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Brother, HP, Ricoh Printers Offer SMBs High Quality, Low Cost

The CRN Test Center evaluated three printers that would be a good fit for any small to midsize business: Brother Industries' HL-2700CN, Hewlett-Packard's LaserJet 3550 and Ricoh's Aficio CL2000N.

Printers come in all shapes and sizes and fall under so many different price points that solution providers always have been able to find a niche for them. Solution providers also are often able to establish ongoing post-sales opportunities with customers, whether it be scheduled maintenance or toner replacement. Printers present strong opportunities for high-margin accessory sales and services down the road.

The CRN Test Center evaluated three printers that would be a good fit for any small to midsize business: Brother Industries' HL-2700CN, Hewlett-Packard's LaserJet 3550 and Ricoh's Aficio CL2000N.

Brother HL-2700CN

Of the three, the Brother HL-2700CN has the lowest price point at $549. This is typical of Brother printers as the company usually produces lower-priced printers. However, do not let the printer's low cost throw up a warning sign. The HL-2700CN is well worth the money and is a nice fit for any SMB whose chief concern is high quality at a low cost.

The HL-2700CN is a fast laser printer with the ability to print quality jobs in both monochrome and color. The unit is easy to set up and boasts a small footprint. The printer comes equipped with USB and parallel ports, and can work with almost all Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh applications.

Overall, the HL-2700CN's print quality was impressive for its price. Monochrome text and color matching was slightly above average. However, when it came to line detail, the printer was slightly below par.

Brother's channel program is in the process of being relaunched. The program now consists of two partner levels, with placement based on commitment and integration capabilities. The company provides training in person and over the Web.

Hewlett-Packard LaserJet 3550

Hewlett-Packard printers are no strangers to the CRN Test Center. Priced at $799, HP's LaserJet 3550 is a single pass unit and was easy to set up and configure. The first printer arrived DOA, but HP sent a second unit, which worked without any problems.

The 3550 can be made network-ready via the installation of a print server, which provides an excellent upgrade opportunity. As far as print quality goes, the unit is on par with most printers in the sub-$1,000 price range and the print speed was impressive. The unit printed a 10-page color document in 53 seconds. However, with most HP printers, the toner is usually expensive, which also proves true for this small unit.

HP's PartnerOne channel program includes compensation tools and customized marketing assistance. Marketing, sales materials and technical resources are available online. Solution providers focusing on the SMB market can receive marketing funds, rebates for demo equipment, sales and marketing assistance, and leasing programs.

Ricoh Aficio CL2000N

The last printer in this trio of printers is the Aficio CL2000N from Ricoh. The street price of the unit is $860. The printer's image quality was above average and it pays close attention to linearity, and the contrast on images was perfect.

The Aficio CL2000N's setup took longer than usual and once completed, calibration took an unusually long time. The unit worked slowly, printing a single color picture with rich graphics in much more than 2 minutes.

Ricoh's channel program has been in existence for more than a year. The company provides sales rewards and a wide array of support and marketing programs to help drive revenue. The company is constantly updating the program to make it more beneficial and attractive for solution providers.

CHANNEL PROGRAM SNAPSHOTS
>HL-2700CN

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COMPANY: Brother International
Bridgewater, N.J.
(908)704-1700
www.brother.com
AUTHORIZATION REQUIREMENTS: No authorization required
DISTRIBUTORS/INTEGRATORS: Ingram, Tech Data
TECH RATING:
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CHANNEL RATING:
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Note: Recommended status is earned with a score of eight stars out of 10

CHANNEL PROGRAM SNAPSHOTS
>HP Color LaserJet 3550n

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COMPANY: Hewlett-Packard
Palo Alto, Calif.
(800)474-6836
www.hp.com
AUTHORIZATION REQUIREMENTS: No authorization required
DISTRIBUTORS/INTEGRATORS: Ingram Micro, Synnex, Tech Data
TECH RATING:
photo

CHANNEL RATING:
photo

Note: Recommended status is earned with a score of eight stars out of 10

CHANNEL PROGRAM SNAPSHOTS
>Ricoh Aficio CL2000N Color Laser Printer

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COMPANY: Ricoh Corporation
West Caldwell, N.J.
(800)955-3453
www.ricoh-usa.com
AUTHORIZATION REQUIREMENTS: No authorization required
DISTRIBUTORS/INTEGRATORS: Ingram Micro, Tech Data
TECH RATING:
photo

CHANNEL RATING:
photo

Note: Recommended status is earned with a score of eight stars out of 10

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