Hot new printers: The boring peripheral has some interesting new features

Let’s face it; printers are hardly the most exciting peripheral in the home or office. They are, after all, the office equivalent of a kitchen’s toaster, a necessary although often neglected one trick pony.

Well, not anymore.

Some of today’s new models spice up form and function and bring stunning innovations to the segment, fulfilling the printing duties while offering users a range in additional functionality at affordable prices.

Lexmark’s Genesis S815 all-in-one wireless printer

The Lexmark Genesis S815 ($399) features a unique monolithic design that integrates a scanner, a fax, a colour inkjet printer and copier in a smart, standalone device. With impressive features like 3-second page scanning, 4.3″ inch touchscreen LCD, SmartSolution apps, iPhone and iPad integration and wireless networking, we put the Genesis to the test.

Unlike any other multi-functional printer we’ve seen before, the Genesis S815 is an upright block of shiny plastic that looks more like a modern art sculpture than an office appliance. Perfect for small office, home office environments and would work well as an executive’s personal all-around printer, scanner, fax and copier. The Genesis also incorporates a USB port and an SDCard slot for quick printing from these storage devices.

Interestingly, the Lexmark Genesis may seem striking but is clearly designed around function. It is a space-saving all-in-one that has half the footprint of other models we’ve seen and tested. It can pass for a standalone laser printer until you realize that it houses a vertically positioned scanner.

Brother HL-3070CW Wireless Colour Laser printer

Wireless connectivity and affordable colour printing are two of the biggest features in printers today and Brother’s HL-3070CW ($249) offers both in a compact and easy to use package.

The compact and WiFi network-ready HL-3070CW digital colour printer is designed for home office and small office performance. It produces colour documents quickly at up to 17 ppm. With up to 600 x 2400 dpi print quality, ideal for reports, brochures, and presentations.

A USB direct interface allows printing from USB flash memory devices. The 802.11 b/g wireless connections provide a seamless printing experience for your home or office. For peace of mind, the HL-3070CW also includes a 1 year limited exchange express warranty and machine lifetime toll-free technical support.

The HP Officejet H470 Mobile Printer

Mobile printers aren’t given the attention they deserve but they do offer tons of innovation plus the convenience of being able to work off batteries on the road.

The HP Officejet H470 Mobile Printer ($199) can print 22 pages per minute of black or 18 pages per minute of coloured documents.

Designed more for traveling business users than for photographers, the Officejet H470 comes with necessary ports, like PictBridge USB, standard USB, and a SD/miniSD/MMC slot, but the Compact Flash port is missing which means users of serious DSLRs will not be able to get prints off their CF cards.

This printer’s sleek design, portability and solid build plus relatively inexpensive cartridges are its strong points although the print quality isn’t stellar. This printer is more about affordable portable printing in colour and black and white than it is about tack-sharp printouts.

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