Many self-help experts say that being unorganized is an obstacle to success. A sense of chaos accompanies those useless towering stacks of paper that accumulate in the office over the years. If you’re like me, you tend to hoard all those slips, notes, receipts, business cards, and other random paraphernalia out of the concern that, as soon as you throw all this away, you’ll suddenly need it and you won’t have it. Your world will surely come crashing down, ironically because you finally tried to take control of it. After all, that’s how Murphy’s law works, isn’t it? Perhaps, you conclude, decluttering is more of a fantastical dream than a reachable goal for you.

Really, though, is it true? What if you could get rid of all of that clutter? Is it possible to make all of that paper disappear forever while keeping all of the valuable “I’ll need this someday” data from the paper? What if you could have an organization ninja just drop in from the night and fix all of this quickly for you?

That fabled ninja exists… and your decluttering dream is about to be a reality. Hello, Future.

Introducing the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX 1400

The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX 1400 is a dedicated scanner designed to live up to its name of making scanning “a snap”. When I first heard of the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX 1400, however, I thought to myself, “Why would I ever buy a dedicated scanner? A multi-purpose printer-scanner-copier unit would do just as good a job, right?”

Capital “N”. Capital “O”. NO.

Let’s put it this way… if you need to have a critical life-or-death surgery done on your heart, do you seek out your general family doctor? Or do you prefer to trust your life with a specialist, whose entire career centers on doing the exact procedure that you need? While the general practitioner may suffice, even with a value of competence, most will tend to entrust themselves to a specialist, whose odds are far better.

Prior to this review, to be totally honest, I thought a dedicated scanner such as the ScanSnap iX 1400 was unnecessary. After all, a multi-purpose printer-scanner-copier unit will get the occasional scan job done. Once I put the ScanSnap through its paces though, I quickly realized that it was a valuable missing link toward my efforts to streamline my life toward success. Once you’ve finished reading this review, I hope you’ll feel the same way. Spoil alert: The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX 1400 is AWESOME.

First things, first. Let’s take a closer look at this scanner and discover what makes it a mandatory piece of equipment for your office.

First Impressions

The box the scanner arrived in was huge. I had feared that the scanner would take up more real estate than I had to spare on my desk in my tiny office. My concerns immediately dissipated as I cut the box open to see that half of it was packaging foam (they did a great job packing it; you definitely will not receive a scratch-and-dent model). I was relieved to see that this scanner was literally half the size that I had expected. With dimensions of 11.5 inches wide, 6.3 inches high, and 6.0 inches deep, and weighing in at just 7.5 pounds, it is compact enough for even the smallest office/broom closet. One point for Fujitsu!

The scanner is black, like a ninja ready to subdue all of the paper that sits between you and success. The scanner turns on when you lift the paper-loading tray off of the top into place. There is a single button that lights up blue to initiate your scans. The design of this machine combined with the software truly makes this an easy machine to use. The user experience can make or break the likelihood of using new equipment. It is apparent that Fujitsu focused on providing equipment that is easy and inviting to use.

Along with the scanner, you will find the power cord, the USB cord to connect to your computer, a receipt guide that can be added to the scanner to enable the bulk scanning of receipts, and a few of the typical papers such as the Warranty Guide, Safety Precautions Guide, and so on. There is an included quick start paper that points you to the location to download the software you’ll need to install that enables you to give access to five of your devices (computers, phones, tablets, etc.)  as well as to set up your online storage if that’s your preferred method of storing data.

Set up of the scanner was very easy and quick. It’s quite literally plug-and-play. Simply download the software, plug in the scanner to your power source and your computer, and lift the loading tray, and voilà! You’re ready to go.

My overall impression, fresh out of the box, is that Fujitsu has created a scanner worthy of a spot on your desk. Would this scanner be good enough though to justify owning even if you already have a printer with scanning capabilities? Will the ScanSnap iX 1400 prove to be the organizational warrior many of us so badly need? Or will it turn out to be a dud? Let’s find out.

How Does the ScanSnap iX 1400 Perform?

Really, the best way to test a scanner is to, well, start scanning; and scan we did.

The very first item that I chose to scan was the actual quick start guide that came in the box. The decision to start with this piece of ephemera was based on two reasons: it was printed on some more firm and heavier card stock and it was folded. Could this more inflexible material fare as well as how the folded page? I placed this quick start guide sloppily on the loading tray with no effort to straighten it out or unfold it. I half expected that this page would get stuck somewhere in the machined and was pretty sure that this first test would result in my having to fish it out. Go big or go home is my motto. So I hit the button.

Scan Euphoria & Marital Bliss Ensue

Holy smokes! That was FAST! That quick start guide got sucked into the machine faster than a hungry fat Italian slurping in a spaghetti noodle. Funny thing, I actually wonder if there was a degree of oxytocins and endorphins being released into the pleasure center in my brain during that quick half a second scan. Could scanning actually be… satisfying? I immediately imagined myself becoming a scanning addict, scouring my office for documents that I could scan and then destroy. If it truly was possible that organizing my office could actually become fun (gasp!), this could truly become a game-changer.

Next, I grabbed a small stack of business cards and placed them on the tray, again deliberately not being concerned about placing them on there in a nice, neat stack. My wife is always begging me to throw these away. “But what if I need one of these someday? You never know!” is usually my eye-roll-inducing response. Could this bring me a step closer to the elusive marital bliss?

Sure enough, the business cards spit through and scanned beautifully.  Eager to find the limit, I tried a couple of hard plastic credit card-style cards. The first card, my Starbucks card, buzzed through like a champ, but the scanner immediately stopped with the stiffer credit card. Apparently, the Starbucks card was slightly more flexible and able to bend ever so slightly to get scanned. However, the others were just too stiff. Seriously though, who scans credit cards in real life? This was just an exercise to see what could and couldn’t be scanned… so note to self: ixnay on the credit cards; I’d imagine that puppies are absolutely out of the question, so we’ll just skip that test altogether. (Hey, what can I say? What’s a review if I don’t really put the product through the wringer?)

Let’s just fast-forward now and say that everything else that you’d expect to be able to scan went in and out just fine. Got a small stack of papers? No problem! Fujitsu claims that this scanner can scan fifty pages at a time. They’re just being modest. This baby can handle more than fifty with no problem, and at a blazing 40 pages per minute! Long forms, short pieces of paper, receipts, photographs, and even hamsters scan like a charm. Kidding on the hamsters… I was just making sure you’re paying attention. (For the record, I don’t have any hamsters. Now that I’m going to get rid of so much office clutter, perhaps my wife will say yes now to getting one. Thank you, Fujitsu.)

Scan Quality

Obviously, the most important question that we need to answer in this review (next to whether or not my wife will mind me getting a hamster or not) is: How good are the final scanned images?

If the scanning results look bad, then the product is a flop. Without a good image captured, I won’t feel empowered to scan and toss my towers of paper away. This will result in a chain reaction – no quality images mean no scans. No scans mean plenty of clutter. Clutter leads to more “but what if I need it someday?” questions. This leads to an unhappy wife. Ultimately, the quality of the images scanned by this clutter-destroying ninja will lead to either a new hamster or years of eye-rolling from the Mrs. Imagine the trembling in my hands as I clicked on the newly scanned images. This drama was unbearable. Would the capture images good enough? For this final and crucial test, would the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX 1400 a big win or a huge fail?

I’m happy to say that Fujitsu received a big resounding “win” in the image quality category. Not a single scan had to be redone. Every image looked pretty much exactly like the original in a crisp 600 dpi (dots per inch) resolution. May the tossing begin.

Software Usability

Usability is a critical part of this review as well. If the software is confusing or difficult to use and not user-friendly, the chance of turning one scanning event into a habit of scanning everything is slim to none. In this area, Fujitsu once again earns flying colors. Not only is the software intuitive and does not present too high a learning curve, there are also some really nice features that elevate the scanner to another level.

The ScanSnap software allows up to 5 devices to access the scanner. It can also integrate into your favorite cloud drive platform and other options for saving the images. You can create multiple profiles so that specific types of documents can be scanned a certain way. For example, you may prefer to scan both sides of business cards because you have a habit of writing details on the back. Save these in full color to a specific folder on your hard drive. Meanwhile, scan those one-sided documents in black-and-white on a network drive.

Additionally, the functionality that probably most encourages one to organize their paperwork by the scan-and-trash method is the fact that the software uses OCR (Optical Character Reading) technology to store the values of the scanned document into a database, making it possible for you to search your scans in an efficient manner. You are also able to save your scans as searchable PDFs. By the way, the software even saves your scans with meaningful titles based on the on-page content. Awesome, right?

Overall Impression

The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX 1400 is a product you will not regret adding to your office. It truly lives up to its name, making scanning a snap. It is easy to set up and to use.

In all seriousness, decluttering and organizing your office or home by being able to get rid of all that paper while not worrying about throwing away some irretrievable, valuable information is a game-changer. The one-button functionality of the unit and the well-written organizational features of the software offer the owner a priceless tool that can be easily wielded to enable newer habits and a more efficient lifestyle and career. Fujitsu has created a skilled office ninja, ready to help you fight off the giant clutter monster. If you want to clean your office, end the mild case of hoarding you won’t admit to having, and, who knows, perhaps even save your marriage, look no further than the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX 1400.

The retail price of the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX 1400 is $395. It’s worth every penny. At the time of the writing of this article, it is currently on sale for a huge savings on Amazon.com… so move quick!