TOP 10 PRINTERS FOR ATARI
ANTIC ONLINE users poll results
Which printers are most widely used by Atari owners? How good do Atari owners think their printers are? Antic now has much fuller answers to these questions after analyzing the 1,034 responses in our biggest-ever CompuServe ANTIC ONLINE poll. As a result, we plan to publish even more programs compatible with the top-rated printers. And here are the highlights of what we learned:
Nearly 120 different printer models were named in the survey. However, the bulk of these printers only got a handful of votes often merely one or two responses apiece. In contrast, the Top Ten printers accounted for 68.7 percent of the total vote.
MOST WIDELY OWNED: 1. Gemini 10X 11.9% 2. Star SG-10 8.6% 3. ProWriter 7.1% 4. Epson RX-80 7.0% 5. Epson FX-80 6.5% 6. Epson MX-80 6.2% 7. Panasonic KX 5.9% 8. Two-Way Tie Okimate 10 5.8% Atari 1027 5.8% 9. Atari 1025 4.1%
Star Micronics provided the two most widely owned printers, the no-longer-made Gemini 10X and its worthy successor, the new Star SG-10. Antic has consistently recommended these full-featured dot-matrix printers as best buys. In particular, the near letter-quality mode of the $299 SG-10 (Antic, July 1985) rivals many daisy-wheel printers.
A number of the most widely sold printers during the past few years have now been replaced by newer models. The poll reflected this, with several recently discontinued units scoring high on the popularity list.
Eight of the Top Ten printers were versatile dot-matrix units, moderately priced in the $250-$550 range. Rounding Out Top Ten were an inexpensive letter-quality printer, the Atari 1027 ($199), and a low-cost color printer, the Okimate 10 ($235).
In third place was the durable C. Itoh ProWriter ($549 for latest SEP+ version, reviewed in this issue). If the survey's C. Itoh votes which didn't specify any model were added, the ProWriter would have risen to second place.
Epson was clearly the most popular manufacturer of Atari-compatible printers, with three models in the Top Ten. The inexpensive RX-80 ($299) ranked higher than the costlier but more feature-laden Epson FX-80 and MX-80.
Overall, Atari users seem to be very satisfied with their printers. Even most of the less-widely-used printers tended to be highly rated by their owners.
HIGHEST QUALITY Rating 1. SG-10 4.5 2. Epson RX-80 4.3 3. Four-Way Tie: Gemini 10X 4.2 ProWriter 4.2 Epson FX-80 4.2 Panasonic KX 4.2 4. Epson MX-80 4 5. Okimate 10 3.6 6. Atari 1025 3 7. Atari 1027 2.6
In this survey, ANTIC ONLINE readers were asked to name the printer they owned, and then to rate it in six categories text quality, speed, graphics quality (if applicable), ease of use, reliability and value for price.
The 10 most popular printers are ranked here by their average rate in all six categories of quality. The ratings were made on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 the highest. Antic Program Editor Charles Jackson wrote a program that automatically tallied the scores.
Only at the lower end of the Top Ten do we find average ratings of less than 4. The Okimate 10 is primarily a color graphics printer and was rated only 3 for both text and speed. The old Atari 1027 and 1025 printers were designed to sell for very low prices in their day, so naturally they run slower and offer less features than costlier printers.
This survey was done online in order to take advantage of the speed of interactive telecommunications and collect a substantial number of responses as quickly as possible. Therefore, the poll only reflects Atari users who own modems, subscribe to Compuserve, and log onto ANTIC ONLINE and SIG*Atari.
However, these telecommunicators are among the most committed and well-informed members of the Atari community. They know what they're talking about when it comes to computer products and they don't mince words when they judge something to be substandard. Antic believes it's well worth taking notice of the informed opinions polled here.