Multifunctional Printers

by Krista Fedor

When you’re ready to disengage from unnecessary office clutter or if you’re anxious to purchase a new high-tech gadget, consider looking into the latest in multifunctional printers (MFPs). These all-in-one products are capable of scanning, copying, faxing, and, of course, printing. Today, reasonably priced MFPs abound, providing economy of scale and virtually flawless workplace functionality, especially with new technologies — such as faster
color printing speeds and higher quality scanning — improving overall performance. Many MFPs also feature video and digital photo printing. Here are four picks to review and see if they are right for you.

Brother MFC-9600

This six-in-one MFP provides plain paper faxing, laser printing, digital copying, color flatbed scanning, PC faxing, and video capture. The MFC-9600 functions as a full-featured, stand-alone, plain paper fax with a 14.4Kbps fax modem. Users can send and receive faxes and print simultaneously at 12ppm with an optical resolution of 600 by 600dpi. With SmithMicro Software or NetCentric PC Internet Fax Software, users can send faxes via the Internet. The digital copier sorts and produces up to 99 copies of originals from letter to legal size with reduction/enlargement features from 25 percent to 400 percent. Finally, capture color video frames from a VCR, camcorder, or digital camera and print them directly in black and white, or import and fax, save, manipulate, or send images as an e-mail attachment. The scanner produces a 1200 by 1200dpi interpolated resolution.

Brother International Corporation; 800-276-7746;; $799

Sharp AJ-5030

This inkjet device uses a versatile flatbed for print, fax, copy, and scan functionality. Print and copy speeds include 7.5ppm in black and white and 3.5ppm in color, with a photo quality print and copy resolution of 1200 by 1200dpi. The TWAIN compatible scanner provides 9600dpi color scanning, capturing anything from magazine images to thick, bound reports. The AJ-5030 also provides one-touch scan-to-e-mail, allowing users to send a scanned document directly to a preset e-mail in-box. Faxing begins with a 14.4Kbps modem for six-second transmission, and approximately 30 pages can be stored in memory. It also provides 99 speed dials, including 10 one-touch rapid-dial keys, and a 10-page automatic document feeder. The AJ-5030 comes bundled with MGI’s PhotoSuite III SE,, and Sharp’s multifunction software for desktop document management and optical character recognition (OCR).

Sharp Electronics Corporation; 800-237-4277;; $300

HP LaserJet 3200 SE

Hewlett-Packard’s laser all-in-one creates a networking infrastructure. The LaserJet prints 9ppm at 1200dpi and 600 by 600dpi for color scanning. This MFP offers one-touch scan-to-e-mail and scan-to-Web capability with user-configured settings. Faxing highlights include three seconds-per-page faxing and 275 pages of fax storage. The 3200 comes with 8MB memory, which can be upgraded to 72MB, and can be utilized through USB or parallel connections. HP LaserJet 3200 ships with drivers to support Windows 95, 98, NT 4.0, and 2000. Linux, Windows 3.1x, and MS-DOS drivers are available on line.

Hewlett-Packard Company; 800-752-0900;; $599

Lexmark X520

Based on the latest T series of network laser printers, the X520 produces high-quality 600 by 600dpi monochrome laser documents at up to 20ppm. Print functions include confidential print, which won’t print until the user inputs a password; document bar coding, a feature that recognizes and prints bar codes; and electronic forms. Network scanning functions enable users to create and deliver images in PDF, TIFF, and JPEG, all in black and white or color. PostScript formats distribute, capture, and manipulate electronic documents by scanning to e-mail or to a PC. The “scan once/print many” copying foundation is complemented by advanced functions such as electronic collation, enlargement/reduction, document finishing (where the scanner cleans up the edges of the paper), and paper-saving options, such as printing multiple images on the same page. Faxing capabilities include group fax, speed dial, and paper-saving options.

Lexmark Inc; 800-539-6275;; $1,999

Weightless Storage

Save documents and presentations and transfer information from Macs to PCs with DiskOnKey, a portable storage device about the size of a ballpoint pen. DiskOnKey utilizes a standard USB port for instantaneous plug-n-play interoperability on the latest Windows, Mac OS, and Linux operating systems. No driver installation is required, unless used on Windows 98. When plugged into a USB, it acts as a secure, removable hard drive, capable of supporting and running multiple applications right from the device. Based on M-Systems True FFS Technology, the product is currently available in 8MB, 16MB, and 32MB through IBM and Dell.

M-Systems; 866-347-5665;; $50, $70, $100

Portable Keyboard

At just 1.9 ounces and less than 4 inches long, the Cirque Corp.’s PDA Pocket Keyboard is a light and compact keyboard sleek enough to fit in a pocket. Allowing input for all sized fingers, it is designed in a basic “QWERTY” format, including arrow, number, shift, enter, tab, caps, control, and symbol keys. It features Pocket Keys software, two batteries, and a set of interface adapters permitting use on a variety of PDAs including the Pilot 1000 and 5000, Palm m100 series, and Palm III, IV, and V, as well as the Handspring Visor, Deluxe, Platinum, and Prism. PDA Pocket Keyboard supports Palm OS 1.0 through 3.5.2. Batteries provide approximately 30 hours of use.

Fellowes; 800-945-4545,; $50


Intrigo Inc. offers the latest in laptop accessories, including a collapsible laptop desk, an auto adjustable paper clamp, and a flexible battery-operated “task light.” The Lapstation Pro, a portable workspace that opens to a 20- by 11-inch workspace and collapses to a size smaller than the average laptop, weighs less than 3 pounds and includes four expansion ports for additional accessories. PagePod paper clamp holds up to 35 reference pages at an ergonomically correct eye level and can be used as a stand alone or with the Lapstation. The Lumanite desk light has a 10-inch flexible neck, providing LED technology and allowing five times the battery life of traditional book lights.

Intrigo Inc.; 888-527-7828;; Lapstation Pro: $80; PagePod: $20; Lumanite: $40

Small Business Computing Staff
Small Business Computing Staff
Small Business Computing addresses the technology needs of small businesses, which are defined as businesses with fewer than 500 employees and/or less than $7 million in annual sales.
Previous article
Next article

Must Read

Get the Free Newsletter!

Subscribe to Daily Tech Insider for top news, trends, and analysis.