Inkjets Are Gaining In The Printer Playoffs... But New Super Sharp Lasers Should Hold Them Off

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.

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