A multifunction printer is a desktop machine combining the functions of printer, scanner, fax, copier and memory card reader. It also allow you (for most models) to send a document via e-mail. An monochrome or color LCD screen is present to allow you manipulate all the features of the printer.
Multifunction printers are gradually replacing traditional printers in businesses, because their main advantage: increased productivity by reducing costs.
- Small businesses are attracted by the multifunction printers for two reasons:
- It replaces four devices at once. Less cable used and space occupied.
- The acquisition of the device is cheaper than buying four devices seperately.
- Points to consider before buying:
- In the case of failure of one element of the device (scanner, printer, etc..) it is all of elements that are unusable during the time of maintenance (this may however be independent for some models).
- Beware of cheaper models that generally do not perform two operations simultaneously.
- Note: Some features, such as photocopying and photo printing from a memory card, are accessible without turning on the PC which is connected to multifunction printer.
- Printer: resolution and speed. The resolution indicates the quality of printing. It is measured in dpi (dots per inch). The higher the value, the higher the print quality (Best Quality Color: 9600 x 2400 dpi). Print speed is expressed in ppm (pages per minute). A small company does not have a large print volume will emphasize quality print over speed.
- Quality photocopy and scanner: The quality of the copy depends on the function of the printer and scanner function (the resolution of the scanner is also expressed in dpi - Medium Resolution: 1 200 × 2 400 dpi). More value is greater and the scanner is performing.
- Fax Management: Companies need to send faxes and they can do with a "multifunctional". Check if the device is equipped with an internal modem or can be connected to a PC's modem.
The criteria to verify
- Printer: resolution and speed. The resolution indicates the quality of printing. It is measured in dpi (dots per inch). The higher the value, the higher the print quality (Best Color Quality : 9600 x 2400 dpi). Print speed is expressed in ppm (pages per minute). A small company does not have a large print volume will emphasize print quality over speed.
- Photocopy and scanning quality: The printing function associated with the scanner function will allow the photocopy function. The quality of the copy depends on the both the scanning and printing quality (the resolution of the scanner is also expressed in dpi - Medium Resolution: 1200 × 2400 dpi).
- Fax management: Companies need to send faxes can do with a multifunction printer. Check if the device is equipped with an internal modem or whether it can use the PC's modem.
- Cost of consumables: You must consider the purchase price of the replacement ink cartridges (unit/cost). The capacity of print cartridges is a criterion to consider. Also check if the printer offers separate ink tanks or a single tank. Some cartridges( generic) can be compatible with most current models, but the ink quality is uneven.
- The presence of numerous manufacturers on the multifunction printer market is causing the steady decline of the price of these devices. The low end devices starts just below 100 euros.
- The Japanese manufacturer Brother, which is a market leader, has the advantage of offering devices among the samllest in size.
- The Japanese Canon company offers very versatile printer offering all possible options. Multifunction Bubble Jet / Multifunction Laser printers.
- Epson printers use a multi-cartridges configuration, but thei ink consumption still remains important. The Japanese firm offers multifunction printers among the cheapest in the market.
- HP produced nearly half the printers sold worldwide.
- Lexmark offers competitive prices.
- Among the others manufacturers, you will have:
- Dell Multifunction Printers
- Ricoh Multifunction Printers
- Toshiba multifunction printers