- Flexible network integration
- Easy to use once set up
- Auto correction for page skew
- Auto colour balance and resolution
- Auto feed for up to 50 pages of mixed sizes
- Setting up all the network options can be a fairly complex job
- Remote administration software only runs on Microsoft Windows
- Cannot be used to scan low-profile small parts, as a flatbed scanner can
Fujitsu's ScanSnap N1800 is a small-footprint document scanner whose only interface is a network connection. The rationale behind such a product is that knowledge workers often need access to mission-critical but infrequently used peripherals, and these resources are used more efficiently when they are shared.
With its top-loading simplex or duplex automatic document feeder, the ScanSnap N1800 will handle up to 50 sheets of up to Legal size, in colour. Intelligent feed and auto-skew correction means that this scanner can handle a batch of mixed-size documents. A paper catcher slides out from under the base and documents are loaded and output face down for added security. The N1800 is designed to operate in conjunction with existing network infrastructure to send or save scans via email or fax, to a printer, to a network folder or a SharePoint folder. Local front panel controls consist of a 17cm-by-12.7cm touch display, a power button and a scan button.
The ScanSnap N1800's document feeder can handle up to 50 sheets, in mixed-size batches if needed
On initial power up the front-mounted LCD screen displays a choice of operating language. Once a language is selected this is followed by an Installation Wizard with a seven-choice menu; Scanner name, Region/date/time, Login settings, Admin password, IP address, DNS server and Scanner Central Admin Server. The advanced admin settings will delight IT support staff, since they are both comprehensive and complex. Even using the wizard, setup requires a good knowledge of networks in general and of the local network environment in particular.
With the basic network settings entered, an administrator can control and configure the ScanSnap remotely. A built-in web page can be reached in the usual way by entering the scanner's IP address on the URL address bar. Having supplied an admin name and password, the administrator menu offers a Network Scanner Admin Tool, User Editor, Central Admin Server or Central Admin Console. The web page is very basic, simply inviting the user to download the necessary software from the internet to support each of these functions; each of these applications must then be run as an individual Windows applications. There's also a Print Screen option that captures an image of the current state of ScanSnap's built-in display.
As a networked peripheral with multiple options, the ScanSnap N1800 is not that easy to configure. Fujitsu describes it as easy-to-use, though — and it is, because once preconfigured for each user, all users have to do is load the input bin, log on, select a destination for the scan from the preset list and press Scan. User log on requires the usual user name and password, there's an option to enter a file name rather than a supplied default and the destination can be a network shared directory on the user's PC. Configurable 'job buttons' can make this process even simpler, with set file names and destinations.
Security is always a concern with shared resources, and the ScanSnap N1800 can generate password-protected PDF files and encrypt data before sending. It meets the American DOD 5220.22-M security standard.
The ScanSnap is powered by an external AC adapter that, like so many of these power units, carries no identifying brand, so it can easily get mixed up with other similar-looking power bricks. As an auto-feed scanner the N1800 does have 'consumables' — a pick roller rated at 100,000 sheets and a 50,000-sheet pad assembly. A moderately informative 10-language Getting Started Guide, printed in rather small print, is supplied. The full manual is offered as a PDF download option on the built-in web server login page, along with a copy of the Getting Started Guide.
The ScanSnap N1800 allows a high degree of integration into most network environments and provides an efficient central scanning resource for workgroups. With suitable network infrastructure, it can be used to fax or email paper documents directly from the scanner. The built-in autofeed and generally automated settings make it very easy to use once the administrative setup is complete.