14th Aug 2005

Printers. Useful Information

You own a computer and you’ve decided to invest in a printer. As with every other technological product, there’s a host of differing ones out there and to decide on which one suits you, you’ll need to make some decisions on why you need a printer and what you want it to do.

First of all you should answer some questions that’ll help you decide from the huge range of printers on the market.

  • How much will you be printing and on how regular a basis will it be?
  • What is your priority – speed or quality?
  • Will you be mainly printing text or graphics/photographs?
  • Do you need black and white or colour printing?

Of course, cost will be a factor for many people purchasing printers and today they continue to become quite cheap to buy. But one thing that you should check out before spending on a printer is how much the accompanying consumables will cost you.

Some printers are very cheap but some, and it must be noted not all, cheap printers have expensive ink cartridges. These can sometimes be half as expensive to buy for one set as buying the printer itself, so spending a few extra pounds on the hardware may be a better financial option in the long run.

Tips and Advice

  • When buying a printer make sure the printer driver will work with your operating system
  • Instead of buying a portable printer you could use a fax/modem to send to a fax machine in a hotel or business you’re in
  • There are a small range of printer/scanner machines on the market that combine the functions of printing and scanning producing a kind of home solution to a photocopier.
  • When PPM (pages per minute) is discussed in this document it should be noted that this is the manufacturers claims and can change depending on the complexity of the document being produced

Frequently Asked Questions

Q What is DPI (Dots Per Inch)?

A The DPI of a printer is the measure of how many dots there per inch on a page when printed. The more dots, the better quality but the higher the dots the slower the printer tends to be. Most printers today provide an average of 300 or 600 DPI.

Q What is a duplex printer?

A A duplex printer allows the user to make a sheet double sided, so saves money on paper costs. Example: when printing a 200 page document you could cut down the amount of paper used to just 100 sheets.

Q What is a photo printer?

A This is a new kind of printer only really on the market for the past few years. It allows you to print not only directly from your computer but also from a digital camera, Palmtop or other mobile device.


Dot Matrix

A grid-like arrangement of pins that allows the creation of images by building patterns of dots on the paper.


DPI stands for Dots per Inch, and is a way of measuring the resolution of an image. Dots per Inch is a literal measurement, and records the number of individual dots of colour the printer can place within one horizontal inch.


Duplex is the term given to a printer’s ability to print on both sides of a piece of paper without user intervention.

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