There are essentially two options open to you if you're considering buying a shiny new printer. One is the inkjet and the other is the laser. That's it, easy right? Not exactly. Deciding on the right one to buy has largely been down to the sort of printing jobs that you do most and how much you want to spend, but all that has changed recently.
Laser printers have traditionally been most cost effective for printing needs, particularly for larger volume print jobs and outputting documents that are rich in text. This means that the laser printer has been most commonly seen in offices, although it's also been good for home printing chores too.
However, while it can cope with mono documents and solid colour graphics such as logos and the like, the laser printer is less adept at producing lustrous, full colour digital images like those we take on our digital cameras and smartphones and subsequently want to print onto photo paper.
What's more, if you need a printer that can carry out varied print jobs, including printing CD and DVD labels, then the inkjet is invariably better at that too.
So are inkjets easier?
Inkjet printers are usually much easier to configure if you want to print directly from the gadgets around your home. They can be hooked up to your camera, for example, whereas the laser printer has less of this user-friendliness.
The Hero All-in-One range comes with a formidable range of high-tech features all of which are very simple to use.
It's not that clear-cut though, because considering which printer to buy has also been about evaluating the technical specification of a device. Core features in making any decision usually revolve around comparing performance factors including the dots per inch (or DPI) resolution on offer, the pages per minute (or PPI) and the connectivity options available.
Other factors, such as PictBridge support that allows the direct from camera printing option and what sort of media the device will accept, including USB sticks and memory cards, need to be pondered over carefully. There's also the type of paper a printer can support and how many trays are available to hold everything from glossy 6x4 photo stock through to A4 sheets of plain paper. All are crucial points to consider when deliberating over a printer purchase.
It's hardly surprising therefore, that the All-in-One printer has become a huge hit with home consumers and small businesses who need something that can do a little bit of everything. What the All-in-One does is to amalgamate every facet of printing and packs it into a single powerful device that can get the job done, but also earn its keep thanks to low running costs.
The main emphasis on these new All-in-One models, such as the Hero range from Kodak, is value for money. This collection of affordable printers all come with very reasonable price tags considering their formidable technical specifications and advanced software features.
It costs less than £20 to replace the ink cartridges on a Hero model, which is the cheapest in the industry.
They feature low running costs too. In fact, once you've bought the device itself, Kodak offers high-quality replacement ink cartridges for less than half the cost of other manufacturers. Your prized photo prints will also last up to 120 years.
It's not all just about offering unbeatable value though, because All-in-Ones provide the perfect compromise between modern inkjets that can deliver all of your full-colour digital printing needs and also the traditional home office style Laser printer that's long been so popular for those high-volume mono document print jobs.
A new way
Both inkjet and laser printers have often been seen as problematical to use. All-in-Ones, on the other hand, deliver a revolutionary home or workplace printing experience that combines an amazing ease of set-up and use with a dizzying array of features.
Adding to the appeal of an All-in-One is the fact that replacing cartridges is quick and simple, plus there's no mess or waste either. Even if you're printing large volumes of colour prints, low cartridge replacement costs still make an All-in-One hard to beat for home use or small office needs.
Hero printers boast photo paper trays, automatic document feeders and two-sided document printing for the ultimate in convenience.
If you're looking for simplicity, then an All-in-One will allow you to print every kind of document in complete fuss-free fashion, using some of the most sophisticated hardware and software technology available. There are features on the Kodak Hero range, for example, that can't be found on any other comparably priced printer currently on the market.
All-in-One's are refreshingly simple to set-up compared to both laser and inkjet models, thanks to cable-free connectivity provided by their built-in Wi-Fi. It's possible to be ready to print in a mere matter of minutes by employing this intuitive wireless printing system, which works in tandem with any kind of computer platform.
Once you've powered up and configured your connection, an All-in-One delivers an unparalleled array of high-tech printing functionality compared to inkjet or laser devices. They're undeniably intuitive, with users being able to print on the go, directly from their smartphone, laptop or tablet device. This can be done using Google Cloud Print-enabled apps, including popular free options such as Gmail and Google Docs.
Meanwhile, owners of Hero All-in-One's have the Kodak Email Print Service at their disposal. This is a software bundle that allows users to send emails and also attachments to their printer from any location around the globe, using any email account. It's also possible to share the printer's unique email address with friends, family, colleagues and clients to receive printed files or photos.
The Office Hero 6.1 model makes a great addition to any home office with its full suite of productivity tools and touchscreen functionality.
The complete package
Buying a do-it-all device means that you can cover all bases when it comes to printing at home or in your small business office, unlike many inkjet and laser devices. All-in-One printers feature high-tech touchscreen functionality, separate photo paper trays, automatic document feeders and two-sided document printing for the ultimate in convenience. You'll be able to copy, scan and fax documents directly from your PC too.
Integrated Smart Sensor technology found on-board the Hero range of All-in-One's lends an additional helping hand with your printing duties – it automatically detects paper size and predicts the ink and paper needed to complete each and every job. Little wonder then that consumers are rapidly sidestepping both the inkjet and the laser in favour of an All-in-One.