Scanning, Faxing and Resolution

By M. David Stone  |  Posted 2008-03-03 Print this article Print

Network Scanning

Most MFPs (multi-function printers) can scan over a network, but not all network scanning is equal. Some MFPs will scan to a variety of destinations, including files on individual PCs, but others are limited to sending to an FTP server or sending a scan to a PC only as an e-mail attachment.


For MFPs that list faxing as one of their talents, find out the choices for faxing. They will usually work as stand-alone fax machines, but there are still some MFPs that won't let you fax from a PC over a network, which is a lot quicker and easier than having to print something, and then fax it.

Resolution: Lasers

Resolution in dpi (dots per inch) used to be good guide to output quality for lasers. Today it's all but useless, both because many printers use various resolution enhancement techniques-which manufacturers often refuse to specify-and because more and more manufactures are using ratings like 1200 dpi quality, which doesn't actually tell you anything.

Resolution: Ink Jets

Resolutions for ink jets are even less meaningful than for lasers. Some printers use low resolutions plus enhancement techniques to get the same image quality that others get with high resolutions alone. In many cases, the top resolution, at thousands of dpi, looks good on a spec sheet, but the setting is hidden in an advanced option because it doesn't offer enough improvement in quality to justify how long it takes.


M. David Stone is an award-winning freelance writer and computer industry consultant with special areas of expertise in imaging technologies (including printers, monitors, large-screen displays, projectors, scanners, and digital cameras), storage (both magnetic and optical), and word processing. His 25 years of experience in writing about science and technology includes a nearly 20-year concentration on PC hardware and software. He also has a proven track record of making technical issues easy for non-technical readers to understand, while holding the interest of more knowledgeable readers. Writing credits include eight computer-related books, major contributions to four others, and more than 2,000 articles in national and worldwide computer and general interest publications. His two most recent books are The Underground Guide to Color Printers (Addison-Wesley, 1996) and Troubleshooting Your PC, (Microsoft Press, 2000, with co-author Alfred Poor).

Much of David's current writing is for PC Magazine, where he has been a frequent contributor since 1983 and a contributing editor since 1987. His work includes feature articles, special projects, reviews, and both hardware and software solutions for PC Magazine's Solutions columns. He also contributes to other magazines, including Wired. As Computers Editor at Science Digest from 1984 until the magazine stopped publication, he wrote both a monthly column and additional articles. His newspaper column on computers appeared in the Newark Star Ledger from 1995 through 1997.

Non-computer-related work includes the Project Data Book for NASA's Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (written for GE's Astro-Space Division), and magazine articles and AV productions on subjects ranging from cosmology to ape language experiments. David also develops and writes testing scripts for leading computer magazines, including PC Magazine's PC Labs. His scripts have covered a wide range of subjects, including computers, scanners, printers, modems, word processors, fax modems, and communications software. He lives just outside of New York City, and considers himself a New Yorker at heart.


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