Laser printers may be set at 300 dots per inch (dpi) if black-and-white text printing is your only concern, while 1200 dpi is recommended for more realistic grayscale or color printing. For crisp, clear results from an inkjet printer, look for a device with a resolution of at least 1200 dpi and a droplet size of 4 picoliters or less. The resolution of photographic printers varies with the kind of printer used: Photo printers that use dye-sublimation technology may produce 1200 dpi or more in output, which is similar to inkjet photo printers that produce 300 dpi.
Print speeds provided by manufacturers are often for printing in draft mode or the lowest resolution, thus speed rates might vary widely. When testing the real print speed of a laser printer, it's best to timing everything from the moment you click "Print" to the moment the printed output comes out of the printer. This includes the time it takes for the printer to warm up, spool the job into the print queue, and print the output. Don't worry too much about the print speed, since this is not one of the inkjet's strong points.
A laser printer with additional memory can print larger images and documents with ease. Verify the maximum amount of memory that can be installed in your printer, whether or not it has a hard drive with comparable memory expansion capabilities, and whether or not it can use generic memory or requires the manufacturer's brand. Due to the fact that inkjets rely on the host computer for processing, there is no requirement for a huge quantity of installed RAM.
Most modern printers provide either USB 1.1 or Hi-Speed USB (USB 2.0) for connectivity, and both are backwards-compatible with older USB PCs. Sharing printers across a network requires devices to have Ethernet ports. Try to get a printer with an IR port so you can print wirelessly from your laptop or any device that has an IR port. Also, think about getting a printer that has a FireWire interface if you often print large documents or from a great distance.
Expendables and page prices
The upfront cost of the printer is just the beginning of the true cost of ownership when you include in the ongoing expenses for supplies like ink, paper, and repairs. These "invisible expenses" are consumables, and the cost per page is calculated by dividing the total cost of consumables by the number of pages that may be printed using those consumables. The cheap running costs of laser printers may be attributed to their use of standard-weight, uncoated paper and low-priced toner. However, inkjets might cost four or five times as much per page due to the greater price of ink and, more often than not, coated, glossy paper required for high-quality color printing. It's important to think about how your inkjet's tanks are set up. Inkjets that utilize a single cartridge for all four colors' worth of ink will need more frequent cartridge replacement, driving up expenses even if just one color has run out. Consider purchasing an inkjet that allows you to purchase individual black and color cartridges.
If the print quality of your printer is subpar, it won't matter how many bells and whistles it has.
The writing itself has to be polished and clear. The letters should be distinct and not blend together even at the lowest font sizes. None of the letters in the medium-sized fonts should have any fuzzy edges, and the biggest fonts, particularly the strong ones, should be filled with a true black rather than a muddy brown or blue tone. The counters (the holes) of letters should be clearly visible and formed; if they aren't, it's typically because the printer used too much ink. (However, keep in mind that on plain 20-lb paper, inkjet printers will show some wicking as the ink bleeds down the paper fibers.)
When printing in color, watch for places where a color transitions from dark to bright (or "gradients" in graphic design parlance). There shouldn't be any abrupt shifts in tone or gradations of lightness and darkness, a phenomenon known as "color banding." The gradient bar on a test page should smoothly transition from one shade to the next, without any discernible line, and the range of colors it covers should be from black to white. Also, when purchasing color-graphic printing, make sure the colors aren't too bright or too muted.
A decent picture print should look just like the original. The colors must be true and well-balanced; they must stand out without becoming garish. All sections should have high-quality detail without blurriness or other flaws. The transition from shadow to highlight should be clean and distinct, not muddy or flat. Even if you can't always discern a good print from a terrific one, you can probably spot a terrible one a mile away. Believe your eyes.