Durability ranks high among printer users

Durability ranks high among printer users

BY RICHARD W. WALKER | GCN STAFF

Workgroup laser printers are the workhorses of an enterprise. They're expected to keep running day after day, week after week, year after year.


The GCN Reader Survey is intended to provide data on trends and product preferences. This survey on laser printers is based on a telephone survey of 100 federal readers who on their subscription forms identified themselves as laser printer users.
A venerable Hewlett-Packard LaserJet 4P is the Labor Department's Seabiscuit at the Veterans Employment and Training Service in Washington.

'That printer has been with us a good 10 years now,' said Robert Sacoman, a computer specialist who manages information systems for the service. 'About 37 people access the printer periodically throughout the day.'

Like Sacoman, most HP users we talked with gave their printers top marks for reliability. At his organization, the LaserJet 4P supplements the main printer, a heavy-duty 3165 digital printer-copier from Oc' of Venlo, Netherlands.

Sacoman had only one minor beef with the HP. He wants it to print a little faster.

He rates HP's technical support as excellent. 'We had to use it one time when we were trying to get the Ethernet card loaded,' he said.

What happens when the aging LaserJet 4 finally breaks down?

'I will replace it as soon as it decides it's going to die,' he said. 'I've found over time that because of their age it's a lot easier to replace them than to try to fix them. In some cases we've had a really difficult time trying to find spare parts or software to drive things. When that happens we just go ahead and chuck it.'

But given the LaserJet 4P's history, he may have to wait a while. 'That's the way my superiors like it'keep it rolling,' he said.

At the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany, Ga., it's a similar story.

A LaserJet 4 has been cranking out documents for about four years for five workgroup users, said electronic technician Donald West.

The LaserJet 4 isn't the fastest machine around, but for most uses its print speed is just fine, West said.

'As long as I'm not setting it for maximum resolution, it's pretty quick,' he said.

Until then, he's counting on the LaserJet 4 to keep churning it out.

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