By Lisa Cekan
Minolta-QMS marches into second place on the small-business list this month with the PagePro 1100L. At $249, it offers speedy graphics performance and crisp text. The corporate list gains three new models: Lexmark's nonnetworked Optra M412 is a new Best Buy, with fast text speed for $799. IBM's $1179 Infoprint 21 takes fourth place, and Ricoh's $799 AP-1600 grabs fifth. Lexmark's Optra E312 just missed the chart.
MINOLTA-QMS PAGEPRO 1100L
WHAT'S HOT: At a bargain price of $199, the Minolta-QMS PagePro 1100L is one of the least expensive laser printers on our chart. It keeps pace with the pack on text speed at 8.6 pages per minute, and its graphics speed of 4.7 ppm moves it far ahead of the competition. This unit does a great job of printing black, even text and lines (though the graphics are a bit dark and have a somewhat rough texture). A nice touch: The 1100L's paper tray folds tightly against the rest of the case, and the output tray folds down over the top, so when no paper is loaded, the unit can save lots of space by closing up like a turtle.
WHAT'S NOT: This printer's main drawback is its less-than-optimal graphics. In addition, the 1100L has a separate toner cartridge and imaging drum, and we discovered that getting them in and out of the case required a fair amount of muscle. The printer offers only a parallel-port connection--a hint that the 1100L may be based on an older design. The paper tray holds 150 sheets, and the auxiliary feed tray handles only a single sheet or envelope at a time. The unit that we tested seemed somewhat flimsy, with a wiggly feel and some loose parts.
WHAT ELSE: The 1100L is attractive and takes up minimal desk space, even when its paper trays are open to their full extent. Minolta sells a 500-sheet feeder, which fits neatly under the printer to retain its svelte profile, for a mere $149. The printer includes a rear exit for heavy stock, and Minolta-QMS sells a rear-exit paper tray for only $19 more.
BEST USE: The 1100L is an outstanding choice for any small workplace that has no need for a USB connection or for high-quality gray-scale graphics.
Minolta-QMS PagePro 1100L
Rated 10 ppm, standard 4MB of RAM, 600-by-600-dpi maximum resolution, 150 sheets input, 100 output.
Street price: $199
From the September 2000 issue of PC World magazine