A printer is a peripheral that produces a graphic or a text document stored in electronic form on a physical print media such as paper. They are either black and white or colored. The printers are attached by printer cable, usb (universal serial bus) cable to a computer. Some of the printers have built-in network interfaces. They may be Ethernet based or wireless and can serve as hard copy for any user.
A few modern printers have advanced features; they can be directly interfaced to electronic media like the memory cards and even to image capture devices like scanners and digital cameras. Some of the printers are combined with fax machines or document scanners in a single unit can perform the task of photocopiers. These multifunction printers include scanning, copying and printing among their main features.
Printers are classified according to the printer technology they make use of. Different technologies are capable of various different levels of print speed, cost, text quality and noise. Other aspect of printer technology is resistance to alteration: liquid ink, such as from fabric ribbon or an inkjet, which is absorbed by the paper, so the documents that are printed with ink are more difficult to alter as compared to the documents printed with solid ink or toner as they do not penetrate below the surface of paper.
Modern printing technologies:
1. Toner based printer: laser printers rapidly produces high quality graphics and text. Just like multifunction printers and digital photocopiers, laser printers make use of xerographic printing process. LED printer is another toner based printer which uses LEDs instead of laser.
2. Liquid inkjet printers: These printers operate by propelling different sized droplets of ink onto any size of page. Liquid inkjet printers are the most common type of computer printers that are used by consumers. They can be used in small home offices too. These printers can print with a resolution of 1200 to 4800 dots per inch.
3. Solid ink printers: they are also known as phase change printers and area type of thermal transfer printers.
4. Inkless printers: UV printers and thermal printers are type of inkless printers. UV printers use a special reusable paper coated with UV light sensitive chemicals. Thermal printers work by making use of special heat sensitive papers and by selectively heating regions on it.
5. Dot matrix printers: commonly used in home office for lost cost, low quality applications or the applications demanding high volume printing. They make use of small pins to create precise dots but are quickly going out of style.
6. 3D printers: okay, not something you will probably buy for your home. But they are worth mentioning because 3D printing is so cool.
Scanners and printers are some of the most popular pieces of equipment in home offices today. As technology moves forward more advanced features are always being added. Things like wireless network with multiple devices is now becoming desirable as people wish to print directly from their iPhone or iPad.