The word printer means different things in different fields of applications. Going by the generic meaning, a printer means one who is in the occupation of printing and publishing. It also means a device which prints out the results of data computed by computers, as applied to computers. In the celluloid world, it stands for devices used to copy and modify films. It is extremely relevant to talk about the computer printers in this article.
Computer Printer A computer printer transforms digitally stored documents of graphics or text data into paper/hard copies. Printers can be permanently interfaced with individual computers or can be anywhere in the network, invariably through network interfaces, either wired or wireless, so that any or all users can share for hard copy production. You will normally see a wired network in small areas known as LAN and wireless networks or Ethernets are over a wide area (WAN).
Types of Modern Printers Printers have evolved so much that you can have true life quality printing with them which is a departure from the earlier 'dot matrix' printers. Here are some printers which are relevant today. ? Inkjet printers ? Laser printers ? Plotters ? Thermal printers ? Digital minilabs
Generally in an office environment, the first three types of printers are the preferred ones. These are designed especially for office needs such as printing text matters, graphics like charts and power point presentation documents etc with an exception that plotters are dedicated for uses like constructional drawings which can't be 'printed'.
How Printers Work Inkjet printers print by placing extremely small (50-60 microns in size) ink drops precisely in the format of the original document. The precision is so high that equals resolutions of 1440x720 dpi. The dots can any colours in predetermined combination to create color images. Laser printers work similar to photocopiers but differing in producing images. The document is directly scanned on to a photosensitive drum creating a negative image which is later developed by 'lamping back' and pressurized rolling over the paper by fusing.
Plotters can print only line diagrams by one or more pens moving laterally according to the commands received by them.
Buying Printers Fundamental points to consider while buying printers are price, speed, quality of print and in addition, cost of printing. You may want to look at the features offered like inbuilt cameras, resolution of minimum 1200x1200 dpi, cost of toner cartridge etc. Warranty will be usually for a year and generally speaking, you need not worry about maintenance/after-sales-service during their lives. But for photo printing, you need to buy the specific type of printer, if your preferred inkjet doesn't boast of this feature inbuilt there.
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