by April 10, 2002 0 comments

If you’re looking for a device that can perform all office functions, and doesn’t take up much desk space, this multi-function device from Olivetti is an option. Though small, it can work as a fax, printer, scanner, copier, and a standalone telephone. As a telephone, it supports caller identification, call transfer, hands-free dialing, answering machine and a directory to store up to 84 numbers. If your PC is connected to the Internet you can also use the bundled Internet LinkFax software to scan and e-mail documents from within an application. It has drivers for Win 9x and connects to a PC’s parallel port. It has buttons on its front panel with an LCD panel for standalone operation without the PC.

Olivetti’s MFD gave the best results in fax, phone and copier functions; average in scanner and printer’s

Price: Rs 16,900 (one-year warranty)
Meant for: Small offices/workgroups
Features: Fax, copier, printer, and scanner; can also function as a standalone telephone 
Pros: Small footprint; feature-packet, good price
Cons: Average printing and scanning capabilities
Contact: spice net, New Delhi. Tel: 011-6814542-44. 

We tested the MFD on a PIII/800 machine, and it gave the best results in its fax, telephone and copier functions. The scanner and printer operations were average. Its printer function supports a maximum resolution of 600×300 dpi black and white and 300×300 dpi color. We didn’t receive a color cartridge with the
MFD, so couldn’t test its color-printing capabilities. As a printer, its performance was good in printing plain text and letters, and the minimum readable font size was 4 point. However, in monochrome graphics, line-art, and curves its performance was average. Print speeds came to an average of 1.7
ppm, as against its rated 2.6 ppm for black and white images. Print-speed ratings are a common issue with most inkjet printers because all vendors have their own methods for calculating this. It took 37 sec to print the first page of a multi-page document. As a scanner it let’s you scan in two resolutions of 100×100 or 200×200. This is suitable for scanning simple documents without any heavy graphics. As a copier, the MFD can make five copies in 3 min. It lets you make nine copies at one go. Sending faxes is a breeze with the device.

The bottom line Given its price, features, and small footprint, it’s a good option as a stand-alone telephone, fax machine, a copier and for plain text printing such as letters and excel sheets. Don’t count on it for superb graphics printing and scanning.

Neelima Vaid at PCQ Labs

2. Lexmark X83

The Lexmark X83 is an MFD that can print, copy and scan. It saves space as all functions are done using one device. It saves money, which you would’ve otherwise spent on buying these devices separately, and finally it connects to a single port on your machine. This MFD can print in color, and also make color copies of your documents and images, which otherwise would have required an expensive color photocopier. It uses two ink cartridges for black and color, and can print up to 2400×1200 dpi resolution in both black and color. It has a rated print speed of 12 ppm and 6 ppm for black and color respectively. The scanner part of the MFD supports a maximum optical resolution of 600x1200dpi with 48-bit color depth, which is good for scanning regular thing like letters, text documents, newspaper cuttings and photographs. It can scan A4 sized documents. 

The Lexmark X83 gives good quality prints of color and monochrome images as well as line arts, curves and fountain fills

Price of MFD: 
Rs16, 200; Ink Cartridges: 
Black: 600 pages @ 5% coverage, Rs 1700;
High Yield Black: 1100 pages @ 5% coverage, Rs 2000;
Colour: 275 pages @ 15% coverage, 
Rs 2000; High Yield Colour: 625pages @ 15% coverage, Rs 2600
Meant for: Small offices
Features: 2400x1200dpi printing, 600x1200dpi 48-bit scanning, 12ppm printing black, 6 ppm printing color, USB interface, supports Win 98SE/Me/2000 Pro/Server and the Mac OS 8.6 or 9.x
Pros: Good quality printing and scanning, easy to use, attractive price, copying, enlarging, quality adjustment can be done without the PC
Contact: Lexmark International, Chennai. Tel: 044-8242090/8224949 
Ext 3083. 

The MFD’s copier function works by first scanning, and then printing. Its rated copying speed is up to 10 copies/min for black and 3/min for color. You can also enlarge and reduce your copies by 25% to 400%. The advantage here is that you can take make copies of documents independent of the PC. It has a large front panel with 14 buttons, which allow you to make color/black copies, select the number of copies, reduce/enlarge, select the paper type, adjust the quality and more. It also has a poster feature, which will create a poster size copy of any image you scan. It supports a variety of printing media including glossy paper, photo paper, envelopes, labels, transparencies and cards. 

The MFD has a USB interface. So it is pretty easy to install. It supports Win 98/Me/2000 Pro/Server and the Mac OS 8.6 or 9.x. During the installation a number of applications are also installed to make use of some of the features of this
MFD. There’s ABBY fine reader 4.0 for OCR, a fax software, and MGI PhotoSuite 8.1 for image editing. Once installed, the printer offers various printing resolutions starting from 300×600 dpi to 2400×1200 dpi. You can also adjust the brightness, contrast, and saturation of your images before you print them. 

We tested the MFD with a PIII 800 MHz machine having 128 MB RAM, running Win 98 SE. Its text prints were very impressive and readable right down to 2pt font size even at the lowest resolutions. In print speeds, it managed 7 ppm in black, and 2.6 ppm in color. Although this is lower than its rated speed, it’s not an uncommon occurrence especially for inkjet printers.
Qualitywise, its printouts were very impressive, giving us good quality prints of color images, monochrome images as well as line arts, curves and fountain fills. We were also very impressed with its scanning capabilities. It gave us very good quality scans of full-page color images, line art and curves and gray scales. A full color image took only 24 secs to scan. Once scanned you can save it in various formats such as BMP,
JPG, TIF, PCX, PNG, PDF and more. Its OCR was also particularly impressive giving us very accurate results while scanning plain text as well as cuttings from newspapers and magazines. It took approximately 38 secs to scan and convert a full page of text into a RTF document, which is pretty good. A full-page text copy was completed in 43
secs, out of which 
23 secs was to scan and 20 secs to print. This is not very fast, but should be fine for small offices.

The bottomline Its price tag of just Rs 16,200 makes it an economical option for small offices, which need printing, scanning and copying capabilities for their workplace. And because everything can be done using a single device you save money and desk space. 

Sachin Makhija at PCQ Labs

3. Canon Multipass C70

This is another MFD that can print, scan, copy and also send and receive faxes. With its compact construction, the MFD saves a lot of desk space. It can be operated from a PC using its Desktop Manager software, and another program called Multipass status monitor keeps track of the MFD’s status. 

The MFD’s printer uses bubblejet technology. It lets you choose from preset printing modes and can print on various media. Print quality is controlled by dragging a slider. The printer gave good results for text printing at all printer settings and graphics at ‘Fine’ setting (other settings for graphics showed some
pixelation). It could print at 2.5 ppm in our standard speed test, as against its rated 5

The Canon MFD’s copy quality is very good in photo mode, but average in black and white text mode

Price: Rs 26,995 (one-year warranty)
Meant for: Small offices
Features: Color printing, scanning and faxing, faxes directly from your applications
Pros: Saves desktop space, good performance
Contact: Canon India, 
New Delhi. 
Tel: 011-6807317—19 

The MFD’s scanning function supports an optical resolution of 300×600 dpi, which can be enhanced to 600×600 dpi using software. It supports 24-bit color depth, and also has an Automatic Document Feeder
(ADF). It’s not a flatbed scanner. Instead the paper is inserted from one side as in a printer, and comes out from the other. So if you want preview and final scans, you’ll have to feed the document twice. The software to operate the scanner,
ScanGear, can place a scanned document in the Desktop Manager for further work, mail or fax it. It took about 28 secs to scan at 75 dpi and 3 min at 300 dpi. 

The copying function of the C70 uses 360×360 dpi resolution for both color and monochrome copies. You can instruct the MFD to make up to 99 copies of a single document. Its rated speed is about 3
ppm, and we managed around 2 ppm for black and white text. The copy quality was very good in photo mode, but average in black and white text mode. The copier function also allows reduction.

The other prominent feature is its ability to send and receive both color and monochrome faxes with its in-built 14.4 kbps modem. The fax has a memory of 42 pages, and can also integrate with 
Windows applications through the Print menu.

The device can either print incoming faxes or store them in the Desktop Manager. It also keeps a software fax log, features one-touch speed dialing and coded speed dialing. The MFD took around 10 secs to completely transmit a black and white text page.

The MFD doesn’t have a power switch, because it’s also a fax machine, which has to be on round the clock. A safety cover on its front panel doubles as an output tray for prints. It connects to the PC over a parallel cable and it has jacks to connect a telephone line, optional handset and answering machine. 

The bottom line The MFD is priced at Rs 26,995, which includes the price of a black and a color cartridge (individually priced at Rs 1,200 and Rs 1,900 respectively). At this price, a small business can very well look at it as an option instead of buying four separate devices.

Ankur Saxena at PCQ Labs

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