Canon S600 printer delivers sharpness for a decent price
Printer-makers have flooded the market with machines that can do a competent job at all price ranges. That makes choosing a bad printer pretty hard to do. But if you want a fast, solid performer without much flash, the Canon S600 Bubble Jet Printer ($200) stands out.
The S600, with a color resolution of 2,400-by-1,200 dots per inch, works with both Macintosh and Windows-based PCs.
It features both USB and parallel port connections, allowing it to be used with Windows 95 or later and Mac OS 8.1 or later.
Installation (easy with a quick-start poster and printed user guide) offered a pleasant surprise. With this printer, you install four ink cartridges rather than the one or two (usually a color cartridge and a black-and-white cartridge) in other printers.
The ink tanks for cyan, magenta, yellow and black can be replaced individually, potentially saving a few dollars over time.
The S600 makes quick work of black-and-white and color prints with 1,200-by-1,200 dot per inch black-and-white pages printing out at roughly 5 pages per minute and a 6-by-4 inch photo printing in about a minute.
At low draft resolutions, Canon claims 15 ppm for black and white and 10 ppm for color - but I couldn't reproduce those results in my tests.
I seemed to come up short by two or more pages, which still wasn't bad in the speed department. (Canon says not to use paper over 65 pounds.)
While the flash is minimal, the brilliance of the S600's color copies cannot be ignored. The S600 produces color copies equal to some printers twice its price. Moreover, it reproduces photographs well with only slight differences in skin tone from originals.
Prints were snappy and details crisp when compared with photographs printed by other $150-to-$200 printers.
Next month, Canon plans to release an upgraded version of this printer called the S630 (the S630N will be sold as a network printer). According to Canon, it increases production speed for black-and-white and color copies.
Everything else in the printer remains the same, meaning that you should be able to print your snapshots even faster for the same price.
Information: 800-385-2155 or www.usa.canon.com.
NEC's super-thin monitor is one solid performer
The difference between the 18-inch NEC MultiSync LCD1850X monitor and my last test monitor could be summed up in one simple comparison: I needed one arm to pick up the 18.7-pound 1850X while I needed two people to carry the 69-pound 22-inch CRT monitor I tested.
The 1850X ($2,300) is part of NEC/Mitsubishi's pricey line of "thin frame" LCD monitors aimed at those with a few dollars to spend and very little desktop space. If you've got a small office and need to get several monitors into a limited amount of room, the 1850X could save you space.
In fact, you don't have to plop this monitor down on a desk; you can attach it to a wall on an arm mount. And my favorite trick is turning the display 90 degrees for a vertical, portrait-style monitor.
The monitor has a Digital Video Interface port (if your computer is outfitted for that use) for digital and analog signals and a second standard VGA connection port. The 1,280-by-1,024-pixel display was bright and crisp with extreme clarity for images and text without the flicker associated with CRT monitors. You can even change sharpness modes to favor super-clear text or images and photographs. In addition to offering solid performance, LCD monitors use far less electricity than CRT monitors.
A tiny downside to most LCD monitors is the appearance of one or more broken pixels in the screen image. These tiny pinpoints of light only annoy viewers if they appear in central locations on the monitor. One appeared smack in the middle of the LCD1850X that I tested and it took a while to get used to.
Information: 888-632-6487 www.necmitsubishi.com.
- Kevin Washington