Archive for Printers

New Cartridges Vs. New Printer?

Lately, there’s been a lot of talk about the price of printer ink cartridges, and the possibility that purchasing a new printer (that includes starter cartridges) may be the more economical option. It’s what PC World calls the “Earth Killer Method of replacing your inkjet cartridges”. A study by the magazine showed that replacing your printer when you run out of Ink can be an affordable alternative to buying new ink, but the benefits of such a method may not be worth the trouble. The downsides are numerous: lower yield starter cartridges, poor print quality from cheap printers, increased set up time with each new printer purchase, and the obvious environmental implications of buying, and throwing away, a bulky printer every few months. There are , however, several worthwhile alternatives to starting your own printer collection.

Remanufactured, Compatible, and Refilled Cartridges

The world of third party inkjet cartridges can be tricky to navigate. These products are, by nature, inconsistent. But it is possible to find a reliable vendor who sells well made products at affordable prices. When looking at a third party vendor, make sure to check out their customer service policies to ensure defective products are easily returnable. If you can find a vendor that offers free shipping of products and returns, then you’re taking virtually no risk buying from them. Finding the right vendor may take a few tries, but may be worth the effort.

Printers That Use Less Ink

In their article, PC World suggests the Lexmark Platinum Pro905 and Prestige Pro805 as good alternatives, because of their affordable ink prices. Indeed, these two printers sell at slightly higher prices, but supplies are surprisingly affordable. We’d also recommend Kodak’s line of printers. They make several good all-in-ones with competitively priced ink.

So do yourself and the planet a favor; try to stick to one printer. With a little research, you can make an investment that won’t break your bank in the future.

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2009 PC World 100

Every year, PC world rates the top tech products of the year.  In 2009, two printers made the list:

#44 HP Officejet 6500 Wireless (inkjet multifunction printer, $200Full Review

#72 Lexmark C734dn (printer, $875) Full Review

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It Ain’t Heavy, It’s My Brother…Printer

For years now, Brother International has been making some of the most popular printing products you can find.  And with good reason;  Brother printers have a reputation for being reliable, affordable, low maintenance machines.  But what is it that makes a Brother special? Well, it’s a variety of factors, but Brother printers are renowned for their durability and quality.

Quality Print, Cool Features

Perhaps the most important indicator of a quality printer is how good it prints.  Many Brother products print in HQ1200 resolution.High resolution prints have the tendency to slow printing time, but with many Brother models, page per minute is not affected by the large resolution of the print.  The HL-2140 monochrome printer, which won a PC Magazine 4 Star rating, demonstrates this attention to quality and speed, printing up to 2400x600dpi resolution at up to 22ppm.  And its Brother TN360 high yield toner cartridge prints up to 2,600 pages overall.

Brother printers also offer a variety of navigation and compatibility options.Many printers come with built-in network interfaces.  This allows you to share your printer among a group of users, reducing the amount of printers you need to purchase and set up.Also, many of these printers also network wirelessly.  Brother boasts a wide variety of printer emulations as well, which make your printer compatible with nearly any office or graphics application for PC or Mac.

Toner Save Mode

All Brother laser models feature a Toner Save feature which is useful for printing draft documents.  Toner Save mode can help reduce the amount of Brother toner you purchase in a month.And aside from the obvious benefits in price, this reduction in waste is also beneficial to our environment.

Brother’s line of products are award winning for a very good reason.  They are affordable, high quality machines with a variety of great features, which make them perfect for your home or office.

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Multifunction Printers – What To Look For

If you run a home office and you don’t have room to mess with all the connections of a separate printer, copier, scanner, or fax, you might want to look into purchasing an all-in-one or multifunction printer (AIO / MFP).

An AIO or MFP can use either inkjet or laser printer technology. Your printing needs should determine which printer is best for you.

Buying Guide

Advantages

- Saves Space
- Ability to scan, print, copy

Disadvantages

- Lose up to 4 functions if machine breaks down

Price Range

- $100-900 (depending on features needed)

What to look for in an All-In-One or Multifunction Printer

Here are some suggestions on what to look for when shopping for an all-in-one or multifunction printer.

Printer

Are you running a home office or small business? Then you want to look for a printer that can print high quality text. You want every document you print, scan, or copy to look professional. The majority of AIO/MFPs can print in black and white and in color. If looking for an inkjet AIO/MFP, try looking for a printer that uses two ink cartridges, one black and a separate one for color. If you are primarily printing text documents, having two printer ink cartridges will save you money in the long run.

Scanner & Copier

If you want to be able to copy large documents or sections of books, look for a printer with a scanner cover that is removable or that lifts high enough for a book. Newer models now come with a flatbed so you can scan and/or copy documents larger than standard letter size (8.5×11) and books. A good option to look for (you will find this with most new models) is the ability to copy even when the computer is turned off. You probably don’t want the hassle of having to turn the computer on every time you need to make a copy.

Fax

Before you buy an AIO/MFP, ask yourself how important the fax capability will be to your home office or small business. If you plan on sending and/or receiving faxes throughout the day, it is best to look for an AIO/MFP with a separate fax modem/connection. This will allow you to send or receive faxes even when your computer is off. If faxing is not a priority or you are expecting to send or receive the occasional fax, any AIO/MF printer with fax capacity will be enough. The printer uses software that allows you to send and receive faxes on your computer.

Photo Printing

Many AIO/MFPs are now made to double as a photo printer. If you plan on using your AIO/MFP to print photographs or detailed graphics (i.e. corporate logos or marketing materials) look for a printer with high resolutions capabilities, four to six ink cartridges, and/or the ability to print directly from your camera.

Automatic Paper Feeder

We recommend looking for an AIO/MFP with an Automatic Document Feeder (ADF). It adds to the cost of the printer but will save you time in the long run. If you are planning on doing a lot of scanning or you have to copy more than two sheets, you don’t want to waste your time standing over the printer, manually feeding each sheet. With the ADF, you will be able to load the feeder and press Copy/Scan and you will be free to work on other tasks.

Paper Trays

Are you going to have a high volume printing demand? Many AIO/MFPs have optional paper trays, which will add to your paper handling capacity. The extra paper trays will save you from constantly adding more paper into empty trays.

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How Do Laser Printers Work?

Laser printers are becoming increasingly popular among home and business users due to their ability to print faster than an inkjet printer. Laser printers might be more expensive, but the cost of maintenance is lower than inkjet printers.

Your printing needs will determine which printer you need.

How Laser Printers Work

Rasterizing an Image

When the printer receives a document, the driver translates the image for the printer, via the port connection.  For the computer and the printer’s controller to communicate they need to “speak” the same language. There are two primary languages used in laser printers: Adobe’s Postscript and HP’s Printer Command Language (PCL). Each language describes everything on the page including fonts, graphics, spacing and colors.  When the printer’s controller receives the data, the Raster Image Processor (RIP) will then break down all the information into a raster image or into a series of dots.

Writing

To create the image on the photoreceptor drum, first a corona wire or a charged roller, will give a positive electrostatic charge to the drum. As the drum rotates, the laser “draws” the raster image across the drum by creating a pulse of light for each dot of the image. Each pulse of light is altering the electrical charge of the drum.

Developing

Once the page is created, the toner is coated onto the drum. First, the developer unit moves through the toner. Because the developer unit has a negative charge, it picks up the positively charged toner. The developer then passes through the drum assembly. Because the drum assembly has a stronger negative charge it attracts the toner to make it “stick” the image onto the drum.
After the toner is coated onto the drum the corona wire will give a sheet of paper negative charge to pull the toner off the drum. The drum and the paper move at the same speed letting the paper pick up the image exactly as it was created on the drum. In color laser printers, the developing process is repeated four times, once for each color (cyan, magenta, yellow, black).

Fusing

With inkjet printers, the liquid printer ink is absorbed into the paper once it hits the paper. But toner is a powdery substance so there is nothing holding it to the paper but the electric charge. To apply the image to the paper, the paper passes through the fuser. With the heat and pressure of the fuser, the toner is “melted” into the fibers of the paper.

Cleaning

To prepare for the next page, soft plastic blades wipe off any excess toner left on the drum. The drum passes through the discharge lamp to “erase” any remaining electrical charge on the drum. To begin the process again, the drum is recharged by the corona wire.

Parts of an Laser Printer & How they Work

Photoreceptor Drum and Corona Wire

The core of the laser printer. A metal cylinder, made of a layer of photoconductive material, which holds the raster image created by the laser.  A charged wire gives off an electrostatic charge to both the drum and paper.

Fuser and Developer Unit

Heated by internal lamps, paper passes through the two rollers to fuse the toner into the fibers of the paper.  A collection of small, negative charged, magnetic beads that are attached to a rotating metal roller. The developer unit moves the magnetic beads through the toner hopper to pick up toner to be deposited onto the drum.

Toner and Toner Hopper

A powdered ink that is given an electrical charge so it can “stick” onto the drum and paper. Since toner is fused to the printed material, it doesn’t bleed or smudge easily as liquid ink.The toner hopper is where the toner is stored.  A discharge lamp removes any residual charge left on the drum after a page as been printed.

Laser Unit

When the laser is “drawing” the page, instead of moving across the drum it bounces the beam off a movable mirror.  As the mirror moves, a light shines through a series of lenses.

Printer Driver and Controller

A printer driver is software that acts as a translator so that the printer can understand data and instructions from your computer. The driver describes the text, image, etc. to be printed and translates it into the printer language.The controller is the “command station” of the printer. The control circuitry is responsible for decoding information sent from the computer, via the printer driver, to the printer, as well as controlling the various parts of the printer.

Buying Guide

Are you going to be printing primary black and white documents or are you going to be printing color graphics? Is the printer for personal home use or for a small office?

Advantages

- Faster than inkjets
- Less maintenance

Disadvantages

- More expensive
- Only higher end models print in color

Price Range

* $200 & Up

Which Laser Printer is Right for Me?

Monochrome Printers

If you are going to use the laser printer for a home office or in a business office, monochrome laser printers offer the best balance between print quality, price and speed.
Personal laser printer prices have dropped down around $200 making them an alternative to inkjet printers. For almost the same price of some of the higher end inkjet printers, some monochrome laser printers are faster and are less expensive to maintain.
If you are going to need a printer to print primarily text as well as the occasional graphic/picture, you might want to consider buying a monochrome laser printer or an inexpensive inkjet printer.

Color Laser Printers

Small businesses needing to print color brochures, photographs, or othe color graphics should look into buying a color laser printer. Color lasers are some of the most expensive printers, but because of their quality and speed, they are a good solution for offices and small businesses.

Personal Laser Printers

Most personal laser printers are monochrome printers. They work best in printing text and simple graphics. You won’t find many personal color printers because of their high prices. However, with several color lasers being priced for less than $1,000, they do make a possible alternative to inkjets.

Workgroups

Workgroup laser printers have the same features as a personal laser but have added features designed for multiple users. These features could include input/output trays, duplex printing, sorting and stapling. Workgroup printers will have faster processors and more memory to be able to handle multiple tasks.

Features to Consider

Print Resolution

Print resolution is the maximum number or dots per square inch that can be printed, measured horizontally and vertically. The more dots per inch will give you finer details such as cleaner text and sharper images.
If printing mainly text look for a laser printer with a resolution of 600×600 dots per inch. If you will be printing more than text consider a printer with a resolution of 1200×1200 dots per inch.

Speed

Print speed is measured by the number of pages the printer can print out in a minute. The cost of any printer will go up depending on its speed. A personal laser printer should be able to print 15-20 pages per minute.
When it comes to print speed, most manufacturers determine their print speeds using the simplest text in draft mode, so in most cases print speeds are almost twice the speed you will actually have. Print speed will ultimately be determined by the page complexity, the connection speed, and the printer’s memory.

Toner Cartridges & Drum

You can find many printers with separate toner and drum units or with the toner and drum is one disposable part. Having a separate toner cartridge and drum unit will save you money because you will only have to replace the toner cartridge when it runs out. Having the units combined might be easier to replace but you will have to purchase the whole unit when one goes out.

Connectivity

Before you purchase a new printer, check what kind of connections your computer supports. Most printers do not come with a printer cable that connects the printer to the computer so you will need to include this cost when budgeting for a new printer.

Memory

Memory will play an important part in the print speed of your printer. The more memory your printer has the faster it will be.  Documents that are in queue (or waiting to be printed) are sent to the printer’s memory. If you are printing emails, word documents and the occasional picture, memory is not a very important function. Everyday printing usually doesn’t take as much memory. Look for a printer with more built in memory if you are planning to print large text documents and color graphics.If your printing demands happen to change, there are printers that you can upgrade with more memory.

Network Ready

If the printer is going to be used by multiple users, check to ensure the printer will be network ready. Many personal printers are not made to be set up on a network.

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Inkjet Printer Buying Guide

There are currently two technologies that dominate the personal printer market: inkjet and laser printers. Of these two, inkjet printers are the most popular and least expensive.  But how do they work? And how do you know which one is best for you?  Hopefully, the following guide will help you answer some of those questions.

How Inkjet Printers Operate

When a document is sent to the printer, the printer driver translates the text and images into the inkjet printer’s language. After the printer receives information, the controller activates the printer.

The rollers feed the paper into the printer and are positioned at the start of the page. The print head will then begin to move across the page spraying droplets of ink onto the page. As the print head is printing, the motor stops momentarily to spray multiple dots at a defined area to create all colors.  When the print head reaches the end of the page, the rollers move the paper forward until the full page is printed.

Parts of an Inkjet Printer & How they Work

The Print Head Assembly

The print head assembly generally consists of two parts – the print head and the ink cartridge. The print head operates the printing action of the printer. The print head contains a series of nozzles that are used to spray droplets of ink. It may be included in the printer or part of the inkjet cartridge.  Inkjet cartridges come in different combinations, depending on the manufacturer or model. Cartridges can have a separate tank for each color or one cartridge for each color. Inkjet printers generally use four colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) to create other color combinations. If the inkjet printer doubles as a photo printer, it will use six colors, by adding the light magenta and light cyan to extend the printer’s color gamut.

Stepper Motor, Belt and Stabilizer Bar

The stepper motor is what moves the print head and cartridge back and forth across a page. Some printers will have a second stepper motor to park the print head assembly when the printer is not in use.  The belt is used to attach the print head assembly to the stepper motor.  The print head assembly moves across a stabilizer bar to ensure that each row of dots are even and precise.

Paper Feed Assembly

The paper feed assembly also consists of two cooperating parts – the paper tray or feeder, and the rollers.   Inkjet printers will have either a paper tray that can be loaded with paper or a feeder that is located in the back of the printer. Both include a sensor that stops the printer when it is out of paper.  A set of rollers pulls the paper from the paper tray/feeder and controls the rate at which the paper is moved past the print head assembly.

Printer Driver and Controller

A printer driver is software that acts as a translator so that the printer understands data and instructions from your computer. The driver describes the text, image, etc. to be printed and translates it into the printer language.  The controller is essentially the “command station” of the printer. The control circuitry is responsible for decoding the information sent from the computer, via the printer driver, to the printer, as well as controlling the various motors of the printer.

Buying Guide

If you are searching for a printer that can print school reports and the occasional picture, an inexpensive inkjet printers can meet all your printing needs. If your printing needs are a little more advanced, you can find inkjet printers with added features that will still be less expensive than purchasing a laser printer.  The more features you need and the type of quality you are looking for will add to the cost of the printer; however, you can find a printer with good print quality for under $100.

Advantages

- Inexpensive
- The ability to print in color

Disadvantages

- Slow
- High maintenance costs

Price Range

- $30-200

Features to Look For

Print Quality

When deciding on what inkjet printer is best for your printing needs, don’t let price be the deciding factor. Higher prices don’t always indicate the best print quality or speed of a printer.  Before purchasing a printer, shop around and when you have a specific model in mind, if available, ask to print a test page to see for yourself the printer’s print quality.

Print Speed

Inkjet printer speed is measured by the number of pages the printer can print out in a minute. The faster the printer is, the higher the price. The print speed might not be important for many home users but if you are planning to be printing a great deal, a faster printer might be a better option for you.

When it comes to print speed, most manufacturers determine their print speeds using the simplest text in draft mode, so in most cases print speeds are almost twice the speed you will actually have. Print speed is determined by the page complexity, the connection speed, and the printer’s memory.

Connectivity

Before you buy a printer, check your computer’s supported connections. The majority of printers do not come with a printer cable so you will need to include this cost when budgeting for a new printer.

Memory

Memory will play an integral part in the print speed of your printer. The more memory you have the faster your printer will be.  Documents that are in queue (waiting to be printed) are sent to the printer’s memory. If you are only printing emails, word documents and the occasional picture, memory is not an important function. Everyday printing usually doesn’t take up as much memory. Look for a printer with more built in memory if you are planning to print large text documents and color graphics.  If your printing demands change, there are printers that you can upgrade with more memory.

Resolution

Print resolution is the maximum number or dots per square inch that can be printed, measured horizontally and vertically. The more dots per inch will give you finer details such as sharper text and cleaner images. Look for an inkjet printer with a resolution of 1200 x1200 dots per inch or higher.

Cartridges & Supplies

The real cost of an inkjet printer comes from the ongoing cost of replacing ink cartridges. If you know you will be using one color more than the others, consider a printer with individual cartridges. It will save you money because you will only need to replace the cartridges you need. With tri-color inkjet cartridges (three colors in one container), you will need to replace the entire cartridge when one color is empty.

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Xerox Introduces New Mean, Green, Printing Machine

Xerox has made an environmental stride with the introduction of their newest printer. The New ColorQube 9200 series uses solid ink technology, non toxic ink sticks which reduce waste by 90% compared to a laser printer that uses toner cartridges.

xerox-colorqube

Aside from saving the environment, the ColorQube also boasts some pretty cool features, printing 50ppm in black and color, with a duty cycle of 300,000 prints per month.   Xerox is now taking orders for the ColorQube, and it starts at $23,000.

For More information, click here.

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New Samsung Laser Printer

Samsung just introduced a new printer that looks great for small to medium sized businesses.  The SCX-5635FN is a networkable multifunction laser printer that’ll cost an estimated $499.99.  From the Samsung Website:

The New SCX-5635fn from Samsung

SCX-5635FN boosts up your work efficiency and performance. The smart office assistant, it supports workgroups users and small and medium business users.

The SCX-5635FN is a all in one device – print, copy, scan and fax with a 33ppm copying & printing speed, duplex and convenient network features that you require in workgroup environment. Getting the productivity boost you need has never been so easy.

The SCX-5635FN’s got a bunch of nice touches.  Check them out here.

Or Check out our full line of Samsung products here.

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