BUDGET PRINTER BUYER’S GUIDE
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING A BUDGET PRINTER.
Linking a printer to either Google Cloud Print or Apple’s AirPrint is an easy way to then use that printer with other devices linked to your corresponding account — including your laptop. Simply log in with that account, and you will see the printer under your account. Very handy if you use multiple devices.
The page you’re reading right now is printed at 300dpi. The higher the dpi (dots per inch) the better quality your scan and print will be, but it will also make the file size larger.
Some printers use a tri-colour tank in conjunction with the black to produce colour prints, while others have separate tanks for colours. The latter is the better way to monitor costs, as you can replace the tanks that are needed.
If you want to scan and save documents remotely, see if your printer offers access to Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox or other services. That way, you can scan and have the document wherever and whenever you need it.
Do you want to print directly from your DSLR? An SD card reader is a must. NFC connections are a nicety, but the really useful one is Wi-Fi connectivity. All the printers here offer that, and also offer a USB cable connection.
USB CABLE IN THE BOX
While the printers here can connect to your computer via USB, only one of them included the required cable in the box. Expect to add another $10 or so to the cost if you don’t have access to a router and need to print from your computer. All of the printers here use a USB-A to USB-B cable.
The listed print speeds on the back of the box are usually at ‘draft’ quality, which is quicker than at ‘normal’ or ‘best’ quality spec, and thus faster than you might use it in real-world conditions. Our test measures the speed of the first page out, which is usually the slowest one to print, and the following four pages.
Modern printers can be quite large with the A4 scanner bed needing a few centimetres either side to allow for bleed and uncommon paper types. Check the footprint of these printers to see if they fit on your desk.