Fujitsu's ScanSnap SV600 avoids the problems afflicting other contactless scanners by using a motorised head. Unlike products such as Kodak's sceyeX, the head doesn't overhang the scanning area and cast a shadow over it.
There's much more to the SV600 than this, too. Along with support for A3 documents, it employs some clever depth-of-field calculations to scan and correct curved pages on books up to 30mm thick. It also has a page-turning sensor, and can detect and crop multiple items placed in the scanning area.
You can use your desk for scanning, but Fujitsu provides a rubber-backed black felt mat that removes glare and has positioning markings. Installation on a Windows 7 PC was swift, and the SV600 comes with Fujitsu's standard scanning software package, augmented with some nifty image-editing tools.
All operations are managed by ScanSnap Manager, which runs in the background and pops up when you hit the Scan button. When you're finished, it offers a quick menu with options to save scans as images or searchable PDFs; send them as email attachments; print them; load them into a variety of Office apps; send them to Google Drive and Salesforce Chatter; or sync them with Dropbox.
The SV600 is fast: it takes three seconds for the head to cover the entire scanning area regardless of the selected resolution. Post-processing speed depends on the host PC, with our Core i3-equipped Fujitsu Esprimo Q510 taking a mere 14 seconds to scan and process an A3 colour photo at the maximum 600ppi.
When scanning books, you can set an interval to give you time to turn the page or leave the scanner to detect the page turn itself. On completion, ScanSnap Manager loads an editing tool that flattens out curved pages. For pages of large books that need holding down, it has a fingertip eraser as well.
It worked well in practice, coping admirably with our selection of A3- and A4-sized tomes. The editing tool allows you to reposition the book centre and fine-tune page edges. You can only use your fingertip to hold down pages, though, since the eraser tool can't cope with whole digits.
When the scanner detects multiple documents, it separates them into individual images and applies anti-skew measures. We tried this with business cards and till receipts casually strewn across the mat, and it created separate images for each one and straightened them all perfectly.
Image quality is excellent and easily good enough for document- and book-archiving systems. Scans of A3 and A4 colour photos at 600dpi were also impressive, with no distortion, sharp focus, good contrast and plenty of detail.
Fujitsu's Scan-to-Mobile feature is a handy tool. To test it, we downloaded the Connect Application to our iPad and gave it the IP address of our host PC. With the host component running, we simply pressed the scanner's Start button, and the resulting image was sent straight to our tablet.
Considering its credentials, the ScanSnap SV600 is reasonably priced and an ideal choice if you need to scan a wide variety of documents and large books. Scan speed, regardless of resolution, is fast, output quality is excellent, and it comes with a superb suite of image-editing software.