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Colour Lasers – The Saviour of Modern Technology?

There’s a lot of talk these days about the print capabilities of the colour laser printers that have been coming out recently. Much better than the older, less-successful colour laser models that were available on the market a few years ago, colour laser printers are now being bought in great numbers by businesses and home printers alike in a bid for high-quality, cost-effective printing.

But how good are they, and what’s behind their popularity?

Slowly replacing inkjets?

No longer associated with office use, laser printers have been gaining a steady acceptance with those looking for cheap, reliable printing at home.

With the cost of inkjet ink cartridges at an all-time high, printer manufacturers are now finding that their low-cost printers just aren’t enough to convince the average consumers into a purchase.

In fact, inkjet printing has very recently become synonymous with ‘rip-off’. With high failure rates and inconsistent print qualities, inkjet printers regularly disappoint.

Part of this disappointment could stem from a lack of appreciation for the advanced print technology that inkjet printers actually contain (which is almost certainly true), but the manufacturers themselves are mostly to blame for this, with their advertising campaigns downplaying their printers’ complexity and instead focussing on how simple they are to use.

Colour lasers: the benefits

One of the reasons behind the recent success of the colour laser printer – in addition to their slowly falling prices – has been their ability to combine the speed and reliability of laser printers with the colour print quality of inkjets.

While their colour reproduction capabilities are still some way off that of an inkjet printer, they’re now better than ever. Of course, they’re not so great if you need a printer to take care of those high-resolution digital images, but for the standard day-to-day printed material that most people require, they’re more than adequate.

A case of poor marketing?

Inkjet printers do cost significantly more than their inkjet counterparts, but this might just have worked to their advantage.

Printer manufacturers, such as Epson and HP actually sell their inkjet printers at a loss (some selling for as low as £40) and make their money on the replacement ink cartridges (which can sometimes cost more than the printer itself). But selling inkjets for such low prices may have harmed the technology – it may have promoted a ‘cheap, less technologically sophisticated’ image, which colour lasers have capitalised on.

Whatever the reasons, the bottom line in consumers’ minds now reads: ‘Inkjets are too cheap, I want to pay more for a printer that actually performs well.

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