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Office Imaging Products 2002: BLI’s Picks of The Year

Excerpt from the May 2002 Digital Imaging Review


May 1, 2002

During the testing period for this year's awards, which ran from the spring of 2001 to the spring of 2002, more than 100 multifunctional products, fax machines and printers were subjected to BLI's rigorous in-house evaluation. The battery of tests includes an extensive durability test during which each unit is run at the manufacturer's maximum recommended monthly volume. In addition to assessing reliability, the tests are designed to evaluate such critical factors as misfeed frequency, copy and print quality, copy and print productivity, ease of use and economy, as well as connectivity issues such as feedback to workstations, administrative utilities, print drivers and multitasking.

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, as well as 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.

Among the winners is...

Kyocera Mita KM-1810 w/Print System (M)
Outstanding Segment 1 Multifunctional Imaging System (Legal-Size Capability), 2002

An excellent value, the 18-ppm Kyocera Mita KM-1810, as tested with its optional Print System (M) for network print capabilities, has been named an "Outstanding Segment 1 Multifunctional Imaging System" (in the legal-size output category) in BLI's 2002 "Pick of the Year" awards. Not only does this desktop unit have a suggested retail price that is among the lowest for comparably equipped units in this speed range (13 to 23 ppm), but it also offers a perpage supplies cost that's less than half the average for Segment 1 units. This economical simplex-only unit, which supports up to legal-size originals and output, displayed flawless reliability, completing its three-month 22,500-impression test with no service calls required and without any misfeeds. Contributing to high uptime for this unit is a photoconductor/developer unit yield that is about twice the average for units in this group and a PM interval that's also longer than average. This unit also produced output that received BLI's highest image quality rating for all categories in both print and copy modes. BLI Senior Test Technician Bernard Lyons pointed out that it also offers good overall productivity, with competitive overall efficiency in copy mode and well-above-average overall efficiency in print mode. Moreover, first-print-out time and first-copy time are faster than those of most Segment 1 units tested to date. Overall productivity is further enhanced by the fact that this unit features a fast warm-up time.

The unit features an uncluttered control panel that's easy to use overall, along with easy procedures for loading paper, replacing toner and removing misfeeds. Moreover, ease of use as a printer is good from the print drivers and is enhanced by device status utilities that can be always visible on the desktop. Noteworthy is that in addition to PCL 5e and PCL XL emulations, the controller also includes a PostScript emulation, which is usually optional when available on Segment 1 units. Drivers are provided for Windows 95/98, 2000, NT 4.0 and Me (Macintosh support is also available) and rather than separate PostScript and PCL drivers, only one driver needs to be installed on a particular platform, with users then able to switch between emulations as desired (although switching can only be done from the main properties screen, not from within an application).

Auto-install utilities for installing the drivers on all platforms are included as is the KM-NET Viewer software utility, which enables users to check device status (the status information can be set to always be displayed over other applications) as well as to make some changes to basic device settings. A Web page is also available for basic functions such as network setup.

Priced at $2,595 for the base unit, the Kyocera Mita KM1810 is equipped with a single 250-sheet paper drawer and a 50-sheet non-intelligent bypass tray, a 16-MB non-upgradable memory that supports scan once/print many and electronic collation, 1 to 99 multicopy capability, zoom reduction/enlargement range from 50 to 200 percent in copy mode (20 to 500 percent in print mode) and a standard SDF that holds 30 sheets and feeds originals at a rate of 18 a minute.

The Kyocera Mita KM-1810 is recommended by BLI for offices with simplex-only copy/print volumes ranging from 2,500 to 10,000 impressions per month.

The Business Consumer's Advisor (ISSN#08970939) is published monthly by Buyers Laboratory Inc., 20 Railroad Ave., Hackensack, NJ 07601; (201) 488-0404. $115/yr. Second-class postage paid at Hackensack, NJ. Postmaster: Send address change to UPDATE: The Executive's Purchasing Advisor, 20 Railroad Ave., Hackensack, NJ 07601. Subscriber comments herein are their opinions only; Buyers Lab expresses no opinion on their accuracy. Copyright 1998 by Buyers Laboratory Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written Digital Imaging Review (ISSN#1527-4721) is published monthly by Buyers Laboratory Inc., 20 Railroad Ave., Hackensack, NJ 07601; (201) 488- 0404. $295/yr. Periodical postage paid at Hackensack, NJ. Postmaster: Send address change to Buyers Laboratory Inc., 20 Railroad Ave., Hackensack, NJ 07601. Subscriber comments herein are their opinions only; Buyers Lab expresses no opinion on their accuracy. Copyright 2002 by Buyers Laboratory Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited.


Office Imaging Products 2002: BLI’s Picks of The Year