Star Micronics NX-2420 Multi-Font. (24-pin dot matrix printer) (evaluation)
by Tony Roberts
The Star Micronics NX-2420 Multi-Font printer makes a pretty good office companion. This 24-pin dot-matrix printer produces good output from any number of applications, including word processing, spreadsheet, and accounting programs.
With a fresh ribbon, the NX-2420 in letter-quality mode produces fully satisfactory output for most correspondence and for in-house reports. Five letter-quality fonts are provided, and each style offers the usual italic. bold, and large-sized print variations.
In addition, the Star operates at several pitch settings including 10, 12, 15, and 17 characters per inch as well as proportional and condensed proportional.
The NX-2420 operates quickly--222 characters per second--in highspeed draft mode, but I found that output broken and difficult to read. Regular draft mode, which prints at 167 cps, produces more readable documents. Letter-quality output is rated at 55.5 cps.
The NX-2420 is generous in paper-handling options. Single sheets, fanfold paper, and multipart forms of up to five ply all work in this printer. You'll use the friction feed for single sheets, and you can use either rear loading or bottom loading for continuous forms.
If you use the rear-loading option, paper feeds through the back of the machine into the tractors which push the paper through the paper path. Although this setup affords the convenience of paper parking, so that you can print on single sheets without unloading the fanfold paper, it also produces a higher incidence of paper jams. On the other hand, these jams are only occasional, and the parking feature is a tremendous advantage for an operator who often switches between letterhead and continuous-feed paper.
The bottom-feed options moves the paper around the platen and then into the tractors. In this configuration, the tractors pull the paper through the print path, resulting in a smoother operation. This option is recommended for multipart forms.
The Star's noise level is average, and if you need it, you can take advantage of the printer's quiet mode, which can make working near it more pleasant. However, selecting quiet mode cuts the printing speed significantly.
The front panel houses five buttons for selecting options and defaults. By pressing combinations of these buttons, you select fonts, adjust paper positioning, or change printer settings. The most commonly used functions are labeled on the faceplate, and templates offer guidance for lesser-used functions.
The NX-2420 allows you to select font, pitch, and autoclad settings and record them as a macro that's executed on power-up.
While the NX-2420, you get a 7K buffer and the option to expand your capabilities with either a font cartridge or a RAM cartridge. The printer supports two graphics sets and 16 international character sets.
Because the printer emulates either Epson printers or the IBM ProPrinter, it's quite easy to locate drivers appropriate for most applications.
In short, the NX-2420 provides good print quality and plenty of features. It's a printer you can count on to handle a variety of tasks.