Tech talk: Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500 ups the ante for desktop scanning

Posted on February 15, 2013
Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500 - front view

Photo – Fujitsu: Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500 – front view

The $499.99 CAD Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500 is the latest iteration of their desktop scanner line that began with the ScanSnap 1300. As much as I liked the 1300, this new ix500 takes things to a whole new level in terms of speed and flexibility. It’s still a desktop scanner, with dimensions of 292mm W x 159mm D x 168mm H it’s too big to haul around in a travel bag – and it weighs a little less than 3 kg, so the best place for this baby is on your desktop.

The Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500 will scan directly to mobile devices

Photo – Fujitsu: The Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500 will scan directly to mobile devices

With the ability to scan up to 25 double-sided colour pages per minute, this is the fastest ScanSnap to date. Combine that with a 50-sheet automatic feeder and you can go through a pile of work in very short order. It runs on Windows and Mac OSX and will scan wirelessly to Android or iOS mobile devices. Most new scanners I’ve tried out have work-arounds to enable them to scan directly to mobile devices – this is the first one that has 801.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi onboard, so the process is seamless pretty well.

Fujitsu: The Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500 closed up

Photo – Fujitsu: The Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500 closed up

The new GI microprocessor really makes this scanner sing. It provides, fast, clear images and intelligent image enhancement, and produces a searchable PDF so fast it’ll make your head spin. The ScanSnap ix500 can process a wide variety of different sizes and types of documents, from business cards up to a 34” long document on paper with a weight from 11 lb. to 56 lb..  It doesn’t offer TWAIN support, however if you use Photoshop a short setup process solves any issues easily.

The ScanSnap ix500 connects to your computer via USB 3.0 and is compatible with USB 2.0 and 1.1, so you don’t need a computer that’s USB 3.0 compatible – all that happens is that the files get to the computer a bit slower – it doesn’t affect the scanning process.

ScanSnap Connect software needs to be downloaded to your mobile device, and once that’s done you don’t actually need the scanner to be connected to a computer to work. The setup process for connecting to your wireless network is very simple and easy to set up.

Fujitsu: Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500 with multiple sizes of documents in the feeder

Photo – Fujitsu: Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500 with multiple sizes of documents in the feeder

I find that I actually use a scanner more than a copier. For instance, if someone wants a copy of a recipe or some document I have, rather than copy it and give them a paper version, I simply scan the thing in and shoot them an E-mail with the document attached. It’s also great for keeping track of travel bills and receipts – I scan them all in and make a folder with all the documents from a particular trip. Saves a ton of filing and also paper and printer ink. By making searchable PDFs of these documents I can quickly find what I’m looking for by simply searching for particular word or phrases – it really makes handling large amounts of files simple.

The quality of scans that users achieve with the ScanSnap ix500 is ramped up over previous versions of the scanner. The new Colour Image Sensor (CIS) and three-colour LED light source offers superior performance to previous versions, and users will be able to scan from 150 dpi all the way to 1200 dpi black and white and 600 dpi colour images. I use it to scan photos, documents – anything really; and it hasn’t disappointed yet.

Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500 - side view

Photo – Fujitsu: Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500 – side view

The Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500 is widely available where Fujitsu scanners are sold. At nearly $500 it isn’t for everyone, but if you have a small business or are a homeowner who sees the worth in purchasing a good quality device to meet your needs, then you should take a look at the ScanSnap ix500. You can check out the Data Sheet for a full list of features.

PROS: Screaming fast; great software to offer users a ton of options; doesn’t need to be connected to a computer; works with Macs, PCs, iOS and Android; solid performance and priced right for business.

CONS: No TWAIN support; fairly expensive for a home owner; requires a significant amount of desk space.

TO SUM IT UP:  If you have a small or medium sized business and need a high performance desktop scanner with great flexibility, then this might be the scanner for you. Decent pricing, great speed and multi-platform connectivity makes this my favourite scanner to date. Wireless capabilities and the ease of scanning to your smart devices is a great asset.


Murray Hill is lead tech writer at You can reach Murray by email at or on Twitter at @MurrayDHill

About Murray Hill

Murray Hill has been a freelance columnist appearing regularly in some of the most prominent Canadian newspapers since 1974. He began writing about technology over twenty-four years ago and he still maintains the belief that there's a gadget or gizmo for every situation and application. His fascination with technology and gadgets has endured for over fifty years, and has led to many familial discussions about the the difference between the words "need" and "want" when referring to tech. Based in Saskatoon, connect with Murray at: Author's Note: I write a column on a single product, rather than comparing products. I do this because what I write is my personal opinion on a particular product. Sometimes I get something sent to me automatically, but mostly I ask manufacturers for a particular product to review. I usually have these products for a period of a few weeks to a few months, then they are returned. I get to keep some products - usually the ones that would cost more to ship back than they are worth - and most of those items get given away. I do get an honorarium from Communicatto for writing, but get no compensation from manufacturers or the firms representing them - so nobody buys my opinion! I also try to use photos and graphics provided, mostly because I'm a terrible photographer!

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