Xerox WorkCentre 490cx

The HP OfficeJet G85 can be shared on an office network (if you add an External Print Server at $367), and it supports colour faxing. The Xerox WorkCentre 490cx makes colour copies even when your PC is not operating.

Why so much more for the HP? For starters, the OfficeJet has a flatbed scanner glass and an automatic document feeder, while the WorkCentre has just a feeder. The OfficeJet is a bit bulky, but you can scan objects - for copying, faxing, or saving to disk - that simply won't fit through the device's document feeder.

Also, the HP captures better scans, which produce fabulous copies with rich, solid colours and excellent detail. The Xerox's colour copies look faded and dull in comparison - they're certainly good enough for office use, but unattractive for important presentations. Our shipping units produced impressive ink jet print output, even on plain paper.

The fax are in

A multifunction device sometimes demands intuition, luck and patience. The WorkCentre's control panel provides little guidance on basic operations, despite a two-line, 16-character LCD. The OfficeJet's control panel is better, with separate, clearly labelled buttons for almost all functions, and its two-line, 16-character LCD makes sense.

Both units offer standard fax capabilities: delayed send, to take advantage of off-peak phone rates; polling, to call another fax machine and request a document; and fax forwarding. Both can route voice calls to your telephone and receive faxes into memory if printer supplies run out.

Abundant software

HP and Xerox compete brutally in the document processing market, so each provides a wealth of software. The OfficeJet includes IRIS for optical character recognition (which makes scanned text editable) and a graphics editor to capture and clean up scans. Xerox includes LaserFAX Lite plus its own Pagis Pro document-archiving and OCR package.

The HP OfficeJet, with its flatbed scanner, support for colour faxing, and $179 duplexer option, offers more versatility for running a small business or home office.

If your work requires high-quality colour scans and copies, the HP OfficeJet may be worth the extra money. But if good, basic colour printing and fax capabilities are enough to keep your office humming, the Xerox WorkCentre has everything you need.

Xerox WorkCentre 490cx

Price: $800 approx.

Supplier: Xerox

Phone: (02) 9856 5000

URL: www.xerox.com.au

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Dan Littman

PC World

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