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Office Imaging Products 2001: BLI's Picks of the Year

9 Oct, 2001 By: Buyers Laboratory, Inc. imageSource

Office Imaging Products 2001: BLI's Picks of the Year

the testing period for this year’s awards, which ran from the spring of 2000
to May 2001, nearly 100 multifunctional products, analog and digital copiers,
fax machines and printers were eligible for consideration as “Pick of the
Year” winners. These products were subjected to BLI’s rigorous in-house
evaluation, which, for copiers and copier-based multifunctional products,
includes an extensive durability test during which the unit is run at the
manufacturer’s maximum recommended monthly volume.


tests are designed to help compare such critical factors as reliability, misfeed
frequency, copy and print quality, copy and print productivity and efficiency,
ease of use and economy, as well as connectivity issues such as ease of
configuration and administration on a network, print drivers and multitasking


Improvements Seen

general, BLI saw significant improvements in the digital products tested this
past year over previous years in terms of reliability, feedback to workstation
users, administrative utilities for managing the devices on networks, and
efficiency in both print and copy modes. Strides were also made in multitasking
capabilities, with products offering more flexibility in dealing with multiple


as is the case every year, some models performed below the bar in one or more
areas, while others clearly excelled. While many products performed well overall
this past year, a number stood out from the rest as clearly superior to their
competition. Each year, with its “Pick of the Year” awards, BLI gives
special recognition in each category to the products that provided the most
outstanding performances in the laboratory. In addition, to the vendor whose
overall product line was demonstrated to be the best by virtue of its cumulative
test results (of course, only units tested by BLI in its lab are eligible to
receive awards). The purpose of these awards is to better guide equipment buyers
in their acquisition decisions.


the winners are...


U.S.A., Inc.¾
Most Outstanding Copier-Based Multifunctional Product Line Of 2001

upon the proven strength of its imageRUNNER product line, which won the “Line
of the Year” award for Canon U.S.A., Inc., last year, Canon has continued to
add muscle to its solid line-up with the addition of several more outstanding
imageRUNNER products. Thereby, clearly securing its place as the winner of
BLI’s award for “Most Outstanding Copier-Based Multifunctional Product Line
of 2001."


of the three additional imageRUNNER models tested this testing period, all
earned BLI’s “Highly Recommended” rating and two won “Pick of the
Year” awards for 2001 in their respective segments. The two new “Pick of the
Year” winners are the Canon imageRUNNER 210N in Segment 2 and the imageRUNNER
5000N in Segment 4. Both demonstrated exceptional performance and superb
reliability. The imageRUNNER 210N, a 21-cpm model, completed a
112,500-impression test with no service other than a single preventive
maintenance (PM) visit and just three misfeeds, for a better-than-average
misfeed rate of 37,500 impressions. In its test, the 50-cpm imageRUNNER 5000N
produced 300,000 impressions, again with no service required other than a single
PM visit and only three misfeeds, for an excellent misfeed rate of one per
100,000 impressions. Additionally tested this year was the imageRUNNER 550,
which earned BLI’s “Highly Recommended” rating for its superior overall
performance during which it also produced 300,000 impressions—again, with just
a single PM visit, and misfeeding only four times.


is that the imageRUNNER 330N and imageRUNNER 400N, which were both “Pick of
the Year” winners for Segment 3 last year, still stand out as exceptional
among the models tested by BLI—against a number of more recent competitors
tested in this segment—and have earned the award for the second year in a row.
Remarkably, a year later, the imageRUNNER 330N still holds the record among
multifunctional products for simplex and duplex copy efficiency and is a leader
in simplex and duplex print efficiency. In addition to the above-mentioned
digital products that won “Pick of the Year” awards this year; several Canon
models have recently completed BLI’s tests with very good results. The 20-cpm
imageRUNNER 200L completed a 112,500-impression test with one service call, one
PM and eight misfeeds, while the imageCLASS 2220 has completed its
75,000-impression test with no service calls, no PMs and just four misfeeds. A
low-priced business-color model, the imageCLASS C2100 completed a
90,000-impression test with no service required and just a single misfeed.


several products that are still currently available in Canon’s product line
have won awards in the past. They include the imageRUNNER 600 and the NP 6545,
which both won “Pick of the Year” awards in Segment 4 last year. In fact,
the imageRUNNER 600 turned in one of the most impressive reliability
performances for multifunctional products tested to date by BLI. By completing a
750,000-impression test with no service other than two PM visits required and
only three misfeeds, resulting in a remarkable ‘Mean Impressions Between
Service (MIBS)’ rate of 375,000 impressions and a misfeed rate of one per
250,000 impressions! On the analog front, five Canon personal copiers—the
Canon PC 920, PC 921, PC 950, PC 980 and PC 981—were tested this year, all of
which earned “Highly Recommended” ratings, and the 7130/7130F Segment 1
analog copier also performed flawlessly in BLI’s test, requiring no service in
its 11,250-impression test.


to the outstanding reliability of Canon’s product line is that a total of
2,522,250 impressions were produced by current Canon units tested this year,
plus last year’s “Pick of the Year” winners, with just a single
malfunction––a remarkable achievement. A total of 33 misfeeds were logged
for an overall misfeed rate of one per 76,432 impressions. Also impressive is
that of the 4,164,250 total impressions produced by the 19 currently available
Canon models (analog and digital) that have been tested by BLI, the cumulative
total means impressions between failures (MIBF) for all current tested Canon
models are 529,531.


reviewing the performance of the imageRUNNER product line, Ken Nardone, BLI
manager of product testing, observed, “It’s remarkably consistent. Each
model provides near-perfect reliability—typically requiring just PMs and
experiencing only minimal misfeeds—as well as a range of other benefits of
importance to users.” For example, said Nardone, “The product line as a
whole is consistently productive, offering above-average efficiency rates, and
the imageRUNNER models are also easy to use both from their well-designed
control panels and from their graphical print drivers, which on some models
provide real-time information regarding device status issues such as available
paper supply.”


added, “And whereas some vendors have lagged behind in one or more
areas—whether it be productivity, ease of use, printer functionality,
administrative and monitoring utilities, or multitasking—Canon’s imageRUNNER
line provides satisfactory or better performance in all of these areas at a
price point that is increasingly competitive.”


past year saw the arrival of Canon’s second-generation imageRUNNERs, including
the imageRUNNER 5000N. While highly reliable and highly productive like earlier
imageRUNNERs, this second-generation model provides more flexible multitasking,
thanks to its ability to reserve up to four copy jobs while another copy job is
in progress. Whereas previous imageRUNNERs tested by BLI have used an EFI Fiery
print controller, Canon has demonstrated with the imageRUNNER 5000N that it has
the ability to provide a quality Canon proprietary controller. Canon’s
embedded print controller in the imageRUNNER 5000N includes a useful Web-based
Remote User Interface, along with Canon’s NetSpot utility for administrators,
and users, which is well-liked by BLI technicians.


noteworthy, pointed out Pia Beddiges, BLI’s director of competitive
information services, is that “Canon’s digital product line is
differentiated from those of other vendors in that all the models—ranging
between 33 ppm and 60 ppm—can be configured with saddle-stitch finishing.”


strength of the Canon product line is its breadth, ranging from its personal
copiers on the low end, five of which won “Highly Recommended” ratings this
past year, to its 110-cpm Heidelberg-manufactured digital imageRUNNER 110 and
120-cpm analog NP 9120 on the high end. Although a large gap has existed between
the 60-cpm imageRUNNER 600 and the 110-cpm imageRUNNER 110, Canon has shown and
will soon introduce its first Segment 5 digital product, the 85-cpm imageRUNNER
8500. The company also offers a broad line of color copier/printers, ranging in
speed from the 7-cpm Color Laser Copier 900/950 to the recently introduced
50-cpm Color Laser Copier 5000, although none were tested by BLI this year.
Indeed, 48 Canon models are listed as currently available in BLI’s database.
Current tested Canon models had representation—and either “Recommended” or
“Highly Recommended” ratings—in six segments (PC, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5).


not considered in BLI’s “Copier-Based Multifunctional Line of the Year”
award, Canon, like many other vendors in the office products industry, offers a
range of other office products, including printers, fax machines and fax-based
multifunctional products. Among these are the Canon LASER CLASS 3175MS, which
earned a “Pick of the Year” award as an “Outstanding Fax-Based
Multifunctional Imaging System” for 2001.

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