You want to by a printer or scanner ?
What To Buy Depending On Who You Are
When you need a printer and/or scanner, it's sometimes difficult to figure out what is right for you. Do you need a photo printer or just an ordinary inkjet? Something that costs £50 or something that costs £100?
This Guide categorizes printers according to what you want to do with them, and offers advice on what to look for. Are you a photo enthusiast? An entrepreneur? Somebody on a budget? Then we might have some tips that will help.
If you're looking for a device for your home or your business, decide which one of these scenarios best fits your situation and then see what kind of digital imaging products will best suit your needs.
Printers/Scanners For The Home
The type of printer and/or scanner you buy depends mostly on the kind of person you are. Do you want something for family photos or for professional photography? For the kids or for your home business? Here are some scenarios which can help you decide which way to go.
The Home Office
You've decided to strike out on your own. You’ve set aside the second bedroom as an office; you’ve set up your system, your broadband connection, and your Web site. Now you need something to print your papers -- and a copy machine would be nice. And, oh yes, a fax. What should you get?
What You Want
You need an All-In-One – i.e. a multifunction – printer. There is a wide selection of these devices available, costing from a little over £50 to nearly £500, depending on the features you need.
- Ability to printer, scan, copy and fax
- Separate black and color copy buttons
- Long cartridge life
- Ability to work with existing fax setup
- Automatic document feeder
- Ability to do duplex (double-sided) printing -- this usually costs more
- Accommodation for separate fax line
- Scanning of legal-sized documents
- Option for additional paper tray
You have a new digital camera and you’re taking photos of everything, including close-ups of your neighbor’s marigolds (the colors look different at different times of day, right).Your family has already told you that you’re not coming near the family printer, because you’ve already used up the print cartridge twice.
What You Want
You want a serious photo printer. Six colors, high resolution printing, and if possible, an extra slot so you can print directly from the memory card (in case your family also denies you access to the computer).
- Resolution of at least 4800 x 1200
- Ability to print on heavy photo paper
- Photo enhancing features in driver
- Photo display and editing software included
- Small LCD screen to view photos before printing
- Media card reader so that you print directly from your memory card/stick
- Direct connection to digital camera
- Borderless printing, to avoid wide borders on photos
Everyday Home Printing
Your mother want to be able to print out occasional family pictures and pass them around at parties, your 10-year-old wants to publish a newsletter for her class, your husband is planning to sell the car and wants to print up some posters, and you are finishing a report for work tomorrow.
What You Want
You want a good, all-around inkjet printer with better-than-average printing abilities for the occasional photo. A low-cost photo printer might do it as well, but if you’re going to be printing a lot of letters, be aware that many photo printers can print out fabulous photos and only mediocre text.
Things To Look For
- Separate black and color ink cartridges
- At least 10 pages per minute
- Resolution of at least 2400 by 1200 dots per inch (dpi)
- Paper input tray that holds at least 50 sheets
- Networking ability (for home networks)
- The ability to turn off color printing (to save on ink)
Printers For Kids
Your 12-year-old has created a newsletter for her class, and wants to print out pages from her favorite blogs – all in full color. Ink cartridges for your printer are expensive, but you don't want to limit her creativity.
What You Want
An inexpensive inkjet printer can cost around £30, and can save you a lot of irritation and fights. Youngsters don't need high-quality print (if they say they do, ignore them). They need color and immediate access, and a cheap printer will be perfect for them. Important things to look for: the cartridge yield, or any other information you can get on how efficiently the printer uses the ink.
- Color printing
- Easily installed ink cartridge
- Long cartridge life
- Scanner (if you've got a used all-in-one)
Printers/Scanners For The Office
You’ve done very well with your home business and are ready to take on a couple of employees. You've rented a small office, got some cheap office furniture at Staples, picked up several inexpensive computer systems And you figured that you could just move in your trusty all-in-one printers/scanner/copier. Right?
Well, maybe. For one thing, most all-in-ones are not networkable -- in other words, you won't be able to connect it to the computer network that your other computers will be connected to. There is a way around this -- your staff can have access to a printer that is connected to one of the systems on the network.
However, this can slow things down considerably. It's really not a good idea.
Second, you now have to think about what kind of printing you and your staff are going to be doing. There are several possibilities.
Just The Fax, Ma'am - And Some Printing
If you're doing most of your work online, but just need some faxing features to send out those hardcopy contracts, this type of multifunction may suit your needs.
- Separate fax line
- Fax modem speed of 33.6 Kbps
- Ability to reduce/enlarge copies
- Resolution of 600x600dpi or better
- Telephone handset
- Handles legal-sized (8.5 x 14-inch) paper
- Color scanning
Home and small offices often need printers that will pump out document quickly and consistently. For that, a low-cost laser printer is best.
- Print speed of 15ppm and more
- Capacity for heavy-duty output
- Less cost over the long run
- Network interface card (NIC)
- Duplexing (double-sided printing)
- Additional print tray
Save Space: Document Scanners
Businesses that have a lot of paperwork would be well advised to store past and present documents in digital form. Document scanners are the fastest and easiest way to accomplish this.
- Automatic paper feeder
- OCR and PDF conversion software
- Color and monochrome scanning
- Speed of 15ppm or more
- Single-pass duplex (two-sided) scanning
- Automatic detection of black or color documents