And then there were nine: Here’s our next-to-last finalist in our Last Gadget Standing competition here at CES 2011 in Las Vegas. It’s a scanner–the newest, smallest, and lowest-cost model in Fujitsu’s ScanSnap line. The $199 ScanSnap S1100 is built for portability: It’s the size of a junior box of aluminum foil (it has fold-out paper guides), weighs just 12.3 ounces, and runs off USB power so you don’t need to plug it into the wall. Fujitsu loaned me a unit for evaluation.
The S1100 does single-side scanning only (unlike its portlier-but-still-portable big brother the ScanSnap S1300) and its simple paper path can handle printouts, photos, magazine pages, business cards, and any other document you’re likely to try and feed through it; it can scan a color page at 300-dpi resolution in seven and a half seconds. An adjustable paper path lets you scan both thick plastic cards and pieces of paper as long as 34 inches, and the quality of my test scans was excellent.
As with other ScanSnaps, the hardware is nice but it’s the streamlined, versatile software–for both Windows and Mac–that makes it into a Swiss Army Knife of a productivity tool. You can scan directly to Word, Excel, Google Docs, and Evernote, creating editable text as you do; you can also produce searchable PDFs. You just push a button on the S1100 to scan, then choose a destination from a toolbar in the scanner’s software. (An advanced mode lets you fiddle with settings such as resolution if you choose.)
Many of us now have numerous ways to get images into a PC or Mac, from the scanning capability of all-in-one printers to cameraphones. But the ScanSnaps and their software are awfully handy for personal document management, and the S1100 is petite enough to tote in a briefcase or laptop bag without giving it much thought.
If you need a recap of the other eight Last Gadget Standing finalists that have been announced so far, check here. And stay tuned: We’ll tell you about the last contender tomorrow, then let you vote for the People’s Choice award we’ll give out at our CES event on Saturday in room N257 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.