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Recent Printer Introductions

18 Feb, 2001 By: Buyers Laboratory, Inc. imageSource

Recent Printer Introductions

In the U.S. alone the installed base of laser printers is now over 60 million. By the year 2004 that number is expected to increase to over 70 millions with an increasing percentage of these placements coming from color laser printers. Last year, we saw a flurry of new printer introductions to the market. Speed is increasing, Color’s cost-per-copy is coming down, street prices are decreasing and everyone is gunning at Hewlett-Packards market share. This month, Buyers Lab takes a look at some recent introductions and there affects on the marketplace.

Kyocera Mita FS-1800 & FS-3800

Offering what Kyocera Mita America, Inc., claims as the industry's lowest total cost of ownership (TCO), at less than one cent per print, the FS-1800 (17 ppm) and FS-3800 (25 ppm) laser printers are designed for small- to medium-size workgroups and are both offered in two configurations. Base model suggested retail prices are $1,149 and $1,499 for the FS-1800 and FS-3800, respectively, while the FS-1800N and FS-3800N have suggested retail prices of $1,499 and $1,849, respectively. In their “N” configurations, the units come equipped with standard 10/100BaseTX Ethernet network interfaces, while the base models offer parallel and serial interfaces. Kyocera Mita America · www.kyoceramita.com

Similarities between the two units are many and include 1,200-dpi resolution (2,400 x 600 dpi with image enhancement) at rated print speed, RIP-once/print-many technology, 600-sheet paper capacities (including a 100-sheet bypass), Energy Star compliance and Windows 3.1x, 95, 98, 2000, NT 3.51 and NT 4.0 print drivers. Options available for both units include the ability to add up to three 500-sheet drawers or a 2,000-sheet paper feeder, automatic 70-sheet envelope feeder, a five-bin mailbox sorter and a 2,000-sheet stacker.

While the FS-1800 utilizes a 200-MHz Motorola PowerPC 405 processor and comes standard with 8 MB of RAM (24 MB for the FS-1800N), the FS-3800 uses a 200-MHz PowerPC 740 processor and has 16 MB of standard RAM (FS-3800N, 32 MB). Both units support PCL 6 and PostScript emulations, among others. The FS-1800 has a duty cycle of 65,000 pages per month and its memory can be expanded to a total of 264 MB. The FS-3800 has a duty cycle of 100,000 pages per month and its memory can be upgraded to 288 MB. Both units are available now.

Samsung ML-4600 & ML-7300

Samsung Electronics America, Inc., introduced a new laser printer, the ML-4600, in November and previewed another slated for introduction in the first quarter of 2001, the ML-7300. Featuring a 66-MHz RISC processor, the ML-4600 uses PCL 6 to print at 8 ppm with 1,200-x-600-dpi resolution and offers standard parallel and USB interfaces. Compatible with Windows 95, 98, 2000, ME and NT 4.0, iMac Version 8.6 or later and Red Hat Linux Version 6.0 or later operating systems, the ML-4600 also offers 4 MB of standard memory and a “Cancel” button on the control panel to terminate jobs.

The unit provides an input tray with a 150-sheet capacity and a single-sheet bypass tray for envelopes, labels, card stock, etc. An “N-up printing mode” allows for up to 16 pages of text to be placed on a single sheet of paper, while another feature allows the user to reprint the last printed page at the touch of a button, even if the PC has been turned off. Employing a one-piece toner-and-drum imaging unit that yields 2,500 pages according to Samsung, the ML-4600 also has a toner-save feature that Samsung claims can provide users with up to 40 percent toner savings over the course of a year and extends the imaging cartridge yield to 3,500 pages. Available now, the ML-4600 carries a one-year exchange warranty under which Samsung will replace the unit if it malfunctions, and has an estimated street price of $299.

Scheduled for availability in the first quarter of 2001, the ML-7300 is based on a Samsung-developed 100-MHz Motorola PowerPC 603e RISC processor and offers 1,200-dpi resolution at 21 ppm. In addition to the toner-save and “N-up printing” features offered with the ML-4600, this unit also provides standard duplex printing at 10 images per minute, and provides a larger standard memory of 16 MB (upgradable to a maximum of 128 MB). Like the Kyocera Mita printers, the ML-7300 will be offered in two configurations, a base model (estimated street price, $999) and a networkable model, the ML-7300N (estimated street price, $1,149).

Available as an option for the base model, Samsung's PorThru Network Interface Card (Ethernet 10/100BaseTX) and SyncThru network management software enable compatibility with Windows 95, 98, 2000 and NT 4.0, SUN Solaris, HP-UX, SCO, Novell NetWare, Macintosh and Red Hat Linux Version 6.0 or later environments. Both models come with a standard parallel interface (a serial interface is optional), as well as a standard 500-sheet drawer and a 100-sheet multipurpose tray. An additional 500-sheet drawer is offered as an option, bringing the total paper capacity of the units to 1,100 sheets. The all-in-one imaging cartridge for the ML-7300 yields 10,000 pages based on a document containing 5 percent page coverage, according to Samsung.
Samsung Electronics America, Inc. · www.samsung.com

Canon S400 Color Bubble Jet

Employing Canon's Think Tank System of individual ink tanks for each color and black, the S400 (estimated street price, $99) prints at 6 ppm in black and 4 ppm in color at 1,440-x-720-dpi resolution. Canon states that with the BC-30e black print head option, output increases to 9 ppm because this printhead has 160 nozzles, versus the 48 on the black cartridge included with the unit. The S400 also offers an optional Color Image Scanner for $69 that transforms the printer into a color sheet-feed scanner. Paper-handling capabilities of the S400 include a 100-sheet tray that accepts sheets ranging in size from 3.9” x 3.9” to 8-1/2” x 14” and in weight up to 28 lbs. Standard parallel and USB interfaces and compatibility with Macintosh and Windows 95/98/2000/ME/NT 4.0 operating systems are also features of this unit, which is available now. Ink cartridges for the S400 include an optional high-capacity black cartridge (suggested retail price, $37.99) with a yield of 5,000 pages and the color cartridge (CMYK) included with the unit that is rated to yield 6,000 pages and has a suggested retail price of $49.99. Canon U.S.A., Inc. · www.usa.canon.com

IBM Infoprint 70

IBM's 70-page-per-minute unit, available now at a suggested retail price of $49,995, supports 600-dpi printing of 240- and 300-dpi Advanced Function Printing (AFP)/Intelligent Printer Data Stream (IPDS). The IBM-developed print controller in the Infoprint 70 utilizes a 400-MHz RISC processor, while providing standard support for the IPDS protocol and optional support for PostScript and PCL via the Infoprint Manager software. An optional 10/100BaseTX auto-switching Ethernet interface (suggested retail price, $399 [factory-installed]/$699 [after-market installation]) is offered as an option, as is a Token-Ring interface ($599/$899). The unit also provides page-level error correction and recovery.

Standard paper capacity of the Infoprint 70 is 3,150 sheets and includes two 500-sheet trays, a 2,000-sheet tray and a 150-sheet multipurpose tray. A 3,000-sheet feeder ($3,000/$3,300) is optional, bringing the maximum paper capacity to 6,150 sheets. Output exits into a 200-sheet stacker or a 2,000-sheet stacker/stapler capable of stapling up to 50 sheets per set, both of which are standard. IBM rates the maximum monthly print volume at 400,000 pages and the toner yield at 30,000 pages (based on 6 percent page coverage).
International Business Machines Corporation · www.ibm.com

Konica Force 75

The printer-only version of Konica's 7075 copier/printer, the Force 75 printer is available now for a suggested retail price of $38,470 (including the network interface card). This unit also supports AFP/IPDS protocols, like IBM's new model in this range, as well as standard PCL 5e and optional Adobe PostScript 3 ($1,500). This 600-dpi, 75-ppm unit utilizes Konica's IP-601 print controller, which is based on a 500-MHz Intel processor with 128 MB of standard memory (upgradable to 512 MB; 8.45-GB hard disk optional) and supports Windows 95, 98, 2000 and NT 4.0, UNIX, Macintosh 7.x and 8.x, and AS/400 environments.

With a recommended duty cycle of up to 1,000,000 impressions per month, the Force 75 offers standard stackless automatic duplexing and a total paper-handling capacity of 6,150 sheets via its two 500-sheet drawers, a 1,000-sheet drawer, a 150-sheet bypass tray and an optional 4,000-sheet LCT. Finishing options include a saddle-stitch booklet maker ($5,120), post sheet inserter ($950) and a trimmer unit ($3,250). Konica's new NetFusion network interface cards will enable connectivity with 10/100BaseT Ethernet, Token-Ring and AS/400 Twinax networks.

The Force 75 also offers options, which include cluster and tandem printing, secure printing, job accounting and forms and variable data printing. Standard IP Connection print management utilities enable remote monitoring and management of Konica engines on the network. Konica Business Technologies · www.konica.com

Ricoh AP306 And AP2600

Ricoh AP306 & AP2600 - Available now at a suggested retail price of $3,995, the Ricoh AP306 is a four-color unit that prints at 24 ppm in black and 6 ppm in color at 1,800-x-600-dpi resolution. With a Ricoh-developed controller based on a 177-MHz MIPS R4310 processor, the unit offers a standard parallel interface and optional 10/100BaseTX Ethernet interface ($400), as well as 32 MB of standard memory (upgradable to 256 MB). The AP306 utilizes Ricoh's own Intelligent Page Description Language-Color (IPDL-C), which employs a Windows GDI-like user interface and a code resembling PCL, enabling the printing of a multi-page document with mixed color and black-and-white pages, with the color pages printed at the rated color speed and the black-and-white pages printed at the monochrome rated speed, according to Ricoh. A PostScript 2 clone, Ricoh-Script 2, is offered as well.

Standard paper-handling capabilities include a 250-sheet drawer and a 50-sheet bypass, with the capacity upgradable to 1,300 sheets with the addition of two optional 500-sheet drawers ($320 each). Ricoh also offers the AP306D, which adds standard duplexing and offers a 64-MB memory, at a suggested retail price of $4,995.

New this month, the Ricoh AP2600, which has a suggested retail price of $1,299, is a 26-ppm black-and-white laser printer that also employs a controller manufactured by Ricoh, but offers Adobe PostScript 3 and PCL 5e and 6. Using its 200-MHz processor and 16-MB standard memory (upgradable to 80 MB), the AP2600 supports true 1,200-dpi resolution at its rated speed. The unit has a paper capacity of 350 sheets in its standard configuration, expandable to 1,350 sheets via optional ledger- and letter-size 500-sheet trays. Other options include a duplex unit, USB interface, 10/100BaseTX Ethernet interface, four-bin mailbox, one-bin shift sort tray, envelope tray (holds 60 envelopes), and a 6-GB hard-disk drive. The unit is also available in a network-ready version, the AP2600N, which has a suggested retail price of $1,499.

Both the AP306/AP306D and the AP2600/AP2600N are also available as Savin and Gestetner models, the SLP624S/SLP624D and SLP26/SLP26N and the C7006W/C7006DW and P7026/P7026N, respectively, at the same prices. Ricoh Company Ltd. · www.ricoh.com

Xerox Phaser 790

Xerox has replaced its Phaser 780 (introduced November 1998) with the Phaser 790, which is available now. A color laser unit, the Phaser 790 employs an EFI-developed controller based on a 266-MHz MIPS R5271 processor, and supports Adobe PostScript 3 and PCL 5c page description languages. Xerox is offering two versions of the Phaser 790, the 790N and the 790DP, with estimated street prices of $6,199 and $7,199, respectively. Identical except for memory and the addition of duplexing on the Phaser 790DP, both units come standard with 10/100BaseTX Ethernet and parallel interfaces, a 250-sheet drawer, a 150-sheet bypass and a 6-GB hard-disk drive. Whereas the 790N comes standard with 64 MB of RAM, the 790DP comes with 128 MB of standard memory. Both units can be upgraded to 512 MB and can be equipped with an optional 1,000-sheet paper feed unit ($795). Duplexing can be added to the Phaser 790N for $795.

Xerox Phaser 780

Based on the same engine technology as the Phaser 780, the Phaser 790 employs a different toner formulation, different transfer process and greater bit depth per pixel, resulting in faster print speeds and better print quality, according to Xerox. While the Phaser 780 offers print speeds of 4 ppm in color and 16 ppm in monochrome, the Phaser 790 has a 6-ppm color print speed and a 26-ppm monochrome speed. Xerox credits this increase in speed to a new toner formulation (in which “developer beads” are embedded in the wax-based toner, so no developer has to be added to the toner during the print process), as well as to the fact that the Phaser 790 uses a bias charge roller and the company's Intermediate Belt Technology (IBT), which together transfer the image from the four drums to the paper in one impression, as opposed to laying down the impression from each drum individually.

Improved image quality is provided by 8-bit-per-pixel printing, which, at 600 x 600 dpi, allows for more and better transitions in color image quality than the 1,200-x-600-dpi resolution offered by the Phaser 780, which offers a bit depth of only one bit per pixel, according to Xerox.

The Digital Document Company, Xerox · www.xerox.com

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