Years ago, multifunction printer/scanner/copier/fax machines weren't particularly great at any one task. But technology has improved, and buying an MFP is no longer a compromise. The monochrome Xerox Phaser 3300MFP ($599) offers the usual multifunction features plus flexible connectivity to network and USB storage, and a high-speed print engine suitable for small and medium businesses with higher productivity demands.
The 41-pound Phaser 3300MFP is compact and rather generically beige, distinguished with a corporate-blue control panel and Xerox badge. At about 18-inches high and wide, the cube-like unit is compact enough to live just about anywhere in your average office.
The main control panel provides buttons for scan, copy, and fax modes, including a speed dial pad for fax recipients. A two-line monochrome screen is easy to navigate for walk-up operations such as scanning to a thumb drive or network location, but at this price it would be nice to see a larger, more information-rich console display.
It also includes a front-side USB slot for a thumb drive, plus a manual feed door that can hold up to 50 sheets, and a typical tray that holds 250 sheets. On the back, you'll find a network jack, a USB slot for a direct computer connection, phone line in and out for fax support, and a connector for an optional secondary paper tray ($150) that can hold an additional 250 sheets. A door on the rear flips open allowing straight-through printing for jobs when you don't want the printout to curl.
|The Phaser 3300MFP offers walk-up print, scan, copy and fax capabilities.|
The top of the 3300MFP consists of a glass flatbed scanner and a 50-sheet ADF (automatic document feeder) for batch scanning or copying. The ADF accepts pages up to legal size at the largest and slightly bigger than 5- x7-inches at the smallest.
The 3300MFP software includes both PCL and Postscript 3 software drivers for the printer and scanner (Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux), Windows software OmniPage for OCR (optical character recognition) and PaperPort, a scan management application.
You can connect the Phaser 3300MFP to a network (both TCP/IP and Apple's Ethertalk) or directly to a single machine using the included USB cable. You can configure network parameters manually through the console controls, but the printer should work out of the box on most networks since it defaults to receiving a DHCP IP address.
Support for Wi-Fi networks means that the 3300MFP will work in secure environments that require authentication for network access. The unit can also filter access by IP address and user authentication, options which can be configured through the Phaser's Web-based administration interface.
Walk Right Up
Like competing MFP's today, the 3300MFP offers several "walk up" featureswhich means you can be productive without even connecting the machine to a computer, or sitting at the computer, anyway. Copying from the scanner, of course, is a typical walk up action. You can place originals either on the flatbed or in the ADF, configure copy options (quantity, scale, quality), and press "Start".
Likewise, you can plug a USB thumb drive into the 3300MFP's front-mounted slot to use as both read and write media. The unit can print documents directly from a thumb drive as long as they are stored in one of several formats: TIFF, BMP, JPEG, PDF, and PRN (the format produced when you "Print to file" in Windows). You can also scan directly to the thumb drive, in TIFF, JPG or PDF formats, using only the console to control the process. One arguable oversight is the unit's lack of memory card reader, another increasingly common storage medium besides thumb drives.The ID card copy mode lets you scan both sides of a card and print them on a single side of paper handy for medical offices that scan insurance cards. Using the 3300MFP's built-in address book, you can also send faxes right from the console without any computer-based fax software.