Sep 03, 2011, 12.55 PM IST
Printers have become multi-functional devices with options like scanner, copier, fax and network printing all integrated into a single device.
The side view
Design and Build Quality
The Epson L100 comes in an elegant all-black design. The top consists of two buttons - Power ON and function that indicates whether the printer has a paper jam, or if the papers are incorrectly placed. The back consists of the power and printer cable slot. The input tray neatly fits into the printer assembly and can be slotted out when required. The output tray is detachable and isn’t integrated into the unit. The printer comes with a separate ink tank, with four colours - magenta, cyan, yellow and black, which can be slotted in from the side. The whole assembly weighs 2.8kg. It also consists of a choke valve that helps control the ink flow to minimise ink leakage or wastage. Upon opening the cartridge assembly slot, four neat little pipes are connected that pump ink to the cartridges. As far as design and build is concerned, the Epson L100 printer definitely looks classy.
A back view
The Epson L100 employs an on-demand piezoelectric ink-jet printing method with support for both bi-directional and uni-directional printing. It has a friction paper feed method and a paper holding capacity of 100 sheets at a time. According to Epson, the printer has the capability to print up to 27 pages per minute in black text. The maximum resolution supported is 5760 x 1440 dpi and it uses Epson’s Variable-Sized Droplet Technology. Also, the Epson L100 has a ‘Fast Ink Top-up (FIT) Technology’ that helps reduce ink wastage with frequent print heads. Epson also states that the printer’s page yield is a cool 12,000+ pages for black and 6,500+ pages for colour.
The ink tank
We ran a series of tests on the Epson L100 in two modes - normal and fine. However, it is of worthy mention that our standard tests are on economy and normal mode. The results from the ‘economy’ and the ‘fast economy’ mode didn’t exactly match our criteria and hence we settled with the two modes mentioned above. The Epson L100 was put through four test standards in both normal and fine modes - text only, a PDF document with text and images, a complete image printout (on normal and glossy paper) and text with different font sizes. Below are the findings of the tests we carried out.
All text documents in normal mode had decent quality, but economy mode, in particular, displayed the text using small horizontal lines. Also, the ink saturation level in economy mode was extremely low, and hence we chose to perform the other tests in normal and fine mode. A PDF page took 107 seconds to print and it did have slight display of horizontal lines across the images. A complete A4 size image looked quite faded out and was average, at best. The blacks on the image were quite light and at certain places we did find ink blotting. Also, roller marks seemed to be visible and minor details, for example, the craters on a golf ball, weren't recognized by the printer. Printing a text page five times over took 97 seconds, which is definitely slow.
The ink tank refills
A warm-up time of a minimum of ten seconds appears if the printer remains unused for even sixty seconds. That is quite slow, in our recommendation, and might develop a problem for those wanting decent quality fast prints. Text documents took a whole 26 seconds to get printed (all times do not include the warm up time) in the fine mode and 23 seconds in the normal mode. Photo on glossy paper took 86 seconds to print out. The only test the printer fared well in was printing text with different font sizes - 12 seconds on fine mode and 11 seconds on normal mode.
Another important factor to note was the amount of noise the printer made while printing. It’s definitely much louder than the average noise most printers make while printing. Also, the printer drivers need to be installed as it does not support direct plug-and-play. Both, the printer cartridge, as well as the ink tank have simple instructional diagrams, which facilitate easy installation.
Epson's L100 Printer - a tad expensive, and noisy
The Epson L100 is priced at Rs. 8,999. It performs the solo function of printing and doesn’t include any scanning, or network printing and hence, is limited to being called a single-function device. Also, as far as performance was concerned, the warm-up time, as well as the time to print even simple text was extremely high. That would be a downer for most people wanting fast, efficient printing. At Rs. 8,999 this printer doesn’t perfect the single function it intends to perform and hence, we believe it might not be the exact solution you’re looking for, for your printing needs.
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