Newest Printers Sport Any Number Of Features

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For years, people have predicted paperless offices would become the norm. But, the proliferation of product offerings–and the subsequent competition to keep features multiplying and prices down–suggest otherwise.

For one, Xerox Corp., Wilsonville, Ore., says it is seeking to drive the prices of color printers down to black-and-white printer levels with the launch of the Xerox Phaser 8200 single pass solid ink color printer and the Xerox Phaser 6200 single pass laser color printer.

The Phaser 8200 costs $1,499. It has a processor fast enough to allow for a first page out time of nine seconds, as well as speeds of 16 pages per minute (ppm) in fast color mode, according to company literature.

The Phaser 8200 uses Phaser 8200 ColorStix Solid Ink with shapes that provide no-mistake loading, according to the literature.

Its this solid ink feature that sets Xerox apart from other companies, says AJ Rogers, vice president of strategy for the office group, in Xeroxs Stamford, Conn., office.

“The ink is solid and molded, that way customers cant put the wrong ink in the wrong slot,” he says. “It makes it simple and easy for the customer. Our philosophy is making printers smart enough so [they] almost disappear.”

Part of this involves the printers color correction feature, Rogers says.

“About 80% of our customers never need to do anything to the driver, the printer does it for them,” he says. “Speed is another issue– being able to print at high speeds in color allows people to print more documents in volume faster than before.”

Ultimately, the printer can save insurance offices money by allowing employees to print more quickly, Rogers says.

If there is a problem with the Phaser, the printer itself communicates it to a server at Xeroxs Wilsonville headquarters. “Its a way of minimizing downtime and getting technical support at no charge for the life of the printer,” he explains.

This option is not included in every model. But, all current color models do have the option, he noted.

“We want to make it possible for our customers to do great work,” Rogers says. “That means to get high quality documents out very quickly.”

Lexmark International Inc., Lexington, Ky., recently introduced the Lexmark Z55se Color Jetprinter, an expansion to its line of high-resolution inkjets.

Lexmarks Web site lists the printer at $99.99, but prices may vary depending on where its bought.

The Z55se replaces the Z55 Color Jetprinter and features resolution of up to 4800 x 1200 dots per inch (dpi).

Key features for advanced users of Z55se include a maximum 4800 x 1200 dpi in black and color on photo paper, inkjet paper and transparencies, as well as 4800 x 600 dpi on plain paper.

Other features include Lexmarks PrecisionSense technology, which automatically senses paper type and adjusts driver settings accordingly.

It has print speeds of up to 17 ppm in black and up to 13 ppm in color.

The Lexmark Z55se Color Jetprinter is available at retailers including Comp USA, Staples and Dell. Corporate customers who prefer to buy through alternate channels can find these printers at Comark, CompuCom, Pomeroy, Boise Cascade Office Products and Corporate Express, said Lexmark.

John Salsman, financial services industry director, says Lexmark has an advantage in the industry because it is the only company that focuses solely on printing technology.

“We look at output in three categories: print, move and manage,” he explains.

The “print” category refers to the company making “world-class printers,” Salsman says.

The “move” category refers to the ability to move digital information around, such as claims and applications. For example, a life insurance application can be signed and immediately scanned, processed and placed in the system, he notes.

The “manage” part refers to the ability to have one output device for a number of different systems with different software packages.

“Historically (users) had to have a different output device for each system,” Salsman says. “We offer a single device to serve all those needs for all the systems. Its a management issue in that they have one device, one set of supplies, one service contract.

“We want to be the on-ramp and off-ramp for insurance companies,” he states.

Brother International Corp., Bridgewater, N.J., recently announced the latest additions to its printer line: the HL-7050 and the network-ready HL-7050N commercial-class, office laser printers.

These printers feature print speeds of up to 30 ppm and 1200 x 1200 dpi print quality. They also come standard with 32 megabytes (MB) of memory, according to Brother literature. The HL-7050 and HL-7050N have estimated street prices of $999 and $1,099, respectively.

The printers allow Brother to evolve beyond its home office and small-business customer base to corporate and commercial users, says Jeff Sandler, senior product manager for printers.

The printers offer 600 sheets of input paper capacity and 500 sheets of output paper capacity, says Brother.

The HL-7050 and HL-7050N include CompactFlash storage capability and N-Up and poster print modes.

N-Up is a function that allows a user to print more than one page on a single piece of paper. For example, if a user has a six-page document but doesnt want to carry six pages around with her, she can use the N-Up function to print them all on one page. Sandler says N-Up can put about 25 pages onto a single page.

The poster function allows a user to print parts of a document or a photograph onto a single page so he can put the pieces together to form a poster-size print.

The cost per page is estimated to be 1.2 cents (at suggested retail price of supplies). In addition, the HL-7050 and HL-7050N offer toner-save and power-save modes, according to company literature.

Sandler says Brother printers can save insurance offices money, because they generally have a lower acquisition cost than competitors products. This is particularly true for the network-ready unit, he adds.

“We have to deliver more to consumers than our competitors and more features and more value,” Sandler says. “We have a full product line to easily choose from depending on what their needs are.”

One of Palo Alto, Calif.-based Hewlett-Packards newest products is the HP Officejet d145, meant for the small-office/home-office consumer.

The HP Officejet d145 includes an intelligent printing system that combines separate printheads and ink cartridges with Hewlett-Packard technologies that monitor ink levels and printhead status, according to literature from the company.

Its Hewlett-Packards first all-in-one product that incorporates a legal-size (8.5″x14″) scan and copy glass surface area.

It also includes instant photo printing with three digital camera memory card readers, CompactFlash, SmartMedia and Sony Memory Stick.

The product offers two-sided letter-sized printing and copying with Hewlett-Packards two-sided printing accessory.

Print speeds are up to 19 ppm in black and up to 16 ppm in color.

Dots per inch in color printing are 2400 x 1200; black text printing has 1,200 dpi.

The H-P unit has a 150-sheet input paper tray; a stand-alone black and color fax; up to three seconds per-page fax transmission speed with a 33.6 kilobytes-per-second (kb/s) fax modem; a 50-page automatic document feeder; legal-size flatbed scanner; and 1200 x 4800 dpi scanning (9600 dpi enhanced).

The printer can reduce and enlarge from 25% to 400%, can make up to 99 copies from one original, can make up to 18 copies per-minute in black and 16 copies per-minute in color, and has a 250-sheet plain paper tray.

Estimated U.S. street price is $599.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, January 27, 2003. Copyright 2003 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.