Sharp Wins BLI‘s 2009 MFP “Line of the Year” Award
December 4 - Hackensack (NJ) – Buyers Lab, the leading global provider of information and testing services to the digital imaging industry, today announced the winner of its most coveted “Line of the Year” award, with Sharp receiving the honors for the second time in the last three years.
BLI‘s “Line of the Year” is awarded once a year to the vendor whose product line is determined to be the best overall based on its cumulative test results in BLI‘s rigorous two-month laboratory evaluation. Among the many factors considered are reliability, image quality, productivity, ease of use, scanning, a host of connectivity attributes and overall value. Also considered is the breadth of each vendor's line.
Innovation, Innovation, Innovation
“Time and again, Sharp is able to respond to the market‘s changing needs and opportunities in a more dynamic manner than many of its competitors,” said BLI Assignments Editor George Mikolay. “This in turn helps them to bring to market the application answers that create a clear level of differentiation from its competitors.”
Indeed, last year Sharp became the first of the traditional copier vendors to launch workgroup-level A4/letter MFPs that like copiers feature separate drums, developer and toner. These are the BLI highly-recommended MX-B401 and MX/DX-C401, along with the MX/DX-C311, a Spring 2009 BLI “Pick.”
With the launch of these A4 models, Sharp not only offers both A3 and A4 products, but also A4 products that meet the differing service requirements of various kinds of customers. For example, MX versions sold through the traditional dealer channel provide replacement of consumables via service, while DX models sold through the reseller channel are for those customers who prefer a more printer-like service model where they change consumables themselves.
“While all the dynamics driving change may not be clear, what is clear is that dealers must expand their business model beyond focusing exclusively on selling higher-priced ledger/A3 hardware,” said BLI Managing Editor Daria Hoffman. “With A4 MFPs that are just as robust as traditional A3 MFPs in this important segment, Sharp has a leg up on many of its competitors.”
Sharp‘s A3 models also offer a host of innovative features that helped the company earn a 2008 BLI “Outstanding Achievement Award.” Most notable is the industry-first standard retractable QWERTY keyboard. Because it makes it easier for users to enter index data, the QWERTY keyboard helps to make these Sharp devices more functional with integrated software applications. The models also feature the third generation of Sharp OSA (Open Systems Architecture) so that they can be configured to integrate with customers‘ document management and other types of applications to automate workflow.
Casting A Wide Net Around A3 Hardware
This year, Sharp‘s A3 MFPs have earned eight “Picks,” covering the entire spectrum of color and monochrome from 26 to 50 pages per minute. In fact, at 17, Sharp‘s current A3 “Picks” number more than any other copier vendor.
Common among the “Pick” winners is the same outstanding combination of high reliability and above average ratings for all aspects of connectivity, including feedback to workstations, administrative utilities, and print drivers. Ease of use is also very good, thanks in part to a high-resolution color touch-screen display that is customizable to allow commonly used features to be placed on the main screen for each function.
Also distinguishing Sharp‘s A3 devices from the competition are their exceptional scanning capabilities. For example, Sharp‘s ImageSEND function combines scanning, faxing, Internet faxing, FTP scanning and scan to desktop under one tab. In comparison, some competing models require programming multiple jobs to send the same documents to different destinations, requiring many more steps. Sharpdesk is also a favorite among BLI technicians for its ease of use and excellent results for OCR. The vast majority of Sharp‘s “Pick” winners also feature dual-head scanning, which leads to less wear and tear, less chance for misfeeds and quicker scan speeds.
Sharp‘s devices also set the benchmark for programming LDAP destinations. “While other vendors‘ MFPs enable users to program destinations via LDAP at the device, Sharp enables LDAP searches not only from the control panel but also remotely via the embedded Web utility,” said BLI Manager of Laboratory Testing Pete Emory.
“We are honored to once again receive this award,” said Mike Marusic, Vice President of Marketing and Service, Sharp Imaging and Information Company of America.” “We believe it to be the result of our continued focus on where the market is heading, not just where it is today. In doing so we work closely with end users to understand their needs and where their business is moving, and then design products that will help them work more efficiently and ultimately improve their bottom line. The result is our award winning line of MFPs–from A4 to production class–that are customizable, easy to operate, secure and reliable.”
Stay tuned for upcoming Buyers Lab “Pick” award announcements in the following categories:
December 7: Color Printers
December 9: Monochrome Printers
December 11: Environmental and Special Awards
About Buyers Laboratory
Since 1961, Buyers Lab has been the leading independent office-equipment testing lab and business consumer advocate. In addition to publishing the industry‘s most comprehensive and accurate test reports on office document imaging devices, each representing months of exhaustive hands-on testing in BLI's US and UK laboratories, the company has been the leading source for extensive databases of specifications and pricing on copiers, printers, fax machines and multifunctional products. The company's databases cover over 10,000 products and have a long-standing reputation for being the industry‘s most trustworthy and complete source for global competitive intelligence. They are available to BLI subscribers online via the company's bliQ competitive information service. This encyclopedic resource also provides quick and easy access to BLI‘s First Look Reports, Field Test Reports, Lab Test Reports, Solutions Reports, and BLI-produced articles.
In addition to the testing of office equipment for its subscribers, Buyers Lab provides consulting services to buyers and a vast array of confidential for-hire private testing services that include document imaging device beta and pre-launch testing, performance certification testing, consumables testing (such as toner, ink and photoconductors), software and solutions and print media testing (including virgin and recycled papers).
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