As these inkjet printers are multifunction units, we carried out our quality tests in both text and photo modes. Whenever possible, all photos were printed on A4 glossy photo paper from the same manufacturer as the printer. Here are the tests we did:
- Standard mode print of text containing fonts from 2 to 71 points
- Photo print with heavy contrast between very bright colors
- Photo print in black and white
- Landscape photo print with lots of variations of blue and green
Remember that the results that we're giving on cost-of-use are only an indirect reflection of reality. Given that the cost is impossible to establish precisely-because of the various uses to which a multifunction printer can be put-we opted for a relatively simple procedure. This gives a reasonably good indication of cost but, more importantly, provides a basis for comparison between the models, by assessing them on a level playing field.
Here are the tests we used:
- Black cartridge lifespan only, when printing documents with 25% black coverage
- Color and photo cartridge lifespan when printing an A4 document containing 25% black, 25% cyan, 25% magenta and 25% yellow
The calculations were then carried out as a function of the price of the cartridges, with prices obtained from a representative e-commerce website. We used cartridges from the same manufacturer as the printer, never compatible ink cartridges from a third party.
Note that we haven't included the costs of printing heads because the manufacturers have very different policies in this area. For example, the printing heads are integrated with the cartridges in the case of Lexmark, whereas Canon makes them a separate consumable. As for Epson, it would be completely impossible to replace the printing head; the manufacturer points out that the lifespan of the heads will be longer than that of the printer!