It's time to just say no to blobular, low-resolution images. The Epson Perfection 636U flatbed scanner can pump it up at a maximum 600 x 2,400 dpi. And that's pure hardware capability without sometimes inaccurate software enhancement. Mac- or PC-ready, the Perfection 636 comes with an Adaptec PCI SCSI card in case you don't already have one. Add in Adobe PhotoDeluxe, Presto! PageManager and Xerox Textbridge Classic OCR software, and you get a hunk-a, hunk-a good scanning.
Street price: $230
Over And Out
What? Another modem? Well, yes . . . but this Zoom Telephonics external 56 Kbps modem connects through a USB port on your computer. That gives the Zoom/FaxModem 56K Dualmode a little speed advantage over plain old serial ports and most internal modems. Two models are available for PC and Mac. ZoomGuard lightning protection is built in to keep your modem safe during rowdy weather. USB auto-configuration takes the edge off installing the new hardware. Status lights keep you informed of what the modem is up to.
Zoom/FaxModem 56K Dualmode
Street price: $89.95
Magical Mystery Tool
Make paper disappear with the Sharp Wizard. Turn your Day Runner into a toad. You won't be needing it. A PIM (Personal Information Manager), the Wizard OZ-750PC's capabilities aren't as varied as those of a Palm VII or Casio's Cassiopeia PDA. It's also not nearly as expensive and comes with a small, integrated keyboard. What it does well is handle your address book and appointment calendar and synchronize the data with corresponding programs on your desktop computer. The 2.5MB of storage is enough to sock away heaps of business contacts and meetings. Two AAA batteries provide the juice.
Street price: $149
Flat As A Pancake
You can bargain hunt down a 17-inch CRT monitor for half the price of the EIZO FlexScan T550. But if your business requires high-quality, accurate graphics work, you may just want to spring for the FlexScan T550. It sports a full-flat screen that eliminates the distorting curve found on the edges of most monitors for far less than the cost of an equivalent LCD. EIZO's SuperErgoCoat screen treatment reduces glare, reflection and eye-fatigue problems. An auto-size button on the front panel automatically sets the screen size and position.
EIZO Nanao Technologies
Street price: $559
Fax Of Life
With an awe-inspiring name like "KX-FPC141," you know it's got to be interesting. And, for a fax machine, it is. At just 11.8 inches by 13.6 inches by 5.7 inches high, this baby fits anywhere. A 900 MHz cordless telephone, Digital Duplex Speakerphone, copier function and digital answering system are all built in. The Panasonic IQ-Fax feature sends faxes over the Internet at a lower cost than standard faxing (which is also supported). A 150-sheet paper tray is backed up by a 28-page memory, in case paper runs out while receiving.
Street price: $370
We could go on and on about how much the all-in-one eOne PC looks like Apple's iMac, but that mess will probably get settled in court. Instead, we'll pop the translucent blue hood and see what's inside. A respectable 433 MHz Celeron processor joins 64MB RAM and a 6.4GB hard drive in powering the pre-installed Windows 98 and Microsoft Works. A 15-inch monitor (14 inches viewable) is built in; there's also a good, old-fashioned floppy drive, a 24X CD-ROM, a 56 Kbps modem and 10Base-T Ethernet.
Street price: $799