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Best-In-Class A3 MFPs Earn BLI "Picks"

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Press release from the issuing company

Hackensack (NJ) – Buyers Laboratory Inc. (BLI), the world's leading independent evaluator of document imaging products and solutions, today announced its Summer 2011 "Pick" awards honoring the best-performing A3 MFPs tested in the past six months. Ricoh and Xerox took home honors in the color category, Konica Minolta in monochrome, and Kyocera Mita was recognized in both.

BLI has been putting business equipment to the test for the past half century, consistently debunking the theory that "all boxes are created equal." Unlike many other awards, BLI's "Pick" awards are unique in the industry in that a product must truly earn its place as a winner by proving to be a superior performer in BLI's comprehensive lab test. Twice each year, BLI's experienced team of test technicians and analysts conduct a thorough assessment of the test results on all the products evaluated in the previous six months and honors with its "Picks" the most outstanding in each category.

The Summer 2011 A3 MFP "Pick" winners are:
Kyocera Mita America
Kyocera TASKalfa 5550ci
(also sold as Copystar CS 5550ci)
Outstanding 51- to 60-ppm A3 Color MFP

Kyocera TASKalfa 305
(also sold as Copystar CS 305)
Outstanding 21- to 30-ppm A3 Monochrome MFP

Ricoh Americas Corporation
Ricoh Aficio MP C2051
(also sold as Lanier LD620c and Savin C9120)
Outstanding 20-ppm A3 Color MFP

Ricoh Aficio MP C4501/A
(also sold as Lanier LD645C/A and Savin C9145/A)
Outstanding 41- to 50-ppm A3 Color MFP

Xerox Corporation
Xerox WorkCentre 7525
Outstanding 21- to 30-ppm A3 Color MFP

Xerox WorkCentre 7530
Outstanding 21- to 30-ppm A3 Color MFP

Xerox WorkCentre 7535
Outstanding 31- to 40-ppm A3 Color MFP

Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc.
Konica Minolta bizhub 552
Outstanding 51- to 60-ppm A3 Monochrome MFP

Konica Minolta bizhub 652
Outstanding 61- to 70-ppm A3 Monochrome MFP
Kyocera Makes Its Mark in Higher-Speed Color and with Easy-to-Maintain Monochrome Engine
"The TASKalfa 5550ci earned high marks across the board, producing better output quality than most competitors, and proving to be one of the most productive models in its speed range," said George Mikolay, BLI senior product editor for A3/Copier MFPs. "These qualities, along with a well-designed control panel, excellent ease of network setup and robust finishing options, all for a lower than average price, make the TASKalfa 5550ci a cost-effective, yet high-quality system for a wide range of business documents."

Equipped with a single-pass duplexing document feeder in testing (a reversing automatic document feeder is also available depending on a user's scanning needs), the TASKalfa 5550ci offers scan speeds that are among the fastest in all modes, and smaller than average color file sizes when compressed. "Moreover, the device's outstanding performance in BLI's job stream test, which simulates real-world usage, means the device is tailor-made for office environments where multiple users will send multiple types of jobs to the device at one time." The device proved highly reliable, while rated color and black drum yields, at 600,000 impressions each, are by far the highest for the group, and more than triple the average of competitive models. Add it all up, and the device is built to withstand the rigors of the daily office environment with ease and maximum uptime.

Kyocera Mita also earned "Pick" recognition for its new TASKalfa 305, which was named "Outstanding 21- to 30-ppm A3 Monochrome MFP." "The Kyocera TASKalfa 305 is going to be a tough device to beat in the A3 workgroup monochrome space, delivering an impressive value proposition and the easiest preventive maintenance procedure I have seen," said David Sweetnam, head of Research and Lab Services for BLI's UK laboratory.

The Kyocera TASKalfa 305 is a true hybrid between the worlds of copier- and printer-based MFPs, with very aggressive pricing that's even more impressive when you factor in that it includes an automatic document feeder, network printing and color scanning out of the box. The device performed very well in BLI's battery of tests and was praised for its easy to use touchscreen panel. A major plus is the design of the replacement parts, which are all user-replaceable. Without training, a member of BLI's staff was able to switch out all the maintenance kit components, including feed rollers, drum, developer and fuser rollers, in less than three minutes without mess or any tools required. This simplicity of service-replaceable parts means that the device can be bought with or without a service contract, allowing some users to replace parts themselves, while others who opt for a service agreement will still benefit from short service visits.

"Kyocera's TASKalfa color and SMARTtech black-and-white MFPs are designed to meet and exceed the strict business requirements that today's companies demand," said Peter Hendrick, vice president of marketing for Kyocera Mita America. "By instilling Kyocera's unique advantages of ultra-reliability, exceptional productivity and low total cost of ownership into each of our products, businesses benefit from robust and reliable devices that can handle the complex imaging needs of any workgroup or high-performance office environment. Each of us at Kyocera is honored to have won BLI's Summer 'Pick' awards for the TASKalfa 5550ci and TASKalfa 305."

Ricohs Earns High Marks for Reliability and Ease of Use
The Ricoh Aficio MP C4501A and Ricoh Aficio MP C2051 exhibited flawless and near-flawless reliability, respectively, with no service calls and just one misfeed over a combined 240,000 impressions between them. "In addition to maximum uptime, users will experience very good ease of use from both devices at the desktop, with detailed and intuitive feedback, and at the panel, with the ability to program jobs in fewer keystrokes than with most competitive devices," said Sweetnam.

The Aficio MP C4501A, equipped with a standard single-pass duplexing document feeder, was also remarkably productive, scoring high marks across the board in BLI's battery of tests. "Whether you're copying a single page, printing or copying sets, producing booklets, or scanning documents, the MP C4501 gets users back at their desks quickly," said Sweetnam. And results of BLI's job stream test were also among the best, meaning the device will remain highly productive in real-world office environments in which multiple jobs are sent to the device at once.

The MP C2051 is the most efficient model in its class, operating at a higher percentage of its rated speed than competitors. "In fact," said Sweetnam, "it exceeds its rated speed when printing double-sided documents, which is crucial as users attempt to lower running costs and improve environmental friendliness. And it offers all this for a price that's much lower than average."

"We are excited to have two products on BLI's Summer 2011 Picks list. This recognition reinforces our commitment to providing our customers with outstanding products and services that are not only cost effective but can also improve productivity," said Shun Sato, senior vice president of marketing for Ricoh Americas Corporation. "Our A3 product line has been a strong offering with a solid reputation. We plan to continue to offer this along with our latest A4 product line released this year."

Xerox Takes Honors in Low- to Mid-Speed Color
"Offering superior network capabilities and ease of use, as well as very good image quality, the WorkCentre 7535, 7530 and 7525 clearly establish themselves as benchmark models in their respective speed ranges for Summer 2011," Mikolay said.

Xerox has always set the standard for network connectivity issues, and these models carry on the legacy. Administrators will appreciate the highly automated install procedures, as all drivers can be downloaded and installed via a link in the web utility, eliminating the need for any install CD or for having to search for drivers on Xerox's web site, and also ensuring that the most current driver versions are being used. In addition, bidirectional print drivers display device and job status without the need to install any additional software. Moreover, the feedback at both the desktop and the panel is highly detailed to help ensure supplies are on hand when needed. All three models proved highly reliable in BLI's demanding test, and because the drums are user-replaceable, downtime associated with service calls is further reduced compared with many competitive models that require service to replace components. Walkup users will find the control panel to be intuitive, with most of the typical copy job features accessible from the first tab, enabling quicker job programming. In addition, extensive regularly-updated online support is accessible directly from the user interface.

"Excellent feature sets and robust security measures further enhance the devices' performance for small- to mid-size workgroups with demanding workloads," Mikolay said. In addition to offering standard searchable PDF, which makes information in scanned documents easier to find-available only as an option or not all for many competitive models-the devices support standard hard drive overwrite and encryption.

"The WorkCentre 7535, 7530 and 7525 color MFPs deliver exceptional value and performance for small enterprises to large customers alike-from simple, walk-up convenience features to fleet management and network integration," said Leah Quesada, vice president of marketing for Xerox's Enterprise Business Group. "Customers can take advantage of the built-in advanced scanning, security and print features immediately without the costly add-ons. We are making color simple and easy to use, and this reinforces Xerox's position as a leader in office color printing."

Konica Minolta Earns Top Honors in Mid- to High-Speed Monochrome
"Outstanding reliability and very good print quality have come to be the norm for Konica Minolta's devices, and were common threads for the bizhub 652 and bizhub 552," said Mikolay. "Add in fast scan speeds in both black and color, and the models are ideal fits for busy mid- to high-volume workgroups."

Both the print drivers and control panel offer customization to make each user's experience unique to their requirements. In addition, modular finishing allows users to easily and affordably upgrade to more robust finishing capabilities, including saddle-stitching for booklets up to 80 pages. With security at the forefront of many customers' minds, the robust standard offerings of the bizhub 652 and bizhub 552 are another plus, and include standard hard drive overwrite and encryption.

"Add to their outstanding performances strong feature sets and competitive to above average copy and print productivity, and it's clear why these models are winners," said Mikolay.

"As we continue to innovate and advance our technology in response to the ever-changing demands of our customers, BLI's 'Pick' Awards are a testament to our success in achieving this goal," said Kevin Kern, senior vice president, marketing, Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc. "Customers can count on Konica Minolta for the technology that addresses their full range of digital printing needs, including award-winning products, solutions and service."

Stay tuned for upcoming Buyers Lab "Pick" award announcements in the following categories:

July 21: A4
July 22: Outstanding Achievement


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