Epson, HP Unveil New Ink-Jets

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Competition is heat-ing up among manufacturers of ink-jet printers for the Mac. Epson America (800/463-7766, ), which has dominated the Mac ink-jet market in recent years, has introduced several new printers, including a large-format model. Meanwhile, Hewlett-Packard (HP; 800/752-0900, ) has launched its first serious challenge to Epson, with a pair of new USB printers.

Epson Rolls

Epson's new Stylus Color 900–successor to the Stylus Color 850–uses the same variable-dot printing technology that Epson introduced in the Stylus Color 740. However, the four-color printer features a smaller dot size–three picoliters, versus six in the earlier model–and also offers faster print speed: up to ten pages per minute in color. Targeted at business users, the printer will sell for an estimated street price of $449. Epson also offers a networked version, the Stylus Color 900N, for $649. Both models include USB and serial ports for Mac connectivity.

Along with these desktop printers, Epson has unveiled its first true large-format model, the Stylus Pro 9000. The six-color printer, which will sell for $7,995, or $12,995 with an optional EFI Fiery server, uses roll-fed media up to 44 inches wide. Features include high-capacity ink storage and an optional take-up-roller system. With the Fiery server installed, the printer offers PostScript 3 output and Ethernet and LocalTalk connections.

In addition to targeting the printer at poster- and sign-making applications, Epson sees it as a viable option for fine-art output.

HP Moves

Meanwhile, Hewlett-Packard is making its first serious moves in the Mac ink-jet market after announcing last summer that it would offer printers for the iMac. The new four-color DeskJet 882C and DeskJet 895C each feature a built-in USB interface and offer image quality vastly superior to that of HP's DeskJet 697c, which the company released for the iMac last fall. Both new printers offer a maximum resolution of 600 dpi and an 8-by-10.5-inch image area. The 882C sells for $299; the 895C, which is faster and includes networking capabilities, sells for $399. HP has been shipping Windows versions of the printers for several months; the company plans to release models with Mac drivers by the time you read this.

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