Alvin Soon's Blog

Alvin Soon male Associate Features Editor

I like coffee and cameras, but not together.

New S-LED Printers Promise Quality without Bulk

Chances are you've never heard of S-LED printers - and for good reason. S-LED, short for Self-scanning Light-Emitting Diode, is a brand new reinvention of LED printing from Fuji Xerox, built into Fuji Xerox's first printers for the consumer market. Yup, Fuji Xerox, the company most well-known for laser printers and enterprise-level printers. So why invent a new technology for printers when they could have just gone laser?

LED Printer What?

Invented by Casio and Panasonic, LED printers do away with the complicated mirror and laser systems found in laser printers. But LED's simplicity was also its downfall, as only so many LEDs can be packed into a printhead, affecting print-out quality. As quiet, space-saving and reliable as LED printers could be, the market has thus been dominated by laser and inkjet printers.

Enter the S-LED

So why did Fuji Xerox revisit LED technology all over again? Mainly in a bid to combine the benefits of laser and LED printing; to have the reliablity, quiet and compactness of an LED printer with the good print quality and resolution of a laser.

Working together, Fuji Xerox and Nippon Electric Glass Co. created the S-LED Printhead, a new generation of LED printing. The new S-LED printhead contains an array of 10,240 LEDs and can output true 1200 x 2400dpi. Even though it's new tech, it's already won an Technology Award from The Imaging Society of Japan.

We saw the new S-LED printers for ourselves at a press launch last week, and have to say that the smallest model - the DocuPrint P205 b - is indeed small and light, looking more like a large toaster than a conventional printer, and weighing less than 5kg. The new line of six printers for the consumer and small-medium business looked surprisingly cool in a retro-futuristic kind of way, nothing like the straight-edged designs of Fuji Xerox's enterprise line.

We'll have to wait until the review units come to see if S-LED delivers on its promise, but it'll be interesting to see how Fuji Xerox breaks into a market saturated with inkjet and laser printers. One advantage that S-LED printers will have going for it is its compact size, not just for its printers but for its mono ink cartridges too. On the other hand, while the graphics sample printouts Fuji Xerox handed us are impressive, but neither S-LED (nor laser) can do photo prints like inkjets.

The First Pink Printer in the Universe?

The Fuji Xero DocuPrint P205 b also comes in pink - mind blown yet? According to Fuji Xerox, a 2009 survey by Connecting Insights Consultants says that 40% of Sitex visitors are female, and thus the female market needs a brighter color besides plain white or boring gray.

Unlike the Pink Ranger, we're not sure if pink automatically equals female enthusiasm, but we'll tell you what does warrant some good cheer. From 1st December '10 to 28th February '11, Fuji Xerox Singapore is donating S$10 per every unit of the pink printer sold to The Star Shelter, a crisis shelter for women and children. Corporate social responsibility for the win, people!

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