Epson America (800/463-7766,
), which until now has dominated the Macintosh ink-jet printer market, is about to get its stiffest competition in years. Hewlett-Packard (800/552-8500,
) has announced a new ink-jet printer, the $399 DeskJet 970C, that appears to offer a breakthrough in speed and image quality. But Epson has its own response, with the $429 Stylus Color 900G, an iMac-inspired version of the Stylus Color 900.
The DeskJet 970C prints at 600 dpi, but HP’s color-layering technology increases the apparent resolution to 2,400 by 1,200 dpi for printing images on photo paper. Although it’s only a four-color printer, the HP’s photo-output samples are impressive; the images appear to rival the best photo output of Epson’s six-color ink-jet models.
The DeskJet 970C is also fastHP claims maximum color output of 10 pages per minute in draft mode. In its highest-quality mode, HP says, the DeskJet 970C can produce a full-page color photo in about three minutes. Although it does not feature an iMac-inspired industrial design, it does break from the standard beige designs of HP’s earlier ink-jet printers. Other features include a print-cancel button, a low-ink indicator, and automatic two-sided printingthe latter a first for low-cost ink-jet printers.
The DeskJet 970C has a USB port for connection to iMacs or blue-and-white G3 systems, but no serial port for older Macs. Hewlett-Packard expects to ship the printer by the time you read this.
Epson’s Stylus Color 900Ga blueberry version of the previously announced Stylus Color 900 (see
Reviews, June 1999)offers the same maximum 10-ppm print speed as the DeskJet 970C.
Judging from Epson’s samples, photo output from the four-color printer looks just as impressive as the HP DeskJet 970C’s output. USB and serial interfaces are built in; Epson also offers Ethernet, LocalTalk, and PostScript 3 options. The printer is expected to ship by the time you read this.
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