BUD­GET PRINTER BUYER’S GUIDE

WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN BUY­ING A BUD­GET PRINTER.

TechLife Australia - - HOTSPOT -

CLOUD PRINT­ING

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.

SCAN­NER DPI

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.

INK CAR­TRIDGES

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.

CLOUD SCAN­NING

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.

CON­NEC­TION OP­TIONS

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.

SPEED

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.

SIZE

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.

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