IT Show 2013 - Cameras, Printers, Monitors & Storage Buying Guide


Printers

Printer Buying Guide

Step into any consumer electronics show and you will be faced with many printer choices. Unfortunately not all models are created equal; some offer faster print speeds while others have better print quality. So it's best to identify your needs before committing to a purchase.

PRINTERS TODAY

Printers currently come in three forms: inkjet printers, laser printers and LED printers. Each category of printer comes with its own benefits and drawbacks, and many current models combine other features such as a copier and fax functionality.  

 

Inkjet printers use dots of ink to create an image. They are smaller in size compared to laser and LED printers. They offer good photo print quality due to their ability to blend colors smoothly. Print quality in terms of text is acceptable for home use and school projects, and inkjet printers are able to print on a variety of media such as cards and iron-on transfer papers.

However, print speeds of inkjet printers are generally slower than laser and LED printers. And while the cost of inkjet printers are generally lower than laser and LED printers, the replacement ink cartridges may actually drive operational costs up due to a lower page yield compared to laser printers' toner page yield. 

 

Laser printers use a laser beam to create an image via a static charge on a photosensitive drum. The charge attracts toner, which is then transferred from the drum onto the page via a quick baking process. Due to the many moving parts required in a laser printer, they are generally larger than inkjet and LED printers.

However, they make up for their bulk with superior text print quality and print speeds. The basic laser printer model does not print in color, but black and white. Color laser printers cost more and are larger than their monochrome counterparts as they have four separate toner colors and four separate drums.

 

LED printers also utilize toner and a rotating photosensitive drum to print. Unlike laser printers, LED printers use stationary array of minute LED lights that flash at different times to create the image.

Print quality and speeds are similar to laser printers. However, since there are less moving parts inside an LED printer, they are considered more reliable than laser printers over time.

 

 

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR

Print Quality: Laser printers have the sharpest text print quality and are thus more suitable for printing office and business documents. While the print quality of small charts and graphics are acceptable, they don't do so well in printing photographs and images. Inkjet printers produce text which is acceptable for home and school project use, but excel in printing photographs and images. 

Print Speed: Laser printers are generally quicker than inkjet printers, and it's more apparent when copying documents. But inkjet printers have evolved to being reasonably fast, unless you are printing in high volumes daily, in which a laser printer will prove to be much faster. Print speed is generally defined by how many pages per minute (ppm) a printer can churn out. Do take note that various manufacturers test the speed differently, so print speeds may not actually be comparable across brands. Many printer manufacturers are also fond of using draft mode (draft mode's print quality is not as good as normal mode) to obtain a very fast print speed claim, so check the stated print speeds carefully. 

Multi-function (MFP) or All-in-One (AIO): Some printers sport multi-functions in addition to being able to print. The most common functions are fax, copy and scan capabilities. If you foresee that you will be needing these features in the future, then it's best to just invest in an AIO right from the start. 

Duplex Printing: Duplex printing means that a printer is capable of automatically printing on both sides of a page without needing a user to manually flip the pages. This saves time and makes it less of a hassle when printing double-sided documents. This feature is generally found in mid to high-end models. 

Automatic document feeder (ADF): An ADF is a feature found on the mid to higher-end models. It allows users to scan or copy documents without having to manually feed each page, and frees up users' time by allowing the scanning or copying to be done unattended. Some of the higher-end models allow for duplex scanning or copying, either with a reversing automatic document feeder (RADF) or duplexing automatic document feeder (DADF). The RADF scans one side of a page and flips it to scan the other side. The DADF scans both sides in a single pass, making it faster than an RADF. Of course models with a DADF will cost more. 

Size: Printers come in all sizes, and those sporting multiple functions are obviously larger than their single-function counterparts. 

Check out the latest printers and reviews at our HardwareZone Printers Product Guide.

 

Printer Deals at the Show

Here are some highlighted printer deals at the IT Show this year.

 

OKI C301dn LED Printer

The C301dn is an A4 LED printer that's suitable as a personal printer which automatically prints in duplex. It offers great value with its ability to print in both color and monochrome. 

IT Show 2013 Offer

  • IT Show Price: $199 (Usual Price: $349)
  • IT Show Promotion: $150 cash rebate, 20% off toner cartridge prices with printer purchase
  • Brochure

Location

Level 1, Booth 1325

Fuji Xerox DocuPrint M355 df Laser Printer

The DocuPrint M355 df is an A4 mono multifunction printer that is able to print, copy, scan and fax. It is also capable of automatic duplex printing, scanning and copying. 

IT Show 2013 Offer

  • IT Show Price: $559 (Usual Price: $659)
  • IT Show Promotion: $50 NTUC vouchers, free trolley and free installation
  • Brochure

Location

Level 1, Booth 1309

Canon Pixma MX377 Inkjet 

The Pixma MX377 makes a good home inkjet printer with its print, scan, copy and fax capabilities. Best part is it also comes with an ADF, so it offers good value for its feature set. 

IT Show 2013 Offer

  • IT Show Price: $109 (Usual Price: $149)
  • IT Show Promotion: Free Dolce digital alarm clock worth $89 and free trolley worth $13
  • Brochure

Location

Level 1, Booth 1405


 

HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus

If you will be printing many documents that contain graphics for your small office, take a look at the Officejet Pro 8600 Plus. It has good print quality and snappy print speeds for improved productivity.

IT Show 2013 Offer

  • IT Show Price: $449 (Usual Price: $549)
  • IT Show Promotion: Free NTUC voucher worth $50 and free trolley worth $19
  • Brochure

Location

Level 1, Booth 1221

Show Floor Highlight - World's Fastest Desktop Inkjet AIO Printer

 

IT Show 2013 Printers Portal