Choos­ing an... Inkjet printer

Computer Shopper - - REVIEWS -


You should be able to buy a de­cent inkjet printer for less than £40. High-qual­ity print­ing is pos­si­ble on such a printer, but it will be slow. The ac­tual print speed of an inkjet can be half the quoted (max­i­mum) speed for text doc­u­ments, and even slower when print­ing graph­ics. Bud­get inkjet print­ers such as these are de­signed only for light use and can be expensive to run.


For £80 to £90 you can buy a more ca­pa­ble printer that’s ei­ther faster and bet­ter built or bet­ter at re­pro­duc­ing photos. If doc­u­ments are your pri­or­ity, you’ll want a high min­i­mum speed and low print costs. Look for inkjets that can han­dle all your of­fice me­dia, such as en­velopes and la­bels.


If photos are your pri­or­ity, speed is less im­por­tant. Choose a printer that re­pro­duces sub­tle tones well. You can’t de­ter­mine this by look­ing at the spec­i­fi­ca­tions – only hands-on test­ing will do, so re­mem­ber to check our re­views be­fore you buy.

Bor­der­less print­ing (up to the edge of the pa­per) should also be pos­si­ble. Pay par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to run­ning costs: photos use three times as much ink as reg­u­lar colour doc­u­ments.


Heavy-duty of­fice inkjets can cost up to £1,000 and their build qual­ity is im­prov­ing. They use large in­di­vid­ual ink tanks, which can cut run­ning costs. Print­ers with au­to­matic du­plex (dou­blesided) print­ing or A3 ca­pa­bil­i­ties are now much more af­ford­able.


Pricier photo print­ers let you print from mem­ory cards plugged straight into the printer, so you don’t need to use a PC. An LCD pre­view screen of­fers greater con­trol for this method of print­ing. Many inkjet print­ers now have a Pic­tBridge USB port, which you can use to print images di­rectly from most dig­i­tal cam­eras.


If you’re re­ally se­ri­ous about pho­tog­ra­phy, con­sider buy­ing an inkjet that can pro­duce bor­der­less prints up to A3 size. The best de­vices can print photos that look nearly as good as those from pro­fes­sional labs.

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