To be sure, there's plenty of life left in laser printers. HP, which has 56% of the U.S. market, has just announced a new series of LaserJet 4 printers that BIS's Meiser figures will set a new standard for price and performance in desktop laser printing. "No one is even close to this product in price and features," he says. The two LaserJet 4 models produce eight pages a minute, like many others, but their big draw is a doubling of resolution, to 600 dots per inch. That should result in snazzier graphics and crisper type.
HP is pricing aggressively: At $2,199, the cheapest LaserJet 4 lists for $200 less than the 300-dpi LaserJet 3 it replaces. It comes with 45 typefaces, including 10 TrueType fonts used in Microsoft Corp.'s popular Windows software for IBM PC-compatibles. The model 4M prints an additional 35 typefaces defined in PostScript and switches automatically between IBM PC-compatibles and Apple Computer Inc. Macintoshes on the same network. It lists for $2,999. Both employ a new, 600-dpi laser-printing "engine" from Canon, and both can send status signals back to the computer that initiated a print job.