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An alternative to the laser-class business printer, solid ink technology allows for quick print speeds and excellent print quality for a low long-term cost. The upside – and major difference – is the solid ink sticks that are extremely eco-friendly. Disadvantages include high initial costs and higher energy consumption than inkjet or dedicated photo printers.
Dedicated photo printers are usually very compact and target photo enthusiasts who want to be able to print on the go. They offer high quality photos and creative extras from any locations thanks to the invention of battery packs, Bluetooth, built-in card readers and ink-free print technology. Disadvantages include consumables that are often limited in size – think 4x6 prints or smaller – and a limitation to printing photos only.
Laser and LED printers use a more efficient dry ink (toner) technology and typically feature high print speeds, large monthly duty cycles, low cost per page, and secure printing and processing for large and confidential files. Affordable B&W systems are available for consumers, although businesses are the primary users of both B&W and color models. Laser printers often win the battle when it comes to print resolution, but since the LED process is less complex, LED printers often hold court when it comes to cost, efficiency and even reliability.
Inkjet printers are well-suited for home or small office environments for day- to-day document printing, basic photo printing, creative projects and personal use applications. Most feature low energy consumption, and a small initial price tag, although ink cartridge costs can be high. Usually, the biggest choice for most consumers looking at inkjet printers will be between a single function machine or an All-in-One (AIO) printer.
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