Encad Chroma 24.
If a 24" wide format printer is enough size and if you are on a strict budget the Encad Chroma 24 was a good idea to serve as your first experience in the world of large format inkjet printers. But now so many newer and better 24" printers are available that you should think about these improved models.
We just received an e-mail from a school teacher who had a clever idea, to buy an entry-level wide format printer to print teaching aids, signs, and even for the students to use. She got an estimate of over $2400 for some wide format printer that did only black-and-white! Bad decision! Nowadays you want full color and 600 dpi.
Fortunately the teacher sent me an e-mail before she threw her school's money out the window. Several years ago we suggested an Encad Chroma 24. One of the entry-level Hewlett-Packard DesignJet 400-series or 700-series printers would be an alternative, but I happen to have more experience with the Encad line.
No 24-inch model has not been a runaway success for any printer company, hence it was surprising that Epson's new model 7000 is a 24 inch size, rather than a 54 inch size. The main Epson is the 44-inch Epson 9000. The new 24 inch Epson 7000 will really wake up the slumbering 24 inch market and cause lots of consternation to Encad and Hewlett-Packard. The even newer Epson 7500 promises more than it delivers. If you are tempted by the Epson 7500 you might wish to read our review, as our review editor was at the DRUPA trade show in Germany where the Epson 7500 was first presented. Visit our page on the NovaJet 1000i.
But Epson inks fade quickly and Epson models 1520 and Epson 3000 have proven to be just awful for some of the unfortunate people who wished they had never bought a cheap Epson inkjet printer. Again, another reason why we recommend the Encad. Encad inks last for years, even exposed on the wall (and especially if you use their GO, graphic outdoor inks). Even Encad indoor inks have still preserved their color after two years on the wall (Epson prints lost their color after a few weeks!). If you put an Epson print on the window, if sun shines through that window the print may start to lose its color during the first week.
Encad itself may suggest a software RIP to run the Chroma 24 (you certainly do not want to spend the money on a hardware RIP). There is a new entry-level version of PosterJet coming out. If it works on an Encad Chroma 24, that is a good option because it is simple.
Most recently updated Nov. 18, 2003.