How We Test
How We Test
Here at HardwareZone.com, we perform a variety of tests to evaluate a printer's print speed and print quality. Our test suite mimics what and how an average person would print in the real world. For AIOs, we conduct additional copy and scan tests. Also, we only use the manufacturer's recommended consumables. Here is a list of tests we put an AIO through:
Print Speed Test
For grayscale test, we use an all-text document consisting of various fonts and sizes. For color test, we use a document mixed with black text and colored graphics. Timing starts upon job initiation and stops when the last page drops on the output tray. For pages-per-minute (PPM) conversion, we omit the time to print the first page. Duplex (two-sided) print timings are recorded if the printer comes with a duplex unit. Normal quality setting in the driver software is selected if the default isn't already at this setting.
Copy Speed Test
For multifunction printers that have an ADF, we also test how fast a 10-page document is copied. Again, timing starts upon job initiation and stopped when the last page dropped on the output tray. For AIOs that don't have the luxury of an ADF, we use a single-page document and duplicate it 10 times using the flatbed scanner. Timing started upon job initiation and stopped when the last page dropped on the output tray. For copied-per-minute (CPM) conversion, we omitted the time to copy the first page. As usual, we use the printer's Normal quality setting.
Scan Speed Test
For scanning, we time how long it takes to scan a single-page document from the flatbed scanner to the PC (into either JPEG or PDF format), using the manufacturer's software. In the presence of an ADF, we'd conduct another test using a 10-page document. Various scan resolutions are used, starting from 300 dpi. Timing starts upon job initiation and stops when the files are ready.
Photo Print Speed Test
If the printer is able to print photos (especially for inkjet printers), we'd time how long it takes to print the popular PhotoDisc target image. A separate monochrome image is also used. The paper type setting in the driver is adjusted to reflect the type of photo paper being fed. Timing starts upon drawing of paper and stops when the printout lands on the output tray. Typically, the borderless photos are printed in two sizes: 4R (4 x 6-inch) and A4 (8.3 × 11.7-inch).
Armed with all the printouts from the tests above, we'd spend some time evaluating their qualities. Two tools are indispensable at this time: a calibrated monitor (for photo and scan quality evaluation), and a good magnifying glass (because some fonts are printed at very small sizes).