HP’s PRINTERS ARE STILL PLAYING CATCH UP

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HP’s PRINTERS ARE STILL PLAYING CATCH UP

 user 2006-02-09 at 9:54:00 am Views: 44
  • #14143

    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.