Multifunction printers call the tune

Average home PC users are equipping themselves with more and more multifunctional peripherals, to the detriment of traditional A4 printers. In 2005, the market saw an increase of 27% in the number of units sold-according to the market research company GfK-when in the same period the increase in A4 inkjets was only 12%. There are several factors behind this success. A primary one is that multifunction printers are now barely more expensive than conventional printers, but offer much greater versatility. In fact, Canon points out that the average sale price of a conventional printer is $128, when that of a multifunction printer is $127! This is somewhat of a paradox.

But purchase price isn't everything; the efficiency of the products is an equally essential factor in ensuring their success. Today, the printing and scanning components are much better integrated, and the almost systematic presence of LCD screens, memory card slots and PictBridge connections greatly enhances the usability of these products Compare Prices on Multifunction Printers.

We've limited this comparison to five middle-of-the-range models from five of the biggest manufacturers. None of these offer a fax function-that is still reserved for professional models. All of these multifunction printers are clearly aimed at the office market, but they also make a nod to the photo market by using the same printing heads and inks that you find in conventional A4 printers.

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