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Re: Getting a new printer.. suggestions?

Thomas J Hawley wrote:

> You might extend your look to the Lexmark line as well. I've not checked
> them out recently, but a few years ago they had a good reasonably priced
> color inkjet that had PostScript emulation built in.

I can attest that this is a rather good line, as the inkjet printers go.
(Nearly all such printers these days are made of relatively flimsy plastic. In
some sense, they build "disposable" printers these days, sell them pretty
cheap, and actually make their money on the consumables. If you need something
rugged, I have no suggestion beyond getting a refurb HP laser, up through the

Nothing else I'm aware of remotely near this price range gives you built-in

The main thing is to avoid a (brainless) Win-printer, something that may be
easier said than done these days. I have two older LexMarks: an Optra Color
40, bought on closeout over a year ago from BUY.COM (these are long gone, but
you might find one on Ebay), and it's larger, industrial sibling, the Xerox
C-20, which is actually an Optra-45 inside a much more deluxe housing. The
latter takes much larger paper sizes, has better paper-handling options, and
has a LaserJet-style front panel LCD that gives you a lot of direct control
plus status info. I've had it for awhile, but only just recently connected it,
and so far I like it a lot. (Bought this one new-in-the box on Ebay awhile
back. I was about to say it may be harder to find this model, but Xerox has
sort of been edging out of the printer biz, so maybe not. It was bought at a
steep discount over the original selling price.) Theoretically, an HP-DJ500
printer driver should work O.K. for these in Xy, and better with some
modifications, but I haven't gotten around to confirming that yet.

Bear in mind that if you print much in the way of graphics -- esp. photos --
doing so via a PostScript driver is   S  L  O  W  (!)  and likely to
require the addition of expensive printer memory.  I sprang for this memory,
but most of the time feel better off using a PCL driver, which is notably
quicker, and free. I'm not sure this driver comes on the Printer CD, but can
tell you where to find it. Photographic repro on the LexMarks is O.K., but
doesn't compare to one of the better Epsons. Of course, doing such printing
will use up your color cartridges much quicker.

Another point to consider is that newer printer models generally use a new type
of ink cartridge that has a chip imbedded in it. This effectively defeats any
attempts to use home re-inking kits, or cheapo generic replacement cartridges.
(Sneaky, sneaky ! Remember where these Co.s make their real $$, though.)

I know a little about this stuff, in part because a friend of mine writes a
column on Printing & Scanning.

> Using XY DOS 4 with a
> PostScript printer file is one way around the "Windows Printer" problem.

Maybe not necessary. That would only apply to later models, or to
Winprinters. If you buy a Winprinter, you're going to have to deal with other
problems, as has been discussed here before.

> HP now includes cloned PostScript in its business-class laser printers
> (e.g., the Laserjet 4100) but so far as I know not in the sub-$1000
> inkjets. ("Cloned" = not genuine Adobe PS, but just as good so far as I
> can tell.)

Yes. I got that Optra-40 for around $98., incl. free shipping. That's a small
fraction of $1K !  A couple of very favorable articles and some newsgroup
chatter later, they sold out their last 400 of these in around 10 days.
Something similar seemed to be happening with the Xerox, at the time I bought
it. In situations like this, timing is everything.