
Although the mobile apps could be improved, the computer app is excellent for setting up all of your profiles and ensuring that your scanning goes exactly where you want it to.
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When using the ScanSnap iX1600 with a computer, you’ll use the ScanSnap Home app to connect to it. This app acts as a hub, allowing you to create scan profiles for specific types of documents and automate the process. ScanSnap Home, for example, includes a default ‘Scan to Folder’ profile for scanning documents as PDFs and saving them to specific folders on your computer, as well as a ‘Scan to Email’ profile for scanning and emailing a document. The best part is that once you’ve set up the profiles on your computer, all you have to do is select the profile you want to use on the iX1600’s touchscreen, press scan, and the rest will be handled by your computer behind the scenes as long as it’s connected to the scanner.
This versatility makes the iX1600 an excellent scanner for those who plan to scan a variety of documents, each of which must be sent to a specific person or location. Although the mobile apps could be improved, the computer app is excellent for setting up all of your profiles and ensuring that your scanning goes exactly where you want it to. When using the ScanSnap Home app, make sure your computer is turned on and connected to the scanner. Otherwise, in an attempt to locate your computer on the network, your scans might get lost in the digital abyss.
Performance and Connectivity: A capable and efficient scanner
The ScanSnap iX1600 is Fujitsu’s most capable desktop scanner to date, and the specifications reflect that. In addition to the onboard USB port, the scanner has dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity, an automatic document feeder (ADF) that can hold up to 50 sheets at once, and it can scan up to 40 pages per minute (A4-size color documents at 300dpi).
Even when dealing with dozens of pages or hundreds of images in one session, I discovered that the ADF can hold up to 55 sheets (of standard legal printer paper) without issue, and wireless connectivity proved to be as fast as the wired USB connection. In terms of speed, I got around 43 pages per minute (on color standard legal printer paper at 300dpi), which is faster than Fujitsu claims.
The ScanSnap iX1600 is Fujitsu’s most capable desktop scanner to date, and the specifications reflect that.
I scanned over 1,250 4×6 inch and 5×7 inch photographic prints from my childhood that I wanted to archive to put the scanner to the test. The ADF could hold about 35 prints at a time, and even at 600dpi, it was able to scan at a rate of 30 pages per minute (slightly fewer when scanning both sides of the print to document notes on the back). The only issue I had was that photo prints would occasionally stick together when being fed through the scanner’s automated feeder. Thankfully, Fujitsu foresaw this as a common problem, and the scanner alerted me as soon as overlapped images were detected.
It didn’t go unnoticed that the scanner was capable of simultaneously scanning and transferring data to my computer. The ScanSnap Home app was ready to save the images at a location of my choice by the time I removed the prints from the tray at the bottom. With other photo scanners, I’ve never had that experience, so the instant processing was a welcome change.
Document scanning performed admirably, with the scanner quickly processing stacks of documents and receipts. A dedicated guide from Fujitsu makes it simple to feed receipts and business cards through the scanner. Receipts are longer and more flimsy than other documents, so this came in handy. If a receipt is a little thin, it can get stuck, but as long as you center the thinner receipts within the guide, it’s not a big deal.
When it came to the Wi-Fi connection’s dependability, I didn’t have any issues once it was set up. The connection was more reliable when set up as an access point than when connected to my router, as other devices couldn’t use my wireless network’s bandwidth. However, the scanner’s versatility is limited because you must connect your smartphone, tablet, or computer directly to the scanner rather than to your router. However, I’ve only ever had one issue with the scanner failing to connect to my wireless network, which was easily resolved by rebooting the scanner.
Price: Pricey, but worth it
The ScanSnap iX1600 will set you back $499 (). It’s an outlay, but it includes everything that similarly priced desktop scanners do at this price point, and it’s well worth it if you plan on scanning dozens of documents per week or hundreds of photos all at once.
Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1600 vs. Brother ADS-2800W
The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1600 has a few competitors, but the Brother ADS-2800W is one of the most popular. The ADS-2800W has a similar design to the ScanSnap iX1600, with a 3.7-inch color touchscreen display and smart profiles.
It also includes duplex scanning at the same 40 ppm rate as the iX1600, as well as the ability to connect to your devices wirelessly or via the USB connector. Both scanners have smart sorting capabilities and work with a variety of documents thanks to their respective macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS apps.
Overall, the specifications and features of both scanners are nearly identical, and the prices are even the same at $499. Finally, if you have a preference for one brand over the other, go with that one; otherwise, you could probably flip a coin because both scanners will give you similar results.
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The Final Word
Overall, the ScanSnap iX1600 improves on a long-respected line of scanners by incorporating new and improved features over its predecessors. Fujitsu could improve its user experience, particularly when using the scanner on a mobile device as well as a desktop computer. The device, once set up, has no trouble churning through page after page and image after image, transforming your physical collection of documents into well-organized digital archives.