I have been falling in and out of love with the idea of document scanning for a long time now. I loved previous iterations of Fujitsu Scansnap scanners, but hated the support for the Mac platform. The software just did not cut the mustard. However, things have changed, the Mac software has got a lot better and gone are the high premiums for Mac versions of the hardware.
Their Scansnap S300M takes things one step further too. This superb looking white and silver unit has such a small footprint, that you really could say that it is a 'Transformer of all Scanners'. When in its folded form, the S300M is a little wider than an A4 sheet of paper, yet just 95mm deep and 77mm high. It takes up such a small amount of room that it can easily be put into a bag for scanning on location. On the desk it takes up very little space, but to scan you do have to fold up the top of the unit to serve as the paper feeder. The lower unit then flips out to catch the documents as they are fed through the scanner.
Like previous versions, the S300M scans in black and white or full colour. It scans both sides of the paper at the same time (if you choose to do so). Speed is a little slower than their larger models, but still a very respectable 8ppm in single sided (simplex) mode, or 16 sides per minute when scanning both side (duplex mode). Fujitsu quote that you can load up to 10 sheets of 105gsm weight paper at one time, but I found you could get away with a few more. You then either have to make your settings in the software, or if you are happy with previous settings, you just press the 'scan' button on the top of the unit.
Paper jams do happen occasionally, but I found them to be very rare with the S300M. The main problem was with things like NCR (carbonless paper), which is quite thin and has a sheen coating on it. During my tests the S300M ate its way through 364 sheets, with only two jams (NCR both times). They were not really jams in that sense, just skewed feeds.
The idea of the paperless office can be a reality now. The software performs admirably and I scanned direct to PDF files with no problems at all. You can even use the included Cardiris software to scan and have the resulting information sent to Address Book, Entourage, AppleWorks or a vCard file. This makes the solution even more useful, though I do see its main game being getting rid of piles of paperwork, invoices, statements into handy searchable PDF files. At just over £250 it might sound like a lot, but this portable scanner really will make a difference to how you handle your office paperwork. It is ultimately a small investment for such a well performaing product.