Recent craze towards multifunctional or all-in-one printer is because these can save valuable space, convenient to do several jobs and are less costly.
A multifunctional printer is capable of doing various tasks, namely printing, photocopying, scanning, etc. Sometimes these printers can also be used as a fax machine, and you can take direct photo-prints from your digital camera.
It is important to know a few points before selecting a multifunctional printer.
The type of Printer: The two main types of printers in vogue are inkjet and laser printer. Both these printers produce high quality of printing. Inkjet printers use magnetized plated which directs ink onto sheets of paper in desired style. Normally using two cartridges, one for color and the other for black and white, the printout quality matches with laser printer. This is less costly and portable; the only disadvantage being it is much slower in comparison to laser printer.
Laser printer operates by sending a laser beam producing an image on the drum. Also known as page printers, the laser printers are much faster as the entire page is printed here in one going. Though expensive, these types of printers produce high quality printing at high speed with unlimited variety of fonts.
It is important to check the resolution of the printer. Normally higher the resolution, the better is the print quality.
Compatibility of the printer: Selection for the printer should also consider the type of operating system the printer can work with. There are printers which can work with multi-systems like Windows, Linux, Mackintosh, etc.
Scanning: By scanning, graphics and text can be directly transferred to and stored in a computer and printed as per your need. Normal multifunctional computers will have a 600 dpi resolution. In case of a photo printer the resolution may be higher. The color depth capacity of a scanner is important factor to be considered also. The greater the bit depth, the greater is the resolution and more colors can be represented.
Scanners normally come as flatbed or sheet-fed. Flatbed scanners are more versatile as they can scan a range of documents irrespective of their thickness whereas in a sheet-fed scanner the documents are scanned one sheet at a time and the documents need to be detached from the magazine or book for scanning. Scanners are normally sold with a twain driver which can be easily installed in any computer and can work seamlessly with other applications.
Copier: In comparison to analog machines, digital copiers have much larger zoom range for reducing as well as enlarging. The speed and resolution of the copier is generally the same as that of the printer.
Faxing: The easy way to transmit documents over phone line is faxing. The majority of these machines transmit between 14.4 to 33.6 kbps speeds. This means 6 to 10 seconds and 3 seconds respectively to transmit data per page. Normally 512 kilobytes of memory in a fax machine can hold about 20 to 25 pages of incoming and outgoing pages without relying on paper. The speed dial indicates how many fax numbers can be stored in the memory of the machine.
Optional items such as automatic paper feeder, extra paper trays and enhanced photo printing capability printers are available also. In case of automatic paper feeder, you don`t have to wait and feed manually for copying and scanning more than one sheet. Optional paper trays can add up 500 pages to the total capacity. Enhanced photo printing capability printers have high resolution capability, four to six cartridges and also provide a direct connection for downloading photo from your camera. Also it allows you to view the picture before printing.