Thursday, May 5, 2016

10 × 15 Photo Printers Buying Guide

10 × 15 photo printers
Simplicity and quality photos

A good photo printer 10 × 15 must be simple to use, efficient, fast and, of course, develop quality shots. Good news, it is possible to find on the market that meet all these criteria. Our advice to choose.

If there is one quality shared by the vast majority of printers 10 × 15 , it is their ease of use. Just in most cases to connect the appliance to connect to the source and start printing simply by pressing a button! This is probably one of the reasons the enthusiasm of individuals for this type of printers yet restricted to a single use, printing photos.

If they can do it, at least they do well. The picture quality has improved in recent years to the current rate is quite acceptable, similar to that of professional laboratories. This is true for printers with ink-jet or on the principle of thermal sublimation. These two technologies, which share the market equally, have radically different operating principles. Printheads of ink jet printers are made ​​up of nozzles which eject ink droplets onto the paper. Thermal sublimation, in turn, reproduces the image by superimposing on paper the three primary colors (yellow and magenta and cyan finally). A possible fourth layer, transparent, is deposited as a protective varnish. No ink, this time, but a material which, in the solid state on the roll, is converted into gas in contact with the heated printheads. The color cools and fixed to the paper.

Same unit cost

At equal quality, the rational consumer would give importance to the choice of technology if at least one was cheaper than the other. But this is not the case

The dye sublimation printers may have a slightly lower purchase price. But in use, the two technologies are equal. Consumables (thermal ribbon or ink, and paper) are in the same price range. Note that the thermal sublimation allows better control of the budget to the extent that the supplies are provided for a given amount of impressions. The inkjet printer cartridges offer a greater number of random draws. All colors are contained in a single cartridge, it must be changed as soon as one of them is exhausted. A constraint that gives an unpleasant mess sensation. Less obvious, waste is just as real in the case of thermal printing: each print is only used the colors of ribbon needed for the photo, the others are discarded.

Finally, the unit cost of a picture comes to much the same . It is close to that practiced by professional laboratories (about 30 cents), but if it does not take account of the gradual decrease in prices linked to the volume (it reaches up 0.08 cent at some photo labs Internet) nor that these laboratories do not support the customer the cost of missed impressions.

Remains as printing itself its home pictures offer undeniable comfort. But beware, the hobby can turn to the phobia whether to spend hours! The time required for printing a picture varies according to the builders, between 35 and 60 seconds. These data do not include the time required to transfer the file to the printer and it treats (integration, printing, validation). Our tests rather conclude that an average of 75 seconds (1). For large volumes, so beware!

PictBridge, Bluetooth et wi-fi
In practice, these printers do not need to be connected to a computer . It is of course possible to print from a PC connected to the printer. But these autonomous devices also communicate well only with cameras, regardless of brand. It is the vocation of the PictBridge standard, today overwhelmingly adopted (only 4% of printers 10 × 15 sold in 2007 did not meet this standard). This connection between the two devices is still mainly using a cable supplied with the camera . The connection technology without wi-fi wireless is not yet widespread in the world of photography. However, with the spread of sensors on mobile phones , Bluetooth is becoming commonplace. But few printers that incorporate this technology, we must include in the budget an additional accessory, not supplied, to make it compatible machine (a USB Bluetooth, 20 euros). It will be possible to start printing directly from your phone.

The range of file transfer options would not be complete without a good connection. A USB port to read files stored on devices ( USB key , hard drive ). With a memory card reader, you can directly insert the card from the camera into the printer. When present, the reader often supports multiple formats (most common: Compact Flash, Memory Stick, SD Card, etc.) but check first before buying if the reader reads your card. Transferring photos from a memory card or USB flash drive, preview rendering can be done on a screen ... Attention to this point, their presence is not systematic and quality, and their size vary .

Last checkpoint: with printers 10 × 15 , it is possible to print anywhere, anytime. A space-saving printer facilitate travel. But it will then it adds a battery, almost always sold separately as an option (about 60 euros).

Multifunction Printers Buying Guide

Print, copy, scan ...

Combine two, three or four devices into one is the bet won multifunction printers, the price in permanent decline. But before you equip yourself, ask yourself the right questions to find the model you need: how many pages of text, documents with graphics or pictures you want to print each month? With what level of quality? Is print speed decisive? Will you be one or several to use? Do you already have a scanner? The fax function is it really necessary?

Single function, multifunction or 4 in 1?
As it allows to do other things as printing, printer  becomes ... Multifunction. Scanner, copier, photo printer thanks to the presence of fax cards and readers are now common features for these devices increasingly popular with consumers.

The benefits of multifunction abound. These include firstly the space savings enabled by a combination of several devices into one unit. The size is a bit larger than that of a traditional printer , but remains interesting in view of the multiplicity of functions. Especially since many power connectors and cables disappear at the same time!

The second benefit is financial, since the price of a multifunction will always be lower than, cumulatively, of all the devices it replaces. Specifically, if the rates range between 50 and 450 € for a typical use, you will certainly find the features that suit you between 80 and 200 €.

Finally, some features, such as photocopying or printing photos from a map, are accessible without turning on the PC.

Inkjet or laser?
The printer ink jets have the advantage of being versatile, they can just as easily print office documents (text and color graphics) as photos on glossy paper at size 10 × 15. They are compact and power consumption is low compared to laser printers. The noise mechanisms during printing can be annoying, but then the printer is silent.

Another strong point of the ink jets to the general public: their selling price! The models colors are more affordable (from € 40) that color laser printers (from 100 €). If you can ignore color, monochrome laser printers are a bit more accessible. But the purchase price is to be compared with the cost of printing. The cost per page for ink-jet printers are far from the figures announced by the manufacturers, only intensive use allows to get closer by limiting the use of ink to clean the print heads. If you use just your printer, you will be regularly invited to perform a thorough cleaning of the print heads to prevent them from clogging. These cleaning cycles are very greedy ink. Thus, as we were able to check when a specific test , unless you print, the more it costs you dearly.

Printers lasers are known for their productivity: their printing speed is high, the toner has a larger capacity than the ink cartridges and the paper tray has a larger pool, the less time is lost recharge. More oriented towards office use, laser printers are designed to print photos - anyway, they do not accept very thick papers such as premium photo papers. Finally, these models are bulky, especially color lasers , and the noise of the ventilation is permanent (until the printer is turned on), although discreet. Laser technology requires heat to fuse the toner to the paper, resulting in a power consumption much higher than that of ink jet printers. The lasers are designed for more intensive use as ink jet, which is why companies and associations are mainly equipped with laser printers. It remains to consider the consumables other than paper and ink when printing really much: drum, oven, printhead ...

Based on a very different printing technology ink jet, laser printers do not use toner to perform regular cleanings, and there is no risk of ending up with a mouthful printhead preventing any impression. However, the price of toners is quite high. In return, they can print many more pages an ink cartridge. Laser printers print costs are generally lower than those of ink jet printers. Lasers are thus more profitable long-term.

Printers that use the technology of thermal sublimation or thermal transfer models are mainly dedicated to photo printing at size 10 × 15cm. These small photo printers operate with heat tape kits containing a given number of prints (ink and paper included). The cost per page are controlled (between 30 and 50 cents per picture 10 × 15), while remaining higher than the impressions from the terminals in stores or online photo sites. These printers are monot√Ęches: apart from your photo prints 10 × 15, it will complete your equipment with an inkjet or laser printer for office documents.

Resolution, speed and cost per page: War figures
The first criteria to consider in choosing a multifunction is the print quality. If it is not measured, it theoretically varies by resolution , expressed in dots per inch (ppi or dpi, for "dots per inch" in English). The printer basic ink jets should be at 4800 × 1200 dpi for quality quite acceptable, but up to 5760 × 1440 dpi will not need to print photos, which will generate a small additional cost. Laser printers have lower resolutions, but office documents emerged with neat characters.

In the same spirit, the  quality of the scanner  must also be taken into account. Check the resolution announced by the manufacturer, knowing it will probably be a resolution "interpolated" and not a resolution "optical" (interpolation is to add intermediate pixels between the actual pixels, calculating the average color of pixels around). With a resolution of 1200 × 2400 dpi, you scan with good quality photos of 10 × 15 cm and can enlarge up to 1.5 times without degrading the rendering to the eye. Of course, as regards the copier function, the effectiveness will depend on the previous two criteria.

Unfortunately, the resolution is not the only setting that takes into account the print quality: the paper, software, ink are also involved, for example, a high resolution does not guarantee the respect of colors. no fault in degraded ...

The printing speed may also be a selective criterion if you use intensively printer. In this case, we must not forget that the number of pages per minute is often indicated for drafts pages (reduced quality) in black and white: the scores will be much lower in highest quality and in color. To more easily compare print speeds from one model to another, a recent standard was created, ISO / IEC 24734, but it is not mandatory. Rely therefore the speed reference to this standard to have more realistic figures. Do not be surprised to see some models claim maximum speeds print more than 30 pages per minute while the "ISO speed" is only 10 pages per minute.

The cost per page are easily calculated retrospectively by dividing the purchase price by the number of pages printed but before buying, you can refer to when the information is available, the number of page for which the cartridges or toners are planned. However, it is rare to achieve the amounts announced. First, it depends on the type of document you print: the more text and images, the more you reduce the number of potential impressions with your cartridges or toner. Then you have to consider your habits: if you print occasionally with your printer ink jets, cleaning the printheads will waste a large part of your ink supply to each ignition. Laser printers do not carry out this type of cleaning, so there is no additional cost in occasional use with a laser printer.

To reduce costs to the page, there are several options: buy XL cartridges, favor printers with separate color cartridges reduce print quality, change the print font (Garamond is more efficient ink than Times New Roman ), print only the essentials (remove ads, images ...), reduce the document to print (2 pages reduced on 1 sheet), testing of compatible cartridges , etc. And, with the ink jet printers must print regularly to prevent the print heads become clogged, under penalty of having to perform more extensive cleanings fond ink.

Note that to view a reduced sales price, the printers are sometimes sold with starter cartridges that contain less ink or toner than standard versions you buy later.

Laptop Buying Guide

How to navigate a range of increasingly complete?

The laptop prices falling as their performance improves. Less bulky than traditional desktop PCs, so they are attracting more and more consumers in the context of family use.

From the outside, all laptops are similar. But looking more closely, one realizes quickly that performance and equipment vary greatly from model to model. Screen size, storage space, processor, graphics card, connections ... The settings are many and must be consistent with each other to the machine configuration is optimal.

That said, the choice of a computer must first be guided by its needs. For office use (word processing, spreadsheets, Internet browsing ...), any device is now the case. Early Prices start around 300 or 400 euros for machines with integrated DVD burner drive (usually dual layer) and equipped with a Wi-Fi module to connect to wireless broadband internet. With a hard drive of 320 GB or they can store photos, videos, or manage a music library.

For more activities memory intensive , such as video editing, photo editing, it is necessary to provide a large storage space. With a powerful graphics card, preferably with a dedicated memory and not "shared" (in this case, the card requests a part of the RAM available to the computer as a whole), you can also run 3D games . Furthermore, a high performance graphics should be combined with a good processor, able to quickly bring him information to process. For this type of powerful computer, allow a minimum of 800 euros.

Good connectivity
Besides its intrinsic performance, connectors available on the computer is also an important element to take into account. The device must be fitted with at least three USB (2.0 or better 3.0: flow rates are ten times faster). A video output is also necessary to connect the computer to an external display . HDMI, which also transmits sound, is now required, and to replace the VGA (analog) and DVI (or DVI-I, which transmits the video signal into analog and digital DVI-D is that the transmit only in digital). You can connect to a pc screen. An IEEE1394 (also called FireWire or i-Link) is useful for repatriating video from a DV camera, but it is scarce. Finally, TV output allows viewing the screen content on a TV . Note that a new connector, the USB C , begins to appear. Its versatility allows to believe that it will eventually replace all other ports on a PC.

If the computer is also used to store pictures or download music on a Walkman, a memory card reader compatible with that of the camera or MP3 player is welcome. Some computers come with either a Bluetooth wireless link that enables them to communicate with certain devices ( mobile phones or Bluetooth speakers , for example).

Comfort: the finger and the eye
Finally, several factors also play on user comfort. The screen , first of all, important. The 16/10 format more suitable for watching DVDs, tends to generalize. The size of the screen is essential (a 15-inch diagonal is necessary for comfort), as the ergonomics of the keyboard and cursor navigation system. Especially, in case of frequent travel, the computer must be light and enjoy a good battery life (over 2 hours). For frequent travelers, manufacturers have even designed for ultraportable computers

It remains to check the "perk". Some computers are sold with a mouse or a bag, but their quality is variable and that luxury is becoming scarcer as manufacturers' margins decline. Others have a more complete or longer warranty. Finally, even if the related sale is prohibited in France, all computers come with pre-installed software. Most offer Internet security software with a short-term license (usually between 30 and 60 days). Some include an office suite full version, but sometimes old (Star Office, Issendis, etc.) or a trial version (30 days) of Microsoft Office.

After buying

To improve the performance of a notebook after purchase, it is often possible to add RAM , accessible from the keyboard or via a hatch on the underside of the unit. Sometimes there is a free memory slot to accept an additional memory module, option to check at the time of purchase. Otherwise, it is necessary to replace an existing memory module with a more powerful. It is not possible, however, to replace the video card or motherboard. To increase storage capacity, the purchase of an external hard drive is the most simple solution, and it is also advisable to carry personal data backups.

How to choose your antivirus?

Install on their computer Internet security software is essential even if no antivirus is 100% foolproof. But still need to choose the one that best fits their needs.

Surfing the Internet is not safe. Millions of malicious files circulating on the web, trying to enter a maximum of connected computers. The virus disrupting or destroying computer data are still present, but now it is mainly Trojans and spyware to be feared. More discreet (see glossary below), these programs are used by hackers to get on the computers of individuals and companies all kinds of personal data (bank details, passwords, email addresses ...) used maliciously or for gain control of the remote computer. These spyware can hide in the middle of seemingly innocuous downloadable files for free on the Web or be concealed in attachments. It is also possible to become infected by surfing some websites and even on well-known sites. Hackers are also trying to retrieve personal data through phishing , a technique based on sending emails purportedly from a trusted third party (bank, e-commerce site, etc.) asking the user confirm IDs and passwords.

Faced with this threat, install on each computer in the house at least a firewall and an antivirus is vital. While the former is responsible for controlling the exchange of data between the computer and the network, the second attempts to identify malicious code that could fit on the hard drive or by comparing them to a signature database maintained by publishers, or by performing an analysis based on the recognition codes of the parties or on the behavior of files running on the computer.

The "all-in-one"
To make life easier for their customers, all Internet security vendors offer complete suites including both a firewall, an antivirus or various other protective functions (antiphishing, antispam, parental control, etc.). These suites supposed to provide complete security to users, are especially designed for less sophisticated users seeking above all a simple protection system to use. The vast majority of them have the advantage of allowing the user to control all the features of the security software from a single interface.

These suites can be purchased in stores in boxed version or downloaded from the Internet on the publisher's site. Before making your choice, remember to check the number of computers that can be installed the program (box version is usually multi, but sometimes the editor offers on its website a single-user version, cheaper) and the license term (1 or 2 years), that is to say the period during which the virus database can be updated regularly. Beyond this period, it will pay an additional subscription or risk seeing your software quickly become obsolete.

You should also know that internet security software use more or less disk space (to consider if your hard disk is almost full), RAM and CPU resources. It is therefore possible that they slow down the computer. To get an accurate idea of the effects of an Internet security suite on your computer, it is recommended before purchasing the software permanently download its trial version. Most publishers offer. Attention because some may not be updated, render inactive certain functions or are not translated into French. Instead, download the evaluation version is sometimes possible to receive email discount offers on the paid version!

The alternative free
If the Internet security suites are relatively expensive (40 to 70 euros on average), it is possible to save money by switching to free software. All Internet service providers make available to their subscribers a parental control software , some messengers contain a spam filter and most web browsers (Internet Explorer 7, Firefox, Opera) now include a function antiphishing . Windows and Mac OS operating systems contain, in turn, an integrated basic firewall. Finally, security vendors offer free antivirus available to users whose performances have nothing to envy to those paid versions. But be careful though, because some do not protect against spyware or rootkits , wear no attention to downloading files does not necessarily control the emails and attachments before saving them on the computer or do not attempt to identify in real time the websites that can infect your computer. They do not benefit from the latest innovations in behavioral analysis. Many gaps that could prove fatal for the less experienced users.

In any case, better to have in mind that no security software, whether free or paid, is foolproof. To limit the risks to the maximum, the user must exercise great vigilance. Avoid surfing uncertain websites to download files whose reliability is not assured or open suspicious attachments, even if they appear to be from one of your contacts. It is also essential to regularly updates its software (firewall, antivirus, but also operating system and web browser) and open an account dedicated to the Internet (surf via the administrator account makes it easier access pirate files and system settings). Finally, never transmit identifiers or online passwords, even when your bank, apparently in any case, or any other institution prompted. To check the authenticity of this application, just switch, for example, the site's home page. Otherwise, your data could end up stronger in the wrong hands.

The different kinds of malicious files
It disrupts the functioning of the computer, destroy data or damages the equipment. He always hides in a seemingly innocuous file.

It spreads autonomously, mostly in the form of an attachment to an email.

The Trojan (or Trojan horse, or trojan)
This seemingly innocuous program conceals a hidden feature that allows the attacker to access the data contained in the computer or even take control of the machine.

Spyware (or spyware)
This file is responsible for transmitting the hacker personal information on the computer. There are several variants, including:
- Adware, which lists the sites visited by the user to show targeted advertising on the computer screen;
- Keylogger (or keystroke logger) that records what the user types on the keyboard to detect credit card numbers, user IDs, passwords, etc. ;
- The hijacker that changes the home page, changes the search page or add bookmarks to the web browser.

The rootkit
This software hides the open fraudulent access by hackers to allow them to enter whenever they want in the heart of the machine.

This is a category of spam (unsolicited email) is in the form of an email purporting to come from a trusted third party (bank, online marketplace, online auction site ...). This contains a link back to a pirate site where, under the pretext of updating or verification, the recipient is asked to provide personal data (username, password ...).

Washing Machine Buying Guide

Choosing the washing machine

The washing machine is , with refrigerator , one of the most present appliances in homes. Over 94 % of the French have one. And contrary to appearances, the " washing machine " never ceases to innovate ... logged Laundry , cleaning and smoothing steam washing by air bubble or recirculating water , Inverter Motor , these are the last innovations offered by manufacturers. Faced with the range and number of models on offer , consumers must learn to navigate.

Top or front ? What type of washing machine choose?
Size, width , height, depth , installation under a work surface, removable top, here are some items to consider before buying a washing machine.

Long specific to the French market , the "top" still captivate a third of the French for their narrow width : 40 to 46 cm . Their capacity varies from 5 to 8 kg maximum machine . But these machines loading washing over disappear in favor of another washing machine category, the Front .

In front-loading, the window washer, also called frontal, are now the most sold on the French market. Their advantages? Can be installed under the worktop in a kitchen or bathroom or supporting a front dryer in "column", with the installation of a stacking kit between the two devices. In the latter case, choose two devices of the same brand, or, failing that, from the same manufacturer.

Mostly "freestanding", the "front" are also available as integrated version for fixing a decorative door on their front side. Avowed purpose: to hide the washing machine from the furniture with a kitchen. Very popular in the UK, this trend is not widespread in France.

The front usually measure 60 cm wide and 85 feet high to a swing capacity between 5 and 12 kg. However, new categories of frontal arrive in France:

- The "slim" ( "thin" in English) are front machines limited depth window: between 33 and 45 cm. They measure 60 cm wide and their capacity varies between 4 and 6 kg.

- The compact machines as wide as the "slim", these front are also shallow. Their ability is less than 5 kg.

- The "big size" to American dimensions are out in the early 2000. More wider and higher than conventional front machines, the washing machine outside the norm - from 12 to 15 kg of laundry - tend to disappear. Bosch, Whirlpool and Hotpoint have now stopped their marketing.

Good to know
Install the washing machine on a work plan
In France, the work plan of a kitchen or bathroom is historically at a height of 85 cm from the ground or the height of a frontal washing machine. To drag a device under the work plan of 3 cm thick, the height of your washing machine should not exceed 82 cm. The top, upper part of the washing machine, is traditionally taken to stay below this height limit. But this operation is made more difficult on current washing machine. The race for large capacities that manufacturers now utilize previously reserved 3 cm at the top, with the consequence of making immovable. Other manufacturers choose, for aesthetic reasons, to increase the height of the strip up to 85 cm. The top can remain removable "on paper", but the height of the washing machine to the band level remains 85 cm. Unable to push the machine to the bottom of the slot. The band then may exceed front ... Finally, if you remove the top of your washing machine, be aware that it is recommended to replace it with a "lid" of a few millimeters thick, which will isolate the inside the washing machine.

classic or washer dryer?
This is a question that arises when one has limited space. Both washing machine and dryer, the 2-in-1 does not have only advantages. Our washing machine drying buying guide reveals the advantages and disadvantages of this solution trusted by 5 to 10% of French only.

What capacity for what purpose?
The myth that "over the drum capacity, the less need there is to do laundry, so it is more economic" does not always hold. Our tests show that all the washing machine does not adjust their consumption in proportion to the amount of laundry introduced. On the other hand, we systematically fills a large capacity washing machine to its maximum capacity? The maximum dry linen capacity applies to the cotton program and sometimes some additional programs such as "White". But for specific programs or fragile, the maximum capacity is less. Thus, the max capacity of synthetic textile generally does not exceed 50% of the capacity of the cotton program. Illustration with the following instructions:

spin speed, what interest?
The spin speed washing machines increased in the last 15 years to now reach 1  000 to 1  600  rpm . The main interest of intensive spin is to extract more water from textile fibers. Your clothes will become less humid drum and will be even quicker to dry. If you own a dryer , duration of operation and therefore power consumption will be reduced. Given the difference in consumption between a washing machine motor and the resistance of a dryer, better opt for a better spin.

The downside, however, since the maximum spin is not compatible with all types of textiles. So delicate programs, wool, silk or "hand wash" spin speed limit a few hundred towers, far from the maximum spin speed.