We’ve included two printer types in the dedicated photo category: Dye sublimation and inkless (Zink). Obviously, users can get photo print quality from other print technologies (namely inkjet printers) but the dye sub and inkless printers on the market currently only print photographs.
Dye sublimation is often used in dedicated photo printers because of the superior number of color choices. Dye sublimation uses a solid dye ribbon that is heated until it turns into a gas and then spreads that over the print medium in four layers. The first three layers are the colors; the fourth is a clear laminate to keep prints from being destroyed when exposed to heat, which also helps extend the life of a photo print well beyond what an average inkjet printer may give you.
Inkless print technology is more recent and involves Zink imaging. The idea behind inkless prints is a special paper embedded with colorless dye crystals between two outer layers. When heated by the print drum, the crystals colorize, resulting in quick photos on the go without the need for messy ink.
Both are dedicated to printing photos (as the name suggests) and are more flexible than their counterparts because there is no worry about ink spills or need for an excessive amount of energy. New models often include battery packs, Bluetooth and/or built-in card readers for truly portable units.
Disadvantages? Well, the consumables are often limited in size – think 4x6 prints or smaller – and again, you won’t be printing anything other than photos.
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