Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ink Jet Printers Revisited

Does anyone remember dot matrix printers? The rat-ta-tat-tat of the print head as it banged the ink into the paper? That technology evolved into the ink jet printer, that sprayed the ink on to the page. Ink jets also grew to print in color! From there printing evolved to the laser printer, which combined heat and pressure to work the ink into the paper, with crisp clean edges and lines much like professional stationery. Magnificent! With time laser printers even had color. Dot matrix printers faded into the mist. Ink jets were relegated to home use.

We recently did a system upgrade, including a switch over to Window 7. Unfortunately we learned that several of our laser printers were not supported on the 7 platform, and had to be retired. A techie friend asked if I had considered replacing the lasers with ink jets? What? Ink jets? Of course not! We are a law firm. We need laser quality. I don't want to deal with expensive ink. Ink jets are too slow!

To the contrary my friend did assert. He claimed ink jets have evolved to the point that they have the same dots per inch (i.e., sharp edges and lines, etc.) as lasers, including when printing in color. They have print speeds only slightly slower than lasers. They are network compatible. And the cost per page is comparable to laser.

This cannot be! Preposterous I responded. "Listen" he said. "Try one. It will cost you 80 bucks, rather than several hundred dollars. If you don't like it, where's the harm?" So I did try one. Guess what? He was right! One of our network printers is now an HP Officejet Pro 8000. It has exceeded expectations. The black and white and color print quality matches any other printer we have in the office. Speed is not a problem. The ink supply is holding its own. And yes, the ink use and price point seem to be matching laser toner and cartridge costs. When you throw in the $80 price point, it is a definite win!

Sure, sure, sure, an argument can be made that the finest law firms only use engraved stationery; or they only go laser. The finest law firms are also laying off hundreds of lawyers, or closing their doors. Our printing looks fine, and it is savings us money. More importantly, our worth as a law firm is proven by the words on the page, not how those words are printed. I like our new ink jet printer. We are going to install more. We are going to save money, and feel good about it.

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