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Tag Archives: Printers

Making The Most Of Your Printer

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At a recent launch I attended in Hong Kong (disclaimer: HP paid for my plane fare and accommodation), HP launched a new range of printers with an interesting addition, namely e-mail addresses for each printer. The idea is pretty simple. If you’ve got a device capable of emailing, you can send files to the printer. This skips the need for drivers, or even a PC at all, as it’s technically capable of taking email from connected devices such as smart phones or tablets like Apple’s iPad.

It’s a neat idea in a field that doesn’t see too many genuinely interesting ideas. Putting it simply, printing is sadly boring stuff, and something that most of us don’t care about a jot up until the printer jams or runs out of ink or toner. A printer’s job is a mundane one, and one that it doesn’t get a jot of credit for. For most consumers, the choice in buying a printer often seems to come down to whatever model is the cheapest on the shop floor. Often that’s astonishingly cheap. I’ve seen plenty of last year’s model printers on shop floors for less than fifty bucks, which on first glance seems like a steal.

Often, however, it’s anything but. There’s nothing wrong with the older technology per se, but what can trap printer buyers is both the cost of the ink and the quality of the output. It shouldn’t be a huge surprise to discover that cheaper printers often have worse print quality, especially for things like photo or colour printing.  One of the more interesting figures to come out of the launch I attended was that HP estimates that the era of printers being used for Word Processing predominantly is coming to an end. I’m certain that this doesn’t mean that the humble small office laser should expect a gold watch any time soon, but at a consumer level, things are shifting towards photo and web printing. Once you move from printing characters to how much of a character Uncle Trevor is, the quality of the output becomes a lot more important.

The ink/toner question is the other big “trap” in printer pricing. Buy a cheap printer, and it’s almost certain that the replacement cost for a full set of inks will be greater than the cost of the printer itself. Most (but not all) vendors have moved beyond including half-filled “starter” ink packs with printers, but it’s not environmentally friendly to junk a working printer just to get cheaper inks with a new one. Where you can save money here is in buying the bulk ink cartridges most vendors offer. Look for inks labelled as “XL” or “High Yield” or similar. You’ll pay a bit more for the inks upfront, but when they go through twice as many pages, the cost per page drops, not to mention the number of times you have to go to the shops to get new inks.


What to Look for When Buying a Printer for your PC

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Computer and Internet technology provide us with the prospect of very soon conducting work and business using electronic and digital documents only; in essence, a paperless environment. However, there will always be a need to print documents every once in a while.

The cost of a printer is usually very low. Printer manufacturers know that they will make enough of a profit on ink cartridges to risk taking a small loss selling the printer. Therefore, many consumers find themselves in the position where they have a fantastic printer but over time, can not afford to buy ink for it.

A printer can usually only be used with unique ink cartridges made specifically by the manufacturer for that printer. This is something to bear in mind when you are making a decision about which printer to buy. Before committing to a specific printer, find out how much it will cost you to keep the printer supplied with ink cartridges.

Even though printers are sold cheaply, it is still important to make sure that you are buying a quality printer. You don’t want to have to shop for a new printer in a few months no matter how little you paid for it. Find out what people are saying about the printer you have your eye on. Review web sites are a great place to hear directly from other consumers.

Whether you are a student and will use your printer at home or if you are buying a printer for business purposes, you will probably want a printer with a few extra features. A variety of good features come packaged with today’s printers. A scanner, fax and copier are common built-in add-ons and ones that are recommended for home office use.

Printers come quite cheaply these days. If you take the time to do a little bit of research before buying, you can prevent yourself overspending on ink and from suffering with a printer that functions as cheaply as the price you paid for it.


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