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The 100 Best Hardware Products of the Year

The year's 100 best hardware products strut their stuff

THE EDITORS OF WINDOWS Magazine look at scores of hardware products each month. Every year, we take stock of what we've seen and honor the 100 best with our Win 100 Hardware Awards. It's a monumental task involving hours of analysis and debate, but in the end we know we've uncovered the best products in each category.

Here's how we do it: We list every product our editors have reviewed that shipped between April 1995 and March 1996. Then our editors rate the products, we crunch the scores and come to a consensus on the winners.

In the process, we single out one product as the Hardware Product of the Year. Top honors go to Iomega for its hot new Jaz drive, a revolutionary removable storage product with a price that makes backup just about painless.

Hardware products have a shorter life cycle than ever, and several Win 100 winners already have been discontinued or replaced by newer versions. Nonetheless, we'd like to recognize those products as Win 100 Winners for the excellence they delivered. (Check our Reviews and Recommended List each month for information on currently shipping follow-on models!) The discontinued Win 100 winners--Ave atque Vale--are: the awesome ArtMedia Monitor TG 1882, the innovative Creative Labs Phone Blaster, the popular Dell Latitude LX4100T, the outstanding Digital HiNote Ultra CT475, the class-leading HP DeskJet 660C, the clever Micro Solutions Backpack 900 tape drive, the impressive Primax DeskScan Color and the feature-packed TI TravelMate 5000.

The very best of this past year's hardware offerings are showcased in the following pages. If you're in the market for new hardware, what better place to start?

See a complete index of the Win 100 Hardware winners by category or name.

Win 100 Product of the Year

Iomega Jaz Drive

The biggest breakthrough in removable storage this year is the Iomega Jaz Drive. It's a small, fast, light SCSI II device with cartridges that hold up to 1GB of data--it's hard to imagine what more one could ask for.

If you work with large multimedia files, one Jaz cartridge is large enough to hold an entire project. And with a data transfer rate and seek time that approach today's fastest hard disks, you can play files directly off it without transferring them to your hard disk. The Jaz is also an ideal backup solution: At a street price of $99 per gigabyte, it becomes feasible to back up huge amounts of data.

Perhaps the greatest advantage Jaz has is portability--the cartridges are about the size of 3.5-inch floppies, only thicker, and feature an anti-vibration locking mechanism for reliability on the road. The entire drive itself weighs a mere 2 pounds. (An internal version of the drive is also available). $599. Iomega Corp.

The Iomega Jaz Drive is a consensus selection of the editors; as such, there is no review text.

CD-Recordable Drives

Sony Spressa 920 CD-Recordable Drive

Relegate your read-only CD-ROM drive to the back of the closet--the Spressa 920 is a recordable CD-ROM drive that makes recording to CD an easy task. At $2,000, the Spressa/CD Creator bundle is a bit pricey for the average user, but its performance and ease of use make it a good choice for those who want multisession audio and data recording on the desktop. $1,999.95. Sony Electronics, 800-352-7669, 408-432-0190.
Sony Spressa 920 CD-Recordable Drive - October 1995

CD-ROM Drives

Micro Solutions Backpack 4X CD-ROM with Sound Card

Have a parallel port to spare? That's all you need to add this portable CD-ROM drive to your system. The Backpack's AudioRack lets you play and record sound as WAV or MIDI files, or play audio CDs, using the portable Micro Solutions Backpack. You'll also find a Talking Calendar, a Talking Clock, Chimes, an Audio Reminder Stopwatch and Timer. $499. Micro Solutions, 800-890-7227 x200, 815-756-3411.
Micro Solutions BackPack 4X CD-ROM w/ 16 bit sound card - February 1996

NEC MultiSpin 4X4

CD-ROM pioneer NEC blazes another trail with its MultiSpin 4X4, a quad-speed internal CD-ROM changer capable of storing and accessing four CDs. The MultiSpin carries each disc separately, and its front panel features four buttons with an LED for each one. A quick press of any disc's button will quietly eject it. The unit can be installed as a single drive or as multiple virtual drives. Its CD Changer Software Utility works in either case, making CD shuffling a snap. $279. NEC Technologies, 800-632-4636, 508-264-8000.
NEC Multispin 4X4 - April 1996

NEC MultiSpin 6Xe

The MultiSpin, NEC's multiplatform six-speed CD-ROM drive, manages mounds of music and mass data masterfully. Perhaps "transparently" is more accurate, since the MultiSpin's MusicSensor feature detects Red Book files--the data format for music CDs--and shifts speed on the fly. The unit transfers Red Book audio files at 150KB per second, and standard digital data as fast as 900KBps. These changes appear as "1X" to "6X" displayed on the front LCD panel. $599. NEC Technologies, 800-632-4636, 708-860-9500.
NEC MultiSpin 6Xe - September 1995

Philips PCA62CR 6X CD-ROM drive

If you can get a 6X drive like this for less than 200 bucks, why settle for slow, choppy multimedia? The PCA62CR is easy to install under Win95 (just install and boot up, and Windows 95 should recognize it automatically the first time) and a joy to use. If you want a CD-ROM drive that will make multimedia sizzle without burning up your budget, then check this one out. $199.95. Philips Electronics, 800-235-7373, 408-453-7373.
Philips PCA62CR 6X CD-ROM drive - April 1996

Plextor 4PleX Plus

SCAM (SCSI Configured Auto-Magically) support means the 4PleX Plus is no ripoff. Plug it into a SCAM-compliant SCSI card and you'll never have to worry about device ID conflicts. Its speed is faster than most 4X drives, making it closer to a 4.5X. You can buy the drive alone or bundled with Adaptec's AHA-2940 PCI to Fast SCSI host adapter. $299. Plextor, 800-886-3935, 408-980-1838.
Plextor 4PleX Plus - February 1996

Desktop Systems

ACMA sPower P133

Inexpensive? Sure. Chintzy? No way! ACMA packs this system's full-tower case with 16MB of EDO RAM, 256KB of level 2 cache, a Sound Blaster 16 sound card, a 28.8/14.4Kbps data/fax modem, a Diamond Stealth 64 Video 2001 card with 2MB of DRAM, a Toshiba 4X CD-ROM drive, a Conner 850MB hard disk and a pair of Altec Lansing ACS5 powered speakers. The sPower performed very well on our benchmarks. Its strong performance and solid basic feature set add up to an excellent value. $2,095 as reviewed. ACMA Computers, 800-786-6888, 510-623-1212.
ACMA sPower P133 - March 1996

Acma zPower P133

Power, speed and budget. If you think the third word doesn't go with the first two, you haven't met the ACMA zPower P133. The tower system we tested came with 16MB of EDO RAM, 256KB of level 2 cache, a 1.2GB Quantum hard disk and the Diamond Stealth 64 with 4MB of VRAM. But it doesn't stop there: The system also has a Creative Labs 6X CD-ROM, a Sound Blaster 16 sound card, Altec Lansing ACS5 speakers and a Boca Research 28.8Kbps fax modem. The zPower is further distinguished by an adapter card that supplies two PCMCIA slots and a unique case that opens on each side. Quality construction and solid performance earn the ACMA zPower top ratings. $2,895. ACMA Computers, 800-786-6888, 510-623-1212.
ACMA zPower P133 - March 1996

American MultiSystems InfoGold P100

This system's tall, charcoal-colored case is reminiscent of the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey. This unit may not accelerate your evolution, but it runs Windows 95 and its attendant apps at close to the speed of light. Its 100MHz Pentium CPU, 16MB of RAM, 256KB of L2 cache and Plug-and-Play BIOS make it a solid performer. It even features a 64-bit PCI slot for future upgrades. For overall performance, design and configuration, the InfoGold takes the gold.$2,195. American Multisystems, 800-888-6615, 408-945-2296.
American Multisystems InfoGOLD P100 - December 1995

Compaq Deskpro XL 5133 Model 1050/M

You won't get a bargain-basement deal on Compaq's new Deskpro XL 5133 Model 1050/ML, but you'll get what you pay for. Our test system came configured with a 133MHz Pentium, a quad-speed CD-ROM, a 1-gigabyte SCSI IBM hard drive, 256KB L2 cache and 16MB of RAM. Compaq uses a motherboard design that will let you upgrade the CPU as the system ages. Everything else is packed onto the system board, including Fast SCSI-2, enhanced Sound Blaster-compatible sound and an IDE controller. The Deskpro XL 5133 Model 1050/ML's superior engineering and special features make it a winner. $4,999 as reviewed. Compaq Computer Corp., 800-345-1518, fax 713-518-1442.
Compaq Deskpro XL 5133 Model 1050/M - March 1996

Compaq Presario Family

If your home office is beginning to look like an office equipment store, check out Compaq's new Presario 978. A 75MHz Pentium CPU powers the Presario, which ships with a quad-speed CD-ROM drive, a 725MB hard disk drive and an integrated 16-bit Sound Blaster Pro-compatible audio chip. The coolest thing about this system is its combination of unusual features: Its fax modem provides telephony capability, allowing you to set up voice mailboxes, in addition to connecting to online services and the Internet, and sending and receiving faxes. When connected to an external antenna or cable system, the Presario's integrated television tuner allows you to view shows in a window. It's hard to go wrong with the Compaq Presario 978, especially for home or small-office use. $2,099. Compaq Computer Corp., 800-888-5858, fax 713-378-1442.
Compaq Presario CDTV 978 - October 1995

Compaq ProLinea 575e

Based on a 75MHz Pentium processor, with a 632MB hard drive and 8MB of RAM, the ProLinea 575e is an entry-level machine that's built to last. Cirrus Logic PCI video with 1MB of memory is built into the motherboard. The ProLinea's clear documentation ensures that it's a cinch to set up. The system comes preloaded with both Windows 3.1 and Windows 95. You select the OS when you first turn on the computer. While the ProLinea 575e has no multimedia, it's a solidly built, quality system. $1,788 as reviewed. Compaq Computer Corp., 800-345-1518, fax 713-518-1442.
Compaq ProLinea 575e - March 1996

Dell Dimension family

If the Dell Dimension P100t were a car, it would be neither a Cadillac nor a Miata, but a comfortable and popular midsize model. The clean design emphasizes functionality rather than extras. The Dimension P100t's performance is solid for a 100MHz unit. The system's Quantum Fireball 1080A hard drive scored a 2MB per second uncached disk speed. Despite the low price, the system came with a 17-inch monitor and Windows 95 preloaded. $1,979 for the P100t with 8MB of RAM. Dell Computer Corp., 800-613-3355, 512-338-4400
Dell Dimension P100t - February 1996

Dell Dimension XPS family

There's something to be said for a PC that looks like a PC. The Dell Dimension XPS lacks the trendy decorator touches we've seen on new PCs lately, but the attraction here isn't case shape, mouse color or kitchen-sink integration--it's Pentium power, 512KB pipeline burst cache and 128-bit accelerated PCI graphics. They included 16MB of EDO RAM, a 1.08GB hard drive, a 3.5-inch floppy drive, a 17-inch monitor and an NEC quad-speed CD-ROM complete the picture. Packed with power and excellent peripherals, the Dell Dimension XPS family will make you the envy of every PC owner around. Life in the fast lane should always be this nice. $3,399 with a 166MHz Pentium. Dell Computer Corp., 800-289-3355, 512-338-4400.
Dell Dimension XPS P166c - February 1996
Dell Dimension XPS P133c - February 1996

Dell OptiPlex GXMT family

It's all in the name: Dell says the OptiPlex is "optimized for complex network environments." That it is. The OptiPlex GXMT family has just about everything you'll need for a network workstation and then some, including a 3Com EtherLink III ISA connection, a Creative Labs Vibra 16 sound chip set and 2MB of S3 Trio 64+ video RAM on the motherboard. As a network workstation or standalone desktop, the Dell OptiPlex GXMT 5133 has the features and performance you need to get your work done. $3,809 with a 133MHz Pentium and 16MB of EDO RAM. Dell Computer Corp., 800-365-5329, 512-338-4400.
Dell OptiPlex GXMT 5133 - February 1996

Digital Celebris family

If you had to pick one word to describe these systems, it would be "fast." Both the XL5120 120MHz Pentium cooked in our Wintune benchmarks, as did the GL 5133ST 133MHz Pentium. Both came with 16MB of RAM. The XL 5120 came with a 1GB hard drive, a 3X CD-ROM drive, 256KB synchronous burst cache, Ensoniq's Soundscape wavetable sound board, a Diamond Stealth 64-bit PCI video accelerator and a 17-inch monitor. The GL 5133ST offered a 4X CD-ROM drive, 2MB of WRAM (Windows RAM) and SCSI and Ethernet capability on the motherboard. XL 5120, $6,132; GL 5133ST, $4,128. Digital Equipment Corp., 800-642-4532, 508-642-6400.
Digital Celebris XL 5120 - August 1995

Digital Venturis family

This line of slimline desktops is a minimalist's dream. Getting inside the Venturis is easy. The power supply and two front drive bays rotate 90 degrees to reveal an additional 3.5-inch drive bay. Everything the Venturis offers is built into the system board, increasing expansion capability. We tested the 575, which has a 75MHz Pentium processor, and the 120MHz 5120. Both came with three expansions slots and 8MB of RAM. 575, $2,048; 5120, $3,447. Digital Equipment Corp., 800-642-4532, 508-642-6400.
Digital Venturis 575 Slimline - February 1996

Epson ActionTower 8200

The Epson ActionTower 8200 multimedia system comes preloaded with everything but the kitchen sink, including productivity and educational software and games. The 14.4Kbps internal fax modem offers voice capability and Prometheus MaxFax software, which includes answering machine, speakerphone and voice-mail capabilities. The system ships with a 75MHz Pentium microprocessor, 8MB of RAM, an 850MB EIDE hard drive, a 1.44MB floppy drive, 256KB of level 2 cache and PCI local bus video with 1MB video memory. $1,899 (with 17-inch monitor). Epson America, 800-289-3776, 310-782-0770.
Epson ActionTower 8200 - December 1995

FCS P5-100 Multimedia

First Computer Systems' P5-100 Multimedia looks good inside and out. The sculpted white case has a bright-green clock-speed display, with buttons for turbo, reset and power. Inside, the hard disk and the ATAPI CD-ROM have been attached to separate IDE controllers, so there's no performance compromise for either. FaxWorks, an all-inclusive program that handles both voice mail and faxing, comes bundled with the machine. $2,899. First Computer Systems, 800-325-1911, 770-441-1911.
FCS P5-100 Multimedia - December 1995

Gateway 2000 P5 family

If you think you can't get high performance without a high-end price, check out Gateway's P5 family. The P5-150 we tested offered an impressive standard configuration--a 150MHz Pentium processor, 256KB cache, 16MB of EDO RAM, Western Digital's 1.6GB Western Caviar hard drive, a Matrox video card with 2MB of memory, a Wearnes 6X CD-ROM drive, a Creative Labs Sound Blaster Pro 16-bit sound card, Altec Lansing speakers, a Vivitron 15-inch monitor and Gateway's expanded keyboard. $3,193 as tested. Gateway 2000, 800-846-2000, 605-232-2000.
Gateway 2000 P5-150 - March 1996

Hewlett-Packard Vectra VL Series 4 family

Quality construction and clever features are this family's claim to fame. Both the 100MHz Pentium 5/100M T mini tower and the 166MHz Pentium 5/166 performed well on our WinTune tests. Both offer 15-inch monitors, 16MB of RAM, 1GB hard drives, Sony CD-ROM drives, 256KB of cache and no-screw cases and Windows 95-specific keyboards that allow you to power up right from the keyboard. P5-120 $2,499, 5/166 $3,599. Hewlett-Packard, 800-443-1254.
Hewlett-Packard Vectra VL Series 4 5/166 - March 1996

IBM Aptiva PC Model M51

This pint-sized Pentium doesn't spare the bells and whistles. Keyboard, mouse and monitor are IBM-branded, and Windows 95 is preinstalled. The monitor offers 800x600-pixel resolution with 256 colors. Front controls include position, size, tilt, pincushion and color temperature. Push one of these controls and a small on-screen menu appears. The motherboard has two serial ports and a parallel port, and the Aptiva comes with a combination card with sound, CD-ROM control and a 28.8Kbps modem. $2,199, monitor $654. IBM Corp., 800-IBM2YOU, fax 800-IBM4FAX.
IBM Aptiva PC Model M51 - February 1996

Micron Millennia family

This family travels first class--and with pretty fancy luggage. The P150 we tested was an IDE system with a 1.2GB Quantum Fireball hard drive, a TEAC 6X CD-ROM drive, 16MB of EDO RAM, 256KB of synchburst level 2 cache and a Micronics motherboard with the Intel Triton chipset. Its disk scores in our Wintune tests were an impressive 3.33MB/second uncached speed and 20MB/second cached speed in our Wintune tests. $3,047 as reviewed. Micron Electronics, 800-243-7615, 208-463-3434.
Micron P166 Millennia Plus and P150 Millennia - February 1996

Micron Millennia Plus family

If time is money, these new Pentiums look like a million bucks. The P166 we tested includes fast SCSI peripherals, such as a 2GB, 7200rpm Quantum Grand Prix hard drive, a Plextor 6PleX CD-ROM drive and a very cool 1GB Iomega Jazz removable cartridge drive. Add to this a Micronics motherboard with the Intel Triton chip set and you have a Pentium that practically performs like a Pro. On our Wintune benchmarks, the P166 racked up 306.33 MIPS and 11.33Mpixels per second video. $4,446 (P166). Micron Electronics, 800-243-7615, 208-463-3434.
Micron P166 Millennia Plus and P150 Millennia - February 1996

Micron Pro 200 Magnum Plus

How about a Pentium Pro system with 32MB of RAM (expandable to 256MB), a 6X CD-ROM drive, a 2GB Quantum SCSI hard drive, Jensen JPS 45 speakers, a Sound Blaster AWE32, a Number Nine 128-bit video card with 8MB of VRAM and a Bus Logic SCSI controller card. Sound like your wish list? The Pro 200 Magnum Plus packs all this and more into a tower chassis and revs it up for maximum effect. $6,197. Micron Electronics, 800-243-7615, 208-463-3434.
Micron Pro 200 Magnum Plus - February 1996

MidWest Micro Office PC family

It's easy to be on the bleeding edge of technology when you've got lots of disposable cash, but those with more modest incomes have to settle for less… don't they? The MidWest Micro answer: No way! Starting under $2,000 with 16MB of EDO RAM, 1GB hard disk, and a 4X CD-ROM, the Office PC is made for workin'. Pentium-75, $2,051; Pentium-133, $2,799. Midwest Micro, 800-423-8215, 513-368-2309.
MidWest Micro P5-75 Office PC - March 1996
MidWest Micro P5-133 Office PC - March 1996

Mitsuba Premier System-100

Like a successful film launch, Mitsuba's Premier is keyed by a great opening. You don't need a screwdriver or any tools to get inside this tower system.

With six drive bays and three adapter slots available, expandability is this system's middle name. Upgrading or maintenance is a snap, too, thanks to a spacious work area and thoughtful design. $2,995. Mitsuba Corp., 800-648-7822, 909-392-2000.
Mitsuba Premier System-100 - December 1995

NEC PowerMate P166 family

These minitowers of power pack a lot of performance. Sleek and loaded with everything from foot-high external speakers to an infrared port, they show NEC doesn't skimp on extras. The P166 model blew off the doors on WinMag's graphics and application-based benchmarks, delivering real-world performance that won't leave you tapping your fingers. $3,399. NEC Technologies, 800-NEC-INFO, 508-264-8000.
NEC PowerMate P166 - March 1996

NEC PowerMate V100

We spend enough of our lives working. The NEC PowerMate V100 incorporates features that facilitate your work flow. Whether it's on a LAN using the included 3Com EtherLink III adapter, or exchanging information via the integrated infrared port, this system has the tools to get your business moving. The 100MHz Pentium system comes with a speedy 1GB Quantum Fireball hard disk, 16MB of EDO RAM (expandable to 128MB) and 256KB of level 2 cache, all of which add up to one hard-working system. $2,849. NEC Technologies, 800-NEC-INFO, 508-264-8000.
NEC PowerMate V100 - February 1996

NEC Ready family

What's in a name? Plenty, where the NEC Ready is concerned. This line of Pentium systems is indeed ready to meet the demands of most business and home users. The snazziest features are the IR port and the accompanying remote that controls the CD player, as well as the telephony and voice-mail functions. 75MHz Pentium, $1,799. NEC Technologies, 800-NEC-INFO, 508-264-8000.
NEC Ready 7022 - February 1996

Quantex QP5 family

The Quantex QP5 line of multimedia computers offers a lot of value for the money: a 1GB Western Digital Caviar EIDE hard drive with 256KB disk cache, 8MB EDO RAM, 256KB of L2 write-back cache, a 6X CD-ROM drive, Altec Lansing ACS-5 speakers, an STB Horizon 64 video adapter with 2MB of DRAM, a 16-bit stereo sound card and an Askey International 14.4Kb-per-second fax modem… all for under two grand. $1,999. Quantex Microsystems, 800-987-7209, 908-563-4166.
Quantex QP5/133 SM-2 - February 1996

Robotech Cobra XL family

These DX4 systems perform like 60MHz or 66 MHz Pentiums on WinMag's benchmarks, and come loaded with 16MB of RAM, 1GB Micropolis hard drives and 256KB of L2 write-back cache. Peripherals include a Sound Blaster 16, a quad-speed Creative Labs ATAPI CD-ROM drive and a speedy Number 9 GXE64 video card. DX4-100, $2,599; DX4-120, $2,619. Robotech, 800-533-0633, 801-565-0645.
Robotech Cobra XLT/2 P166 - March 1996
Robotech Cobra XL-100 - February 1996


Boca Voyager 64

This speedy graphics accelerator adds ease of use and Windows 95 compatibility to its attractive package. It can support as many as 16.7 million colors in 800x600 mode, and displays up to 256 colors at 1600x1200 and noninterlaced refresh rates up to 75Hz. The Trio64's 64-bit memory interface provides 228MB per second bandwidth, and even the user documentation is exceptionally clear. The product ships with 2MB of RAM. $189 (street). Boca Research, 407-997-6227, fax 407-994-5848.
Boca Voyager 64 - November 1995

Diamond Stealth 64 Video VRAM

This card is aimed at users who are serious about video: It features up to 4MB of VRAM, a software MPEG-1 decoder, accelerated playback of compressed video formats, sophisticated controls and more. You also get a bundle of popular CD-ROM programs such as CorelDRAW 4.0 and Asymetrix 3D F/X. Installation is straightforward even for inexperienced users. It all looks good to us. With 2MB of VRAM, $299. Diamond Multimedia Systems, 800-4-MULTIMEDIA, 408-325-7000.
Diamond Stealth 64 Video VRAM - July 1995

Matrox MGA Millennium

The performance and features of this graphics adapter are hard to beat--especially at the price. It offers 3-D acceleration in hardware, and Windows graphics acceleration at resolutions and color depths as high as 1600x1200 at true color. The Millennium uses a type of dual-ported video RAM, called Window RAM, or WRAM, which the company claims will deliver better performance than VRAM at a lower cost. $299. Matrox Graphics, 800-361-1408, fax 514-969-6363.
Matrox MGA Millennium - August 1995

Input Devices

Mitsumi Wireless Mouse

This two-button mouse can scurry up to three feet from its cradle, which connects to a serial port. It has a maximum resolution of 400dpi and comes with a lithium ion battery, which will power it for three years. If you're looking for a desktop mouse replacement, this is one critter that won't fritter away your time. $49.95. Mitsumi Electronics Corp., 800-MITSUMI, 214-550-7300.
Mitsumi ZW 104 Keyboard and Wireless Mouse - February 1996

NMB ConcertMaster RT-9100W

A sleek combo of keyboard and multimedia peripheral, the ConcertMaster is a useful addition to the desktop where multimedia is a necessity but real estate is at a premium. The 2-inch speakers have reasonably good sound and are paired with a small embedded microphone. All of this is mounted on a crisp, responsive keyboard. $99. NMB Technologies, 800-662-8321, 818-341-3355.
NMB ConcertMaster RT-9100W - March 1996

Wacom ArtZ II Tablet

Aspiring digital artists, take note: The Wacom ArtZ II feels as natural as using a pen and paper, and the eraser comes in handy. A menu strip at the top of the ArtZ II provides five user-definable function buttons and 11 predefined buttons (including Cut, Copy, Paste, Undo, Delete, New, Open and Save), as well as controls to change pressure sensitivity. $189.99. Wacom Technology Corp., 800-922-6613, 360-750-8882.
Dabbler 2 and Wacom ArtZ II Tablet - January 1996

Integrated Hardware

Hewlett-Packard CopyJet M

You can produce high-quality color inhouse. The network-ready CopyJet M comes with 7MB of memory, expandable to 38MB, and support for Adobe PostScript Level 2 is standard. In EconoFast mode, HP rates the print speed at 7 pages per minute (ppm) for black text, up to 3ppm for mixed text and color graphics, and up to 1.5ppm for color graphics. In Normal mode, expect 6, 1.5 and 0.5ppm, respectively. Resolution is 600x300 dots per inch for printed text and 300x300dpi for color. $3,199 (street). Hewlett-Packard Co., 800-761-8999, 208-323-2551.
HP CopyJet and CopyJet M - February 1996

Hewlett-Packard OfficeJet LX

The OfficeJet LX delivers an ink jet printer, a fax machine, a copier and a scanner in a box no larger than a small laser printer. A Windows app lets you control such things as stored speed-dialing numbers for the fax system. You can toggle between printing received faxes or storing them on the host PC, and you can use fax software to send faxes directly from applications. The printer engine is a 3ppm, 600x300dpi ink jet. $959. Hewlett-Packard, 800-HPHOME8 x9339, Canada 800-387-3867.

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JetFax M5 Multifunction Office System

In a market where desktop real estate is at a premium, this multifunction machine buys you acreage. Requiring less than two and a half square feet of desk space, the 300dpi JetFax M5 combines a 14.4Kbps modem, plain-paper fax, copier, scanner and printer. It also does envelopes. The battery-protected 1MB memory (expandable to 5MB) stores incoming material so you can print and receive a fax at the same time. A collation feature lets you receive your faxes in the proper order. $2,995. JetFax, 800-7JETFAX, 415-324-0600.
JetFax M5 Multifunction Office System - December 1995

Xerox Document WorkCenter 250

It just doesn't add up ... a scanner, printer, fax machine and copier should cost a lot more than the Xerox Document WorkCenter 250. But, fortunately, the WorkCenter's price is as modest as its footprint (16 by 18 inches), making it a good choice for small offices. The ink jet printer provides good-quality 300dpi output. The copier will make up to 99 copies, and can reduce or enlarge originals from 50 to 200 percent. The TWAIN-compatible scanner works at 300dpi. The 9600bps modem is adequate if not speedy. Under $700. Xerox Desktop Document Systems, 800-TEAM-XRX.
Xerox Document WorkCenter 250 - February 1996

Mass Storage

Iomega Zip Drive

The same people who brought you Bernoulli Boxes now offer a unique way to add storage space to your system. The Zip Drive uses special disks that are about the size of floppy diskettes and come in 100MB and 25MB varieties. It's lightweight (about 1 pound), palm-sized and can operate flat or on its side. The unit comes with its own power supply and has a low-power mode to conserve energy. $199.95. Iomega Corp., 800-MY-STUFF, 801-778-1000.
Iomega Zip Drive - August 1995

Quantum Fireball

Quantum provides a good, solid performer all around, with easy configuration and detailed, complete instructions. Rated for a 500,000-hour mean time between failures, its performance scores were consistently high when it came to cached performance, at tested rates of 6.7MB per second. It's reliable and reasonably priced-a winning combination. $265. Quantum Corp., 800-624-5545, 408-894-4000.
Quantum Fireball 1080 - January 1996

SyQuest EZ135 Drive

This storage medium, with a 3.5 inch cartridge that holds 135MB, is a gem. It uses the same Winchester technology found in your hard disk, which accounts for the speed: The company claims the EZ135 has a 13.5ms average access time and a 2.4Mb per second transfer rate. At an average cost of 15 cents per megabyte of storage, it's cheaper than using floppies-even with the cost of the drive. To top it off, it's portable, easy to set up and whisper quiet. External, $239.95, internal (parallel), $199.95. SyQuest Technology, 800-245-2278, 510-226-4000.
SyQuest EZ135 Drive - December 1995


Amquest Hypermodem 28800 Model AM28141-HY

This Amquest modem is the way to join the online rush. The modem's default COM4 and IRQ3 makes it possible to be on the WinMag Web site (or wherever you'd like to go) 10 minutes after opening the box. Cheyenne Software's BitWare fax/data software is easier to set up than most fax programs, and its menu bar features very intuitive icons. All the applets are easy to use, and the fax viewer--which lets users choose between four onscreen orientations--is particularly helpful. To add to your comfort level, there's a lifetime warranty. $169. Amquest Corp., 717-569-8030
Amquest Hypermodem 28800 Model AM2814I-HY - March 1996

Cardinal MVP288XF

This bird is fleet, lightweight, portable-and even has rubber feet if you want to stand it on end to save space. You can also attach it underneath the desktop with the included Velcro strips. You also get a Rockwell chipset, lifetime warranty, trial memberships to AOL, CompuServe, Delphi and other online services--and, of course, 28.8 speed. All this, and a nice price, too. $179 (street). Cardinal Technologies, 800-775-0899 x225, 717-293-3000.
Cardinal MVP288XF - August 1995

Cardinal MVP288xV

The Cardinal MVP288xV unites the best features of all communications packages. It's VoiceView-enabled, the comm app is the preferred FaxWorks 3.0, and it's got fax-on-demand along with the usual complement of features. The software lets users enter credit card numbers to send faxes or place long-distance calls, while the BBS list offers a robust A-to-Z listing of popular BBSes. The FaxWorks manual, Getting Started Guide and Reference Manual are all helpful yet easy on the eyes. And installation's a snap, since it's an external. $209. Cardinal Technologies, 800-775-0899, 717-293-3000
Cardinal MVP288XV - March 1996

Hayes Optima 288 V.34/V.FC + FAX

Our tests found this modem to be a flawless performer that's quick as lightning. The external modem transfers data at more than 1MB per second. It uses a fast serial port adapter card for impressive data transfers even at 14.4Kbps. Our reviewers found setting up and running the Optima 288 V.34/V.FC + FAX easy. $579. Hayes Microcomputer Products, 404-441-1617, fax 404-447-0640.
Hayes Optima 288 V.34/V.FC+FAX - May 1995

Hayes Optima 288

The Hayes Optima 288 voice/fax/data modem lets your small business function like a large one. With a minimum baud rate of 28.8Kb per second and V.42bis data compression, the unit's data throughput is up to 230Kbps. You can send and receive faxes, and if you've already got a scanner, you can scan and fax to your heart's content. It can also serve as a voice-mail system with up to 10 mailboxes that can be fully customized. $579. Hayes Microcomputer Products, 770-840-9200, fax 770-441-1238.
Hayes Optima 288 - February 1996

SupraExpress 288i PnP

The SupraExpress dives into the relatively uncharted waters of plug-and-play with great enthusiasm-and with good reason. Windows 95 doesn't quite support the product right out of the box, but all the user has to do is snap the card in, reboot and choose the right option from the dialog box. There's a diagnostic diskette, COMit communications software and a CompuServe startup kit. $169.95. Supra Corp., 800-727-8772, 360-604-1400.
SupraExpress 288I PnP - December 1995

U.S. Robotics Sportster Vi 28.8 Faxmodem with DSVD

Need to talk to your West Coast rep at the same time you're sending over next month's sales forecast? No sweat with this U.S. Robotics Sportster fax/modem. Its DSVD (digital simultaneous voice and data) feature does just what it says. And there's more: Bundled with the unit is Intel's ProShare, which lets you and another DSVD-modem user work on applications together as you converse. The Sportster can also function as a regular 28.8Kbps modem when you want to reach out to colleagues who don't have DSVD. $399. U.S. Robotics, 800-DIAL-USR, 708-676-7010.
US Robotics Sportster Vi 28.8 - December 1995

Zoom V.34X FaxModem

This modem definitely lives up to its name. It's fast! Moreover, its 15 indicator LEDs show everything from current connection information to fax status, and the package includes enough software to transmit data and faxes in different environments. In fact, its best feature may be compatibility. Its throughput with other manufacturers' products rivals the speeds other modems achieve only with their own kind. $199. Zoom Telephonics, 800-666-6191, 617-423-1072
Zoom/FaxModem V.34X - May 1995

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