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The Incredible Shrinking Publisher

New Breed Of Desktop Units

Microboards GX-1 CD/DVD DuplicatorThe invasion of small publishers has begun; the Microboards GX-1 now joins the fray with Primera’s Bravo SE. The new trend seems to have settled on single drive, single cartridge, “desktop friendly” publishers. Both the Bravo SE and GX-1 have a single 16X DVD±RW drive and a single, tri color ink cartridge, but the similarities end there. The GX-1 has a 50-disc capacity (Bravo SE is only 20) and Microboards’ famous bottom-up singulator; a device that picks up a single disc from a group of discs.

I think both units do a great job printing discs, even with the single tri-color cartridge. The reason I mention the print cartridge is because of “process black”. When a printer only has a color cartridge it is forced to make black by layering color on top of color on top of color. In the past, single cartridge color printers did not produce dark blacks, but the print engines available today do an acceptable job. The GX-1 TriColor Cartridge uses a print engine from HP and Bravo SE Ink Cartridge uses a Lexmark engine. My own personal preference leans to the HP engine since it appears to have better color layering, but both produce amazing results.

Aesthetics, ah yes aesthetics; defined as the branch of philosophy dealing with such notions as the beautiful, the ugly, the sublime, the comic, etc. The aesthetics of the GX-1 may be it’s most... well let’s call it “special” attribute. The GX-1 may have been in the back of the line when it came to handing out looks, but the utilitarian in me is willing to overlook its awkward appearance. I am a true believer that “form follows function” and the designers at Microboards agree. The GX-1 does have a reject bin where the Bravo SE does not. Primera Bravo SE CD/DVD DuplicatorSure, it looks like Spock’s coffin but designers did have a purpose in mind. Long and narrow was the idea behind the design. Intended to only use 11½” of desk space by placing it square to the edge its output bin hangs over. Well it probably sounded like a good idea at the time. Size and looks aside, the GX-1 is a robust unit that builds on Microboards’ experience in disc publishing.

When attempting the final analysis I keep bouncing around a few features. The GX-1 has the edge in capacity and print engine, but I like the Bravo SE’s form factor and design (it does come in a print only version). Both have embraced the Macintosh user, as both the GX-1 and Bravo SE are both Mac compatible. Both are extremely capable. Both have a single cartridge print engine. Both have a street price close to their bigger two cartridge brothers (DX-1, and Bravo II). I think the answer is this: The small publisher is a great entry into the bigger world of auto-loading disc printing and publishing, a realm I am well versed in and I welcome these newcomers to the party. I think more options are always better, and you may find these smaller units to be a perfect fit!