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1/27/2006
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Review: Four Low-Cost Laser Printers

Why pay for color you don't need? These four lasers compete with inkjets on initial price and save you money on per-page cost.

Color is great where it's needed. But does every page you print have (or need) color ink on it? Today's low-priced monochrome laser printers offer quick print times, and better overall text quality, than most inkjet printers.

And while lasers cost more in the beginning, they can save you money over the long run. Inkjet printer prices start below $50, but with an average cartridge price of $30 and a per-page cost of about 10 cents, it doesn't take long to spend a couple of hundred dollars on printing. Inexpensive laser printers start around $75, and supply costs can be as low a couple of pennies a page. Maybe it's time to move your inkjet to the side and use one of these laser printers as your default printer.


In This Roundup

•  Introduction

•  Brother HL-2040

•  Dell 1100

•  HP Laserjet 1020

•  Konica Minolta PagePro 1350W

•  Conclusions And Product Info

I looked at four laser printers that are available for about $100. (List prices ranged from $76 to $180, but rebates and discounts make any printer's price a function of how willing you are to hunt for a bargain.) They all have USB connectors, but no network interfaces (sharing has to be done thorough the PC that the printer is connected to). All of them were easy to set up, though the quality and helpfulness of their installation instructions varied.

All these printers produce excellent text output. Graphic output varies greatly from one printer to another as noted within each review, but as monochrome print devices, graphic output is not their primary purpose.

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