Star NX-1040 Rainbow. (computer printer) (Hardware Review) (Evaluation)
by Joyce Sides
Anyone looking for a printer these days is sure to be confused by the literally hundreds of printers available. While IBM and Epson set the compatibility standards, several companies offer high-quality printers at reasonable prices.
Star Micronics jumps to the front with the new 9-pin NX-1040 Rainbow printer. This lightweight, Epson- and Ibm-compatible printer not only produces high-quality monochrome output but also prints in seven colors in eight near letter quality fonts with up to eight enhancement modes. That's three colors more than the nearest competitor--and with a lower price tag. The NX-1040 is no faster than the average 9-pin printer, though, so don't buy it expecting 24-pin speed.
Most low-end color printers require installation of an optional color kit, The NX-1040 comes ready to print in color with the installation of the color ribbon. The ribbon cartridge doesn't need to be exchanged for another ribbon to switch from monochrome to color printing.
As with the high-end 24-pin Star printers, the NX-1040 includes the Electronic DIP Switch (EDS) mode, which changes the power-on settings without your having to manually change DIP switches. You can control up to 15 power-on defaults from the front touch panel, such as font, pitch, paper park, paper feed, panel macros, and buffer clear. Another handy feature included with the NX-1040 is quiet mode, which can also be controlled from the front panel.
Thanks to the easy-to-understand instruction manual, it took only about five minutes to set up the printer. The manual includes a command summary with page numbers in the back and a separate quick-reference guide to the operations of the control panel.
A variety of paper-handling features add to the printer's ease of use. Multipaper paths, the short tear-off function, automatic paper loading, top-of-form set, and. the adjustable sheet-feed paper guide offer features that usually come with more expensive 24-pin printers. Paper parking offers the user the option of printing single sheets without removing the fanfold tractor-feed paper.
I was impressed with the color output of the NX-1040. Frankly, I didn't expect high-quality output from a 9-pin printer, but I was pleasantly surprised by the results.
Even if most of your home printing doesn't require color output, you should take a look at the NX-1040. With the low cost, ease of use, and quality color and monochrome output of this lightweight 9-pin printer, you can't lose. Even though it's limited to 9-pin speed, the NX-1040 has created a niche for itself outside the realm of overpriced and overrated printers.
Star NX-1040 Rainbow--$269
STAR MICRONICS AMERICA 420 Lexington Ave., Ste. 2702 New York, NY 10170 (800) 447-4700
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