Affordable A3 printers in India

Sunday, December 12, 2010, 8:41 by binay

Our list of the relatively cheap but very value-for-money A3 printers

When it comes to printing typical text and files such as documents, forms, memos, reminder mails– or even personal photos–etc., A4 papers clearly do the job for us. Not to mention the fact that it’s pretty easy on the hand to hold an A4 sheet (8.3 inches x 11.7 inches), or pin it up close by, for viewing the printout.

But it’s a different story altogether when it comes to printing posters, large pictures and banners–the A4 paper clearly fails. Not that the A4s lack anything in terms of print quality; it’s just that bigger-dimension print objects require a proportionately larger sheet–like, an A3 paper (11.7 inches x 16.5 inches).

Measuring double the size of a normal A4 paper sheet, an A3 paper is also most apt for viewing the pictures and posters from a distance–just what the doctor ordered, for an architect who needs his intricate layout to be printed on a larger paper, or for that matter, for a senior manager who has to show performance charts or productivity graphs to his team members.

So what are the best– and rather affordable (not costing more than Rs.40,000)–A3 printers available in India today? Here is a list of five such products, featuring laser as well as inkjet technologies (with some of these being multifunction devices).

A3 Color inkjet printers in India

HP Photosmart B8550 A3 printer

What you get: Supporting various paper sizes, ranging from 3 x 5 inches to 13 x 44 inches (76 x 127 mm to 330 x 1118 mm), this A3 inkjet photo printer gives you multiple frills when it comes to the machine’s structure and design. All at a very affordable Rs. 9,516.

Apart from a 2.4-inch color LCD display, which allows users to check each photo reproduction before giving the final go-ahead, you will find 15 functional buttons–all neatly labeled and arranged linearly–that make it easier to carry out your own editing tasks. While a dedicated button is there to take care of red-eye effect in photography, a zoom-in button lets users review details up to the smallest areas of concern. The HP Photosmart B8550, which is powered by a 1GHz processor, has four LED lights that automatically flash up to serve as a type of warning signal–in case something remains to be ironed out before printing.

Let’s look at some salient specifications of this color inkjet A3 printer.

Dimension (W x D x H): 580 mm x 386 mm x 171 mm
Weight: 6.5 kg
Printing resolution: Up to 9600 x 2400 dots per inch (dpi) color

Print speed: Expect the HP Photosmart B8550 to spit out as many as 34 pages per minute (ppm) of black text and up to 32 ppm of color documents, after the first page is printed (takes 95 seconds).

The rated speed for printing a 13 x 19 inch draft (330 x 483 mm) paper is up to 90 seconds, while the corresponding number for a fast draft photo is maximum 18 seconds.

Paper capacity: The printer’s main tray can hold 125 sheets of plain paper and 40 photo paper sheets, while the output tray is equipped to contain 50 sheets of plain paper and 25 sheets of photo paper. Expect the photo tray to hold 20 photo paper sheets.

Interface: High Speed USB; Bluetooth (one has to purchase the additional HP Bluetooth adapters separately, though); PictBridge (industry-standard connectivity to plug digital cameras and camcorders directly into printers)

Memory: The HP Photosmart B8550 is compatible with Compact Flash, Secure Digital/MultiMedia Cards, xD-Picture Cards, Memory Stick and Memory Stick Duo.

Our take: The HP Photosmart B8550 deserves a big thumbs-up for being so feature-rich, as well as for offering user friendly printing and editing tools in a clutter-free design. And considering the affordable price point, this A3 color inkjet printer will be more than a decent buy for those of you looking for a value-for-money device to print oversized borderless photos at 13 x 19 inches.

Brand: HP
Model: Photosmart B8550
Price: Rs. 9,516

Canon PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II A3 inkjet printer

What you get: This Canon A3 inkjet printer cores high as far as quality of photo prints is concerned–expect good print resolution, extremely sharp images with natural looking skin tones, no overcast of other color hues, and color correctness under any lighting scenario. An 8-color dye ink system ensures more vivid color reproduction, generating higher contrast for more dramatic images.

A so-called ‘Ambient Light Correction’ software reduces apparent color differences between printing and viewing modes. Users will also find other preloaded Canon applications like Easy-PhotoPrint EX (imports pictures directly from your Flickr account to decorate the printouts), Easy-PhotoPrint Pro and Auto Photo Fix. Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 is installed as well, allowing you to edit the images as you deem fit. Plus, one can print RAW digital files conveniently without having to convert them to TIFF or JPEG.

Capable of printing pictures up to 14 x 17 inch borderless, the PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II can print on T-shirts, glossies and sticker papers, too!

Here are some key specs of this A3 color inkjet printer.

Dimension (W x D x H): 660 x 354 x 192 mm
Weight: 14.4 kg
Printing resolution: 4800 x 2400 dpi (maximum)

Print speed: The PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II typically takes 67 seconds for printing borderless photos in the standard 4 x 6 inch paper, almost 83 seconds for the 11-inchx14 inch color photo and 167 seconds for 13×19 inch borderless prints.

Paper capacity: Front Tray (Plain paper: A3 / A4 = 1); Rear Tray (Plain paper: A3 / A4 = 150)
Memory: No support for any memory card.

Interface: USB 2.0 Hi-Speed, Enhanced PictBridge (Face Brightener to optimize faces of subjects; Manual color tweaking for precise color correction)

Our take: While we love the PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II’s ability to churn out professional looking pictures, the printer’s rather expensive price tag might wean away potential buyers. But if you don’t mind paying up, then this one is an excellent pick for your A3 printing requirements.

Brand: Canon
Model: PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II
Price: Rs. 35,995

Color A3 inkjet MFP (multifunction printer) in India

Brother MFC-6490CW A3 MFP

What you get: The MFC-6490CW color inkjet can do it all–print (up to A3), scan, copy, fax (including PC Fax)–making its case for becoming your all-round office companion. To woo buyers further, Brother has incorporated the Wi-Fi (wireless 802.11b/g) feature into this machine

You can print borderless photos directly from your digital camera and memory cards–without plugging into a PC–via the preloaded PictBridge and PhotoCapture Centre apps in this 4-in-1 printer. A 3.3-inch color LCD screen makes it easier for users to optimize, edit and preview images.

The all-in-one printer uses black pigment ink to spit out sharp texts. Four preloaded high-yield individual cartridges help reduce your bills by replacing only the ink required and offering twice the page yield of normal cartridges.

A 50-page Automatic Document Feeder ensures non-manual copying, scanning and faxing of multi-page documents.

To address security concerns, Brother has built a ‘Secure Function Lock’ into the MFC-6490CW that enables network administrators to limit user access to particular tasks (e.g. print and copy only). This multifunction printer comes with a two-year warranty.

Standout specifications:

Dimension (W x D x H): 540 x 488 x 323 mm
Weight: 15.6 kg
Printing resolution: 1,200 x 6,000 dpi (maximum)
Print speed: Up to 35ppm (monochrome) and up to 28 ppm (color)
Paper capacity: Preloaded dual paper trays can hold as many as 400 paper sheets. As many as 150 sheets in Standard Tray; Up to 250 sheets in Lower Tray; Up to 50 sheets in Output Tray.

Memory: 64MB

Interface: Hi-Speed USB 2.0; Ethernet

Scan specs:
Scan resolution: Up to 1,200 x 2,400 dpi (optical); Up to 19,200 x 19,200 dpi (interpolated)

Scan speed: From 4 secs (monochrome); from 5 secs (color) for A4 paper
Fax specs:

Fax speed: Up to 3 seconds per document (based on a modem speed of up to 33.6 Kbps)

Our take: If lab-quality photos are the desired output, then this A3+ inkjet multifunction doesn’t quite cut the mustard–don’t expect top-notch photo printing quality (blame it on the not-too-vivid color and so-so print resolution).

But the Brother MFC-6490CW is a perfect pick for those who want an all-in-one printer–supporting Wi-Fi, too– that can print ordinary text and presentation documents pretty well, and scan quickly as well.

Brand: Brother
Model: MFC-6490CW
Price: Rs.27,000

A3 Color laser MFP

Canon imageCLASS MF8050Cn printer

What you get: Powered by a 300 MHz chipset, this network-ready multifunction color laser from Canon can do printing, copying, faxing and scanning. Sporting a white backlit LCD (displaying five lines) user interface, the imageCLASS MF8050Cn has a monthly ‘Duty Cycle’ (the maximum number of pages per month of imaged output) of 30,000 pages.

The all-in-one machine features multiple color imaging tools–including a ‘Pure Black Technology’ to generate sharp black text output, Canon’s proprietary ‘Dual Direct Mapping’ feature for superior color reproduction, and an ‘Auto Gradation Adjustment’ functionality to ensure consistency in color output.

A preloaded ‘Canon Page Composer (Edit & Preview)’ app lets users combine different file types into one set of document output.

Top specs:
Dimension (W x D x H): 430 x 484 x 429 mm
Weight: 25 kg
Printing resolution: Up to 9600 x 600 dpi
Print speed: Up to 12 ppm (monochrome) and 8 ppm (color)
Paper capacity: 150-sheet cassette, alongside 1-sheet multipurpose tray. The Canon imageCLASS MF8050Cn color laser also gives you a 50-sheet Auto Document Feeder.
Memory: 128MB RAM

Interface: Ethernet; USB Device 2.0; USB Host 1.1

Copier specs:
Copy speed: 12 ppm (black) and 8 ppm (color)
Copy resolution: Up to 600 x 600 dpi
Scan specs:
Optical Resolution: Up to 600 x 600 dpi

You can scan color documents to PC/e-mail/PDF, and also directly scan to USB memory drive in PDF files (both color and black and white).

Fax specs:
Fax speed: Up to 3 seconds per document (based on a modem speed of up to 33.6 Kbps)

A PC Fax feature allows users to get incoming faxes in soft copy, even when their PCs are switched off.
Our take: The Canon imageCLASS MF8050Cn is an attractively priced color laser printer in the multifunction segment, delivering great print quality–not to mention its overall hassle-free set-up and ease of use.

Brand: Canon
Model: imageCLASS MF8050Cn
Price: Rs.12,900

Canon imageCLASS MF8030Cn A3 printer

What you get: This network-ready all-in-one color laser from Canon can carry out printing, scanning, copying and faxing. Featuring a white backlit LCD (displaying five lines) user interface, the imageCLASS MF8050Cn has a monthly ‘Duty Cycle’ of 30,000 pages.

Like the imageCLASS MF8050Cn, the imageCLASS MF8030Cn also is equipped with Canon’s proprietary ‘Pure Black’, ‘Dual Direct Mapping’ and ‘Auto Gradation Adjustment’ and ‘Canon Page Composer (Edit & Preview)’ tools.

This multifunction machine’s driver has a “Scale-to-Fit A4” setting, which rules out any paper-size error. Alternatively, you can choose the ‘Auto Size Detection’ on the Printer device setting.

Salient specs:
Dimension (W x D x H): 430 x 484 x 429 mm
Weight: 25 kg
Printing resolution: 9600 x 600 dpi (maximum)
Print speed: 12 ppm (black) and 8 ppm (color)
Paper capacity: 1-sheet multipurpose tray plus 150-sheet cassette plus; 50-sheet Auto Document Feeder
Memory: 128MB RAM

Interface: USB Device 2.0; Ethernet; USB Host 1.1

Copier specs:
Copy speed: 12 ppm (black) and 8 ppm (color)
Copy resolution: Up to 600 x 600 dpi
Scan specs:
Scan resolution: Up to 600 x 600dpi (optical)

You can directly scan to USB memory drive in PDF files (both color and black and white), and also scan color documents to PC/e-mail/PDF.

Brand: Canon
Model: imageCLASS MF8030Cn
Price: Rs. 38,588

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One Comment

  1. Sebi Joy said on Saturday, April 9, 2011, 13:13

    We are looking forward to purchase an A3 Color laser printer from Calicut (kerala). MFPCanon imageCLASS MF8050Cn printer  will do fine for us. Please sent the contact details ASAP.