Multifunction Inkjet Printers: Are You Ready for a Printer that Does More?


Despite the arrival of new models with better and better performance and features, the market for letter-size/A4 inkjet printers has been shrinking for several years. That's not because purchasers aren't interested in printing anymore, but rather because they're moving towards other types of peripherals.

Three product types are holding their own in the battle for the printer market: 4"x6" (10x15cm) photo printers, color laser printers, and multifunction printers; the last of these is the category we'll be looking at here.

The first models that came out almost ten years ago, especially under the market leadership of HP, were intended only for business use. Based on laser technology, their goal was above all to save vital desktop space while giving purchasers a combination of functions at a lower cost.

But that's now changed. The arrival of the first inkjet multifunction printers and the significant increase in their print quality have made multifunctions popular in the consumer market. This is perhaps because the majority of multifunction printers are basically inkjet printers with a scanner added. Very few models can claim to be "photo quality"; they are more often aimed at office applications, using only four inks for color printing, for example, where some high-end inkjet printers use as many as eight. But multifunction inkjet printers are still attractive products, combining quality printing, copying and scanning capabilities.