A very speedy MFP

Brother International wants to get colour into business fast. The flagship MFC-9420CN network colour laser multi-function printer definitely does the job.

It outputs pages at around 31 pages per minute in mono. This product can be a heavy-duty office workhorse if necessary. It also prints at eight pages per minute in colour. The resolution in general is excellent, I found. At 2,400 x 600 dpi the quality was impressive.

Installation, though, was not easy. Just after opening the box the user has to remove four cartons from the bottom. The OPC cartridge was hidden in the styrofoam packaging. On the positive side, the box did have clear unpacking instructions, which were very helpful. I also comes with a clear maintenance sticker you put on the side of the printer.

The machine has a very interesting footprint. It’s 20 inches high and the desk we tested the machine on was only 28 inches high. The eight-inch difference did not pose any hurdles and it actually made for a great desk- side printer.

I know the printer is made for an office, but I think it can be a great alternative for those home-based businesses that do a lot of printing.

You have to rock the toner cartridge about three or four times before installing it.

Setting up the date/time/fax number was easy. Brother produced a very smart guide showing the user which buttons to press. This will save countless amounts of time.

Software setup

After the USB cable was plugged in and the PC restarted printing was a snap mainly business the software provided did all the setup beforehand.

This is a great move by Brother as you can start printing right away. No more choosing the printer from a menu, inserting the disk or any other technical stuff to do.

The first print was a simple text document. It took virtually no time to print and it looked very crisp.

Next, we put in a full colour layout with photo and text. The results? The MFC-9420CN was very speedy. The best we’ve tested so far this year. The colour was great. The reds were bright, the oranges were vivid and the golds were stunning.

As for the text, it was good. Since the layout text blended into the photo it was not as sharp as I would have liked. However, it could be read very easily so I give this MFP top marks for a tough print job.

We also tested this machine for output quality and found it too was superb.

We fed it five colour illustrations and photos and it printed all of them in just under 45 seconds.

Faxing was simply with its 33.6 kbps G3 fax modem. Scanning to email was good after some mail set up parameters were done.

I found the copying function the easiest of all the functions.

All in all this MFP was a terrific product. It is super-fast and the fact that it can sit next to your desk, I believe, is an advantage over other comparable multifunction printers in the market.

Two monitor calibration tools

Low-cost colour laser and ink jet printers make creating quick brochures and flyers easy. But monitor calibration is essential. We tested two products that do it

Without an accurate monitor, accurate colour cannot be assured for Web and print production.

New Jersey-based ColorVision Inc. offers its Spyder line for automatic calibration. We tested the entry-level $99.95 Spyder2express, and the $299.95 Spyder2 Pro, which offers more customization plus the capability to calibrate digital projectors.

The Spyder is a plastic circular sensor that hangs by a cord from the top of the monitor, with rubber cups that protect the screen from damage. The cord, which is the USB connection to the computer, also has a counterweight to help keep the sensor from slipping.

Briefly, the sensor monitors changing red, grey, blue and grey squares created by the easily installed software for calibration. The wizard-like interface gave clear instructions.

Of the two, the Spyder2 Pro is of more interest because it offers customization and multiple settings, which will appeal to users with more than one monitor or who work in changing light conditions.

On both of my tests the sensors corrected a green tint on my CRT.

One disappointment is the PrintFix application Spyder2 Pro comes with for calibrating printers. The instructions were less than clear, and without the densitometer that comes with the Spyder2 Pro Suite it won’t be useful, in my opinion.

If you’re not looking for the precise colour calibration needed for magazine or fine arts reproduction, these two units may meet your needs.


Multi-Function Center 240C

Dollard-des-Ormeaux, QC – Brother International Corp. has introduced the colour inkjet MFC-240C to replace the MFC-210C.

The new all-in-one showcases printing at speeds of up to 25 ppm in black and white and 20 ppm in colour as well as an enhanced PhotoCapture Center with extensive media card compatibility and PictBridge Interface. The MFC-240C also includes colour flatbed scanning, colour copying and full featured fax capability, including PC Fax. The device’s additional features are enhanced photo printing using Brother True2Life print technology; borderless photo printing in 4×6, 8×10 and other formats; up to 10-page automatic document feeder for unattended faxing and copying; software and intuitive control panel and a four cartridge ink system so users replace only the colour they need.

Brother’s new MFC-240C is priced at $149.99.

CONTACT: www.brother.ca


imageCLASS MF4150

Mississauga, Ont. – Canon Canada has unveiled a laser MFP solution for small and home offices.

The imageCLASS MF4150 provides duplex output when printing, receiving faxes and copying for letter-sized output.

The unit also allows users to copy single-sided pages to double-sided output. The monochrome laser MFP boasts print and copy speeds of up to 21 pages-per-minute for letter-sized output, with a resolution of up to 1200 x 600 dpi.

The imageCLASS MF4150 also features eight one-touch speed dial numbers, 100 coded speed dial numbers, 256-page memory capacity and PC Faxing. The device’s 35-page ADF allows one to two-sided copying, printing and faxing and is equipped with a 250-sheet front-loading paper cassette.

The MF4150 model can copy up to 8.5 inches x 14-inches from the ADF or letter-sized using the platen glass. For optimal speed when printing and scanning, the MF4150 MFP provides a USB 2.0 hi-speed interface. The unit also offers network connectivity through the optional Axis 1650 network interface. The imageCLASS MF4150 has a list price of $375. CONTACT: www.canon.ca


Wireless mouse

Markham, Ont. – Apple has introduced its wireless Mighty Mouse, a new version of its multi-button mouse.

With a secure connection to Macs, the new mouse features a laser tracking engine that is 20 times more sensitive than standard optical mice for better tracking on more surfaces.

The wireless Mighty Mouse includes up to four independently programmable buttons and a scroll ball that lets users scroll in any direction. Based on Bluetooth 2.0 technology, the mouse features a single seamless enclosure with programmable touch sensors that act as primary or secondary buttons. Apple’s wireless Mighty Mouse is priced at $79. CONTACT: www.apple.com/ca



Richmond Hill, Ont. – In an effort to bring the movie theater experience to the home, ViewSonic has introduced the Cine5000, a DLP front-projector with high-definition capabilities along with a 255-inch diagonal wide-format picture.

The Cine5000 projects using Texas Instruments DarkChip2 DLP technology and an advanced colour wheel – a combination that offers life-like colours, high contrast and sharp images. The projector, which weighs ten pounds, features multiple OptiSync connectivity options – including HDMI (HDCP compliant), component (YPbPr), composite and S-video – enabling simple connections to PCs, game consoles, DVD players and camcorders. Additional features include signal noise reduction and a 12-voltscreen relay trigger for dropping a projection screen down using the powerof the projector.

The Cine5000 is priced at $2,259. CONTACT: www.viewsonic.com


Qosmio G30

Mississauga, Ont. – Toshiba of Canada has announced the new Qosmio G30, an audio visual personal computer which offers features for powerful computing and multimedia entertainment.

The notebook is powered with Intel’s Core 2 Duo processor and features HD DVD Super Multi double layer drive for viewing the latest HD DVD films.

The device includes a remote control and 17-inch wide monitor with ultimate Trubrite display and a built-in TV tuner enabling streaming of high definition television signals.

In addition, the Qosmio G30 has 2 GB of DDR2 memory, 220 GB of hard disk drive and built-in wireless LAN for mobile computing.

The Qosmio G30 is listed for $2,999.

CONTACT: www.toshiba.ca


ThinkCentre Desktop PCs

Toronto – Lenovo has introduced a fleet of new desktop PCs with Intel vPro technology.

The M55p is part of two lines of ThinkCentre desktops that, for the first time, offer the Intel Core 2 Duo processor. In addition to the M55p, M55 and M55e, the Core 2 Duo is also enabled in A55 models.

The desktops are also preloaded with ThinkVantage Technologies, a suite of software tools that help maintain user productivity and reduce calls to help desks. The M series desktops also feature the ThinkVantage Client Security Solution, an additional layer of security to help protect vital company information like passwords, encryption keys and electronic credentials.

All ThinkCentre M and A series desktops offer a choice of Intel’s Core 2 Duo, Pentium D, Pentium 4 and Celeron D processors. Both lines are also Microsoft Vista compatible.

Prices for M series models start at $1,199 and A series start at $849.

CONTACT: www.lenovo.com/ca

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.
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