Ink jet printers: More than pretty pics

SAN FRANCISCO (11/20/2003) - The US$199 Hewlett-Packard Co. Business Inkjet 1100d comes standard with a built-in duplexer, and the vendor optimistically estimates it can handle a monthly duty cycle (workload) of 6250 pages--impressive for an ink jet. Similarly productive, despite a price of under US$100, the Epson America Inc. Stylus C84 boasts a monthly duty cycle of 5000 pages.

Multifunction printers keep getting better. The Canon Inc. MultiPass MP730 and the Lexmark International Inc. X6170 performed best overall in our tests. For more-attractive photos, however, you should select a dedicated photo printer. The Epson Stylus Photo 900 and the Canon i9100 Photo Printer may equal your local print shop in output quality; plus, the Epson can print onto coated discs, and the Canon makes big prints--up to 13 by 19 inches.

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