To the Rescue

Making the Upgrade

Need to shrink or update your office technology? Check out these solutions.

Come on, 'fess up. Your office technology is closer to an abacus than an LCD. Your monitor takes up more space than your file cabinet. Your desktop is slower than a tortoise. Your inkjet printer has been through more print cartridges than you can count. It's time to upgrade. Your situation doesn't have to be as dire as all that. But when your business technology has logged a few years of use, it's time to consider moving up to something better.

Let's start with that bulky CRT monitor. You can reclaim your desk space with an LCD like the 17-inch Xerox XL370s. For $350 (all prices street), you get the viewing space of a 19-inch CRT display, an analog connection (you'll need to look upward in the product line if you want digital) and a three-year warranty. Get more information at www.xerox-displays.com. For $200 to $300 more, you can move into the realm of high-end 19-inch LCD displays. Consider one of those if you work extensively with databases, spreadsheets or graphics layouts.

Now let's turn our attention to that brick of an obsolete desktop computer. Even if it's only a couple of years old, the pace of technology has far outdistanced its capabilities. And if you're still running Windows 98, you know you're in trouble. One interesting trend from the last year is that you may not want to replace your desktop with a desktop. Desktop-replacement notebooks are a popular choice and give you added flexibility.

The $2,599 Toshiba Satellite P25-S676 is a good example of a stylish laptop that fits this category. With a generous 17-inch widescreen display, 512 MB RAM, 3.4GHz Pentium 4 processor, DVD-SuperMulti Drive, 80GB hard drive and built-in 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi, it's a true replacement option. Don't worry, you can still use your new LCD monitor with your notebook when you're at the office.

If you're planning on hanging on to your desktop, or if it's fairly up-to-date, consider boosting your DVD recording capabilities. The $129 BenQ DW1600 16x DVD-recordable drive will get you up to speed with double-layer recording capability and superfast speeds. You can back up your data and files, and store a heap of information in DVD format. It's also convenient for passing around multimedia projects.

Whether you're using a desktop replacement or a regular old desktop, there's nothing like a good keyboard and mouse set to make your machine feel like new. The Logitech LX 700 wireless keyboard and rechargeable cordless mouse set runs $99.95. That's not bad when you consider that tangled and too-short cords will be things of the past.

Now that you've spiffed up your computing environment, it's a good time to turn some attention to printing. Take a long, last look at your inkjet-you won't miss it when it's gone. For a very small office or personal use, check into a device like the $199 Samsung SCX-4100 digital productivity center. This multifunction laser scans, copies, prints and features a 10,000-page monthly duty cycle. For workgroups with color needs, check out the $499 Xerox Phaser 6100 color laser printer. It features a 35,000-page monthly duty cycle, 64MB of memory and two-sided printing, and is designed for up to 15 users.

Upgrading your office technology is inevitable. It's really a matter of finding the right mix of timing and budget-friendliness to meet the needs of your growing business. Shop smart, and upgrading can be an uplifting experience for your business.

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This article was originally published in the November 2004 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: To the Rescue.

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