*NEWS*HP’s PRINTERS PLAYING CATCH UP

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*NEWS*HP’s PRINTERS PLAYING CATCH UP

 user 2006-02-09 at 9:54:00 am Views: 75
  • #14002

    HP’s printers are still playing catch up
    LAST WEEK I was wandering around the printer section at Staples, where to my great surprise I saw a $99 “special” sale on the lowest of HP’s low-end laser printers, the LaserJet 1020. The 1020 is a frumpy little beast that delivers up to 15 pages a minute at around 600 to 1200 dpi output, depending on how the internal software fudges things. However, it doesn’t have a basic 250 page paper tray, unlike the 20 to 22 page per minute offerings from Brother and Samsung. And it really doesn’t hang with the lowest low-end Konica Minolta PagePro 1400W, that cranks out ink at 17 pages per minute (ppm)and can be bought for $80 bucks net if you include the $40 money back coupon.
    Needless to say, the low-end 1020 is on its way to being flushed and I suspect many companies are taking a hard look at the future of mono-color (i.e. black) lasers. It wouldn’t surprise me to see HP shuck down their 1022 model as the “new” low-end model and other companies decide to compete by putting “meatier” 25-35 ppm devices in the under $200-300 range.
    But it’s going to get crowded, since the price for printing black vs adding the option for a little color is pretty cheap, hardware-wise. Already, Konica Minolta’s MagicColor 2400W laser is being offered for around $300 after the $100 rebate. It will crank 20 pages black or 5 ppm color and has a listed duty cycle of 35,00 pages per month (if you have deep enough pockets to buy all that toner). Thrown against that is either the HP Color LaserJet 2600N for 8 ppm black or color for $400 or the 2550N (20 ppm black, 4 ppm color) for $500 with rebate. Budget buyers will be tempted to hop over the Konica Minolta MagicColor models even if they don’t need the color.
    Meanwhile, HP is throwing out the HP Color LaserJet 3600n as their answer to the mid-range color segment of the low-cost printer war. It cranks out 17 pages per minute in either black or color and includes a 10/100 Ethernet print server built in for $699. Compare that to the Konica Minolta Magiccolor 5430 DL, around $500 with the rebate. This printer will crank up to 21 ppm in black or color and has an Ethernet connector, so it’s ready to go. Is the HP label worth a $200 price premium? Is it worth an extra $200 for a 5 page difference in print speed? It’s hard to beat faster and cheaper.
    HP won’t be standing still, so you should expect the price and performance gaps to close up over the next twelve months, to where HP is offering something around the same performance specs as its Japanese competitors at a price point between $50 to 150 above them.