Thursday, May 10, 2007

Almost like the Sears Catalog!

The stated purpose of this blog, Jim Lyons Observations, is to highlight and comment upon important news and developments in the printing and imaging industry in a near real-time fashion. With the excuse of putting current events into historical perspective, the blog is sometimes required to get reflective. And even with this "out", most of the time I try not to be TOO nostalgic, assuming I've got at least a few readers under Baby Boomer age. However, this time I just can't help it!

The new PC Magazine came in the mail a couple of days ago (as mentioned in my earlier post about the potential future of inkjet printing), and the cover story is "PC Labs Picks The BEST NEW PRINTERS". Just seeing that makes my pulse bump up a bit, let alone noticing the cover photo of the HP OfficeJet 7680 inkjet all-in-one printer! It's basically an instinctual reaction at this point, from years of being directly involved with the marketing of new printer products and the hopes and dreams of being showcased in the annual PC Mag Printer Blockbuster edition, which typical came in the Fall in "the good old days". Also different in those days, compared to now, is the one issue would literally feature HUNDREDS of printer models, sliced and diced into numerous technology- and feature-driven categories. (I find it an interesting coincidence that just when I've been thinking about my response to the arrival of the annual PC Mag Printer Edition stirred emotions in me, Sears has kicked off an ad campaign about the tradition of the Sears catalog, which I can relate to as well, when the Fall arrival the the holiday toy catalog was always a milestone event during my even earlier days!)

This edition (May 22, 2007) covers only a total of seven products, a sampling of recently introduced printers and all-in-ones aimed at the small office/home office market, though author M. David Stone (a fellow 20-year-plus printer industry veteran) points out the blurring of categories over time and works potential buyers through a much more useful list of characteristics to consider -- including print quality, single- versus multi-function, mono versus color (including a nod to the advantages of color laser for one of my favorite categories, do-it-yourself marketing), and duty cycle factors, including paper handling and the products' actual rated duty cycle itself. It's an excellent review for the beginner or experienced printer buyer -- highly recommended!

Also recommended? The remainder of the piece, which is available online or in print form. There, Stone covers the seven models including inkjet and laser printers from Lexmark (LXK), HP (NYSE HPQ), Canon, Xerox (NYSE XRX), and Dell (NASDAQ DELL). I won't spoil the surprise of who receives the coveted PC Magazine Editors' Choice awards -- you have to go to the article!

Models covered in the PC Magazine 5/22/2007 edition include Lexmark C534DN, Canon imageClass MF4150, HP Officejet Pro L7680 Color All-in-One, Dell 3115cn MFP, Dell Photo 966, Xerox 618ON and Lexmark E250dn

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