for all occasions
by Alan Zisman (c) 2004 First
published in Business
27-May 3, 2004; issue 757; Gear guide
You wouldn't wear the same clothes to the office and to the beach,
would you? It's the same with computer printers: different printers are
designed for different settings, for different needs. Here are four
winners, all of which work with both Macintosh and Windows.
's Phaser 8400
will fit right in for
the office or workgroup. It stands out from the crowd of colour laser
printers with its print speed (up to 28 pages per minute) and ease of
setup. It uses solid-colour and black inks, rather than the more common
powder toners; it ships with the inks already installed, ready to go
(after a few minutes warm-up).
Installing the networked version, a chore with many such printers, was
quick and easy. The setup program simply found the printer on the
network and connected to it. High-quality photos printed on plain paper
popped out of the printer quickly.
Pricing starts at $1,400 for the base model, rising to $1,850 with
Ethernet networking, $2,400 with duplexing, and $3,550 for a version
with two paper trays and a hard disk.
Ink jet printers have become
most newer models can print acceptable photos onto glossy photo paper. Epson
's $550 Stylus Photo R800
lives up to its
claim of being the
"ultimate photo printer," printing with a set of 8 UltraChrome Hi-Gloss
pigment inks, rather than the four colours most commonly used. (A money
saver: each colour is replaceable separately).
The results are a larger colour range for better quality photo printing
and prints that Epson claims should last at least 80 years. Comparing
printouts from the Photo R800 with the same photos printed on my
two-year-old printer supports Epson's claims: the R800's output showed
more clarity and richer colours.
As with some other Epson models, you can print directly onto CDs as
target laptop-toting road
warriors with a
pair of 2 kg, briefcase-sized $500 models.
HP's Deskjet 450wbt
last year's 450cbi model. The new version
adds wireless Bluetooth printing along with the standard parallel and
USB ports, plus infrared. It includes a battery and AC adapter.
A secret feature on the Deskjet model: remove the Bluetooth card and it
can print directly from the Compact Flash memory card used in some
digital cameras. Other nice touches include a plastic ink cartridge
case to avoid spillage during transport, and a business-card slot on
the same price, Canon's i80
portable printer (an update of last year's
i70) offers better print quality and faster print speeds. Photos print
nearly twice as fast, while text-heavy pages print more than three
times as fast. While lacking the Deskjet's Compact Flash slot, if your
digital camera or camcorder supports the Pict-Bridge standard, it can
plug directly into the printer - no computer required.
HP's model includes a battery and Bluetooth wireless connectivity, but
both are added-cost extras with the i80, though USB and infrared ports
are built in.
The infrared ports on both of these models can be used to print from
many Palm and Pocket PC PDAs while Bluetooth can be used to print from
an increasing number of PDAs and even cell phones.
There they are: a printer for the office, a printer for your photos,
and two printers you can take to the beach.