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Inkjet cartridges too expensive?

Here’s a typical CNN tech report slamming the inkjet printer manufacturers for making the price of the refills so expensive. Now there’s no doubt that the branded refills are very expensive, but I reckon that this is not as bad as it looks. Before the dirt cheap inkjet printers came along we were all forced to pay 800 or more for black and white laser printers if we wanted any kind of decent printing capabilities.

Suddenly we were presented with brilliant colour inkjet machines at a fraction of the price, and now we have 50.00 printers which give photo quality at laser printer speeds. Sure the refills are expensive but that only becomes a factor if you use the printer a lot (in which case maybe you should consider upgrading to one of the new low cost colour lasers like the Minolta 2200?)

The fact is that it costs a lot to manufacture, engineer and develop the modern ink jet cartridge, especially on printers like the Lexmark where almost all of the smarts is in the cartridge rather than in the printer itself. And ever since I toured an inkjet factory a few years ago I have had a real appreciation for just how hard it is to make tiny droplets of ink hit the right microscopic spot on the paper while being hurtled across a page at an unfeasibly fast speed. This takes smarts.

So less of the snidey about the inkjet folks OK? They’ve done a lot for the consumer’s printing over the past few years.

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