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Chapter 1. Savvy Consumer Guide to Buyin... > Buying the Perfect Printer - Pg. 7

Savvy Consumer Guide to Buying a Computer 7 Buying the Perfect Printer I've made some mistakes in purchasing printers. First, I bought a black-and-white printer and had to listen to my kids complain about it for two years. Then, I bought a color printer with no scanner/ fax/copy features because I really didn't need them at the time. Finally, I bought my dream printer: an all-in-one machine that prints in color, faxes, copies, and scans. To avoid the mistakes I've made and purchase a printer that you won't need to replace one year down the road, check out Table 1.3. Table 1.3. Printer Purchase Checklist Feature Laser Inkjet Color What You Should Consider Fast, but expensive. If you have the money, go with a laser printer. Less expensive, but the print quality rivals that of a laser printer. Don't even consider buying a black-and-white printer. Even if you think you don't need color, you'll find that you can't live without color for occasional greeting cards, photos, and similar publications. Make sure the color and black ink cartridges are separate so you won't waste the color ink when you run out of black. 600 dpi (dots per inch) or higher. If you need near-photo-quality output, go with 1,200 dpi. 4­8 ppm (pages per minute) or faster for monochrome, 2­4 ppm for color. Otherwise, you'll be twiddling your thumbs waiting for the printer to spit out the last page. $200­$300 for a good inkjet. $400 or more for an entry-level laser. If you want a combination fax/copier/ scanner/inkjet printer, expect to pay more than $500. Expect to pay 3­10 cents per page to print. How much do the print cartridges cost and how many pages can each one print? Do you need to print on special paper? The paper tray should have an easy way to feed business enve- lopes into the printer. (Optional) 300 dpi, 14.4Kbps transmission, auto-redial, speed- dial numbers, page memory to store received faxes if the printer runs out of paper. (Optional) TWAIN-compatible color flatbed scanner that can handle 8.5×11-inch pages and scans at 600 dpi or better. 24-bit color, 8-bit grayscale. TWAIN enables you to quickly import scanned images into your documents. (Optional) 600×300 dpi, multiple copies. Quality Speed Price Consumables Envelope feed Fax Scanner Copier Scanners, Digital Cameras, TV Cards, and Other Toys The PC has made great strides in restitching our social and economic fabric. We can chat with anyone in the world without leaving our homes, publish our own documents, avoid long-distance phone bills, do our own taxes, and even shop from our homes (or was that the Home Shopping Network that did that?). With the new toys available, PCs now are threatening the very existence of TVs, PhotoMarts, and video arcades. When you're out shopping for a computer, be sure to check out the latest gadgets: · TV tuners--Many home PCs come with a TV tuner that enables your computer to double as a TV set. You plug in the cable or TV antenna, and you can pretend you're working as you watch the ball game.