The printer, one of the more important peripherals for any computer these days, is a must-have for producing hard copy. It allows users to get hold of the tangible results of electronic data created and stored in the computer.
While printing presses still hold the number one spot for mass production of high definition results, many professional print and graphic businesses utilize a computer printer for fast and good quality prints.
There are many printer types, and one of these is the local peripheral printer, or computer printer. It is attached directly to the computer via a printer cable to enable the user to print data directly from the source. Another type of printer is the network printer, which is connected to many computers on a built-in network and allows local or network connected users to print hard copy results.
A user can choose to print data using an impact printer, a printing device that utilizes a print head containing several metal pins that strike against a ribbon to produce print on a page. An example of an impact printer is a dot-matrix printer, which is a low-definition device normally used in the printing of cash register receipts or invoices.
Meanwhile, a non-impact printer is a faster and quieter printer. Thermal printers fall under this category. Thermal printers use heat to print on special heat-receptive paper and are normally found in portable calculators. Another kind of non-impact printer, the ink-jet printer, squirts fine jets of ink from ink cartridges unto the paper.
Another printer type is toner-based and uses the principle behind photocopier technology. One such toner-based printer is the laser printer, which makes use of dry powdered ink and laser beam technology. Laser printers are the preferred printer for a speedier turn-out of high quality prints. They are usually the printer of choice for office or corporate settings.
Color printers, on the other hand, produce not only black or monochrome hard copy prints, but the whole color range. With the advent of digital cameras, photo printers have seen an increase in popularity. Formerly high-priced and used only by professional photographers, the photo printer is now more accessible to the digital camera-owning public.
Photo printers normally contain more ink cartridges compared to the standard inkjet printer in order to duplicate the color range seen in the viewfinder of a digital camera and to produce more realistic, high definition pictures. There is currently a surge of compact photo printers in the market today. These photo printers turn out standard size 4″ by 6″ prints and do not even require the use of a computer.
Modern printer technology has also brought the multifunction printer, also known as the All-In-One (AIO) printer. This type of printer caters to the user who prefers an all-purpose device in a single unit. Most standard All-In-One printers can be directly linked to outside peripherals like memory cards, flash drives, or even image-capture devices like digital cameras. The multifunctional characteristic of the All-In-One printer allows it to function as a scanner, a printer and a fax machine, all found in just one printing device.