Upon hitting the shelves, it didn't take me long to discover that I couldn't find all the brands and models on my shopping list. At stores, the selection can be slim. Office Depot, for instance, didn't carry any printers or fax machines from Sharp Electronics, which were on my shopping list when I headed to the store. In some cases, Alvarado was able to steer me to alternative brands and models with better prices, features and warranties. But be prepared to be flexible. If not, be prepared to buy online as needed.
The first major decision I made was to go with a laser printer rather than an inkjet. For basic office needs like outputting sales letters, word processing documents and invoices, I chose the high-quality professionalism of laser printers over the cheaper inkjets. Plus, Alvarado assured me you get more bang for your buck with a laser printer down the road, considering the fact that you won't have to shell out $25 a pop for a new inkjet cartridge every few hundred pages.
My choice for a good SOHO laser printer is the Xerox WorkCentre XD 100 laser/copier machine. It prints at 600 x 600 dpi resolution and a fast 8 pages per minute (ppm) from its large 250-sheet paper tray. The WorkCentre XD 100 is also a great digital copier in one neat package. It comes with 50 to 200 percent reduction/enlargement features and several preset buttons. However, since the WorkCentre XD 100 copier/laser is rather large, it might not be the best solution for tight office space.
Next, I chose an affordable plain-paper fax machine for handling basic fax needs. At $139.99 (street), the Panasonic KX-FP101 fax machine fit that description, with functional 56-number storage, 15 seconds per page faxing and a 150-sheet paper tray. It stores up to 28 pages in document memory, so there's less time spent hanging around the fax machine. Also in my shopping cart: a basic digital AT&T 9301 900 MHz cordless phone with speed-dialing features and excellent voice clarity; an Iomega 100MB Zip drive for backing up business data; and a Bush Fusion Collection Corner Desk, which is n L-shaped computer workstation with a very large workspace. I also saw some cool, wire mesh desk accessories for cheap, so I threw these into the equation as well. Why not?