Most of us have a printer here, scanner there, fax machine and copier a few cubicles away. But the convergence trend is combining all these tools into one multifunction printer (MFP) that fits a desktop — and a budget — quite nicely. Here are three nice multis in the sub-$500 ballpark.

Top print quality, smart digital copying features, 150-sheet input tray — there’s little not to like. CON: May be more machine than you need, considering the price. BOTTOM LINE: If it fits your budget, this multi will get 2003 started off right. MORE
LEXMARK X125, $170
Decent print quality, good scans, and that price isn’t a misprint. CON: The usual deal: low purchase price, high per-page printing costs. BOTTOM LINE: Not economical for heavy print jobs, but a bargain for light users. MORE
CompactFlash adapter lets you print excellent borderless digital photos. Three separate color ink cartridges mean you can replace only the empty tank, saving money in the long run. CON: Lacks built-in fax; works only with PCs running Windows 98 and newer systems.
BOTTOM LINE: Speedy print and copy times make this a strong choice. MORE