Are High-End Ink Jet Printers Worth Your Money?


Three heavy-hitter printer vendors, three new inkjet models from Canon, Epson and HP. But while all three vendors claim that their respective printer uses eight different inks, there is only one real eight-ink printer out of the bunch, Canon's Pixma IP8500. But Epson is not far behind, with the Stylus Photo R800 and its seven inks plus an eighth "gloss optimizer" cartridge. As for HP, you have to be convinced that using three types of black inks in as many cartridges qualifies the Photosmart 8450 as an eight-ink model. But despite these major differences, these three models, which do represent the best of what's currently available in inkjet printers, remain the best and the brightest in their category.

So whom are these products geared for? Priced between $330 and $400, these three printers don't really target the consumer market. Less fancy and, above all, less expensive models like the ones we compared in our recent article, In Living Color: 8 New Inkjet Printers Put to the Test will more than suffice for your average Joe's printer needs.

Instead, this review is for those obsessed with the best of the best that inkjet printers can offer, regardless of the cost, in pursuit of printing perfection. Suffice it to say that Canon, Epson and HP are getting closer to the enthusiast's Holy Grail.