Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 154 / JULY 1993 / PAGE 90

Smith Corona Coronajet 200J. (ink-jet computer printer) (Hardware Review) (Evaluation)
by Eddie Huffman

With laser-quality output, 20 resident fonts, and a compact form factor only slightly larger than a loaf of bread, the Smith Corona Coronajet 200j ink-jet printer is going to be as popular as ... well, sliced bread.

If you add its optional automatic sheet feeder, the 200j takes up only about as much desktop space as a loaf of bread spread crossways on an average-sized manila folder. This should be welcome news to people who would want to use it at home or in a small business (the target market for this printer), who often need all the extra space they can get.

You can make each of the 20 resident fonts bold, italic, or underlined, including Courier, Times Nordic, and Letter Gothic. For even more variety, you can use the 14 optional font cards. The 200j prints in portrait and landscape modes, and its easily installed ink-jet cartridge is replaceable.

Smith Corona claims laser-resolution-quality printing--300 x 300 dpi for text and graphics--and my experience confirms the claim. Everything I printed was crisp and dark--I just had to be careful not to smear freshly printed pages by touching them before they were dry. The printer proved equally adept at printing spreadsheets, documents in XyWrite and Microsoft Word, OnTime calendar sheets, and BMP files in black-and-white from Windows' Paintbrush program. It handled multiple fonts and a variety of files with no hesitation.

The 200j owner's manual proved essentially adequate, with clear setup instructions and a helpful troubleshooting section but, unfortunately, no index. The automatic sheet feeder comes with its own skimpy booklet, which is helpful but confusingly organized, with entries in multiple languages for each section.

To be honest, after I inserted the 200j's print cartridge, I barely glanced at the manuals unless it was to consult the troubleshooting section. It's easy enough simply to open the box, connect the printer to your computer, set your software to the common HP DeskJet Plus emulation, and go to work. To install the 70-sheet-capacity feeder, you simply push the 200j on top of it until it locks into place.

The 200j doesn't present you with a host of LEDs and switches to set, though its front panel does conceal more than 50 easily accessible switches to make adjustments for different fonts, manual or automatic paper loading, and other commands. The graphs that show how to set the switches proved somewhat confusing, so I was relieved that the only change I needed to make came when I added the automatic sheet feeder. The 200j's power switch is on the back of the printer, a location I found mildly inconvenient.

Besides its size, printing quality, and ease of use, the 200j also impressed me with its quiet operation. If my dot-matrix printer provides no smearing problems, it does provide plenty of noise pollution. Compared to it, the 200j--rated at less than 45 dB--was virtually inaudible, even in my cramped 10- x 10-foot home office. I can't imagine anyone being bothered by its noise level.

The only real problems I encountered using the 200j involved loading paper. It wouldn't accept envelopes loaded longways, a necessity for the HP DeskJet Plus emulation in Nvelope Plus. It also gave trouble when I tried loading it with recycled office paper--the backs of old press releases, errant printouts, and the like--sometimes feeding two sheets at once at odd intervals. Using fresh paper, though, I had no trouble using the 200j.

At worst, the problems I had using the Smith Corona Coronajet 200j were minor quirks. Anything this small that prints this well without making any appreciable noise deserves an unreserved recommendation.