by January 6, 1999 0 comments
Printout
quality

This is an important test parameter,
though it tends to be subjective. PCQ Labs breaks it into several smaller objective tests,
and converts qualitative parameters into quantitative ones with the statistical
Brown-Gibson model.

The tests include: reproducing a thin line at an angle of
one degree smoothly; converging many thin lines–radially–to a point, and
reproducing two-point Times New Roman text clearly. Other tests involve studying the
dithering or screen patterns of printouts under high magnification. For instance, this is
a part of a full-page printout (inset) magnified at 500 percent, showing its actual
screening pattern.

At PCQ Labs, we tested six inkjet printers under Rs
16,000. To avoid comparing Rs 7,000 printer (the cheapest in the shootout) with a Rs
16,000 one, we divided the printers into two categories: those under Rs 10,000, and those
over Rs 10,000 and under Rs 16,000. There were four printers in the first category and two
in the second.

All the printers were tested on a P II system with 64 MB
RAM and Win 98. We used a standalone machine with Office 97, CorelDRAW 8, and Photoshop 5.

Word processing tests were done using Word 97, and
CorelDRAW 8 was used for graphics test. All speed tests were timed thrice and their
average taken. If the difference between any of the two readings was more than 10 percent,
the test was repeated. We carried out all the tests in every printer resolution mode
separately, testing the printer’s efficiency and speed in each mode. We also carried
out a number of quality tests by printing graphics on plain and inkjet papers, as
specified by the vendor.

We then calculated the page per minute (ppm) capability of
each printer, and compared the quality of the printouts in different modes. The
printer’s features and price were further added to find out the one that offered best
value to you.

Sara Hassan and Sougata Das
at PCQ Labs Tests

Tests and weightages
Print speeds

Time
taken to print the first page of a multi-page file
Time taken to print a full-page color graphic
Time taken for printing a full-page monochrome graphic
Average speed per page of a multi-page file
Time taken for printing a single page with text and a small color graphic
Time taken per page for multiple copies of the same page
Total

Note: Timings for text prints are
for default or standard mode, while those for graphics and text plus graphics are for the
best quality available on normal paper.
Timings for text prints are
for default or standard mode, while those for graphics and text plus graphics are for the
best quality available on normal paper.

 

27
23
22
14
9
5
100

Print quality

Quality
of a full-page color graphics on ordinary paper
Quality of monochrome graphics on ordinary paper
Quality of text prints
Quality of CMYK mix on ordinary paper
Quality of fountain fill
Quality of full-page color graphics on speciality inkjet paper
Total

Note: Qualitative analysis was
done on printouts taken at the best mode the printer could print in.

 

29
24
18
14
10
5
100

Price and features

Price of the printer
Drivers for multiple platforms
Warranty
Total

 

31
13
6
50

Click here to see printers at a glance and
the results .

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