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Color Laser Printers: They are Getting More Affordable

Gone are the days when the laser printer was reserved for corporate office use. Its journey has been a long one, but today's color laser printer is practical - and becoming more affordable - for home and small office use. Their print quality and speed might easily make one think that these printers are too sophisticated for home use, but don't let these features fool you. The color laser printer is making its way into homes at faster speeds, largely due to its falling price tag.

Released by QMS in 1993, the first desktop laser printer was large, heavy at approximately 106 pounds, and had an even heavier price tag. Priced in the neighborhood of $10,000 - $12,000, this machine was significantly less expensive than its $40,000 predecessors, but its costly price tag still made it prohibitive for the machine to find its way into the mainstream. Within only two years, however, QMS shattered its own record and released a new laser printer - the magicolor LX - for only $4,999. At approximately 40% the cost of its older sibling, the magicolor represented the beginning of a trend of falling prices in the laser printer market.

It has taken some time, but over the past 14 years, color laser printer prices have dropped dramatically. Now, some of the top models - such as the Xerox Phaser 7500 Color Laser Printer that offers automatic duplexing, fast speeds, pleasing graphics output and color maintenance, and the ability to print on banner-size paper - sell for under $4,000.

Desktop color laser printers have shrunk in price and size, making them ideal for home use. Some take up less space on one's desktop than an inkjet printer. The HP Color LaserJet CP1518ni Printer measures only 15.7 by 17.8 inches. At 9.6 high by 15.3 wide by 12.3 inches deep, the Samsung CLP-315 measures even smaller. These smaller, more desktop-friendly models are often priced comparably to inkjet printers, too. Some cost as little as $200.

If you are in the market for a new printer, don't discount the laser. With its reasonable price tag and shrinking dimensions, it offers a great alternative to inkjet printers. Because the quality of color and graphics continues to improve, the color laser has become more appealing - even to those who need to print advertising materials, sales presentations, and the like. The quality of text printing is superb, and speed is much better than that of most inkjet printers.

So, continue to keep watch on the color laser printer market. You might just find that prices continue to fall while quality keeps improving, and you could end up with a sophisticated, high performance machine on your own desktop.

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