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Subject: Printers rss

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Brett
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Santa Clara
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I am debating on purchasing a laser printer for print and play and DIY game projects. What do you all use and what do you like, not-like about your printers.
 
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James Hébert
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Kind of depends on your intended use... is this for yourself for occasional use, or do you plan to print hundreds of copies of a game to sell or give away? Do you want exact photo quality, or just sharp and colorful?

Here's what comes to mind... some of these may resonate with you, and some may not matter. Everyone's different! This is based on some recent searching I've done on a personal inkjet, with my work experience using laserjets.

Durability
My experience with HP brand printers is they are built for the long haul and hold up well, especially the models for business. Their consumer machines manufactured today all seemed flimsy to me... and I did not care for their front panel interfaces at all (which my wife and sons will hate using, the design is so un-intuitive). Actually many brands seem that way now.

Paper Handling
Having multiple trays allows you to keep plain letter, photo paper, even tabloid sized paper loaded all the time, and simply pick which drawer to use for a print job. That's seriously convenient.

Toner
Generally lasts a lot longer, with vivid color and great detail coming from laserjets. Don't expect exact color matching to what a print shop would deliver, or a photo print shop will give you, as laserjets don't truly match those types of output without some serious tweaking. However, for consistent, sharp, colorful output without clogs (something inkjets experience if they sit for a while without doing a print job), lasers are great. Though toner cartridges can cost a lot, they do last a long time.

Networkability
Unless you are the sole user and live alone, I'd suggest this. Most offer Ethernet, many offer wireless. Wireless can be a major convenience, especially if you work off a laptop and have the freedom to "wander the house" and work where you wish.

Paper Types
I'm less experienced with laser output to glossy papers. My past experiences indicate that if you're seeking a glossy look, the paper is either much more expensive and/or the toner can crack or peel if the image is then folded or bent. If you want durability, it might be better to print to a nice paper or cardstock, then laminate afterward. This is pretty much true of inkjet output, which I would laminate if it's going to get much handling.

Paper Path
Does it have the option of a straight-through paper path? Most printers, to save space on the desk, keep the paper underneath the machine, where rollers get a grip on it to feed it up into the system. Some have it "stand up" in the back, to minimize this. It means the paper will have to bend as it runs through the machine, limiting your choice of heavier card stocks. If you have the desire to print to thicker stocks, look for this option.

Longevity
Not sure if laserjets are rated for longevity of the printed image. Inkjets for photo use have garnered many reviews and commentaries along this line. The better rated combinations of paper and inks are claimed to last at least a generation... hard to say if their 100-year-plus claims will hold up. I won't be around to tell anyway!

With all that said... I broke my own "HP rule" and ordered a Canon PIXMA MP640 inkjet recently for personal use. Why?

My old color HP finally failed beyond simple repair, and several weeks of research did not result in the obvious "next generation machine" to buy from HP. I did not care for the models I could try "hands on" at the local computer and office stores. I am much more budget-limited this year, but I did need to replace it.

It came down to the Canon MP560 and MP640 models. Same color engine, same inks, same features (scan, copy, print), just a few differences that my "old school thinking" could not give up (wireless-only versus wired+wireless options), overall speed, and my own subjective tests on some sample images I created, so I went with the higher model because I found it for only $40 more. Otherwise on image quality and primary features alone, the two were alike.

Given my druthers, I'd love to have gone with something that could output 11 x 17 with borderless printing, but that would have kicked me into a price bracket I could not afford for personal use only!

As it is, it arrives today and I'll let you know how it performs, if you're interested. In-store, I was amazed how good it looked on plain paper, even.

I've talked enough.

James

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Brett
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Thanks for the response and what printer you purchased. This information helps greatly.

I think I do want to go with a Laser printer.

Do laser printers tend to not have as good "color" matching as inkjets?
 
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Erik Dewey
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Broken Arrow
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I went the color laser route and have been quite happy.

I chose the Lexmark c500N. It specifically can handle cardstock with no problems and I've been quite happy with the output. Toner is a little pricy (about $110 a color) but it lasts for a while of normal home use.

I calculated that my average cost per page was around 12.5 cents at one time vs. the 25 cents when I had an inkjet, plus it prints a lot faster.
 
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James Hébert
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Yes and no (don't you love that?)

I might have been clearer there.

From one print to the next, from one day to the next, they will match exactly. As Ayrk said, it will look great and be consistent with itself.

From "what you see from the laser" to "what you see from a professional print shop" there will always be a difference. Color management attempts to correct your printed output to better match what you see onscreen, what your printer outputs, and what you'd get from a pro shop. When you're trying to match across the board like that, so much affects printed output, from software to firmware to inks to humidity to paper stock to "the position of the moon" that it can seem like voodoo! robot

James
 
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Robin Ashby
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Kemptville
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I use a Brother 4040CN laser. The colour matching is about the same as what I was getting with my old 4-colour inkjet, with the 6-color inkjet I was using I could get a bit better colour accuracy, but it really wasn't worth it due to material costs.
Where laser really excels is the vividness of colours on uncoated stock. This allows you to use less expensive materials, pushing the cost per page lower than inkjet, even when using inkjet refills. (I ran the numbers a while ago, when I was thinking of switching to laser, and coated cardstock for inkjets is really, really expensive.)

The 4040CN (and family) also comes with full toner cartridges, which is a definite plus. There's no straight-though option, but the curl's not too bad, and the print quality is excellent.
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Brett
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One of the problems with my current printer is when I print to 110lb card stock and I begin folding and gluing, the black seems to bleed when I rub it. Does anyone have suggestions as to what I can do to fix this issue?

I am using an InkJet. Will a Laser Printer solve this issue? Other suggestions?
 
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Celina
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I have an inkjet, and have never had this problem. I've got a Canon Pixma.
 
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Brett
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Celinashope wrote:
I have an inkjet, and have never had this problem. I've got a Canon Pixma.


I also have a Canon Pixma. Strange that I have this issue.
 
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