View Full Version : anybody played with color printers?

09-30-2008, 09:52 PM
I took a look at the color laser all in one printers about a year ago. At that time, the best inkjets put out better quality. Samsung and HP were the players in the SOHO environment.

My requirements are very low volume. Business card here, brochure there. And family photos

So does anybody have any good experience with the less expensive color laser printers, or is the technology not there yet?

09-30-2008, 10:08 PM
I purchased the Samsung CLP-300, which is the "worlds smallest color laser printer". Most of my use is for B&W, with some color here and there. The reason I chose this was because I managed to get it on sale, and had so many other discounts and such it was practically free.

I had looked at many others. Size, for me, was a concern as I'm not going to take up my entire office space with a printer. Noise (which this is VERY quiet in comparison to most) was a large factor, in addition to price and quality. Consistenly I've found that most color laser printers have YET to print great quality. Certainly NOT photo quality.

The most expensive and largest color laser printer will probably offer you the best quality. I'm satisfied for what I received, but cannot say I'd recommend it to someone who prints out a high volume in color. Also, there is no manual feed tray, so it requires some manipulation if you want to print an envelope, index card, etc.

And despite the test sheets you get on these color laser printers, do research on them. The CLP-300 had quite a few negative reviews, though I've encountered few errors. Like anything, there will always be somebody that has everything wrong with it. Some of those were probably dropped off the top shelf somewhere and that's why they're dysfunctional

For the price / quality factor, inkjets are much better for most peoples needs. That is what I'd recommend. If I were to buy another printer, it'd be another ink jet.

10-01-2008, 12:41 AM
We used to have the Samsung CLP500 color laser with duplexer and it worked great for two years and then the rollers spoiled... and it was cheaper to simply buy a new and better laser...

We now have a Brother Hl 4050 ... again another color laser printer with duplexer and this is fantastic...

As a user of laser printers for some years now, I would not go back to using an inject the cost of ink is far too expensive when compared like for like... and the quality in my opinion if far superior with a laser.

10-01-2008, 12:18 PM
We have a Konica Minolta for the Marketing Department. I would not recommend it. I'm not sure if we got a lemon or if the printer in general is just finicky, but we have had issues with color quality.

It is a laser printer.

We currently looking at some other laser printers. A Xerox is the front runner at the moment.

10-01-2008, 01:55 PM
Price is right, Steve, $450is, but I'm really looking for an all in one (copier, fax, printer). Brother makes one, but I'm not sure the quality is going to be as good as the one you are using.

10-01-2008, 07:28 PM
I went through this just a couple of weeks ago.

I've always had color lasers for the last probably 15 years. Okidata, NEC, HP, Brother, and Canon bubble jets from the first BJ4000. That was the one the president of Canon described as an "ink vending machine" at the Consumer Electronic Show that year.

My last was an HP 2550L that cost about $ 150 to refill with ink.

My demand is now 5 or 10 percent of what it was. So I didn't want to refill it again.

I spent a day at it, but ended up with a Canon all-in-one ink jet MX310 for $ 79.95.

I had a perfectly good flatbed scanner, a perfectly good fax machine and access to a copier whenever I needed one. But I bought this anyhow, because it was the best deal going.

From reviews to the cost of the refills, it was better than anything else I saw. Unlike some of the under $100 types, it came with full size ink cartridges, both black and color, where some come with just color. And then just a starter cartridge. Kodak or Lexmark has a cheapie that the cartridge costs more than the printer and they only give you a color to start with.

The games they play.

Anyhow, I went with an open budget, made several trips to different stores from the clubs to the office stores to the electronics guys. Then back to check reviews.

I'd have gone as high as $ 500, but save $ 400 and had a good lunch. Canon MX310.
$ 79.95.

10-01-2008, 09:28 PM
Hmmm.... Right now I have a Samsung lasar printer and a all in 1 HP ink jet I bought at walmart for $150. Both kinda work. Both have cheap plastic parts that broke. Envelop feeders etc.

Like Pete, I don't need to print that much. The cheap laser works fine for most stuff. The inkjet Hp all in one is intermittent for fax, but that could be my VoIP telephone line as well.

Every once and a while I'd like to have a good business card or brochure. The thing is, I might only need 10. I can do the business cards in black and white, but brochures no. Also, it would be nice to print photos.

As a side note, I have a HP 4850 scanner that I bought several years ago, primarily for OCR. Dumps a document to word in editable format. It really works great and I can only imagine that they have gotten better. Even with very small print. It was cheap to - if I remember $150 and that was several years ago. No sheet feeder or other fancy stuff a law firm or the likes might want for archiving. Works great though.

10-01-2008, 09:44 PM
And the quality in my opinion if far superior with a laser.

I guess it depends on the specific unit. I've seem some excellent color laser printers. But with the demands to try to make color laser printers smaller and more affordable, quality is definitely compromised.

10-02-2008, 12:46 AM
On the scanner front, i do not think that a huge headway has been made here. For the most part i think that they are still relatively similar quality to previously. Of course the more you spend the higher resolution you will get, however without purchasing a dedicated scanner again you will find very little improvement in the resolution.

For the colour laser multifunction, i think laser would be a better way to go over inkjet, however there are some points i would like to note.

1. Laser really won't ever match to the quality of inkjet, for the primary reason this is because putting a powered toner on paper can never be as accurate as putting a very fine spray of ink. Also the range of colours available by mixing a liquid ink is greater then a power i believe.

2. The paper you use with laser printers can make a major difference to the output quality. Using a standard A4 paper, or a bond can give colour problems where you get some white spots as such. This is due to the finish of this type of paper not always being smooth, if you look very closely you will see small ups and downs in the paper, it is a natural part of the process, and ink handles this better then toner. You can purchase specific colour laser paper which is designed to have a much smoother surface for printing on. I find that the quality is much better when using this.

3. While they are available and Multifunctions are very popular i would be more inclined to purchase a separate, colour laser printer and multifunction unit. the reason that i suggest this is primarily the "all your eggs in one basket" thing. It is better to go with two units and get slightly better features on both then to go with something that they have tried to squash everything together in one unit for a lower price.

4. Unless you need absolute photo quality i would steer away from inkjet, as the problem i have found is numerous. The ink does not always come out as dark as you would like, and can look faded sometimes. Also while i know paper is not going to stand up to getting wet anyway, if you have inkjet printed and the paper gets wet the ink will run, while if you have laser printed the printing will stand up better and still be closer to readable.

I used to sell printers a lot of the day, while most people's budget was not going stretch to colour laser, those who could found it a much better solution. When you compare the pricing of ink and toner the biggest thing to be aware of is that the page yield's noted by a majority of manufacturer's is actually the yield when set on ink saver mode. So to print a decent quality page is going to use more ink then otherwise. Reading the fine print can help, but also not getting sold on the fact that a printer can print a huge number of pages when in fact at a good quality it may be far less, this is where reading reviews can help a lot.

10-02-2008, 02:34 AM
So, Joel: there are a couple of objectives for a SOHO operation here (and some personal stuff such as photos). Assuming you are starting from scratch, you need two printers. One is an all in one laser B & W; the other is a good quality color lasar such as steve suggested.

You are also suggesting that paper makes a big difference. What would you suggest for paper for a business card that get sat on in your wallet for a year vs a fine brochure, vs daily documentation?

You might not sit on your business card for a year, but your customer might?

10-02-2008, 08:56 PM
I would and have many times suggest people go for two printers. Especially from a business perspective. While at a stretch you can get away without a fax or scanner, or the ability to print photo's for a few days if something goes wrong. There is so many times that printing is needed. For example You do most of your invoicing on Wednesday Tuesday night the 1 multifunction you have breaks and has to get sent away for repair, either you have to go and buy another printer now anyway or wait to do you invoicing till the other one is fixed. Either way you are out of pocket money for a printer or not getting paid by clients. Same token if you were doing a mailout or printing some brochures for a client.

The two printer's dont always have to be two lasers, you can go with a Colour laser which will more then likely still offer better price black and white printing then inkjet anyway (it can be worth finding out). And a Inkjet Multifunction which will give you the photo quality for printing in the personal area). The only downside to a solution like this is if you receive a high volume of faxes.

In the realm of paper there are a few options and i am unsure if you will find that they are available in the US or not. The main brand of paper for colour laser printing that i use is named NopaColor I think from memory. It is a 100gsm paper designed for better quality printing on not just colour laser printers but also inkjet printers.

If you are printing business cards i would suggest looking for something at least 200GSM, but this is where it can be tough with laser printer's not all of them will actually print on anything above 200gsm, becuase of the way the paper feeds through the printer. Then even if it will print on it sometimes it can curl. My personal preference for business card's unless it is really small run's because they change often is getting it done at a print store, they generally offer a much better quality then inkjet, and it is much easier then trying to print them yourself on a laser.

10-02-2008, 09:44 PM
My advice would also to be to go for different units... we have a fax/scanner/printer injet that is used simply as a fax and back-up printer... we also have another couple of injets and seperate scanners... with the main printer being a brother color laser printer.

Our aim being to ensure if something goes wrong, it doesn't affect our business.

10-03-2008, 03:54 AM
Since I already have two printers and one is a lousy inkjet 3 in 1, and another hp laserjet in the garage that is older, but works the backup is in place. I guess the real question is if there is a color laser 3 in one that produces the quality that the one SteveC suggested? In a home office space constraints is an issue as well.

10-04-2008, 12:29 AM
I found the brother to be a good unit, and when i was selling this sort of thing had about 10 times the number of inquiries for the brother over any other model. I think the cartridges are a little more expensive however, i think it is about on par with the other's just less often.

10-05-2008, 06:59 PM
I really like the Xerox solid ink printers. These units deliver near photo quality prints for a very low cost and there is almost no waste. The printer only model starts at $699 and the multifunction at $1399, so maybe these are way more expensive than you are thinking. We have an 8560 duplexing printer and you would have to fight with me to get it out of my office. We have also sold several of the multifunction devices and our clients love them. They come with a one year on site warranty, and I would never consider sending a printer anywhere for repair. I've found over many years of experience that most cheap printers are anything but in the long run.

10-05-2008, 07:37 PM
Ya, if I print 20 pages a week that's a lot. Wifes a camera bug, and occasionally I need some really good quality business cards or brochures, but that's not common. It sounds like a 300 dollar lasar black and white all in one and and steves brother color printer would be the best solution. Steve, have you done photos on the brother printer you recommended? If so, do they compare to photos from the photoshop?

10-11-2008, 06:41 PM
I've never used a laser all-in-one, but based on my experience with Brother inkjet AIOs (I've had two), if I were to buy a laser AIO, I would select Brother.

I found the Brother inkjet models to be the best all-round. Lots of features for the price, better scanning of documents and pictures than HP, very easy to use. In fact, after 4 years of using a Brother, I thought I'd try a different brand. Bought a mid-priced HP machine, returned it two days later, got a new Brother.

10-11-2008, 07:55 PM
I forget if I mentioned this above, but I have a hp scanner model 4850 that I bought strictly for OCR. I don't know that it is that good for photos, but the OCR is amazing. Different fonts; small print; export to word; do a spell check and there are only a handful of words with errors. It really works well.

I wonder what law offices and the likes use for archiving large amounts of printed pages?

10-11-2008, 08:25 PM
The only problem that i found with Brother AIOs is that one range they had out a few year back, had many problems with the print heads, however at the time it was something they decided to cover under warranty for an additional year as it was a fault with the manufacturing that caused it i think.

In regards to high volume archiving, i believe that there are high speed, scanners which you can stack the pages on and they get fed through like a fax machine. no flatbed area just a feeder. I actually did see one a few years ago at an insurance companies office, but HP has at least one if not a few models. One of them is "HP SCANJET 7800 DOCUMENT SCANNER" and retails for about $1500 in Australia. This model only operates at about 25pages a minute and does duplex i believe, but i am sure there are much quicker models as well.

10-11-2008, 11:34 PM
This kind of goes back to the manufacturer providing a decent database of products thread. A year ago, I received a printed price list and an excel sheet. Half the products in the printed price list aren't in the excel sheet and the inverse. I just received the new excel sheet a week or two ago and the new printed price list a couple of days ago. I haven't had time, but I bet there is very little correlation between the two.

While its still a lot of work to scan to word, look for errors, and stick the printed price sheet in the excel file, that HP OCR scanner worked great. Looks like I'll be using it again, but not this weekend. Doing taxes (I filed an extension in april). Going to the accountants on monday.

10-12-2008, 02:12 AM
You just have to wonder why they would bother creating two different documents one they send to the printer and one that they email out. Beyond me the amount of time some companies waste on duplicated procedures, processes and jobs. Thankfully pretty much all my suppliers have realized that electronic price books are the only way.

Hmm, i still have taxes to do this year. In Australia this is usually between July 1 and Oct 31, however being that i am registered with an accountant at the tax office i have till April next year i think.

10-12-2008, 11:25 AM
Our taxes are April, but I filed an extension which gives me an extra 6 months.

10-12-2008, 01:57 PM
I knew somehow "taxes" would draw me back to this thread :D