aio: Explained: What are all-in-one printers and the things to consider before buying one
All-in-one (AIO) printers or multi-function printers can do a lot more than just printing. Users who are searching the market for a new printer for their home must have come across these terms. Printers have developed a lot over the years and some modern printers can scan, copy and fax documents as well. The value proposition is clear in such printers, users are able to do more than just printing. Here we will discuss what are AIO printers, what to consider before buying a new one and how are they important.
What are All-in-one printers?
All-in-one (AIO) printers or multi-function printers includes the features of multiple devices in a single package. These printers usually come combined with a scanning unit, which can act as a printer, a scanner and a copier. Some AIO printers can send and receive faxes, scanning slides or send emails and download photos directly from your smartphone. These multi-functionalities make them very useful for home offices and small businesses.
Things to consider before buying a new AIO Printer
Printing capability: The print function is the most often used among home users, followed by copying, scanning and faxing. So, it is important for users to choose the right type of printer based on their needs. Users should opt for an inkjet printer if they need it for colour photos, school projects and presentations. If you need it for high volume black & white document printing, you should go for a laser printer. Users should also consider the print speed before buying the printer. It should come with at least 12 pages per minute for black-and-white and 8 pages per minute for colour. If you are planning on printing photos make sure that the resolution should be a minimum of 2,400 x 1,200 dpi.
Functionality: While shopping for an AIO printer, the most important thing to consider in determining the functions that you will need regularly. The models that are available at the lowest prices are usually limited to printing, scanning, and copying. However, the possibilities are a lot more than that. Other important functions include — fax and email. There are other models that can also scan film (slides and negatives) by using a transparency adaptor in the scanner lid. Some high-priced home AIOs can also double as a standalone photo lab that will allow you to print high-quality photos, accessible from any memory device.
Copying: Automatic document feeders (ADF) are only available in higher-end AIO printers. ADF helps users a lot during their bulk copying needs. It is a good investment if you have to copy 50 pages at a time and not just a single bank statement every month.
Scanning and digital photography: For scanning, a flatbed scanner is better than a document feeder as it helps users to scan documents of different sizes. Flatbed scanners allow users to scan books and magazines as well. Make sure you select a scanner with a 36-bit depth or higher, as it captures the depth of colour. Some AIO printers memory card slots help users to print photos directly from their mobile devices.
Fax function: Some high-end models have separate fax, where users don’t need to use the PC at all. However, there are some AIO printers where users can scan their documents and use the fax/modem capabilities or fax software on their PC to fax them. The high-end ones are only worth the extra price if you need to fax a lot of documents.
Connectivity: Users should check if the printer is compatible with a PC, Mac or both. Ensure that it is compatible with the system you own. Users should also check if it connects via a USB port or a parallel port. There are modern AIO printers that can also connect wirelessly, with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
Budget: Most mid-priced AIO models work fine for home users, but these models probably won’t include a photo-card reader or an auto document feeder. These models have all the basic functionality and users may have to pay more for devices that come with fax and other functionalities. AIO printers use the same supplies as ordinary printers.
Advantages of AIO printers
All-in-One printers usually offer more features for the price of a normal printer. It uses one connection where multiple home/office functions are combined in one unit. If your home or office isn’t big enough, you don’t need multiple machines as an AIO printer will take up less space and will provide will all the required functionalities.
Multi-function printers are also more efficient as it reduces the number of separate pieces of equipment you need within reach. Users can perform several tasks in one spot. An AIO printer will also cost less than buying multiple devices.