IT'S COMMON IN MOST OFFICES to print a word-processing document once on a laser printer and then walk down the hall to make lots of photocopies. Hewlett-Packard Co. thinks it has a better way, with its LaserJet 5Si printer, or what it calls a mopier (rhymes with copier and stands for multiple original prints.)

The laser printer lists for $9,549 and features a beefed-up print engine that produces as many as 24 pages a minute--on a par with many midrange copiers. Like many of those machines, the printer also includes stapling and collating mechanisms, so workers can produce finished documents without having to leave their desks. And to keep network usage to a minimum, a PC needs to send an electronic file to the 5Si just once, no matter how many copies are required. The unit's built-in computer takes care of making the duplicates.

The unit's costs are compelling, too, according to HP's figures. The company reckons that by running the machine at 6,000 pages a month, the cost per printed page is 5.5 cents, compared with 6.5 cents for producing photocopies at the same rate. What's more, HP says its mopier is more reliable and will require many fewer service calls than the average departmental copier.

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