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Review: Fire the laser
By Glenn Baker.
I’ve attended a number of printer launches over the past 20 years and, while heralding faster print speeds, higher print quality or enhanced functionality, many represented mere baby steps in the evolution of the office printer.
So understandably my expectations were somewhat modest when I rocked up to the New Zealand launch of the Epson PrecisionCore inkjet range in early August. 
But those expectations were quickly shattered after a presentation and demonstration of the new inkjets’ laser-beating performance. We’re talking up to 50 percent lower printing costs and up to 70 percent lower energy costs than laser printers.
Bruce Bealby, GM sales and marketing, retail division for Epson, explains the secret of the new inkjets is Epson’s MicroTFP print chip. This print chip, which represents a staggering half billion dollar R&D investment by Epson, is modular and can be arrayed in various printhead configurations. Based on the reliable thin film piezo (TFP) technology that Epson has been using in its commercial large-format printers, the MicroTFP PrecisionCore print chip offers vastly improved basic performance compared to conventional piezo printheads, including faster speed and more accurate dot placement.
“It’s an amazing technology,” Bealby explains. “There are 800 nozzles, delivering 50,000 drops a second per nozzle, and each drop is like 1/100th the thickness of a human hair.” 
This level of precision and accuracy results in incredible detail, he says.
What does this all mean for businesses? 
“For many years the incumbent print technology in the office has been laser,” says Bealby. “But we see some inherent issues with laser – it’s expensive, consumables are highly priced; we see PrecisionCore as a much better alternative to laser technology.”
“Put simply,” explains Epson Australia MD Bruno Turcato in a press statement, “by using PrecisionCore technology when compared to laser printers in the same price range and class we can now offer better quality than a laser, better performance than a laser, better colour resolution than a laser at lower costs than a laser and using far less power than a laser.” 
At the local launch Bealby reminds the audience of other inkjet pluses – like fewer parts to service. No drum, no toner, no fuser units. Speed is another selling point. There’s no warm-up period, which adds to the speed advantage. “The PrecisionCore inkjets are up to three times faster than a laser when printing up to five pages – which happens to be the average number of pages printed.”
PrecisionCore inkjets provide all the functionality business people demand from their printers too – print, scan, copy, fax, ethernet connection, automatic duplex printing, diverse media, and the ability to print wirelessly from your iPad, iPhone, tablet, smartphone or computer using Epson Connect technology.
Epson is rolling out its new PrecisionCore technology across the board from its high-end commercial printers through to its consumer printers including the all-new WorkForce 3600 and 7600 series that includes the new A3 WorkForce WF-7620, and the small office/home office WorkForce Pro 4600 range. 
Epson’s new WorkForce Pro WF-5690 printers, also featuring PrecisionCore and aimed squarely at the small business market, were due to be launched in September.
Bealby admits there will be the skeptics out there who’ll take some convincing that Epson’s PrecisionCore inkjets now have it over older laser technology. But once they’ve witnessed the difference in cost and performance, as I did when one of the new models was demonstrated head-to-head against a competitor’s laser printer, they should be won over.
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Glenn Baker is editor of NZBusiness.
Publishing Information
Magazine Issue: NZBusiness September 2014 Page Number: