Guide To Buying A New Printer

Guide To Buying A New Printer



Guide to​ Buying a​ New printer
One of​ the more perplexing decisions when faced with choosing a​ new printer is​ which print technology is​ going to​ suit you best .​
At the moment there are two main printing systems: the laser technology, using toner cartridges and a​ transfer drum assembly; and ink jets using ink tank cartridges and fine-spray nozzles .​
The method that will suit you best will depend largely on what you plan to​ print on your new printer, and cost factors that affect the costs of​ running it .​
Laser printers are possibly better for high-volume printing, with lower 'per page' costs and they better black intensity text than most ink jets .​
Laser printers tend to​ have a​ faster page rate but ink jets still offer the important advantages in​ affordable colour printing .​
For home use, you'll probably want to​ print out digital photos or​ graphics, which makes colour a​ must .​
The traditional differentiation between lasers and ink jets has been office versus home use; however, colour offers obvious presentation advantages for business use as​ well .​
Fortunately, prices for both categories of​ printers have come down enough to​ make it​ practical to​ purchase both a​ laser and an​ ink jet if​ you absolutely need both colour and high-quality text .​
The work you do
There are a​ number of​ different printer configurations available today, many of​ them quite specialised in​ the applications .​
There are specialised photo printers, direct disc CD printers, Multifunction printers, desktop ink jets and high-speed lasers .​
If you want a​ printer that is​ specifically designed for printing photographs, you will most likely look for a​ colour ink-jet system that is​ a​ photo printer, allowing very high quality colour output and capable of​ printing all the way to​ the edge of​ the page .​
Recent releases by major brands now include all-in-one Multifunction devices that include scanning and printing capabilities .​
Many smaller units that are designed purely as​ a​ photo-printer to​ plug directly into your digital camera are also available .​
Much the same can be said for CD or​ DVD printing, with specialist printers available for printing directly onto discs, saving label application .​
On the other hand if​ you are a​ small home-office worker, then your requirements may be more general, in​ which case you need to​ make a​ printer decision based on the types of​ documents your produce and how many .​
In general terms, ink-jet printers offer high quality colour outputs at​ a​ low hardware cost, but high consumable cost .​
Lasers offer significantly higher speeds but at​ a​ much higher hardware cost .​
High volume usage however, reduces the cost per page considerably .​
Multifunction printers (MFP) are often ideal for home office or​ student needs because they combine multiple functions into one unit, usually a​ scanner, printer, copier fax machine, doing a​ little bit of​ everything, and saving considerable desk and office space in​ the bargain .​
Generally ink-jet style printers, some MFP may trade-off performance for price and convenience ( e.g .​
lower resolution, slower print speed) than if​ you were to​ buy a​ printer and scanner individually .​
You can buy Multifunction printers specially configured for printing photographs, with some machines providing the ability to​ scan directly from 35mm slides and store digital files and print them, which is​ ideal for archiving old photo libraries .​
However, the scanned images may not exhibit the same clarity and brightness of​ digitally capture photographs, or​ as​ the kind of​ quality that you can obtain from a​ deidcated scanner .​
Search Myshopping.com.au for the specifications you require and compare prices and performance between brands and technologies .​
Dealing with Technical Talk
One of​ the specifications that you will be faced with, is​ that of​ resolution .​
Up to​ a​ point, a​ printer's resolution determines aspects of​ its print quality .​
Images are made up of​ tiny dots of​ ink or​ toner that is​ applied to​ the page, and resolution is​ the term given to​ the number of​ dots per inch-quoted as​ dpi .​
This usually represented in​ a​ two-dimensional matrix (eg: 600 x 300 dpi) .​
Most printers today support a​ basic 600 x 600 dpi resolution that produces adequate quality in​ most instances .​
Many ink jets, however, especially photo printers and high-end plotters, offer higher resolutions and more dots in​ the vertical plane than the horizontal .​
Resolution ratings are not the whole story however .​
Many printer manufacturers now incorporate smoothing and enhancing features through software algorithms .​
This means that some output from printers with a​ lower dpi looks just as​ good as​ that from a​ higher dpi unit .​
And, although some printers have very high resolutions, you're not likely to​ notice any difference in​ quality with common print jobs once you go above 600 x 600 dpi resolution .​
What you will notice however, is​ much higher consumption of​ inks or​ toner .​
It is​ noteworthy, and perhaps obvious to​ some, that the higher resolution you are printing at, the higher will be your consumable consumption, and this is​ the most expensive part of​ your printer .​
Speed is​ another important consideration .​
Vary rarely will you find that your printer performs at​ the 'pages-per-minute' rate (ppm) that is​ advertised or​ cited in​ the specification .​
There are a​ number of​ reasons for this including the size of​ the file being printed, the amount of​ ink coverage on the page, the proportion of​ black to​ other colours, the weight of​ the paper stock and possibly even the constancy of​ the power supply of​ electricity to​ your premises .​
This is​ not to​ day that the manufacturers, under laboratory conditions are not able to​ make the machine perform at​ spec, just not to​ rely on the claim as​ a​ gospel figure .​
However you can use the speed ratings to​ make some judgement of​ performance differences between brands and models .​
If speed is​ an​ important consideration, then you can short-list printers that claim to​ perform above a​ certain rate and the compare other factors .​
You can do this at​ Myshopping.com.au simply by searching for printers that offer a​ certain ppm speed .​
Laser printers use powder toner that is​ electromagnetically attracted to​ the page by an​ image temporarily made on a​ transfer drum through a​ laser scanning process, and then fused to​ the page with a​ heat-setting system .​
This toner is​ supplied in​ cartridges, usually one for each of​ a​ four-colour printing system (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) .​
Manufactures give some estimate of​ how many pages of​ a​ given size each toner cartridge will print, based on a​ predetermined proportion of​ coverage (say 10%) .​
As with the speed claims, these estimates are rarely accurate, but can be used to​ make some judgement between makes and models .​
The higher resolution of​ image you are printing, the more toner will be used in​ the process .​
Ink jet printers use a​ liquid ink stored in​ tanks that are sprayed by very fine nozzles onto the page as​ they are required .​
Just as​ you replace the toner cartridges in​ the laser system, you replace ink tanks when they're depleted in​ an​ ink jet printer .​
It is​ important to​ understand that even thought the printer might be cheap, consumables is​ where the manufacturers actually make enormous profits, so be sure to​ consider replacement consumables when doing your cost comparisons .​
With ink jet printers, some have colour cartridges in​ one unit, others have separate colour units .​
In the long run, separate tanks will most likely work out cheaper, because as​ one colour runs out, you replace only that colour .​
When all colours are housed in​ the one cartridge unit, you may have a​ nearly full tank of​ cyan when the yellow is​ completely gone, and you have to​ throw away unused ink .​
Not only does this waste your money, it​ can also be environmentally expensive .​
Cost
There are two parts to​ your cost assessment of​ a​ printer .​
The first is​ the purchase price of​ the printer itself .​
This can vary considerably between brands and models, and is​ usually differentiated through different features being offered .​
Use Myshopping.com.au to​ search for a​ printer based on a​ given price range and compare the features .​
However, possibly more important is​ the ongoing cost, often measured in​ cost per page .​
a​ typical ink jet printer may cost you 40-50 cents per printed page, depending on how much ink you are using on the page, it​ may even cost more .​
By comparison, a​ colour laser may work out to​ 15-20 cents per page .​
These costs don't usually include the paper stock, and are based on consumables and maintenance costs .​
Companies like Xerox often supply large colour Laser printers for a​ cost per page fee .​
One cost assessment technique is​ to​ estimate how much printing you will do in​ a​ given period, load your calculations with a​ percentage of​ ink coverage (if you are printing all full gloss and high resolution photographs, for example, you might load the cost per page by a​ factor of​ 8-10), factor in​ the machine cost and make a​ comparison of​ what you will spend in​ a​ year, including the cost of​ the printer .​
Other things you might consider
How paper travels through a​ printer can affect your whole printer experience .​
The closest you can get to​ a​ 'straight through' paper path, the more trouble-free your printer will be .​
If all your printing is​ only on plain white bond paper, then paper path will possibly not be a​ major consideration .​
But if​ you're printing on photographic stock, thick paper, envelopes, transparent film or​ other materials, then be sure the print path is​ compatible with your requirements .​
How you connect to​ your computer might also be a​ consideration, especially if​ you work with large files where connection speed is​ a​ consideration .​
Most printers today offer relatively high-speed USB interfaces .​
But you might want to​ consider wireless connections or​ networking capabilities .​
When choosing a​ Laser printer, on-board RAM (read only memory) might be a​ consideration .​
a​ printer with a​ standard 64 Megabytes of​ RAM will be slow to​ print a​ quantity of​ documents that are larger in​ size than the printer's memory .​
If large documents are a​ consideration, make sure you can upgrade the printer's memory .​
The printer driver provides the software interface to​ your printer, offering you on-screen control over copies, page size, orientation, resolution, text smoothing and paper thickness and type .​
Many drivers now include advanced features and enable you to​ create your own custom-setting profiles for quick selection .​
Moreover a​ good driver provides complete printer management from on-screen, including paper jams and job queue management .​
Ink-jet drivers often provide graphical indications of​ remaining ink levels for each colour .​
Search using Myshopping.com.au
Consider any bundled software offerings when you're choosing a​ printer, for this can mean a​ significant bonus in​ value-added software .​
Bundled applications might include greeting card, poster, and banner creators, and photo editing programs .​
With computing becoming a​ major component of​ education, software for kids that provide a​ user-friendly way to​ create word processing and graphics documents can be a​ major bonus .​
Space may be an​ issue in​ your office, in​ which case you should consider the amount of​ space the printer will need to​ operate efficiently .​
This is​ often more than just its footprint .​
You need to​ also consider access to​ paper trays and airflow around the machine .​
While basic printer configurations may be fine for your immediate needs, take a​ look at​ the options available and their costs for each unit before you buy .​
You may see future applications .​
This is​ easy to​ do using Myshopping.com.au where you can simply compare types of​ technology, prices, vendors and the options each one offers.




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