The print engine of the laser printer is the mechanical part composed of different moving components. It is responsible for moving paper (medium) from one component to the next in the process of printing. However to print accurately, the print engine is aided by devices like the controller boards, RAM and several software integrated into the unit by the its manufacturer. It is no longer an Industry secret that different printer brands actually run on the same print engine as manufacturers now utilize the technology and expertise of other companies to supply the printer unit’s print engine. A perfect example would be HP and Canon laser printers. The laser printer lines of both OEMs are outfitted with a similar print engine which renders its toner cartridges interchangeable.
Think of your laser printer the same way you look at your car. Just like any other vehicle, the laser printer also comes with a print engine that dictates its capacity in terms of speed and performance. For instance, Toyota Motors USA developed several car models that run on a particular engine design under the hood. The same way with laser printers, over 500 models have been devised in the last decade using just 10 or so print engine designs. This information is relevant to the user on the lookout for a laser printer. Different printer brands may run on the same print engine but then again, the cost of its replacement OEM toner consumables significantly vary e.g. Canon toner cartridges retail at a much lower price than HP cartridge units.
In terms of engine performance, consider how a small four-cylinder gas engine works inside a sports car and what it does when placed under the hood of a mid-sized car. Naturally the sports car will accelerate and deliver higher speeds – being small, lightweight and not to mention the unique transmission and gear ratio plus several other features engineered for the sports car. On one side, the mid-sized car will be able to carry more passengers and may even be packed with luxury features but will not perform at par with the sports car. This will prove that two laser printers using the same print engine will also perform differently.
The same can be observed from the supply of OEM toner consumables as one brand may be more pricey than the other. Although the 2 printers have an identical toner cartridge design, quality of toner supplied with the cartridge varies. If Hewlett Packard thinks that supplied toner with its cartridges is superior, nobody can question the pricing of their OEM toner cartridges. But the barometer for toner cost is the compatible toner supplied with toner refill kits. The HP CP3525 compatible toner refill kit (black) is retailed for only $40.95 and delivers the same print quality and yield of 10,500 pages as the OEM toner. Again this will show that toner cost is really low considering that both toner products pass the same stringent production processes and laboratory tests.
In the end, the balance between consumable cost and printer performance still determines the true worth of a printer – not just the print engine.