Dell 1135n Multi-function Laser Printer


Posted by Richerd Wilson | Posted in , , | Posted on 11:38 PM

Searching for a multi-purpose fax, scan, copy and print device for office use is far more difficult than it should be these days, mainly because there's such a wide range of products out there that all do a fairly similar job.

Dell has made a solid, if uninspiring, shift in the printer market recently, and the 1135n complements associated models in the same range by adding multi-function capabilities along with wired network support.
Despite its tilt towards an office environment, this is really a medium-yield laser printer with a 250-sheet main tray, 80-sheet output bin and a 40-sheet automatic document feeder.
It's capable of a maximum 1,200 x 1,200dpi, and can take paper weights up to 160gsm, which should be sufficient considering this is a monochrome device and handles a purported 12,000 pages per month in terms of volume.

Dell's recent range seems to follow a common pattern of prioritising simplicity and straightforward operation over features and versatility, and things are no different here.

It's a little disappointing not to see features such as wireless compatibility and automatic duplex printing, although it is possible to perform the latter manually by configuring the request through the print settings.
The front-mounted control panel is well laid out and offers access to all common functions including switching modes, and incorporating two 'hotkeys' to reduce or enlarge prints to, for example, output multiple pages onto a single sheet, and an 'ID Copy' function that can scan both sides of an ID card onto a page. These seem rather specific functions for dedicated keys, but they work well and may be of benefit to some.

A quoted speed of up to 22ppm seemed typically optimistic, although not as far-fetched as we've come to expect in this market. A fairly slow warm-up time from cold of around 20 seconds is the main thing preventing the 1135n from reaching these speeds, but once it gets going we noticed that larger jobs get far closer to the advertised number.

In our tests it turned out a page in around eight seconds during typical use (or around 7.5ppm). Five pages averaged about 12ppm and 30 pages 18ppm, so it's certainly capable of achieving a decent rate with volume jobs.

Quality is very good, and text prints showed solid blacks and sharp lettering that would be perfectly suitable for professional use. Greyscale images, including raster graphics, graphs and photos, also looked good.
It was sometimes difficult to discern between shades in more complex photographs but, since this is unlikely to be a common use for the printer, it shouldn't be a major problem.
Elsewhere we noticed that the 1135n has a tendency to 'cook' paper somewhat, something that's especially apparent with low-grade stock, and prints frequently appeared rather dog-eared when first printed.

While this is a fairly minor grievance as sheets obviously settle over time, it's worth bearing in mind if you're expecting to run straight from print out to meeting with a professional looking document.

The scanner is capable of saving images to a range of formats including BMP, TIFF, JPEG and direct to PDF, and can save files to networked folders. The copy and fax functions also work well, with the latter capable of storing up to 200 numbers in an address book for quick-dial access.

Combined with the management software provided there's just enough versatility on offer for those who aren't expecting to print or copy anything too adventurous.

Overall this is a solid offering from Dell that ticks all the most important boxes in offering fast speeds and solid print quality, and is generally very easy to set up and use. It does omit some features that may be extremely useful in a business environment, however, and we'd have expected to see at least a couple of these provided as standard considering the price.


New Printers to Give more Prints


Posted by Richerd Wilson | Posted in , , | Posted on 2:58 AM

Printers will now come with a regular cartridge instead of a start-up one, designed to give only limited prints. The Mumbai Suburban District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum (Bandra) on Tuesday directed Hewlett Packard (HP), “to discontinue the adoption of the unfair trade practice by supplying a regular cartridge instead of an ‘introductory’ or ‘start-up’ one with the sale of a new printer”.

Rajan Alimchandani, a Worli resident, had approached the forum in 2008 saying he had purchased a printer from Bisty Infotech, Borivli, in 2007.  However, the printer he said, could only print 22 pages.

When he contacted the Sales manager of Bisty Infotech he was told the cartridge supplied to him was a start-up cartridge and he will have to purchase a regular one.

According to Alimchandani’s complaint, it was not mentioned anywhere in the ad or the bill that the cartridge will be a start-up one. Bisty Infotech in its affidavit said there is no evidence to show the cartridge printed only 22 pages. However, HP in its affidavit said a start-up cartridge was supplied with the printer. HP also said the information was printed on the contents box.

“Naturally Alimchandani believed it was a regular cartridge,” observed the forum.

“It is nowhere mentioned in the replies that at the time of sale, it was explained to Alimchandani that the cartridge with the printer would be a start-up one,” observed the forum.

“Consumer is not required to read the printed instructions on the box, and therefore, assuming that such information was furnished or printed, would not be sufficient to avoid the possibility of a consumer being misled,” observed the forum consisting of president JL Deshpande and members VG Joshi and DS Bidnurkar.

The forum directed Bisty Infotech and HP to pay Alimchandani Rs 650 towards the cost of a regular cartridge and Rs 10, 000 as compensation. HP has not responded to an email sent by HT on Monday.


HP looks to redefine the printer with PhotoSmart e-All-in-One


Posted by Richerd Wilson | Posted in , | Posted on 9:58 PM

HP PhotoSmart e-All-in-One D110a It’s hard being a printer manufacturer in an age in which people want to cut down on paper. But tough times tend to prod innovation, and that’s exactly what seems to have happened within HP’s printer division.

Starting this month, all of HP’s new $100-plus consumer printers will feature built-in web-based services; ways in which consumers can use their printers without their computer being switched on and without even being in the house. I had a chance to try one of the most basic models, the $139.99 PhotoSmart e-All-in-One D110a.

Setup took a little longer than I was used to. Rather than just plugging in a USB cable (which is optional) and installing some software, I needed to use the device’s 2.4-inch display to connect to my router and enter my network password. I also needed to copy the printer’s IP address to my computer during installation and print out a code to log into HP’s website so that I could delete old apps and download new ones.

Apps, you say? Yes, apps. Like so many other consumer gadgets these days, HP’s printers now have their own collection of free mini-programs developed not just by HP but also several of its partners. Programs that came pre-loaded on the unit I tested included a Yahoo! news app that allowed me to print a 15-page newsletter collection of the day’s top stories, a Dreamworks app loaded with printable kids activities such as cut-out creatures and colouring sheets, a Sudoku app capable of generating devilishly difficult number puzzles and HP’s own Forms app, which lets users print off blank graph paper, music sheets, fax headers, and other useful formatted paper types.


Lexmark Interact S605


Posted by Richerd Wilson | Posted in , , , | Posted on 11:30 PM

Lexmark S605The Lexmark Interact S605 color inkjet multifunction printer avoids being just another $200 (as of May 22, 2010) printer/scanner/copier by including a 4.3-inch color LCD touchscreen for its control panel (think iPod Touch or iPhone). Unfortunately, that embellishment doesn't fully compensate for the machine's pricey inks and other shortcomings. Overall, the HP Officejet 6500 Wireless is a better deal in the same price range.

The Interact S605's 4.3-inch touchscreen control panel is its standout feature. Not only does the touchscreen look great, but Lexmark did an excellent job with its icons and menu structure, making it intuitive, easy to navigate, and well thought out. The touchscreen also gives the machine a cleaner look than a raft of buttons would. Automatic duplexing (two-sided printing) is the other big plus. But otherwise, the Interact S605's features are unremarkable: There is no automatic document feeder, just a letter-size flatbed scanner. The rear, vertical input try holds a scant 100 sheets, and the front output area accommodates 25 sheets. Media slots support MS/MMC, SD, and xD card; there is a USB/PictBridge port as well.

Lexmark's adaptable setup routine walks novices through every step, but allows savvier users to skip through at a faster pace. The wireless installation we chose required a brief connection via USB. There is no ethernet. Lexmark installs exactly one shortcut--to the Lexmark Printer Home software, which covers scanning sufficiently but does not address any photo or creative features.

The Interact S605 performed adequately in our tests. On the PC, plain-black text printed at a midrange rate of 6.4 pages per minute, but on the Mac, it managed a lackluster 4.1 ppm. On either platform, text was crisp and very black. Full-color, 4-by-6-inch photos (printed on letter-size paper) averaged 1.9 ppm on the PC; on the Mac, a 7.5-by-9.9-inch, high-resolution color photo printed on letter-size paper in about 83 seconds (0.7 ppm). Photos exhibited a slight greenish tint and high contrast that provided great detail in darker areas but made fleshtones look unnatural. Color copies looked washed out.

You may have seen Lexmark's ads for $5 ink cartridges on TV or the Web. Alas, the Interact S605--unlike, say, the Lexmark Pinnacle Pro901--can't work with that supercheap 105XL cartridge. The standard-size ‘100' inks include a 170-page black cartridge ($16, or 9.4 cents per page) and separate 200-page, cyan, magenta, and yellow color cartridges ($10 each, or 5 cents per color per page). The high-yield ‘100XL' versions are a little more expensive than average: a 510-page black costs $25 (4.9 cents per page) and 600-page cyan, magenta, and yellow cartridges cost $18 each (3 cents per color, per page). These high prices may be tolerable if you print fairly little, but they dampened our enthusiasm for this product.

The Lexmark Interact S605 has some nice features that could tempt someone buying for a small or home office. Unfortunately, its pricey inks make it unsuitable for all but the lightest-volume situations.