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Sharp Wins BLI’s 2007 MFP “Line of the Year” Award; Also Wins “Picks” In Segments 5 And 6

18 Dec, 2007

Sharp Wins BLI’s 2007 MFP “Line of the Year” Award; Also Wins “Picks” In Segments 5 And 6

Having tested hundreds of products from every vendor, Buyers Lab, the leading global provider of test reports on document imaging products, today announced the winner of its most coveted "Line of the Year" award, along with its "Picks" in Segments 5 and 6, with Sharp receiving the honors in every category.

BLI’s "Line of the Year" is awarded once a year to the vendor whose product line, as tested in BLI’s rigorous two-month laboratory evaluation, is determined to be the best overall based on its cumulative test results. Among the many factors considered are reliability, image quality, productivity, ease of use, scanning, a host of connectivity attributes and overall value. Also considered is the breadth of each vendor's line.

Consistent Superior Performance Earns Sharp BLI's Highest Honor
“Ever since the introduction of the Sharp’s AR-M350 and AR-M450 in 2001, which were way ahead of their time, Sharp has been steadily building what BLI’s testing has shown is now the industry’s best copier-centric MFP product line,” said BLI Managing Editor Daria Hoffman. “First it expanded its mid-range monochrome line, then it added the color MX series, which earned Sharp BLI’s award for ‘Color MFP Line of the Year’ in 2006. Then it introduced the phenomenally reliable production-oriented 'Hercules' series, each of which has earned ‘Highly Recommended’ ratings and ‘Picks’ in their respective segments.”

Along the way, Sharp has continually made improvements, such as increasing part lives and adding capabilities, such as OSA (Open Systems Architecture), which enables Sharp MFPs to work in conjunction with back-end software applications, and now its product line has more BLI “Pick” winners than any other vendor.

Indeed, Sharp’s MFP success has cast a wide net over the industry. In the last year and a half, BLI “Picks” have been awarded to Sharp business color products ranging in speeds of 23 ppm in color and black, to 41 ppm in color and 62 ppm in black. In the monochrome arena, BLI “Picks” have been awarded to Sharp products in critical Segments 4, 5 and 6. Sharp has also garnered acclaim in the lower-speed monochrome segments, with a BLI “Pick” and “Highly Recommended” rating awarded to models in Segment 1 and 2. Just-completed field testing of two of its refreshed mid-range monochrome models, the MX-M350 and MX-M550, show that these latest models improve upon the tried-and-true performance of their award-winning predecessors.

"Winning BLI’s 'Line of the Year' award provides us with independent validation of what Sharp dealers and employees have already believed for some time–that Sharp products are simply the best in the industry. Although this has been a banner year in regard to the number of awards that Sharp has won, I am more excited about the recognition from BLI for 'Line of the Year' than any of the other honors that Sharp has received. This achievement is a direct result of Sharp’s unique approach to product planning, and the close teamwork that takes place between our product planning groups here in the U.S. and in Japan. This process allows us to work closely with our dealers, the end users and our factory, and enables Sharp to respond to the market’s changing needs and opportunities in a more dynamic manner. This in turn helps us to focus our engineering resources to bring to market the application answers that create a clear level of differentiation from our competitors," said Ed McLaughlin, President, Sharp Imaging and Information Systems of America (SIICA).

The Color Of Success
BLI has tested nearly every member of Sharp’s color MX Series in the last year and a half. All racked up extremely high ratings in nearly every category, and every model earned BLI’s “Highly Recommended” rating and was named a “Pick of the Year.”

“These Sharp color models excelled in many ways,” said BLI Lab Manager Pete Emory. “All of them proved to be highly reliable, producing a total of 1,110,000 impressions with a very high mean impressions between service and very few misfeeds.”
Sharp’s color line is also broader than most, with products falling into Segments 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Monochrome Mojo
In the monochrome arena, Sharp garnered acclaim with the 85-ppm MX-M850 and the 95-ppm MX-M950 this past spring, and with the 45-ppm MX-M450N, 70-ppm MX-M700N/U and the 110-ppm MX-M1100 this fall, with the latter two earning “Pick” awards announced today. With the bevy of light- to mid-production devices entering the market in the last few years to fill the gap between workgroup/departmental copiers and true production devices, Sharp now stands apart from the rest with two BLI “Picks” in this category—the 95-ppm MX-M950 and the 110-ppm MX-M1100. Like the other MFPs in Sharp’s line, these models separated themselves from the pack with their extraordinary reliability. Together, the two devices completed 1,500,000 impressions with just three misfeeds and one scheduled preventive maintenance.

“Regardless of the Segment, each model we tested offers the same outstanding combination of high reliability and excellent ease of use, multitasking, administrative utilities, feedback and scan capability,” said BLI Associate Editor George Mikolay.

Excelling At Ease Of Use
Ease of use is a strength that carries over into most every product in Sharp’s MFP line. The devices feature large and very-well designed control panels and excellent print drivers. This ease of use further extends to the devices’ connectivity attributes, such as network setup, administrative utilities and feedback to workstations, all of which helped Sharp win a BLI “Outstanding Achievement” award for the IT friendliness of its IMAGER MFPs in 2005. “A testament to the outstanding design of its products is that two years later, Sharp’s products still set the standard for this aspect of MFP performance,” noted Hoffman.

Sharp MX-M700N/U Impresses With Class-Leading Security And Setup
An excellent example of this is the 70-ppm Sharp MX-M700N/U, which has been awarded a Fall 2007 BLI "Pick" award for "Outstanding Segment 5 Monochrome MFP."

The MX-M700N/U was a standout in terms of network setup and remote administration, as well as the feedback provided to end users via the bundled drivers and utilities. The device was a highly reliable performer during BLI’s rigorous two-month, 300,000-impression durability trial, while also delivering good results in BLI’s

productivity tests. Featuring standard copying and printing and optional fax and network monochrome scanning, the MX-M700N/U also delivers a standard high-capacity duplexing single-pass feeder and among the most complete list of security features in the industry.

“Sharp is very pleased to receive the BLI 'Pick-of-the-Year' Award for the MX-M700N/U workgroup document system. This award for 'Outstanding Segment 5 Monochrome MFP' acknowledges Sharp’s exceptional achievement in the high-volume workgroup category. The MX-M700N/U workgroup document system offers businesses superior performance, value and reliability,” said George Grafanakis senior manager, product planning and marketing, for SIICA.

Sharp MX-M1100 Delivers Stellar Durability For Production Environments
Not many machines can churn out 1 million impressions with no unscheduled maintenance and just three misfeeds, but that’s exactly the feat the Sharp MX-M1100 achieved in BLI’s grueling two-month durability test. The flagship of Sharp’s new Hercules line-up, the 110-ppm MX-M1100 further proves the company is ready to take on production environments, with the device's excellent multitasking abilities, superior scan functions and outstanding overall ease of use.

“Sharp is extremely proud to win the prestigious 'Pick of the Year' award for our new MX-M1100. With this latest accomplishment, our entire high-speed series (MX-M850, MX-M950 and MX-M1100) are now all recipients of the coveted 'Pick' award. As a newcomer to this high-speed segment, it is especially gratifying to be recognized as the best,” said Shane Coffey, associate director of product management for SIICA.

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