Buying a Printer? Why You Should Ignore Print Resolution

Buying a Printer? Why You Should Ignore Print Resolution

Taryn Williford
Jun 29, 2011

There are certain things that happenstance techies know to look out for when shopping for new gear. Megapixels on a camera, for instance. But photography pros—or professionals in any other discipline—will tell you some of those sell-point numerical specs don't mean as much as manufacturers want you to think they do. Just like print resolution.

Print resolution, expressed in dots per inch, is a reference point many people use to decide whether a printer has superior image clarity and detail.

But according to MacWorld, in a blog post about which printer specs really matter, comparing DPI numbers between printers is, well, kind of useless.

A printer's true resolution has become less important as vendors have manipulated dot size, shape, and placement to improve image quality without increasing the actual dots per inch beyond the most-common 600 by 600 dpi. Resolution specs with a qualifier such as "optimized," "interpolated," or "up to" are manipulated resolutions.

So one 600-DPI-rated printer might produce a more clear image than another one with the same technical resolution, thanks to optimized dots.

If you want to check out more print specs that don't matter—like engine speed—or ones that do—like page yield—check out the post at MacWorld.

MacWorld via Lifehacker

(Images: Flickr member exonumia licensed for use under Creative Commons, Flickr member reway2007 licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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