CRN Printer Week: 10 Multifunction Printers For The SMB Market

New Printers For A New Era

Partly because of the rise of digital messaging, mobile technologies and green initiatives, the printer industry in the U.S. has been whacked by the reality of lower demand for printed pages.

With new technology, many printer manufacturers are now bringing down the total cost of ownership (TCO) of their products with new, smaller printers that take up less space and consume less energy. The manufacturers have also introduced software that transforms some of these printers into computational workstations and introduces the possibility of a fully operational print solution to businesses that they previously couldn’t afford because of the higher TCO.

New hardware and software capabilities in the newest multifunction printers for business range from simple adjustments to fully reinvented designs -- taking what for some vendors used to be a simple printer and copier and turning it into an office workstation that can help streamline business processes.

In the past year, every large printer manufacturer has released a multifunctional printer (MFP) to the business market especially for small and midsize organizations. Here are 10 that are not only new, but also offer insight into how each vendor is looking at the future of printing.

Samsung MX 7 Series X7600Gx

Pages per minute: 60

Size (width/depth/height, in inches): 22.3/24/34.6

The X7600Gx, released in July 2015, comes with an Android-based OS that works with a 10-inch tablet-like user interface. It also includes an onboard diagnostic app to help prevent and fix printing issues. In addition, it allows users or partners to create customized workflow solutions with Samsung’s Extensible Open Architecture (XOA).

The X7600Gx prints in both color and black and white, and can fax, scan and copy. It also comes with a high-capacity feeder, several finishing options, hole punching, job separation and stapling. And it includes software that can enable mobile print.

OKI Data ES5162LP Monochrome

Pages per minute: 47

Size (width/depth/height, in inches): 19/19.5/18.8

OKI Data's newest monochrome MFP was released in October and is available exclusively to its Business Technology Association dealer channel and aimed at work groups and offices because of its compact size. The model has an encrypted, secure print function and can use advanced encryption on gigabit networks to guard against attacks on networks and information on the printers. In addition, the user access control options assist in physical security by allowing limits on employee printing access.

The ES5162LP can also copy, scan and fax. It can also handle standard double-sided printing and includes an encrypted secure print function, color scanning -- with send-to functionality -- and a 50-sheet reversing automatic document feeder (RADF) for double-sided printing jobs.

Dell E525w

Pages per minute: 18

Size (width/depth/height, in inches): 16.1/15.7/13.9

This printer, released in May 2015, is specifically designed for smaller businesses that need the extra space and can’t dedicate very much to a typical multifunction printer. It sports a printer interface and comes ready to use with Dell’s Printer Hub software, making the printer compatible with many cloud applications.

This laser printer can also scan, fax and copy in both black and white and color on A4- and A5-sized paper. It’s compatible with Windows, Macintosh, Linux, Red Hat and Ubuntu operating systems.

Epson WorkForce Pro WF-M5694 Monochrome Inkjet

Maximum pages per minute: 20

Size (width/depth/height, in inches): 18.1/25.8/15.1

This printer has a 10,000-page cartridge yield, and utilizes Epson’s new PrecisionCore inkjet technology, which uses less ink when it prints, giving it longer life in the printer, saving the end user money. Epson says its new solution can save owners up to 50 percent when compared with a similarly priced laser printer.

Epson released this as part of its Pro M5000 series in March 2015 to engage businesses with small networked work groups. All printers in the series come with secure PIN printing, user-access control and Web configuration security features that help secure data that’s sent to the printer.

Canon imageClass MF515dw

Pages per minute: 42

Size (width/depth/height, in inches): 17.9/18.8/19.9

This monochrome printer can also scan, copy and fax. It has built-in Wi-Fi capabilities and is equipped with a number of easy-to-use functions to print from mobile devices. It’s also compatible with the Canon Print Business app that allows users to print and scan from the device to compatible iOS or Android devices.

This is one of 11 printers Canon released earlier this month, all of which target two markets: small office-home office and midsize-enterprise. Each printer in the series includes a security precaution that enables printers to be coded to recognize users with an NFC card, similar to those used in corporate buildings to gain access to specific rooms.

Brother MFC-L6900Dw Monochrome Laser Printer

Pages per minute: 52

Size (width/depth/height, in inches): 19.5/16.8/20.4

This is Brother's top-of-the-line printer within its new L5000 and L6000 series, released in January. This model can also copy, scan and fax. Aimed at midsize businesses, this printer comes with NFC security options and a secure function lock, as well as Active Directory support. The 4.85-inch display screen allows for creation of 48 shortcuts for use.

Lexmark Cx860 MFP Series

Pages per minute: 60

Size (width/depth/height, in inches): 32/22/23.15

In January, Lexmark International announced the launch of its latest A4 color laser printers and smart MFPs aimed at bringing color and more functionality into the SMB space. The CX860 Series represents the top of that new line.

This full-color printer is the star offering from Lexmark's latest series release in the A4 printing category. It comes with a brand-new touch screen that runs the company's Embedded Solution Framework software, making the printer both programmable and more secure. There are applications available to improve business processes, security and mobile business needs.

This printer boasts the fastest printing and copy speeds available in the A4 class, according to Lexmark, and comes with multiple security options including an NFC security release.

HP PageWide Pro 477dw

Pages per minute: 40

Size (width/depth/height, in inches): 20.9/16/18.4

Released in early March, this printer features HP's newest printer technology, the PageWide printing system, which delivers inkjet-quality color and picture at laser speeds while keeping costs down by avoiding the need to replace ink as often as with legacy printers.

This technology represents a less- expensive printing option, which can make it cost-effective for a business to move printing functions in-house if they’re currently outsourced.

This particular model carries HP secure print functionality and NFC card-reading capabilities. The user interface is a 4.3-inch touch screen that works with preloaded HP applications.

Xerox WorkCentre 6655i

Pages per minute: 36

Size (width/depth/height, in inches): 21.2/21.8/24.6

Xerox's i series printer line was released in March, including the Xerox Work Centre 6655i. All printers in the release came with Xerox's newest ConnectKey software platform, aimed at creating automated business process applications to provide better workflow.

This model comes with encrypted secure print, McAfee security protection and the ability to scan straight to cloud applications like Dropbox and Google Docs.

The 7-inch touch-screen interface gives end users access to applications that can help improve business processes. Some of those apps take advantage of the device's optical character recognition software, which allows users to scan paper documents into searchable, multi-page PDF files.

Ricoh MP C406

Pages per minute: B&W 42, color 36

Size (width/depth/height, in inches): 20.1/23.1/19.9

Ricoh released its most recent, smaller, mobile-savvy MFP in January, taking aim at the small-office corporate work group environment with its compact size, mobile printing capabilities and cloud connectivity.

The printer is capable of printing in color and monochrome, and has a tablet-like user interface that Ricoh calls a Smart Operation Panel, now a standard feature on all Ricoh printers.

The printer offers NFC technology, allowing smartphones and tablets to access it and send print jobs with Ricoh’s Smart Device Connector App. The device also has an optional ID card reader that allows users to swipe for quicker authentication.