The Inkjet Set

Pick Your Printer

There's an inkjet for every occasion. If budget is your main consideration, older models available in every major line sell for less than $100. These bargain buys include the Hewlett-Packard DeskJet 610CL ($99 street), the Epson Stylus Color 440 ($99 street) and the Canon BJC-2100 ($49 street, after rebate). What you'll sacrifice for price in most cases is higher print speeds and resolutions.

If you travel, whether on extended business trips or short visits to clients, note that both Brother and Canon make portable inkjet printers. These tiny printers accommodate letter- and legal-sized paper and fit in laptop cases. The BJC-85 is Canon's latest mobile offering. It weighs in at 3.1 pounds and offers wireless infrared printing, a feature most laptops have built-in. A battery pack is optional, but it's a necessity for true "anywhere" printing.

The Brother MP-21Cdx weighs only 2.2 pounds and is built specifically for use with notebook computers. Connections are made directly through laptops' PCMCIA ports. That's convenient if weight is your concern or if your laptop isn't infrared equipped. If your PCMCIA slots are full, you'll have to either hook up to a built-in parallel connection or pull a card to use this printer.

One area where inkjets excel is in digital photography. Hewlett-Packard and Epson are leaders in this area, offering printers designed to turn out high-quality digital photos. The Epson Stylus Photo 1270 sports extremely fine ink-droplet sizes and six-color technology to achieve photo output. Remember, however, that photo printers tend to work best with their prescribed photo papers. Be sure to figure the extra cost of premium paper into the equation.

For text-heavy usage, inkjets make good individual-workstation printers. They are generally slower than their laser counterparts, but they are more affordable. Most will handle envelopes and odd-sized paper easily. Check a printer's paper-handling ca-pability if you have specific needs.

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This article was originally published in the August 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: The Inkjet Set.

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