Guide to Printers 2004

Well, it finally had to happen, but after 4 years, our HP 940 Csi inkjet printer finally died.
Actually the death has been lingering. First we put in Christmas cards in and this destroyed the ejection mechanism. Then, the cool two-sided printing module failed. Now, it doesn’t power on at all. So on to a new one.
*Low-cost home network printer*
I’m surprised there isn’t anything in this category with networking at home happening everywhere. What we need is a cheap and small network laser printer so we don’t have to turn a machine everytime to use it.
Low consumables cost and fast for general printing and also something that will print on DVDs and CDs. A cheap laser printer is now just $210 is that it is 3x the speed. Right now ink costs and toner costs are about identical for black and white printing (2-3 cents per page). There are a couple of choices. These BTW all fit in my tiny little cabinet.
* PC Magazine liked the “Brother HL-5140”:,1759,1608015,00.asp which is 21 ppm but the Brother we owned before really was unreliable. Its $200. Or as “ZDNet”: explains, get the HL-5170DN which has an Ethernet port already at $350 list with an Ethernet port and 32MB instead of 16Mb but the same print engine. Pricegrabber has this model as well.
* PC World likes the “HP LaserJet 1300”:,aid,112790,00.asp. Its $400 and has a $200 ethernet option called the 1300n. Main drawback is that greyscale photos look terrible. It has a $100 rebate on it from June to October, so it goes from outrageously expensive ($400-600) to somewhat more reasonable.
* Bjorn3D likes the “Samsung HL-1720”: and “Hardware Central”: He did a quick review of a $130 laser printer from Samsung (!!!). It’s about the same speed and startup time as a 1300, but is way, way cheaper. With $68 toner cartridges, its about 2.7 cents per page. Main problem is that it doesn’t have any networking option and “PC Mag”:,1759,1607880,00.asp says its cheap but output quality isn’t that great (what a surprise πŸ™‚
*Photo Printing*
Super high quality for the preparation to digital photo printing. It seems as the though the tremendous rush to quality has slowed the Epson 2200 was a milestone and now Canon, HP and Epson all have very good prosumer models. So here’s the analysis. I ended up getting the Canon i9900 because it seemed to be getting just fantastic reviews and I couldn’t justify the incredible Epson 4000:
* “Epson Stylus Pro 4000”: This is the current professional digital darkroom printer to lust after. Costs over $1800 but it is beautiful. Can product 17×44 inch wide prints. Now that is big and it is an 8-color ink device that has separate cartridges.
* “Canon i9900”:,1759,1596871,00.asp is the follow on to the very good “Canon i9100”: Canon just announced a new series of printers called “Pixma”:,1759,1624218,00.asp that range in price from $150-$80 but I haven’t seen reviews yet. Main issue is the thing is huge at 17.3x11x26 (wow, 26 inches deep, so it really needs a whole desktop! It like the Epson has separate cartridges. Also doesn’t have a roll feeder so you can’t just print a long roll of 4×6″ prints out. It needs to go on a big desk.
* “HP 7960”: This one gets good reviews and is reasonably priced. The main problem is that it has a gigantic ink cartridge so you can’t replace individual colors like the Epson. Steets at $290. It is an eight color printer as well. Says it is more accurate but less gamut (range) of colors vs. the Epson 2200 or the Canon i9100
* “Epson R800”:,aid,116706,00.asp with a deep review at “”:. This is a new high end printer from Epson that is just below the Epson 2200. Main advantage is that it can print directly to the right kind of blank CDs and DVDs. Also it has a roll feeder so you can print 4x6s really quickly. Interesting to see consumable wise it is about the same cost as a laser printer but much slower. Main problem is that it is 19″ wide so won’t fit in our cabinet. (it is narrow at 7″ high x 12″ deep).
Other details are that when you buy this, you need consumables. For the Canon, recommendations seem to show you should stick with their paper and their ink. Here are some of the good deals:
* BCI-6 Inks. These list for about $11 and there are 8 of them. You can get them in a 8-pack at right now for $72 plus $10 shipping. With these small items, shipping is just a killer given that most internet sites charge a minimum of $4 per piece even if it is just a $5 stack of paper. The solution is to either get bigger packs or if you need individuals, go to and order $50 worth, then they deliver for free if you are near an OfficeDepot. Alternatively, you can use Amazon which has free shipping for over $25.
* Canon Photo Pro and Canon Photo Plus paper. The Pro is about twice the price and is guaranteed to last 25 years without fading. If you are just putting photos into albums that are not going to be in the light, seems like the Plus (4×6 sheets in packs of 120 for $18 or so at Amazon right now) are good buys. You probably also want to get some Pros for hanging up. They ship with 8×11 and gigantic 13×19 sheets for big photos. Not bad to set say 120 of the 4×6 Plus, 20 of the 4×6 Pros and 15 8×11 and 10 13×19 as a starter set. Amazon has the 4×6 Plus and the 13×19 Pros. OfficeDepot has the 4×6 Pros. So its a little complicated, but you can get it all without big shipping charges.

One response to “Guide to Printers 2004”

  1. Jimsheng Avatar

    This is the current professional digital darkroom printer to lust after. Costs over $1800 but it is beautiful. Can product 17?44 inch wide prints. Now that is big and it is an 8-color ink device that has separate cartridges?
    It’s uninexpensive!

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