Star Micronics SD-10; a bright spot in the middle of the line. (evaluation) Owen W. Linzmayer.
Star Micronics SD-10
Middle of the line, product line, that is, is not normally a prestigious position. It does have its advantages, however. Perhaps the best thing is that a middle-of-the-line product offers something for everyone: more performance than the cheaper model and a lower price than the ultimate unit. Such is the case with the SD-10 dot matrix printer from Star Micronics.
Positioned smack dab in the middle of the Star Micronics dot matrix printer line, the SD-10 competes with all of its siblings. The SD-10, along with the similar SG and SR series, had its debut at the Winter Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The SD-10 is an Epson-compatible dot matrix printer offering draft, near letter quality, and graphics modes. The SG-10 is basically the same printer, only a little shower (120 cps, compared to 160 cps for the SD-10) and priced accordingly ($299, instead of $449). At the top of the line is the $649 SR-10, a 200 cps speed-demon with such business-like features as automatic single sheet feed.
These three printer series combine the Star standard and PC printer lines into one line that is compatible with many' popular computers, including IBM, Apple, TRS-80, and CP/M systems. Each series is available in 15 wide-carriage versions with 16K print buffers.
The most impressive feature of the SD-10 is its wide range of taxt modes and pitches. In addition to printing standard characters on a 9 X 11 matrix at a blinding speed of 160 cps, the SD-10 sports NLQ, underline, italic, super/subscript, double-strike, emphasize, proportional, pica, elite, condensed and expanded modes, many of which may be used in conjunction with others to provide a vast selection of typefaces and sizes.
Star Micronics is proud of the fact that near letter quality text is standard on their entire line of dot matrix printers. I am impressed with the fine definition of the NLQ characters, and also with the speed at which they are printed. At a rate of 40 NLQ characters per second, the SD-10 is considerably faster than most standard daisywheel printers (15-25 cps). Star claims that their printers are 20% faster than printers with comparable print rates due to more efficient throughput (printing, paper handling and printhead maneuvering combined).
If you want to take advantage of all the nifty functions the SD-10 offers, you can specify your own macro control codes which save you the time and tedium of typing in long escape sequences. If you are a serious programmer, the hexadecimal dump mode will appeal to you. Once entered, this mode prints everything that is sent to the SK-10 in hexadecimal form.
In addition to almost every known text feature you could ask for, the SD-10 offers full dot-addressable graphics. In normal mode, the SD-10 prints 60 dots per horizontal inch. At the other end of the spectrum, quadruple density graphics cram an astounding 240 dots into one inch through the use of multiple passes of the printhead.
While I could continue to praise the versatility of the hardware, I would be remiss if I ignored the excellent documentation provided with the SD-10. At a healthy 240 pages, the Users Manual covers every facet of printer installation, configuration, use, and maintenance. The manual is filled with step-by-step instructions, diagrams and examples, and it is virtually impossible to think of a way in which it could be improved. It actually contains directions for connecting the SD-10 to a variety of popular computers. If you are hesitant about buying a printer because of an underlying fear that you wouldn't be able to figure it out, this manual is for you. And you technical types will be pleased to know that all the information you are looking for is found in the handy appendices.
As you can tell, I am thoroughly impressed with the SD-10 printer. It is a versatile unit with just about every feature you could ask for built right into the sturdy case. If you are willing to forego the higher print speed of the SD-10, you may wish to check out the less expensive SG-10. On the other hand, if the SD-10 merely whets your appetite for a faster printer with a more serious business outlook, then the SR-10 may be the printer for you.
Printer: Star Micronics SD-10
Type: Dot matrix
Feed: Friction and tractor
Speed: 160 cps
Interface: Parallel (serial optional)
Graphics: 60 dots/inch (normal)-240 dots/inch (quadruple)
Character Sets: 8 intermational
Buffer: 2K (expandable to 6K)
Logic Seek: Yes, bidirectional
Summary: Somthing for everyone in this versatile printer
Manufacturer: Star Micronics, Inc. 200 Park Ave. New York, NY 10166 (212) 986-6770
Photo: Star Micronics SD-10 sample text pitch and modes.
Products: Star Micronics SD-10 (computer printer)