Skip The High-Tech Printer Specs And Focus On Practical Features

Skip The High-Tech Printer Specs And Focus On Practical Features
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Printers have a lot of different specs on the box, and you may think that higher engine speeds, resolutions and “duty cycles” are important factors in your buying decision. Macworld runs down which features actually matter, and which ones you don’t need to worry about.

Photo by Joseph Nicola.

Printers have gotten advanced enough today that a lot of the specs you see on the box are only going to increase one thing: the price. Macworld notes that engine speed, for example, doesn’t really mean much when it comes to real-world applications, since they’re tested under artificial conditions. Similarly, your print and scan resolution aren’t a huge deal. Lots of printers manufacturers have manipulated the way a printer does its job in a way that makes “dots per inch” less important than it used to be.

So what should you look for? Practical features like double-sided printing and larger ink cartridges are the things you’re actually going to notice, since they’ll determine how easy it is to print and how long it’ll last before you need to buy more ink. Hit the link to read their full rundown.

Printer Specs That Matter [Macworld]


  • Best printer so for me has been a low cost laser printer. All the sub $100 bubble jet colour printers that do scanning need cartridge replacement far too often

    • These work really well:

      My experience was easy to set up, though it takes about an hour to do, print quality is very good, colour rendering is accurate.
      Use mine to print A4 photos for framing, etc.
      Good quality inkjet printers are relatively cheap, since they rely on consumable sales to make money. CISSs are a cost effective way around this.

  • For me, it’s all about wireless network printing. These days I think it is quite common for people to have wireless network routers and ADSL modems in their house.. heck even my mum has one. Wifi is a very convenient way to connect the laptops/netbooks and all the other portable devices we have in our pockets and bags these days.

    Having the ability to print from one of those devices WITHOUT the need to also have the computer, which the wired printer is attached to, switched on makes a world of difference to the people who use the wifi network in the house/office.

    I already have an all-in-one that is currently doing the job I need it to without any complaints (other than it being wired) but if I were to buy a new printer, it would DEFINITELY need to be a Wifi (wireless network) printer.

    • Wireless printing is great, but there are some caveats.

      I bought a canon 560 wireless inkjet printer that worked fine on all PCs in the house, bar one.

      The problem was the non-standard wireless setup canon uses, and the driver’s incompatibility with 64bit windows.

      I would recommend anyone buy a normal USB printer that works well and a router that supports USB printers.

      The cost will be similar, and after the initial setup the printer will just work.

      • Thanks for the heads up on potential problems. Still the fact remains that a wireless “setup” for printing would be a important feature for my next printer purchase.

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