Multi-Function Printers That Go The Extra Mile

According to research from IDC, the MFP market is likely to be able to withstand the current harsh economic climate. A recent IDC poll found that budgets for hard-copy equipment are unlikely to be impacted adversely and discovered that there has been a shift from personal desktop devices to shared workgroup devices.

"The results of this QuickPoll clearly show that IT and line-of-business managers are increasingly interested in discovering how they can create a more cost-effective document management environment for their companies," said Keith Kmetz, vice president of IDC's Hardcopy Solutions program. "Hard-copy vendors who provide their customers with such solutions have the greatest opportunity for revenue and profits in this competitive marketplace."

Ricoh's Aficio SP C222SF is a network-ready desktop color laser printer that provides the features of a large enterprise printer but is aimed at the SMB market with a friendlier price point, which ranges from $564 to $1,049. The printer is 66.1 pounds and measures 18.7 x 16.5 x 19.4 inches. The C222SF prints, scans and faxes and includes a 35-page automatic document feeder (ADF), and resolutions of up to 2,400 x 600 dpi. Print and copying speeds are 21 ppm in black and white and full-color, and a first-copy-out time of 30 seconds. The C222SF's PC-connectivity OS support is compatible with Microsoft Windows XP, Windows 2000, Microsoft Server 2003, Microsoft Windows Vista and Mac OSX 10.2.8-10.4.

A heftier MFP -- in terms of weight, cost and functionality -- than the Ricoh model, Hewlett-Packard's CM6030 targets larger workgroups.

The CM6030 MFP prints, copies, scans and faxes, and delivers up to 31 ppm in color and 41 ppm in black and white with three 500-sheet trays. The behemoth MFP weighs in at 319.5 pounds and retails for $5,982 to $7,347. With an improved microprocessor speed of 835MHz, multiple jobs are processed faster, with print speeds up to 30 ppm (CM6030) for color and black-and-white. HP has also an improved ColorSphere toner formulation for sharp colors. The installed memory of 512 MB, which is standard with optional upgrades of up to 1 GB, eases receiving and processing big jobs.

Xerox rolled out the Phaser 3635 line in May as part of the company's effort to broaden its portfolio of document imaging solutions for the small-business and MFP arenas.

With the launch, Xerox enhanced its Peak Partner Program, which added a new segment for IT resellers and copier dealers that want to get into MFP solutions. Both models feature a full color touch screen. The 3635MFP/X model starts at $2,099 and features copy, e-mail, fax, LAN fax, print and scan functionality with an optional network fax server enablement prints up to 35 ppm.

Its less expensive cousin, the 3635MFP/S ($1,699), also has a print speed of 35 ppm, and while it has copy, e-mail, print and scan features, there is no fax function. The 3635 can be configured, monitored and administered remotely via a browser-based console, and network connectivity includes most of the common protocols. An 80-GB hard drive is standard. The printer is compatible with Windows (including Vista), Mac, Unix and Linux.

With the small-office sector in mind, Dell launched the 2135cn in August. The MFP provides printing, scanning, faxing and copying for small workgroups. The 2135cn prints up to 12 ppm in color and 16 ppm mono (actual print and copy speed vary with use). Users can also make digital archives with Nuance PaperPort 11.3. The printer features a suite of management software including the Dell Toner Management System, Dell Printer Configuration Web Tool and Dell Color Track 2.1. The tools enable users to monitor toner levels, configure the printer remotely using a Web browser and manage color printing access to help control printing costs. The 2135cn retails for $528.

Lexmark International's X646e monochrome laser MFP prints, copies, faxes and scans, with a speed of 50 ppm in copy and print, with a first print out time of 8.5 seconds. There is a standard 514MHz processor and the standard 256 MB RAM is expandable to 768 MB. Security including data encryption is provided through SNMP v3, SSL, IPsec and 802.1x authentication and user authentication, as well as hard disk data wiping and AES encryption. The X646e is compatible with Mac OS X, Mac OS 9.x and various versions of Windows. Pricing ranges from $2,220 to $3,100.