HO-SANGDESKTOP printers in this age of virtual reality, cyber-space and rapid technological change are expected to be silent, fast, economical and above-all efficient. However as in all consumer markets there are good buys, great buys and absolute rip-offs. Hong Kong computer salesman Patrick Kwok offers this advice to would be printer punters: 'Go with quality, as if you want to ensure reliability it's best to dig a little deeper into the pocket and spending a bit more on a high-class brand name,'. Mr Kwok offers the Hewlett Packard LaserJet 5L as an example of a top product made by a recognised big player in the increasingly competitive computer industry. 'If you want an excellent printer which guarantees to produce high quality documents a HP LaserJet 5L is a can't miss buy,' Mr Kwok says. For about HK$3,900 the HP LaserJet 5L is touted by suppliers as being ideal for the executive who wants to add the professional, typesetting appeal of laser printing to day-to-day business documents. To add this professional printing touch the LaserJet 5L comes complete with 26 scalable typefaces, HP Resolution Enhancement technology and a microfine toner to further enhance quality. It also provides crisp printing on a diverse range of media types and sizes and is reliable enough to let the user print up to 4,000 pages per month. And if you're into green business practices the LaserJet 5L has an Economode system to reduce printing costs and a PowerSave mode to save energy. Mr Kwok adds that the LaserJet 5L is 'extremely easy to use'. 'Anyone with common sense could set up the LaserJet 5L and have it running smoothly in as little as 15 minutes,' he says. The LaserJet 5L is also manufactured to a space-saving desktop design and it's quiet operation works with any PC using Windows and-or-DOS. If the LaserJet 5L doesn't tickle your fancy Canon produces the BJ-330 Bubble Jet which at about $4,000 is in a similar price range as the 5L. The BJ-330 provides the user with high speed (300 characters per second) and quiet (45db) printing and has built in fonts and optional font cards to add visual impact to whatever documents are being produced. However the limiting factor to the BJ-330 is it's monochrome format which with the diverse range of documents required in the typical Hong Kong business could be a disadvantage. If colour is required Canon also produces the BJC-4100 colour BubbleJet printer which for about $3,200 is an excellent tool for reproducing hues in brilliant detail. Printing at high resolution 720x360 dots per inch (dpi) the BJC-4100 has the colour print quality to makes documents from photographs and maps to charts and graphic look their best. Suppliers also boast of the BJC-4100's media versatility. 'Whatever you are using whether it is glossy or plain paper, transparencies and even cotton sheets the BJC-4100 handles them all with extreme ease,' Mr Kwok says. And for the best in Windows performance the BJC-4100 comes complete with an in-built Microsoft Windows 3.1 driver. Additional features include an easy to use ink cartridge system and a built-in auto sheet feeder which accepts up to 100 sheets or 10 envelopes for continuous problem-free printing. If top of the range products are what you are after then the BJC-610 at about $4,600 could be the product you are looking for. By printing at 720x720 dpi (the highest resolution among the Canon BJ range) the BJC-610 is an excellent performer which benefits from Canon's most advanced BubbleJet inks. 'The new ink is great,' Mr Kwok says. 'It drys quickly, doesn't smear and is very resistant to fading.' Canon also produces the BJ-200ex which for about $1,500 is a budget buy that still provides high quality printing. 'Don't let the cheaper price cloud your judgement. The BJ-200ex still produces crisp, clear documents and with it's compact size (it weighs only three kilograms) it fits snugly into the smallest office environment while still being durable enough for full-time use.' Hewlett Packard also caters for the budget buyer with the DeskJet 400 (about $1,600). Touted as 'sleek, fun and with a price tag to make you smile' the DeskJet 400 according to suppliers will surprise the most discerning punter with a performance and power level that rivals the more expensive models. Epson is also highly regarded manufacturer of quality desktop printers with the Stylus Color II (about $3750) and the Stylus Pro (about $5,800) both highly recommended by Mr Kwok. Compatible with both MacIntosh and Windows systems the Stylus Pro according to Mr Kwok is a 'fast, affordable printer that is up to the highest industry standards'. The Stylus Color II by offering an incredible 16 million colour combinations and 720 dpi resolution provides photo quality printing. Time is also saved with the Stylus Color II courtesy of Epson's innovative printer technology.