Testing includes technical performance testing and ease of use assessment by a panel of printer experts. Printer testing is a complicated and expensive process. To help with the high cost, we share the results between a number of consumer organisations around the world. All the tests are carried out by professional labs in Europe that specialise in printer testing and all models listed and their respective consumables are available in Australia.
Performance testing includes assessment of print quality, print speed, ink/toner life, and moisture resistance.
Print quality is assessed by a panel of experts looking at typical black-and-white letter, an 8x10-inch high quality photo, a spread sheet and a colour document with a mixture of graphics and text. This simulates the most common printing habits.
Ink/toner life is determined by running the printers almost continuously, printing as many text, spreadsheet and photo pages as possible from three sets of cartridges. This information is used to calculate cost per page and long-term running costs (based on our average use scenario of 1000 mono prints, 250 colour document prints and 250 full-colour photo prints over the course of a year). Colour photo printing is not assessed for mono laser printers.
Moisture resistance is assessed by seeing if text smears when using a highlighter pen on it and also whether ink would run or bleed by dripping water on a 24-hour-old photo print.
Ease of use
This includes expert assessment of each product by running through everyday scenarios that replicate typical use.
Setting up and installation This includes setting up the printer and installing any necessary software, installing ink cartridges and connecting to a computer or the internet where relevant.
Everyday printing tasks include loading paper, changing cartridges and various printing options including double-sided printing (where applicable) and changing print quality settings.
Advanced feature assessment includes printing from memory cards and network printing. This covers versatility and identifies the ones with the easiest to navigate menus.
Handling of paper jams and replacement of ink cartridges is assessed, how easy it is to remove paper if there’s a print jam and potential problems with changing ink or toner cartridges, including leakage and difficult locks and catches.
Takes into account the printer's ability to do many things - the variety of different papers, types of material, and different formats that the printer can accept.
Included are the following:
• Borderless printing
• Duplex printing
• Printing wireless interface
• Network sharing
• Direct printing from a digital camera via PictBridge
• Direct printing from memory cards
• Printer driver and software functions
• Special features (such as CD burning, a hard drive or a camera dock)
• Internet features