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Office Printers Buying Guide


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HP LaserJet 1020 - The HP 1020 LaserJet smoothly process documents containing text, images, and graphics with its speedy 234MHz processor and ample 2 MB of memory. Jobs will print out at a quick 15 pages per minute, and thanks to HP's Instant-on technology, the first page emerges in less than 10 seconds from a cold start. The included FastRes 1,200 dpi effective print quality and HP's Resolution Enhancement technology (REt) ensures professional looking print jobs every time.


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Office Printers Buying Guide

  1. 1. Working in Printer Consumable retailing, you would think that the majority of questions we receive wouldloosely revolve around "Which Ink should I use?", or "What cartridges will give me the best printingresults?" If you find yourself agreeing with that statement, then come and keep me company in the I-was-wrong-corner. Thats right. The number one topic of conversation we find is "What printer do yourecommend?" Whether theyre buying a new one themselves, or searching for a business contact, or just oneof those people that really - REALLY - wants to be up to date with the top technology information, we getasked non-stop.Whilst the temptation would be to fulfil our capitalist desires, recommend the printers which provide us withthe highest margins and be done with it, amassing an untouchable army of customers utilising Printer-X totheir own cost along the way (mwahaha), this is not how we do business. In fact, quite the opposite. Webelieve that our experience in the cartridges field, coupled with the fact we are not involved in the retailingof printers, leaves us in a prominent unbiased position for recommendations.Whilst the following is not intended to denigrate or damage any manufacturers reputation, it is our honestopinion which will hopefully lead you in your printer browsing task.So, capitalist army-building aside, the actual question - What printer do we recommend? I wish I could put asingle printer here, an all encompassing beast of a machine that excelled in anything you ever needed, andeven did your Monday morning emails for you. But alas, my dreams are yet to reach fruition. The idealprinter for you is going to depend on a range of factors, which we will discuss and find out.Firstly - what will you be using the printer for?Now, stop your laughing at me for one moment, I know 99% of you read that and thought "Well, forPrinting, idiot", and I accept your mocking tones and counter with:o Purely for home use - letters, kids homework, neighbourhood watch pamphletso Quality printing, whether it is photos or image intense documentso Small office use - mainly business documents on a reasonable scaleo Larger business use - high speed documentsAha! Not as simple as you thought is it. Whilst you decide which of these areas you fit into, I will cheerilycarry on with this article, thinking of my next way to stump you.Im a home printer:Now that youve got that truth out in the open, and can move on with your life as a computer hardware (Im afunny man), this category of printer means you need to focus on ease of use and cost. You dont want to be
  2. 2. spending £s each time your child prints a new spell-checked version of their homework, or you tryout the new letterhead for your family Christmas letter X number of times. I shall start with the short andsweet part of this section:AVOID - Old Hp and Lexmark printers, and Dell altogetherNow just imagine me shouting that at you, possibly accompanied by violent shaking, and you should get thesincerity of the warning. Just dont buy them. These manufacturers use an ink cartridge with a built in head,with all 3 different colours placed within this single cartridge. When one colour runs out, the cartridge isfinished. Finish all your magenta printing, as who doesnt love red everywhere, and wave goodbye to anycyan and yellow you had stored away for a rainy day. This obviously means much higher printer costs than asystem where the print head is built into the printer, with separate ink tanks for each colour so you just topup where needed. This system is utilised by Epson, Canon and Brother, making them immediately bettervalue for you, and our recommended starting point for home printing.Next you must consider what you want your printer to be able to do. Did you manage to stifle your "printthings" laugh this time? I hope so. With multi-function printers offering a range of extras nowadays, such asscanning/copying/wireless networking, you really get a diverse choice. We do recommend spending the fewextra pounds and getting one of the multi-function devices. In the long haul, the multi purposes it provideswill tailor for any home needs you may encounter, and with all manufacturers providing them, their costs arecompetitive already.Another advantage of these printers is a saving on following printing costs. With original cartridgesapproaching the actual cost of the printer, many can be tricked into an apparent bargain, then double theirprinting outlay as soon as the first cartridge runs dry. Home use printers opens up the avenue ofcompatible/refilled cartridges. With the only difference in quality being noticeable towards high end photoprinting, they will be perfectly adequate for all home printer needs, and are significantly cheaper thanmanufacturers original cartridges.So what do we know? We are looking for a multi-function printer, made by Epson, Canon or Brother.Normally we would go into the hows and whys of using the printer, but the range of models for thesemanufacturers have really fine tuned the user experience, and we feel they all draw level on the usabilitytest. So all 3 manufacturers carry on to the next stage, hooray. Multi function printers for these 3 providers isa great way to filter your browsing time, and anything after this is really more down to personal preferencethan a definitive answer.For our overall recommendation, we would go for Canon each time.. They are reliable, cheap to run, andquality output! If you just want a printer that prints, go for the Canon ip4700. Want a multi-function? TheCanon mp640.Now that youve had my Home printing two-cents, I am going to break open the piggy bank in a splurge of
  3. 3. valuable information for High Quality Photo printing.Quality Image Printing:Many people dont realise, but there are two types of imaging printers to choose from, outlined in thefollowing to make you knowledgeable on all things image based.The first to cast your minds eye over is a process called dye sublimation. Ignoring the scientific jargon, ittransfers dye onto your paper/card/fabric with heat one colour at a time. If youre really wondering, and wantto show off, its called sublimation as the dye goes from solid, to a gas state, to solid in the printingsequence, without ever being a liquid. Fancy. This printing method produces very high quality photo prints,typically equivalent or actually better than that produced by the traditional printing method employed inphoto processing shops - the silver halide process.In addition due to the sublimation method, there is very little mess, and the photos are instantly dry andready to handle as soon as printing is finished. Also, due to the design of the printers, fewer moving partsthan other styles of printers limit the potential for break down, maximising the longevity of the printers.However, this method is limited by sizes that you can print in, typically only found in the 6x4 print sizes,and can be expensive with the method utilising numerous panels for each colour. Couple this with a factthese panels cannot be reused, no matter how small an amount of ink was used of that colour, and your costscan quickly accumulate. Ultimately though, if you are looking for a pure photo printing experience, youcant go wrong with this printing method, and we recommend Canon as the manufacturer to side with.If photo printing isnt the only quality image youre after, then dye sublimation may not be for you. With thetransfer from a gas state to a solid, a small amount of diffusion (funny, and a scientist!) is unavoidable.Whilst this is not an issue with photos as it produces a very natural finish, when applied to sectors whichrequire pinpoint accuracy, such as an architects graphical outputs, this discrepancy is a weakness.Additionally, this technique of printing only works on special-coated paper, meaning an unavoidableinflexibility in what you print. This leads me on nicely to the alternative method of image printing, Inkjetprinters.In the past, this method was so inferior to dye sublimation that it would not have been considered, especiallyin the realms of photo printing. This was due to dye sublimation utilising "continuous-tone technology"where, in laymans terms, any dot in the photo can be any colour. This is contrary to inkjet printing which, asthe name suggests, jets ink onto the page in droplets in scattered layers to create the image you are printing.Whilst this creates a smooth looking photo, focusing in on the photo would reveal visible droplets and notone smooth progression of the image. However, large advances in the technology of inkjet printers haveseen the implementation of microscopic droplets, and a more diverse range of injected ink colours,providing a far superior picture than previously seen. Coupled with its accurate printing for theaforementioned architects drawing, its ability to use numerous materials to print onto, and the flexibility ofimage size, the new range of inkjet printers provide a much better overall package for your diverse printing
  4. 4. needs.If you trust us implicitly, and need no more information than the gold mine you have just treated your eyesto, then our best choice would be the Epson Stylus Photo R2880. Hard working, reliable, quality output,even my manager has one!From the beauty of image printing, with the limitless potential of stunning scenery from photography, ourexploration of purchasing a printer leads us naturally onto.... small office printing. What better way todismiss the notion of grandiose panoramic views, than to the black and white (Im sure they need colour atsome times) monotony of the small office environment.Small Office Printing:Those of you whom have read the whole article will be glad to know that the requirement of these printers isvery similar to that of the home printers, with low costs and good performance top of the agenda. You willbe less pleased to note that these points will be repeated for those who skipped straight to this section. I willmake it as painless as possible.Firstly, the important points:Do not purchase a Dell Inkjet printer, or the old range of HP and Lexmark printers. Whilst being goodprinters, they will not be cost effective for you. Utilising an ink cartridge with a built in head and threeonboard colours, once one colour runs out you need a new cartridge. Infuriating in an environmentspecialising in black and white, with the occasional flash of colour for a company emblem or staff photo.This used to limit you to Canon, Epson and Brother printers, but the new ranges from HP and Lexmarkmean that you have a very wide choice. All of these take advantage of separate slots for each colour,meaning that once one runs low, you just replace the individual colour.So this is where your choice gets more difficult. Let us start with the simple decisions. Try and side towardsthe multi-function printers, which can cater for all the needs your office environment will place upon it. Foronly a slight increase in price, the additional practicality of the printer will be invaluable. The availability ofcompatibles for this range of printers is also worthwhile to note, with no degradation in quality for youroffice printing needs and a huge saving on overall printing costs.Now, which manufacturers to look at. HP and Lexmark have a healthy dominance of this area of printing,with HP edging ahead with their latest range of printers. Interestingly, they differ completely in the type ofink they use, meaning your preference can easily help you choose which to side with.Lexmark printers utilise dye based inks, the traditional ink found in the majority of inkjet printers, whilst HPprinters utilise a newer pigment based ink. First used by Epson, this pigment based ink is made up ofminuscule, encapsulated particles which sit on top of the paper, opposed to dye inks which are absorbed into
  5. 5. the papers fibres. "Why should I care?" I hear you ask? Well, for your office environment, whilst thesedifferences which typically only impact longevity of the prints and the colour quality, they also haveimplications for your costs. Dye based inks are known to soak into the page, lowering the efficiency of thecartridge per page, whilst pigment based ink has no such problem. Furthermore, pigment based inkstypically have larger cartridges meaning you get even more prints for your money.Whilst this is occasionally reflected in price, we tend to recommend siding with the pigment based inks,with a higher value for money being experienced.This soaking effect leads onto another advantage of pigment ink. As soon as the page is filtered out onto thetray, it is touch dry. With no risk of smudging or ink dispersion that you can get with dye based inks,pigments guarantee the cleanliness and professional appearance of documents you print within your office.The longevity of prints is also a variable worth considering. With the filing systems employed at mostoffices you want your printed records to be durable and long lasting. Whilst advances in dye based ink haveshown an increase in the lifetime of prints, pigment based inks still have the advantage.Finally, dye based inks are not waterproof! Now I realise most offices do not work in downpours or goswimming for meetings, but the advantage of a pigment based ink being used to print a letter, which getsposted and delivery on a rainy day and stays legible, cannot be frowned at.Ultimately we suggest the HP Officejet Pro 8500. A solid reliable printer from the new range of HPs, withfantastic per-page costs, backed up by quality pigment based inks.In our final section we will be looking at the heavy duty office printing, for businesss who scoff at any printspeed lower than 15 pages per minute.Business Use:Colour Laser Printers. Thank you for reading. I hope this section was helpful for you.In all seriousness though, with the fall of colour laser printer prices for under £200, your choice ismade for you. Small footprints, networkable, and outstanding results from the chemical toners now in use,all lend itself towards a fantastic business printer.The benefits of these printers just roll off the tongue:o Faster print speedso Lower cost per pageo More robustAnd this is just the starting point. An excellent quality range of compatibles presently available for a wide
  6. 6. number of these printers means you can further save on your printing costs. In fact, the only reason wewould say dont go for these printers is their apparent fussiness about the quality of paper being run throughthem. Ignoring the obvious "my printer is telling ME what I can print on?!?" issue, we found them to betemperamental when trying to print on the very cheapest 80gsm copies paper. However, upgrade to the80gsm LaserJet paper which we use in all of our machines and the colour LaserJets return to their sereneperforming best, causing us no problems at all. If you can afford it, stretch to the multi-function range ofthese printers, adding even more benefit to the small space these printers now take up.This section may be the shortest, but its because we believe your decision is such a formality. If we had topick one and save you the effort, we would side with the Oki range, brilliant printers. With a superb output,nice gloss finish, and very cheap running costs with our excellent quality compatible range, your businesswill try and find reasons to print. That may be stretching the truth, but you got the idea. Specifically, the Okic5650, but they are all quality products.We hope this article has been useful for you, and that you all stop asking us what printer to buy.Read articles like this and more at Sollars is the Owner and Managing Director of, an online retailer of Ink and Tonercartridges. They specialise in Printer Consumables whether original or compatible. Having been sellingonline since 2002 he brings a wealth of online experience to internet sales, marketing and the printing world.Article Source: LaserJet 1020 Great Deals Online