Printer reviews: Features explained
Different printers are suited to different tasks and include the right features for those tasks. Here’s a rundown of some of those features.
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- Connectivity features – wi-fi, eprint and Cloud print
- Paper and time saving features – Duplex printing and ADF
- Photo printing features - Print from memory card of camera.
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Types of printer
Best for fast prints and usually quite large. Mono laser printers only print in black. Colour laser printers and all-in-one laser printer (that can print, copy and scan) are pricier.
More compact. Inkjets tend to print better looking photos than laser printers. Some printer can print, copy and scan and some are wi-fi compatible.
How to buy the best printer – get more detailed information about the different types of printer to find the best printer for you.
With a wi-fi compatible printer you can print wirelessly from computer, laptop, smartphone and tablet. You’ll need a wireless router for this.
Some printers from brands including HP and Epson allow you to email prints to the printer.
What are eprinters? - See how Eprint works and find out about email print security in our video.
Some printers are compatible with cloud services, so you can share your printer with others if you want, or print via the cloud from a host of devices.
Wireless printing explained – all you need to know about wirelessly printing features including printing from smartphone and using AirPrint.
Paper and time saving features
Auto-duplexing is automatic double-sided printing, so you can set your printer up to automatically use both sides of a page.
Automatic document feeder (ADF)
A tray on top of the printer which you can use to scan, copy and fax (for printers with a fax function) multiple pages without having to feed them through one at a time.
Photo printing features
Memory card slots
Some printers have memory card slots so you can take the card out of your camera and print directly from it. Most are compatible with SD cards, some are also compatible with other types of memory card.
Printers with memory card slots usually have a colour screen on the printer, so you can select the photos to print without having to turn on a computer.
If you see the PictBridge sign you can connect your camera directly to the USB port on the printer with a cable and print directly from the camera.
Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
Many all-in-one printers also come with OCR software. This recognises text in scanned pages so you can edit the scanned text on your computer.
Even if OCR software is not supplied, free OCR software downloads are widely available.
Slide and negative scanners
The slide and negative adaptor in the lid of some all-in-one printers enables you to scan 35mm film negatives and slides. This feature is generally available only on high-end, expensive all-in-one printers.
4-in-1 printers include a fax function as well as printing, copying and scanning.
A small number of HP printers have eFax which is an email-based faxing services which may incur additional costs to send and receive.