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Which Printer Is Best For Me?

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2011 has been a year of gentle innovation in the printer market, peaked by a few particular introductions which show there’s still some R&D going in printing laboratories around the world. More inkjets, certainly, but also a few more colour LED printers; cheaper, simpler alternatives to colour lasers, but with a sting in the tail because of their consumable costs. Dell started this off last year with lost cost printers and multifunctions but, at least in part, this seems to be due to the Xerox engine it used, as Xerox’s own printers released this year have the same high running costs.

There’s been a lot of emphasis on connections, particularly to tablets and phones. HP has developed it’s ePrint remote print facility, but has been joined by Kodak and Brother, using Google Cloud Print (which HP now supports, too). Cloud print is mainly aimed at people using Android devices  and Dell, Kyocera, Lexmark, OKI and Samsung are also members of the Cloud Printing Alliance, so may have new players in the wings. Airprint, Apple’s driver-free technology for printing from iPhones, iPads and iPods, is also seeing increasing support.

Otherwise printers  are getting a bit quicker, a bit more duplex and a bit cheaper to run. The last of those not before time. Here are my top machines in each of the 10 categories I’d divide printers into.

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