If a picture is worth a thousand words, a really big picture must be worth a million. And considering what beautiful, bright images these printers, projectors and displays make, the million-word image is within reach of your new small business.
Here are our top 10 picks for the best imaging systems for paper, the screen and the wall. Get any one of these devices, and giving your dream the scale it deserves is a no-brainer.
1. Epson WorkForce 635 All-in-One-Printer
Epson is taking aim at the hard-core small-business market with a new line of all-in-one printers. What makes the WorkForce 635 great for startups is Epson's reputation for image quality combined with affordability. This device offers close-to-professional quality when it comes to the essentials: printing, scanning, faxing and copying. And with a bit of technical fooling around, some high-quality collateral can come from this unit. It also doesn't hurt that it generates 15 black-and-white pages per minute and has built-in Wi-Fi capability. Looks good and works well--can't beat that.
2. Canon imageClass LBP7660Cdn Color Laser Printer
If you're looking for a laser printer that will spit out a ton of fabulous color pages, this is it. Canon's imageClass lineup of laser printers is ideal for the home office or small business that needs to print color quickly and in serious volume. This particular model can produce about 21 color pages per minute from a 250-sheet paper cassette, which can be expanded if necessary. Image quality is what you would expect from Canon, which makes the cameras the pros use. If you can eat the upfront cost, you can get crazy image quality in even the smallest office.
3. Dell M109S On-The-Go Mini Projector
With just the right balance of portability and visual punch, Dell's On-The-Go Mini Projector is the unsung hero in small-biz sales circles. Weighing in at less than a pound and measuring a compact 3 1/2 by 4 inches, this projector literally fits in your hand. The device also uses Texas Instruments Digital Light Processing chip technology to project a darn good high-resolution image. A nice multi-input hookup lets you sell your business pretty much anywhere, which you'll need to do if your startup is going to make it out on the mean streets. If you need a handy way to get your point across, the On-The-Go works.
4. 3M PocketProjector MP180
Price: Varies by retailer (from $409 to $600)
Here's a surprisingly useful pocket projector that works well as an ad hoc presentation tool. It's a nifty little gadget that lets you project PowerPoint files and even movies just about anywhere on a screen up to 80 inches (though at that dimension the image is awfully dim--we think 24 inches is about as big as you should go). So this isn't the device for major presentations, but with 4 GB of onboard data storage, support for the Microsoft Office suite and PDF files, plus Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capability, this is a quality on-the-fly presentation tool.
5. InFocus Mondopad
If only the best display device will do, consider the 55-inch Mondopad by InFocus. This wall-mounted tablet is essentially an enormous iPad, and it will definitely bring the "wow" factor to even the most staid conference room. As a meeting tool, it's hard to beat the Mondopad, which offers a subscription-based videoconferencing tool that's compatible with just about any videoconferencing platform on the web. And if you are bringing customers to the office, this becomes the ultimate multi- touch display tool. You can share documents, presentations, surf the web or turn the device into a giant whiteboard and brainstorm ideas. However you use it, the Mondopad is just that: mondo.
6. HP Designjet T1300 large format printer
Believe it or not, at more than $6,000, this printer is a steal. It lets your business create banners of nearly any size, giving you a huge-format display engine right in your office. If your shop is planning to do large-format presentations, this unit will pay for itself the first day out. It's that powerful. Compatibility with HP ePrint & Share lets you run the printer from multiple systems. Keep in mind, ink isn't cheap for large-scale printers, but if you're working big, this big printer's for you.
7. Brother HL-2270DW monochrome laser printer
When you're starting out, sometimes you just need the basics, like the ability to generate tons of black-and-white prints. For that, there is no beating Brother's monochrome laser printer. What this desktop printer lacks in extras it makes up for in savings, with its ability to print high-quality pages for pennies. One laser replacement cartridge will last most small shops about a year, adding up to a significant savings over expensive inkjet cartridges. This isn't a total bare-bones device, either--it has a few neat features, such as Wi-Fi connectivity and network access. The Brother can be wonky to set up, and the manuals set a new low for English grammar, but if your business is going to do even a moderate amount of black-and-white printing, this is a must-have device.
8. Epson PowerLite 1880 Projector
Here's a low-cost projector that packs a real punch. The Epson PowerLite 1880 gives you an ultra-bright image without the heavy price tag. With a crisp picture and plenty of features--including USB and HDMI inputs--it's enough to meet most startups' needs for handling the presentations and meetings that will help your new business make a great first impression. It's surprisingly portable, too. The PowerLite might not be the coolest projector out there, but it's definitely one of the handiest.
9. HP Officejet 7000 Wide Format Printer
You may be as web-savvy as they come, but odds are there will still be times when you need to reach out to customers and clients through good old-fashioned paper. If you need to print brochures, giant spreadsheets or other presentations that are too big for your standard printer to handle, the HP Officejet 7000 offers big, low-cost prints--up to 13 by 19 inches--for less than the cost of an all-in-one printer. It's missing some handy features you'll find in many of today's printers (wireless networking, for one thing), but for $200, that's not a big deal.
10. NanoLumens flexible display
Price: Varies depending on installation specs; consult for a bid
If you want to project the message that you look at the world from a fresh perspective, a NanoLumens flexible display is for you. This bendable screen can fit in a corner or around a pillar. Its eye-popping technology and display chops will get the attention of just about anybody, but making it work requires special installation, some real tech know-how and a lot of patience--so pricing can vary greatly. A solid video integrator will be required to install this unit properly. But you are getting a bendable TV, for crying out loud. Present your idea on this device, and, rest assured, people will notice.