HP Photosmart 7520 - Reviews, Prices, Specs and Alternatives
The four main functions of printers are: printing, scanning, photocopying, and faxing. Either your device will be print only, print/scan/copy, or an all-in-one printer that does printing, scanning, copying, and faxing. Note that scanning and copying almost always come together, since the hardware for these features overlaps significantly. Generally speaking, all-in-one printers are larger, so those with space constraints may find this to be an inconvenience. Additionally, printers with a fax feature are typically more expensive. It would be wise to only consider this feature if you plan to fax often. If not, you’ll be satisfied with a print/scan/copy device.
Network printers can be wired or wireless. A printer with a wired network connection uses an Ethernet cord that connects directly to your router. A wireless printer connects to your home or office Wi-Fi network. Any computer also connected to your network can use your printer, whether it’s wired or wireless. You will have to install software, or printer drivers, on the computer before you can print. Also, there is a setup process for the printer to get it on the network. If your printer is not wireless, you’ll need to connect it directly to your computer via USB cable, which is not ideal if you have multiple users that need the printer simultaneously.
Outside of Wi-Fi, there are a number of ways a device can connect to a printer. If the printer is not wireless, you’ll have to connect to your printer via USB cable. Some people prefer using the wired connection because it allows for faster data transfers and quicker printing. Depending on the speed of your Wi-Fi and how strong the signal is, it can take time for the document to send from computer to printer over the network. Using a wired connection eliminates this issue. Other connections you may have are: Ethernet for wired connection to your network; Airprint or Google Cloud Print for quick direct printing over the cloud/internet; USB hard drive or memory card to print directly from storage devices; or PictBridge to print directly from cameras.
Printers with an LCD screen/display give you the option to control some settings directly on the printer, such as a one-touch print, scan, copy, or fax. You may also be able to adjust print quality, preview the print job, and/or view connection settings. Some screens are programmed to offer setup instructions for easy installation. For those who are not particularly tech savvy, this could be helpful.