April 17, 2017

In the test: The 18 best color printers

In the test: The 18 best color printers

Die landscape is decorated with a huge field of rape in a vibrant yellow, behind it a huge birch forest - with leaves in a lush green and snow white tree trunks. Obendrein is the weather at its best: On the horizon the sun is flickering, framed by a bright blue sky. Finely printed and cleanly framed, this photo will remind you forever and ever of this wonderful day in the picturesque landscape. Of course, this only works with a printer that does an excellent job. Printers have almost become extinct and left the field to the multifunction devices.

Print as a core discipline
But their core discipline is still printing - which is why COMPUTER BILD in this test does not grade equipment extras, but only this test point: How well and cheap do the devices bring colored photos and graphics to paper? In this comparative test, the 18 models with the best print quality of the 40 tested and currently commercially available multifunctional devices compete against each other.

Demanding color printing
With long equipment lists, manufacturers of multifunctional devices often steer from the most important function of the device: printing, and the bitteschön good and cheap. Instead the vendors praise the "egg-laying Wollmilchau" - with copier, flatbed scanner with additional sheet feed, old fax machine, memory card reader, WLAN and network connection for the connection with the PC. The result: Many multifunction devices can do somehow anything, but nothing really good. Especially in their most important task, some models patter. If they are to immortalize photos and graphics in decent quality on standard and photo paper, the result is often sobering.

Rich colors, high screen
But what actually makes a multifunctional device a good printer? To give a clear answer, COMPUTER BILD examines the printouts in several points:
  • Strong instead of pale: Above all the color reproduction determines the quality of printed graphics and photos. Nothing is more annoying than when the sun with the sinfully expensive camera shot sunrise on the PC monitor in full orange, but in the expression behind a gray veil lies. Even falsified colors destroy the entire motif, such as a greenish face in faces.
  • Crunchy instead of muddy: Photos from high-resolution cameras offer enormous picture clarity, they can also display the finest details - up to individual sand grains on the beach. But the printer has to put the many pixels reasonably on paper. Otherwise, the device will only provide spongy, blurred images - using a brown sauce instead of sand. This is of course also true for Excel or PowerPoint presentations created by yourself.
  • Fine graded instead of solid color: Another challenge is the color transitions and shading. Example: A yellow-flowered rape field will not be shown correctly until the viewer can see every single one of the thousands of plants. To do this, the printer must print all the yellow tones cleanly. If, however, the flowers swim together in a mud of yellow ink, the photo does not belong in the picture frame or in the album, but in the trash can.

In the test of the color quality of the prints did not pose a test candidate in the top 18 - all delivered prints with almost true colors and high sharpness. The top rider was the Canon Pixma MG 6650.

Without distortions
But a high screen with original true colors is not enough for a perfectly printed picture. Because geometry must also be right, people and objects have to present printers without distortions. After all, who wants the printer to make a wide grin from a delicate smile? Or a circular pie graphic turned into an Easter egg? Therefore, the distortion-free and original reproduction of objects and persons is an important test point. Also the done of the Canon Pixma MG 6650 in the test with Bravour. The WorkForce WF-2660 from Epson was significantly worse in this test point.

High wiping resistance
But even the sharpest photo is worth nothing if the ink does not stick sensibly to the paper and smears it even with light touch. It is particularly important when printing on photographic paper that the mopping resistance is particularly important - at the latest when the second photo lands in the output slot, the first must be dry. With the Brother DCP-J4120DW and the HP OfficeJet Pro 8600 Plus , buyers do not have to worry about this: the color of the print is good and smears when touched. Curiosity: Although the Canon Pixma MG 6650 showed an excellent smudge resistance when printing on photographic paper - but when black on normal paper he failed on this point.

Moderate cost
Although it is generally much more favorable to have pictures printed with a photo service - there are prints in classic format 10x15 centimeters from 8 cents. But if you have to take a few pictures quickly, the pressure should not be equally sinful. However, it is precisely in the case of printing costs that the test candidates differ markedly. Thus, a photoprint in the 10x15-centimeter format with the Epson Expression XP-435 costs 37 cents. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8600 Plus does this for almost 12 cents - and thus for a third. Even greater are the differences in the printing of color presentations: The HP 8600 spits a DIN A4 page for a good 6 cents, while the XP-435 is a proud 32 cents.

Conclusion: The best color printers
Only wiping colors or just good results on photo paper - that is not enough in the race for the best color printer. The best overall package with high quality, distortion-free printing, pass-through smudge resistance and moderate cost are two multifunctional devices: the Canon Maxify MB2350 and the Brother MFC-J5320DW.

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