Advice on photocopier & printer specifications

Last month we looked at the terminology involved in photocopier and printer specifications and looked at what was important when leasing a photocopier or printer. This month we continue to evaluate photocopier leasing terminology & try to simplify some of the more complex terms to help you know what requirements you need from your photocopier.

Laser and Inkjets - the differences

Laser photocopiers / printers are page printers, whilst Inkjets are line printers.  Page printers need to hold an entire page in its memory, enabling it to image the whole thing at once.  This means more printer memory allows it to buffer more pages.  With a line printer, the computer composes the page in its memory, streaming it to the printer in small packets, which effectively means it really doesn't matter how fast the printer processor is or how much memory it has.  For typical jobs, there isn't a vast difference in speed. Text documents don't take up much memory, although if you print large images or big graphics files regularly, at higher resolutions, then more printer memory will certainly make a difference.

Photocopier & printer paper handling

The typical paper-handling specifications of a printer include everything from the size and thickness of various types of paper, to the standard and optional input/ output-tray capacity.  As a guide, all inkjets and laser printers will print on standard paper, accept envelopes and have input/output trays that hold 100+ sheets, except for portable and snapshot models.  Many printer models now have advanced paper-handling features, such as the ability to print double sided, ('duplexing'), tabloid-size printing and automatic document feeders for faxing/copying.

Printers move paper in a variety of paths with names like "U-shaped or "L-shaped".  Note that these letters have bends in them. If you plan to work with stiff materials like card, for example, then you'll need a printer with a 'straight-through' paper path, which usually runs from back to front.  These aren't always practical however, as you often need to have extra clearance at the back of the printer as well as at the front.  Furthermore, you can usually only feed 1 page at a time, which is time consuming, however they do avoid you bending the material in question.

Judging photocopier & printer print quality

When purchasing / leasing a new photocopier, remember the golden rule is to have a printing demo before you buy!  If you don't, you won't be able to see exactly how text and images will appear. Although many retailers will let you print demo pages to get a feel for the output quality, they often do a terrible job of maintaining their own demonstration units!  Thus, the prints that you'll see could end up not being a true representation of the quality of the unit you're testing.  Some demo machines may not even print at all!  If this is the case then walk away!

However, if you can see some good output samples, make sure you look out for the following...

Text

Most demonstration pages will include rows of text at varying sizes, which can highlight different types of flaws.  The largest fonts, especially when in 'bold' type, shouldn't be a brownish or muddy bluish tone, but be filled in with a solid, even black, whilst medium-size fonts should be crisp without 'fuzzy' edges. With the smallest font sizes, individual letters should be legible and fully formed with no breaks or 'bleeding' into one another.  Also watch out for the tops and bottoms of characters.  If you see a pattern of dots incorrectly aligned from one row to the next, forming jagged outlines or they are slightly offset, this usually means 'mis-registration' of the print head.  You should see well-defined openings in the letterforms.  If you don't, it's indicating that the printer is laying down too much ink.  Remember that on plain, what the Americans call, '20-pound paper', inkjet printers will usually display some wicking, as the ink bleeds along the paper fibres. Watch also for ink spray, which will appear as random dots of ink in what should be empty space.

When testing printers which feature card slots, it's a good idea to go to the demo with an SD card with your own photos on it and see if they'll let you print some.

Paragon Comment

There is some excellent advice here, which will help you when buying or leasing your new photocopier / printer.  Some knowledge about what to look for will enable you to be better informed when choosing the right photocopier to fulfil all your requirements. 

Paragon Document Solutions provide excellent photocopier support & have a wealth of experienced technicians, all experts on every aspect of the printing world.  They can advise you on all the pros and cons of today's printing technology and can guide you every step of the way, through demos/advice on each individual machine's advantages and drawbacks.  Paragon can offer you a photocopier leasing or printer rental service that is second to none.  If you purchase or rent a printer / copier from us you won't be sorry!  Our customer's testimonials are testament to our reputation. 

'We have found paragon to be a committed and reliable company and would recommend them for your document solutions.'

Testimonials like this one speak volumes about our reliability and the quality of our service. We'll not only match/beat any price you are given, but also provide you with an unsurpassable service which is second to none.  We have a reputation of being the best, from giving you the best initial advice on which machine is most suited to you, to delivering you the best quality, at the best price, on time.

So, if you are looking for a new photocopier leasing service contact us today.  You won't regret your choice!

Conclusion

If, by now, you aren't thoroughly confident in printer 'tech-speak' and 'know how', then perhaps you need the help of a reputable photocopier leasing company like Paragon. However, with the few pointers you have been given in this blog, you will at least be a little better informed about what to look for when buying or leasing your new photocopier.  

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