Works Great but Setup Difficult

A Review On: Brand New Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500 Portable Document Scanner (PA03656-B305)

Brand New Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500 Portable Document Scanner (PA03656-B305)

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Price paid: $429.00
Lady Fitzgerald
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Pros: Fast, even on USB 2.0. Easy to use. Excellent color scans, much better than the S1500's. No longer requires Adobe Acrobat.

Cons: Nuance Power PDF less than great (only one user per license). Vague directions. Use brick type power supply.

Like its predecessor, the Fujitsu S1500, the ix500 is a duplexing, ADF scanner. In English, that means it scans both sides of a document at the same time and automatically feeds documents through it. You just load a bunch of documents in the machine and press the scan button. The support software has numerous options for saving, file format, color support, etc. Document size selection can be set for automatic and the scanner can be set to automatically deskew documents that go through the scanner a bit crooked, which is especially nice when scanning multiple sized documents in a batch. So far, I've seen no color streaking due to dust on color scans, a frequent problem with the S1500.

The only reason I replaced my otherwise perfectly good Fujitsu S1500 with the ix500 is the S1500 needed Adobe Acrobat Standard to scan directly to PDF and my current version, XI, is the last one to not be subscription and cloud based and will reach EOL in October (I refuse to use cloud based programs for security reasons and because, in the long run, a subscription based program usually winds up costing more; also, Adobe's customer service has degenerated).

However, I'm disappointed with Nuance Power PDF, which replaces Adobe Acrobat Standard for scanning directly to PDF. It took several days to register it because their website was down over the July 4th weekend and apparently they took off for a four day holiday weekend. The pop up for activation kept reporting it was unable to connect with their server for several days. It also took several days to create an account to open a case on their website. Based on what I've seen by using the 15 day trial version (Why only 15 days? The website says the trial is 30 days), Nuance Power PDF isn't as versatile as Adobe Acrobat Standard and the GUI is a bit obtuse. Fujitsu could have picked a much better program to replace Acrobat. An even better solution would have been to not have provided a PDF program to go with this scanner and instead provided a list of compatible PDF creation programs one could choose to buy or a way to link to one's preferred program. I feel the Nuance Nuisance is a waste of my money and space on my computer since I'm going to have to buy a second license to be able to use this scanner on my notebook as well as on my desktop computer. I'm also going to have to buy a better program to replace Acrobat for PDF creation and editing.

Another problem with Power PDF is, when setting it up, it will make itself the default program for various programs such as browsers, MS Word, etc. That can be prevented during setup but the settings to prevent it is buried in the setup menu and is not very obvious. I had to uninstall, then reinstall Power PDF to restore my original defaults.

I had no trouble getting my S1500 set up and running but setting up the ix500 drove me nuts. The directions were vague as to what needed installing and the set up pop ups were often a minute or two apart. The pop up for registering the ix500 didn't even include the ix500 in the dropdown list. I never was able to find where to register it from within Fujitsu's poorly designed website and its useless search engine. I finally found it by plugging "register ix500" into my search engine and got a hit for Fujitsu's product registration page. Response from their tech help took several days because they also took the four day holiday weekend off (must be nice; I wish I had a dollar for every holiday weekend I worked).

Since I went directly to Fujitsu's website's product registration page, I kept getting annoying popups to register the scanner. Fujitsu said to go to Programs and Features and uninstall Fujitsu Register.

Once set up, operation of the ix500 is almost identical to its predecessor, the S1500. The most notable exceptions are it is a bit faster, even on USB 2.0 (I'm too old to bother with routing a new USB 3.0 cable so I used the old USB 2.0 cable). Color and grayscale image scans on the S1500 always looked a bit faded but, on the ix500, they rival the scans on my higher resolution Canon 9000F flatbed scanner

If it wasn't for Fujitsu's poor choice of PDF program, their lousy set up instructions, their obtuse website, and poor support, I would have given this five stars.

Edit: I was concerned I would get only around two years use from this scanner because I hope to be using Linux by the time Win 7 reaches EOL and I would be SOL since the canner isn't TWAIN compliant. However, I just found that this scanner is compatible with VueScan, "generic" scanner driver replacement that has Windows, Mac, and Linux versions. While not as easy to use as the software that comes with the ix500 (there is also a steep learning curve), it has somewhat more flexible settings. A bonus is VueScan supports a huge number of scanners (including my old Canon CanoScan 9000F; the license is cheaper than replacing an other wise perfectly good scanner in a couple of years). It's a bit pricy if you get the Pro version (which I recommend) but each license allows you to install it on up to four computers (all having the same user; it's not intended to be used by four users) of the same or mixed platforms and used with any number of scanners with each installation. If it wasn't for the fact color and grayscale scans are so much better on the ix500 than they were on my old S1500 scanner, I would have regretted buying my ix500 instead of just using VueScan on the old scanner.

I don't know if a wireless connection would still work on the ix500 when using VueScan but I do not need wireless anyway so I'm not going to worry about it.

2 Comments:

My cousin bought this last year and I noticed the software is holding it back in terms of wireless scanning. Several reviewers noted the wireless function only works when connected to a single computer... which defeats the point of being wireless. It also lacks WIA, ISIS or TWAIN support which is a problem.

Also can't scan on png, only jpg.

The PA03656-B005 version comes with Adobe Acrobat instead of Nuance by the way.
The PA03656-B005 is the original version of the ix500 and does come With Adobe Acrobat Standard. The PA03656-B305 is the newest version (and is the one I have) and comes with Nuance Power PDF Standard.

Neither the ix500 nor its predecessor, the S1500, are TWAIN, etc. compliant. Duplexing ADF scanners that are cost at least twice as much (and more).

I didn't try using a wireless connection (I have no need or desire for one). I wonder if part of the reason for wireless not working with more than one device has to do with the one installation limitation of Nuance Power PDF Standard. The product description on Newegg is far more complete than the sketchy one on Amazon and states that only one device can be connected wirelessly. The Q&A section states the scanner isn't TWAIN compliant.