Highlights of the top office products of the year

Best of the best: highlights of the top office products of the year

Scott Cullen

WELCOME TO THE BEST OF THE BEST.

Here’s where we showcase award-winning products in an array of categories, including color copiers and MFPs, black-and-white copiers and MFPs, printers, and scanners as well as office furniture and office products. This year, we’re also including highlights of some of the best mailing equipment introduced during the past year.

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These are the products that can make a difference in your business. Awards have been presented during the past 12 months by third-party testing and market research organizations as well as leading industry publications. Space limitations restrict the number of award-winning products we’re able to present. If you’d like to learn more about a manufacturer’s award-winning products, including those that aren’t included here, be sure and visit the manufacturer’s Website.

Best Color MFPs

Canon U.S.A.’s color-enabled image RUNNER C6870U is a 2006 BERTL’s Best award winner as Best 61- to 70-pages per minute (ppm) Occasional Color MFP. With robust document-handling and finishing capabilities and efficient communication capabilities, the imageRUNNER C6870U is designed for users within large workgroups and busy corporate departments. It outputs up to 68 ppm in black and white and up to 16 ppm in color. It offers basic Color Universal Send and optional fax capabilities. An optional PDF High-Compression Kit-Al allows users to send complex and detailed color pages over network lines, and the Universal Send PDF Enhancement Kit-Cl offers searchable PDF and encrypted PDF functions. A Web Access function allows workgroups or companies to use the device as a data-access terminal to call up Internet or intranet sites on the user-interface panel. This function supports information retrieval and printing of administrative application forms directly from the imageRUNNER without the need for a PC. www.usa.canon.com

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Toshiba’s e-STUDI02500c/3500c/3510c series color MFPs have received multiple awards, including a BERTL’s Best and a 2006 BERTL Exceptional, Five-Star rating. BLI has also selected the e-STUDIO3510c as a 2007 Pick of the Year and has given both the e-STUDIO3500c and 3510c a Four-Star rating in its 2007 BLI Field Test Report. All three models in the series have also earned Highly Recommended ratings in the 2007 BLI Field Test Report. The e-STUDIO2500c outputs at 25 ppm in color and black and white; the 3500c outputs at 35 ppm in color and black and white; and the 3510c outputs at 45 ppm in black and white and 35 ppm in color.

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www.copiers.toshiba.com

The KM-C3232 network color MFP from Kyocera Mita America is recognized by Industry Analysts Inc., a marketing and management consulting firm, as the market’s “overall most reliable color MFP in the 26- to 35-page-per-minute” speed category. This achievement was noted in Industry Analysts’ recent Office Product Analyst Color Product Reliability Study. Kyocera also received Industry Analysts’ prestigious Technician Recommended distinction for an additional four color devices, including the FS-C5020N and FS-C5030N printers and the KM-C2520 and KM-C3225 MFPs. This recognition is reserved for products rated 8.5 or higher (out of 10) and is based on a study of service managers and technicians from copier/MFP dealers and resellers who are asked to rate the products they work with on a daily basis. www.kyoceramita.com/us

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The Docucate CD-2501N from Duplo was awarded BLI’s 2007 Best of Segment 2 Color MFP Pick of the Year. A 25-ppm model with standard copying, printing, and scanning, the CD-2501N completed BLI’s two-month, 90,000-impression test with no service required and just three misfeeds. BLI states, “Offering good overall output quality and productivity, the Docucate CD-2501N is also priced lower than average for comparably equipped competitive models, and its color supplies cost per page is among the lowest of color units tested to date.” www.duplousa.com

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Panasonic’s C3 family of color MFPs have earned BERTL’s Four-Star Highly Recommended rating. BERTL notes, “Image quality was rated at a high level across a wide range of document types with even mid grayscales being reproduced to a good level on full-color pages.” Ease of use was another key criterion, and according to BERTL, these new MFPs excel in this category. The C3 series offers maximum print copy speeds of up to 26 ppm in color and 35 ppm in black and white. They’re equipped with a 7.8-inch, full-color VGA control panel with adjustable viewing angles and have a warm-up time of 15 seconds. They also include an array of security features as standard. www.panasonic.com/office

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The Phaser 8560MFP color MFP from Xerox is designed for small workgroups and offers consistent and vivid colors via the company’s solid-ink technology. The device can handle multiple functions simultaneously and is cartridge free, meaning no mess and less waste. It prints up to 30 ppm with a first-page-out time as fast as 5 seconds. It’s won numerous awards, including a Best of FOSE, an Editor’s Choice from Better Buys for Business in its 2007 Printer Multifunctional Guide, and a BLI Spring Pick of the Year as Outstanding Small Workgroup Color Multifunction Printer.

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www.xerox.com

The Xerox DocuColor 242/252/260 Digital Color Printer/Copier have the same high-quality image output and speed as their predecessors-the DocuColor 240 and 250-but with expanded finishing options and an enhanced user interface. The DocuColor 260 is the fastest color system in the Xerox office line, printing and copying at up to 60 ppm in color and 75 ppm in black and white. It features the EFI Fiery embedded controller, which enables customers to program, monitor, and manage workflow. It’s an Editor’s Choice in Better Buys for Business’s 2007 High-Volume Printer and Digital Duplicator Guide. www.xerox.com

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The bizhub C352/C450/C550 series is a BERTL’s Best as Best Departmental Color MFP Range. According to BERTL, the Konica Minolta bizhub C352/C450/C550 line excelled within the color MFP range with an impressive array of media supported through the units’ main trays as well as the duplex unit. The devices were also acknowledged for their ability to make complex tasks easy by storing multiple lists with page-by-page programming sets. The bizhub C352 outputs at 35 ppm in color and black and white, and the C450 outputs at 35 ppm in color and 45 ppm in black and white. The C550 offers 45-ppm color output and 55-ppm black-and-white output. They’re available with a range of finishing options and security features. www.konicaminolta.com

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The HP Officejet Pro L7680 MFP has earned Editor’s Choice distinctions from PC Magazine and Better Buys for Business’s Printer Multifunctional Guide. It delivers the benefits of ink jet prints with laser quality and all-in-one functionality at an overall lower cost than most color laser multifunctional printers. In draft mode, the Officejet Pro L7680 outputs up to 35 ppm in black and up to 12 ppm in color. The resolution is 4800 x 1200. www.hp.com

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Best Crisis Involving a Copier in a Movie

In Spiderman 3, Spiderman saves a model who was filming a copier commercial when a runaway crane smacked into the office building and tore a huge whole into the side of the building. The model hung perilously from the edge of the building as copiers came crashing towards her. Who knew copiers could be so dangerous.

Best Monochrome Copier-Printers/MFPs

A BLI Fall 2006 Pick of the Year for Outstanding Segment 6 MFP, the Canon imageRUNNER 7095 addresses the needs of high-volume corporate departments and production environments. It’s powered by Canon’s fourth-generation imagePlatform architecture and features dual Canon custom processor technology for faster, more robust data processing and superior image quality; increased memory capabilities to support improved job workflow functionality; and production-level document-handling features for mid-production environments. It operates at 95 ppm and is available with an array of advanced document-finishing options. www.usa.canon.com

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Sharp’s high-volume production MFP copiers, MX-M850 and MX-M950, have been honored with BLI Spring 2007 Pick of the Year awards. BLI named the Sharp MX-M850 Outstanding Segment 5 Monochrome MFP (81- to 90-ppm range) and the Sharp MX-M950 Outstanding Segment 6 Monochrome MFP for their exceptional reliability and superior performance. Each Sharp MFP underwent a 500,000-impression durability test with exemplary results, producing 1 million pages with just one misfeed between them. The products were also selected for their wide range of performance areas, including highly automated setup procedures, easy-to-use administrative utilities, superior scan capabilities, and very good print quality. In addition to performance, the products were honored for outstanding value and good overall productivity. www.sharp.com

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The Duplo Docucate MD-701N has been acknowledged with BLI’s 2007 Outstanding Segment 5 (70- to 80-ppm range) Monochrome MFP. The MD-701N is a 70-ppm model that BLI says “offers outstanding overall performance and excellent overall value.” The device is network ready and can scan both sides of a two-sided document in one pass, duplex print on up to 110-pound index from three different trays, and can be combined with a second MD-701N for 140-ppm output. www.duplousa.com

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Panasonic’s DP-8016P Segment 1 MFP is BLI’s Pick of the Year for Outstanding Segment 1 Ledger-Size MFP. According to BLI, “This model stands out not only for its perfect reliability performance in BLI’s 50,000-impression test, but also for its ease of network setup and very good print drivers and feedback to workstations.” BLI also cited the DP-8016P’s good overall ease of use. “This model, which offers standard copy and network print functionality, will be easier for office workers to use than many models in this speed range, which have small, cluttered control panels and small keys,” reports BLI. The DP-8016P operates at 16 ppm and offers copying, printing, and faxing, including out-of-the-box connectivity.

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www.panasonic.com/office

The Toshiba e-STUDIO520/600/720/850 units have earned Four-Star ratings in the 2006 BLI Field Test Report. BLI has also acknowledged the e-STUDIO850 with a Highly Recommended rating in its 2006 BLI Lab Test Report as well as presenting it with a Pick of the Year award. In addition, BERTL presented the e-STUDIO600 with a 2006 BERTL’s Best award. The e-STUDIO520/600/720/850 output at speeds of 52, 60, 72, and 85 ppm, respectively. www.copiers.toshiba.com

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The Xerox WorkCentre 4150 is a monochrome desktop multifunction printer designed for small to large businesses. With speeds of up to 45 ppm and true multitasking capabilities, the WorkCentre 4150 offers many capabilities found in an enterprise-level MFP, such as network authentication, hard-disk overwrite, and fax forward to e-mail. It’s the winner of a BERTL’s Best award as Best Legal-Size Monochrome MFP Product, Best Workgroup category. It’s also been honored by Better Buys for Business with an Editor’s Choice in its 2007 Printer Multifuncitional Guide. www.xerox.com

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The Muratec MFX-2850 earned Recommended status from BLI. The MFX-2850 is a Segment 2 MFP built on the Network Gateway Platform (NGP), which enables seamless digital document delivery to network folders, FTP sites, e-mail addresses, and fax terminals. It’s equipped with a standard single-pass duplex scanner, an interactive voice guidance system, and a 100-sheet automatic document feeder. According to the published test report, “The MFX-2850 gave a very good overall performance in its comprehensive two-month lab evaluation. The 28-ppm monochrome unit, which features standard copy, print, scan, and fax functionality, offers excellent reliability and received good to very good marks in the majority of performance categories tested.” In addition, the report noted the device’s exceptional value: “Making the MFX-2850 even more attractive is a price that’s lower than the average for comparably equipped models in its speed range.” www.muratec.com

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The e-STUDIO901/1101/1351 series from Toshiba has been recognized with a 2007 BERTL’s Best award. Additionally, the e-STUDIO901 has received Four and a Half Stars in the 2007 BLI Field Test Report, and the e-STUDIO1351 earned Four Stars in the same report. The e-STUDIO1101 earned a Highly Recommended rating in the 2007 BLI Field Test Report. The e-STUDIO 901/1101/1351 output at 90 ppm, 110 ppm, and 135 ppm, respectively, and are designed for high-volume copying and printing. www.copiers.toshiba.com

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Kyocera Mita America’s KM-8030 Segment Five MFP earned a BLI certification for its impressive results in an extended-term reliability test administered by BLI. During the evaluation, the KM-8030 completed 2 million impressions. Kyocera achieved its BLI evaluation results over a 100-day testing period, with no additional service required other than its scheduled preventive maintenance intervals every 500,000 impressions. In addition, only 12 misfeeds occurred during the 2 million pages, for a rate of one misfeed every 166,666 pages. During the test, various print and copy jobs were run on the KM-8030, simulating the rigorous tasks of a busy workgroup or department. The MFP produced impressive results when tested for processing short and long runs for both one-sided and two-sided output, with various paper sizes used throughout the evaluation. www.kyoceramita.com/us

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The HP LaserJet CM4345 family of multifunctional printers is designed to enhance workgroup efficiency and has been selected by BLI as a Spring 2007 Pick of the Year and is a Better Buys for Business Editor’s Choice for workgroup models. The CM4345 offers high-quality output at up to 45 ppm and supports multiple simultaneous workflows via its multitasking capabilities. It integrates printing, copying, scanning, and multiple digital sending functions. Fax and duplexing capabilities are available as options. www.hp.com

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The Ricoh Aficio MP1350 was recognized as the best light-production black-and-white MFP in its class by BERTL because of its extensive print features, including the jogger unit and GBC StreamPunch III; queue manager; secure print-send capabilities; powerful print processor; and large memory resources. BERTL also awarded the MP1350 a Five-Star rating. The Aficio MP1350 has also earned a Highly Recommended rating from BLI. www.ricoh-usa.com

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The bizhub PRO 920/1050 from Konica Minolta earned a BERTL’s Best as Best Light-Production Monochrome MFP Range with an outstanding print feature set. The two units operate at 92 and 105 ppm, respectively. The bizhub PRO 920 has a 6,650 maximum paper capacity, and the bizhub PRO 1050 has a paper capacity of 9,000 sheets. An optional IC-203 Image Controller enables point-and-click scanning, printing, finishing, and document control from a desktop PC. www.konicaminolta.com

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The SCX-5530FN monochrome multifunction printer from Samsung Electronics America has been awarded Pick of the Year by BLI in the Small Workgroup Monochrome Multifunction Printer category for providing small offices with critical time- and cost-saving integrated document management functions previously available only to large businesses. “The SCX-5530FN offers users the full multifunction features found in larger machines, but has a very small footprint and an easy-to-use control panel,” reports BLI. Designed for small-business users, the SCX-5530FN offers easy-to-use network connectivity options, high-speed printing at up to 28 ppm, standard duplex printing, digital scanning, and direct USB functions. www.samsung.com

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The SCX-6322DN monochrome multifunction printer from Samsung Electronics America is a BLI Pick of the Year in the Midsize Workgroup Monochrome Multifunction Printer category. “The redesigned control panel greatly enhances the ease of use compared to the previous generation of products,” says BLI. “Along with the compact QWERTY keypad, the process of data entry is simplified. As a versatile and powerful copier-centric A4 multifunction printer with 4-in-1 capability (printer, copier, scanner, and fax), the SCX-6332DN provides a fast duplex printing speed of 19 images per minute with 28 ppm for single-side print/copy. Complete with enhanced network-ready features, the product delivers solutions to the growing network functionality needs of midsize businesses. www.samsung.com

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Best Fax Machines

Muratec’s F-112 is a 2007 Better Buys for Business Editor’s Choice. A fax machine designed for small to midsize workgroups, the F-112 is equipped with a 33.6-Kbps modem that transmits documents at 3 seconds per page, an image-smoothing feature that facilitates enhanced image quality, and an intuitive control panel. A 250-sheet paper cassette can handle letter-size documents, and the single-sheet multipurpose tray can accommodate such media as transparencies and legal-size documents. For a true multifunction desktop solution, the F-112 can be upgraded with parallel and USB PC connections, enabling local PC printing and TWAIN-compliant scanning. www.muratec.com

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An Editor’s Choice by Better Buys for Business, the Muratec F-560 has a large, back-lit touch screen for easily routing documents to corporate networks, e-mail servers, and digital communication lines. Its 80-sheet automatic document feeder is one of the largest in its class. A network scanning function allows users to search their organization’s network file structure as they would on their PC. It operates at 20 ppm and offers standard duplex printing for two-sided production of copy, print, and fax jobs.

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www.muratec.com

The Muratec F-520 is a Better Buys for Business Editors Choice and can directly route documents to network folders, e-mail addresses, FTP sites, remote Internet fax terminals, or traditional fax machines. It has an 80-sheet document feeder, a touch screen, and GDI-based network printing capabilities (up to 50 users) as well as convenience copying features (such as digital zoom and image combination) and local printing and scanning via the USB port. For users who require two-sided printing, copying, and fax reception, Muratec also offers the F-520D, which includes a standard duplex print unit. www.muratec.com

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The Xerox FaxCentre 2121 is designed for small to midsize businesses and workgroups with midvolume faxing needs. This model prints up to 21 ppm and can fax in color, over the Internet, from the device or from a PC. It also prints, copies, and scans to e-mail or the desktop. A dual-line configuration is also available. It’s been acknowledged as an Editor’s Choice in Better Buys for Business’ 2007 Laser Fax Guide. www.xerox.com

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Best Printers

The Xerox Phaser 6180 color laser printer delivers speeds up to 20 ppm in color and 26 ppm in black and white. With Xerox’s environmentally friendly Emulsion Aggregation High Gloss toner, it delivers 600 x 600 x 4-dpi color output, continuous tone, and Pantone-certified accurate colors. The Phaser 6180 is designed to be easy to install and easy to maintain. It’s been acknowledged as Highly Recommended by BERTL and is a BLI Pick for Outstanding Small Workgroup Color Laser Printer. www.xerox.com

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The Lanier GX5050N is a BLI Pick of the Year as an Outstanding Large Workgroup Color Laser Printer. The GX5050N uses GelSprinter technology, which offers the print quality of a laser printer with the afford-ability of an ink jet. BLI recognized it for its ability to offer a cost per page that’s among the lowest for comparable ink jet printers and its overall high-efficiency rates. (Editor’s Note: This is the same model as the Ricoh Aficio GX5050N.) www.lanier.com

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Konica Minolta’s Magicolor 5550 printer is a BLI 2007 Pick of the Year. It delivers 27 ppm in color and 31 ppm in black and white. It’s equipped with a Gigabit Ethernet interface for high-speed business networks as well as with USB 2.0 and parallel interfaces for local printing. Output is at 9600 x 600 dpi. It supports all common media types in both standard and custom sizes, from 3.6 x 5.8 inches to legal, as well as banner sizes up to 8.5 x 47.24 inches. Standard paper capacity is 600 sheets, upgradable to 1,600 sheets.

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www.konicaminolta.com

Savin’s CLP27dn color laser printer is a BERTL’s Best for Most Productive Color Printer Range. It outputs at 26 ppm in color and black and white and offers standard integrated duplexing to print two-sided pages at nearly 100 percent of the machine’s rated speed. Its top-loading design allows for easy access to consumables. An IS200e option provides the CLP27dn with color and black-and-white scanning capabilities.

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www.savin.com

10 Best Songs about Work with Work or Job in the Title

“Out of Work” — Gary U.S. Bonds (1982)

“Working for the Weekend” — Loverboy (1982)

“Workin’ for the Man” — Roy Orbison (1962)

“She Works Hard for the Money” — Donna Summer (1983)

“Welcome to the Working Week” — Elvis Costello (1977)

“I Go To Work” — Kool Mo Dee (1988)

“Working Class Hero” — John Lennon (1970)

“(Working) 9 to 5” — Dolly Parton (1980)

“Get a Job” — The Silhouettes (1958)

“Take This Job and Shove It” — Johnny Paycheck (1977)

Best Scanners

Canon U.S.A.’s DR-Series Scanners are the winners of three Editor’s Choice Awards in the Better Buys for Business Scan-to-File Guide. The Canon DR-7580 scanner won the Editor’s Choice Award for High-End Production Model scanners; the DR-5010C received the Editor’s Choice Award for Midrange Production Models; and the DR-2050C received the award for Economy Models. The Editor’s Choice Awards are given to those machines that are the best overall buys and best performing products in their categories.

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The DR-7580 is designed for high-volume data capture and archival workflows for a wide variety of paper-intensive image-capture applications and environments. It operates at speeds up to 75 ppm for simplex scanning letter-size output and up to 150 images per minute (ipm) for duplex scanning, in both black-and-white and grayscale mode. The DR-5010C operates at up to 50 ppm in simplex and 100 ipm in duplex mode and can scan documents up to 11 x 17 inches. The DR-2050C can scan letter-size documents in black-and-white or grayscale modes at speeds up to 20-ppm simplex and 40-ipm duplex and 24-bit color at speeds up to 10-ppm simplex and 20-ipm duplex. www.usa.canon.com

The KODAK i1400 Series Scanners were named a 2007 Better Buys for Business Editor’s Choice. The series includes the i1410, which scans up to 60 ppm; the i1420 that handles documents of most sizes and conditions up to 60 ppm and 120 ipm at 200 dpi; and the i1440 that scans up to 75 ppm and 150 ipm at 200 dpi. A Smart Touch feature allows users to easily scan to file, e-mail, publishing, or other desktop applications via a single mouse click. Five output options include black and white, grayscale, or color, plus dual-stream simultaneous output–color and black and white or grayscale and black and white.

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www.kodak.com

KODAK’s i1860 Scanner won the 2007 Best of FOSE for scanners and the 2007 AIIM e-Doc Magazine Readers Choice Award in the Production Scanner Category (greater than 90 ppm). Kodak was recognized with a 2007 ACE Award from ECM Connection for its expertise in the high-level scanning category. The i1860 scans at 200 ppm and can accept a range of document types and sizes. Three ultrasonic multi-feed detection sensors sense misfeeds. It also includes a color touch screen and a 500-sheet document feeder. www.kodak.com

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The i1320 Scanner from KODAK was named a 2007 Better Buys for Business Scan-To-File Guide Editor’s Choice (along with the simplex i1310) and won the 2007 AIIM e-Doc Magazine Reader’s Choice Award in the Midvolume Scanner Category (40-90 ppm). It can auto-feed virtually any document, from the size of a driver’s license up to 863 mm (34 inches) at speeds up to 60 ppm. A Tilt and Scan feature allows users to easily select scanning positions–flat or upright–for all kinds of jobs. A Smart Touch feature allows users to scan documents to file, e-mail, printers, or other desktop applications via the touch of a button. Documents can be sent as PDFs, TIFFs, JPEGs, RTFs, or searchable PDFs. www.kodak.com

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The KV-S1020C/KV-S1025C full-color workgroup scanners from Panasonic were selected as Editor’s Choice award winners in the Better Buys for Business 2007 Scan-to-File Guide. Winners represent models that “serve as a benchmark of high quality, exceptional performance, and real value,” according to Better Buys. The 26-ppm (52-ipm) KV-1025C and the simplex KV-1020C feature Panasonic’s Double-Exposure technology for automatically scanning and combining the content of both sides of an ID card or document into a single electronic image. Both models also offer mixed-batch scanning of paper documents and plastic ID cards, multi-color dropout, automatic background smoothing, and a small footprint. www.panasonic.com/office

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Panasonic’s KV-S3085/KV-S3105C full-color, high-speed, high-volume scanners have also been acknowledged by Better Buys for Business as Editor’s Choice award winners in the 2007 Scan-to-File Guide. The scanners scan up to 230 ipm and are rated for unlimited duty cycles. They’re equipped with 1,000-page automatic document feeders that can handle a range of document sizes, from business cards up to letter-size documents. www.panasonic.com/office

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The HP Scanjet 8390 is HP’s fastest document flatbed scanner and a BLI Spring 2007 Pick of the Year. It scans up to 35 ppm for single-sided pages and produces two-sided scans at 70 ipm. The Scanjet 8390 scans at 4800-dpi resolution and comes bundled with OCR software, a transparent media adapter, and a 100-sheet automatic document feeder. www.hp.com

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The Epson GT-2500 and GT-2500 Plus scanners have been selected as Editor’s Choice award winners by Better Buys for Business. Both models scan documents up to 8 1/2 x 14 inches at 1200 dpi with 48-bit color scanning. Scanning speeds are 27 ppm in monochrome and 11 ppm in color. They also include a 50-sheet automatic document feeder. The GT-2500 Plus includes productivity software and a network card. www.epson.com

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Best Homer Simpson Line about Work

“I want to share something with you–the three sentences that will get you through life. Number one, ‘Cover for me.’ Number two, ‘Oh, good idea, boss.’ Number three, ‘It was like that when I got here.'”

Best Digital Duplicators

The Ricoh Priport DX 4640PD is a BLI Pick of the Year in the digital duplicator category. It’s the first digital duplicator to offer duplexing and outputs at 120 ppm and 240 ipm when duplexing. According to BLI, the DX 4640PD stands out from the competition because of its easy-to-use touch-screen display control panel; its paper capacity, which is larger than most competitive models; and its ability to output two colors in a single pass when working in conjunction with the optional TC-IIR. www.ricoh-usa.com

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The Ricoh Aficio MP 161SPF was named BLI’s Pick in the Monochrome Legal-Size Segment 1 MFP category. The Aficio MP 161SPF features standard copy, network print, scan, and fax capabilities as well as above-average memory and paper capacities. During BLI’s analysis, it proved to be highly reliable over the course of its durability test. BLI also found the Aficio MP 161SPF to be user-friendly, highlighting the logically placed control panel keys and functionality. www.ricoh-usa.com

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Second-Best Homer Simpson Line about Work

“If you really want something in life, you have to work for it. Now quiet, they’re about to announce the lottery numbers.”

The Year’s Most Notable Mailing Equipment

A fair amount of information on the latest and greatest in mailing equipment crosses our desks here at OfficeSOLUTIONS throughout the year. We also see a lot of this equipment in action when we travel to various industry conferences and trade shows. Here are some of the products that we found especially notable during the past 12 months–equipment that we feel is worth a second look, particularly for a small to midsize organization’s mail-processing needs.

Hasler’s WJ95 Mailing Machine is compact and quiet and processes jobs at up to 95 letters per minute. It can be programmed to save repetitive jobs, track mailing costs and eliminate overpaying on postage, as well as create personalized text messages. It offers cost tracking for 45 accounts, which can be expanded as mailing needs grow. It also offers differential weighing for easier and faster mail processing and password protection to ensure that only authorized users can access the machine. www.haslerinc.com

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FP Mailing Solutions’ optimail 30 is a semiautomatic, IBIP-compliant digital postage meter that processes 32 envelopes per minute. In addition to its compact size, this desktop unit offers a back-lit display with soft keys for ease of use. A letter-catch tray organizes and stacks mail. FP’s account administration function registers and evaluates postage for nine separate accounts and allows users to securely download the exact dollar amount of postage needed directly into the meter. The optimail 30 is also fitted with a 7-pound integrated scale and moistener and can be upgraded to accommodate FP scales up to 150 pounds if needed. www.fp.com

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The 5050 automatic letter opener from Neopost is designed for mailrooms and offices that receive 100 inbound letters per day. It offers speeds up to 32,000 envelopes per hour and 100,000 per day and can handle envelopes up to 1/3-inch thick, including flats. The 5050’s milling cutter protects envelope contents from being sliced or damaged by removing only up to 1/18-inch of the envelope edge before disposing of the removed material into the waste bin. www.neopostinc.com

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The Formax 6402 Series Inserters have a full-color touch-screen control panel that flips down and a reversible display for use on either side of the inserter. The inserters’ standard features include a high-capacity conveyor stacker and AutoSet, which automatically measures paper lengths, envelope sizes, and fold lengths. The 6402 Series Inserters can process forms of various lengths and thicknesses up to 4,000 per hour and up to 60,000 pieces per month. The inserters folds up to 10 sheets of paper in half-fold and up to eight in trifold mode.

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www.formax.com

The Envelope Imager CS from Rena Systems is an entry-level, full-color ink jet address printer. It’s reportedly the only heavy-duty address printer available that uses HP Photo RET (Photo Resolution Technology) to create photo-quality, full-process color images on mailpieces. It can print up to 4800 x 1200 dpi compared with 300 dpi offered by standard ink jet address printers on the market. It has four levels of print quality and prints up to 4,300 No. 10 envelopes per hour. www.RENAusa.com

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The Secap SI 1000 folder/inserter automates the folding, inserting, and sealing process and can accommodate everything from mailing invoices and billing statements to general business correspondence. It’s designed to handle No. 10 standard or window envelopes and 20- to 24-pound nonglossy paper. It can even process two pre-stapled sheets. The SI 1000 has an operating speed of up to approximately 900 pieces of mail per hour. The compact unit has a small footprint (20 1/2 inches longx 17 1/2 inches wide x 14 1/2 inches high), taking up about as much space as a typical laser printer. www.secap.com

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Pitney Bowes’ Stamp Expressions Printer allows users to create a USPS-approved postage label for a letter or package from their own desktop in under a minute. Not much larger than a box of tissues, the Pitney Bowes Stamp Expressions Printer works with an Internet-ready PC to purchase postage through a Web-based account. For label images, users have several options: A Stamp Expressions account comes stocked with high-quality black-and-white images, or the user can create his own image using a company logo or promotional message, or he can select images from his own collection. www.pitneyworks.com

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MBM’s 87M tabletop folder is the latest addition to the company’s product line and is positioned as an entry-level folder for small offices, churches, schools, and home offices. The folder can process up to 7,200 sheets per hour and has the ability to fold paper sizes up to 8 1/2 x 14 inches, in weights from 16 to 80 pounds.

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www.mbmcorp.com

Best Organizing Product

The Pendaflex PileSmart Desktop Organizer was honored at the 2007 NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers) Conference with an award for Best Business Organizing Product. It’s a glass-like plastic tray that helps organize your documents. Its smartly designed tray slants slightly towards the back corner to neatly secure documents. As an added attraction, the PileSmart has six colorful dividers with write-and-erase labels that are visible from two sides, so you can clearly separate and identify different stacks of paper. www.pendaflex.com

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Best-Looking Pencil Sharpener

The iPoint line of pencil sharpeners from Acme United Corp. won the Good Design Award from the Chicago Athenaem. The awards recognize yearly achievements of the best industrial and graphic designers and manufacturers for their pursuit of extraordinary design excellence. Resembling little lanterns, these cool-looking pencil sharpeners are available in three office models: the iPoint Electric Hands-Free Auto Feed with auto eject and self-sharpening, the iPoint Electric Manual Feed with auto stop, and the iPoint Battery model, which is a bit smaller than the other two models. The iPoint pencil sharpeners have titanium-bonded blades that reportedly stay sharper longer as well as an EZ View shavings reservoir to enable users to see when it’s time for emptying. We especially like the hands-free auto-feed/eject feature, which is available on selected models. www.acmeunited.com

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Best Office Furniture and Accessories

The definitive awards for the office furniture industry are the Best of NecCon Awards, sponsored by Contract magazine, the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. (MMPI), and the McMorrow Report. The awards recognize the top new products introduced at NeoCon, arguably the world’s premier furniture and design show.

The Marketplace worktable from Teknion received a Gold award in the Furniture Systems category. The worktable is designed for team-based office environments and is designed around a lightweight, triangular truss that creates open spans of up to 20 feet while accommodating eight to 10 people comfortably. It incorporates shelves for storing paper and personal items, tackable surfaces, and accessories. A canopy extending the full length of the table and resembling those used in traditional European outdoor marketplaces defines space and provides warm, glare-free light. www.teknion.com

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TIX Office from Davis Furniture Industries earned Gold awards in the Case Goods: Desk and Credenzas category as well as the Seating: Ergonomic/Desk/Task category. The name for the collection is derived from the creative design of the support units for the solid wood surfaces. Extruded aluminum legs that complete the ends of tables form the T. The blade steel pieces that support conference and work surfaces form the I, and extruded aluminum legs used under many of the tops create an X. www.davisfurniture.com

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Amia is the latest addition to Steelcase’s Alive Seating portfolio, a Best of NeoCon 2007 Gold award winner in the Seating category. Amia provides state-of-the-art seating technology with clean, simple lines at a midlevel price point. Sensing and moving with the individual user, Amia uses the company’s LiveBack technology through a system of flexors that move up and down the back to provide a comfortable fit. The seat is uniquely constructed and contoured to provide long-term sitting comfort. www.steelcase.com

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Baker Manufacturing’s NEXT height-adjustable table series received a Gold award in the Height-Adjustable Worksurfaces category. This line of height-adjustable and fixed office tables are designed with independent legs with no connector bar and can be attached to any table surface and spaced apart for different widths as needed. This design makes the tables light and mobile while maximizing leg room and storage room beneath. The tables’ ergonomic design permits users to adjust the table height for optimum comfort.

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www.bakermanufacturing.com

The Planes Collection from Haworth earned a Gold award in the Conference Room Furniture category. It integrates with multiple environments, from high-end conference rooms to continuously changing meeting rooms. It’s available in a variety of finish options, table shapes, base choices, and edge profiles and comes in 6-inch increments. The collection also includes carts, credenzas, podiums, easels, boards, and wall tracks.

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www.haworth.com

Gunlocke’s Converge conference table collection won a Gold award in the Conference Tables category. Crafted of fine wood veneers, Converge conference tables provide users with quick and easy access to multiple power and data outlets to support the plug-and-play functionality of today’s collaborative conference rooms. Available in a broad range of sizes for use in small meeting rooms to large boardrooms, the tables conceal power and data connections beneath sliding access doors that remain flush with the tabletop when opened or closed, eliminating visual as well as physical obstructions during meetings.

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www.gunlocke.com

The Gunlocke Converge case goods collection was recognized with Best of NeoCon 2007 Gold (Conference Tables) and Silver (Conference Rooms) awards and encompasses a technology cart and a visual display center, which support technology-reliant meeting environments. The technology cart is a combination mobile presentation station with a height-adaptable surface that serves as a lectern or projector stand. Its mobility allows the easy sharing of AV equipment between multiple conference rooms. The visual display center provides additional communication and visual presentation capability for wall-mounted PCD or plasma TVs. Also included are retractable whiteboards and shelving for a DVD player, a videoconferencing camera, and audio speakers.

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www.gunlocke.com

The C2 climate-control device from Herman Miller won a Gold award in the Workplace Technologies category. It allows users to control the temperature in their immediate workspace. C2 plugs into any 110-volt outlet, and users simply select a setting that’s comfortable for them. It uses less than 1.5 amps of AC current, which is approximately 90 percent less energy than a typical space heater, to affect the 12- to 18-inch space between the device and the user. It also cleans the air via an air filtration system that removes air pollutants as small as five microns, such as pollen, dust, pet dander, and household airborne particles. Safe to run continuously, C2 has a timer that shuts the unit off after four hours.

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www.hermanmiller.com

Humanscale’s new Switch Mouse received a Gold award in the Office Accessories category in the 2007 Best of NeoCon competition and a Grand Prize in the Product Innovations Awards presented by Buildings magazine. The Switch Mouse adjusts in size for a custom fit and has a symmetrical design for right- or left-handed use. Its V-shaped base puts the user’s wrist and forearm at an optimal 45-degree angle. It also features a four-direction scroll dish, built-in palm support for proper mousing posture, and three programmable buttons. www.humanscale.com

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Award Presenters

For more information on the various award presenters, please visit the following organizations’ Websites:

BERTL — www.bertl.com

Better Buys for Business — www.betterbuys.com

Buyers Laboratory Inc. (BLI) — www.buyerslab.com

Industry Analysts — www.industryanalysts.com

Contract Magazine — www.contractdesign.com

PC Magazine — www.pcmagazine.com

Stuff We Like Awards

The editors of OfficeSOLUTIONS have selected a variety of office products and equipment that we’ve had an opportunity to see in action, try out ourselves, or that we’ve found to be a valuable addition to an office. These awards are subjective, based on personal preference as well as form and function.

We love it when we can put products to the test. One of the claims to fame of the new Optima PowerEase Stapler from Swingline is that it can staple up to 25 sheets with 70 percent less effort than ordinary staplers. We love a challenge, so we took 25 sheets of paper and let it rip. We don’t know exactly how much effort it took, being so muscular and all, but it did indeed staple all 25 sheets with minimal effort. So, chalk one up for the Optima PowerEase. It’s also guaranteed to be jam free. With an estimated retail price of $19.99 to $24.99, this is a stapler that’s going to do the job for a long, long time. www.swingline.com

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Over the years, we’ve spent a lot of time writing about shredders in this publication. We’ve found that there’s nothing like owning a shredder where you can load the paper to be shredded and then just walk away. That’s why we like the Banner American Products QuikFinish Series shredders. The three products in the line include the ShredderShark 50, 100, and 150. Each shredder has a multi-sheet loading tray for dealing with the tedious task of shredding multiple stacks of paper. Just load up to 50, 100, or 150 sheets of paper, depending on the model, press start, and walk away. The ShredderShark 50 random crosscut paper shredder shreds in two sizes; the ShredderShark 100 has a foot pedal for accessing and emptying its 5-gallon solid basket and shreds in three sizes; and the ShredderShark 150 random crosscut paper shredder (pictured) has a 10-hour continuous-run motor and shreds in four sizes.

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www.quikfinish.com

We always get excited when we see a good-looking pen, and the Maxum Gel Pen from Staedtler is cause for excitement. It has a 0.8mm writing tip and is available in eight metallic ink colors (blue, red, pink, purple, green, bronze, gold, and silver). It uses acid-free ink, which is waterproof, smear proof, scratch free, permanent, fade resistant, and quick drying. Barrel accents correspond to the pen’s ink color, and the rubberized grip allows for comfortable writing. www.staedtler.us

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We think Smead’s SuperTab file folders are super! With a taller and wider label area that’s 90 percent larger than ordinary file folders, these folders have room for more information or allow you to write in large letters so you can read what’s on the tab without your reading glasses or bifocals. Despite the larger tabs, SuperTab file folders still fit in standard file drawers and cabinets. Folders are available in an array of colors as well as standard manila in letter and legal sizes. www.smead.com

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We’ve always believed that sensitive documents destined for the garbage bin are better shred than read. One of our favorite 2007 shredder introductions is the Destroyit 2360 shredder from MBM. What we like about it is its SPS (Safety Protection System) package–an electronically controlled, transparent safety shield in the feed opening as well as auto-stop when the shred bag is full or the cabinet door is open. Most shredders tend to be designed for walk-up use, and they don’t take a lot of training if any. The Destroyit 2360’s Easy Switch control element makes it even easier to use with color codes and back-lit symbols that indicate the device’s status. Two models are available depending on the level of security needed. One model reduces documents to 3/16 inch and handles 12-14 sheets at a time; and the other model shreds documents to 3/32 x 5/8 inch and accommodates six to eight sheets at a time. www.mbmcorp.com

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COPYRIGHT 2007 OfficeVision, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2007 Gale Group