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BuyingTips - Printer

What is a Printer?

Printer is a device that is attached to your PC and it prints text and graphics one sees on the screen of the monitor. In another words printer is something which simply prints.

Printers can be devided into three categories:

Inkjet Printers: provide the best all-around value and are inexpensive. Inkjet printers can use ordinary copy paper. They offer good text quality but not the same image quality as laser printers. Inkjet printers are best suitable for small businesses though some inkjets have special features that let you create your own specialty printing.

Laser Printers: Laser printers use a laser to charge a drum inside the printer electrically; the drum then rolls through toner, which is transferred to paper. Laser printers provide the highest-quality ,professional looking pictures and text and are generally the fastest printers. The technology is very similar to a copying machine. They're best suited if you do a lot of printing or need very high quality print. Also, the cost per page comes out cheaper compared to inkjets.

Multifunction Printers: Multi-function printers come as scanners, faxes and even copiers in addition to printing, all combined in one machine.

For more information on Multifunction Printers please visit Buying tips - All in One Printer

The following key features will help you decide the right Printer for you:

Speed: The quality of a printer is determined by the speed of the printer, which is measured in dots per inch (dpi). The higher the numbers, the more detailed the print image is. The speed depends on the size of the document, quality of the paper used, placement of the ink dots and the configuration of the PC. Printers also have a speed rating, indicated by the number of pages per minute (ppm). The higher the number, the faster the printer. Remember pages per minute is the average speed printing black and white pages only, actual speed may be different based on the amount of graphics on each page. Since color images need more ink, they take longer to print than black and white images.

Cartridges: Another significant feature is the number of cartridges. Some printers use one cartridge with three ink colors (red, blue and yellow) to do color printing. This system mixes 3 colors anywhere black is needed on the page, which produces a dull black. As a result it uses a lot more ink and is slow in printing. Others use two cartridges, one black, and another containing the colors. Dual cartridges are less expensive in the long run because they print more efficiently by wasting less ink, and they're faster.

Parallel Port: An appropriate cables allow for two-way communication between the printer and the computer, most printers don't come with it. This makes it easier for the printer to inform your PC of its status.

Compatible Software: Check for compatibility, usually the printer should come with control software, also called drivers. Ask a salesperson to help you match your computer and printer.

RAM: Or Buffer Memory holds the graphic information on its way to be printed. The larger the RAM, the faster the printer can print complex graphics.

Front or Top Paper Feed: Front feed uses rubber rollers to bring the top sheet from the tray into the printer. The tray for new sheets is placed in front of the printer, requiring more desk space. Whereas Top feed printers feed the paper down into the printer and hence they don't require as much space.

Tray Capacity: This refers to the maximum number of pages that can be stored in the printer before refilling it. A larger capacity tray allows you to leave the printer unattended for longer period of time.

Max Paper Width: This is the widest piece of paper that can be fed into the printer. Though most printers can print on paper 8.5" wide, some allows to use even wider paper for posters and other printouts.

Print Language: Laser printers use one of two print languages: HP-PCL or Postscript. Postscript is a more complex language and is used in printers that handle complex graphics.

Resident Fonts: Are fonts built into the printer. Resident fonts can be printed quickly by the printer at very high resolutions.

Zoom Copy range: Zoom feature allows you to enlarge and reduce copies. This is useful when you only need part of a piece of paper or when you’re going from one size paper to another.


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