I used a HP LaserJet 4 for years to print out satellite images for weather prediction when I was in the Air Force. It was typical defense department procurement. Buy something solid, almost bulletproof, that does a good job and will last forever. Well I personally used the LaserJet 4 for almost four years, and I know it’s still going now.
That makes it at least five years old, and still going strong. When I used it, it was reasonably fast, reliable and produced great quality prints. While you wouldn’t imagine a laser printer would be the best tool for printing images, it did really well. I think the choice came down to cost rather than capability, but fortunately the printer didn’t let me down.
As you can image, satellite photos can be quite detailed and offer a challenge for any printer, laser or otherwise. The LaserJet 4 coped admirably and handled every kind of imagery we could throw at it. We also had an inkjet printer, but that seemed to use up half an ink pod every time it printed, and wasn’t much more detailed that the LaserJet 4.
While not really considered portable, it came out with us on exercise and coped with that well. I don’t know what the environmental tolerances are, but it coped with a Colorado winter, a Chesapeake wind and the Nevada sunshine quite well, without any real hitches. Although we did have to strip it down and clean it up once we got back from the desert.
The LaserJet 4 isn’t the fastest printer in the world, at 12 pages a minute, but considering most printers can’t print images that fast, but this can, it’s the great equalizer. Even the newer printers we got couldn’t print the overheads as quickly or as reliably as the LaserJet 4.
I’m no office boy, but looking after the printer was a breeze. The toner was an all in one and lasted 6800 pages before it ran out. Although we never got that many because of the type of printing we did, we still only had to change them about once a month. It was merely a case of open her up, unclip the old and in with the new. No messing around.
The LaserJet 4 has a special place in my heart for making my time with the Air Force a pleasure. While the weather isn’t everybody’s idea of fun, it is mine, and having a solid device that did as it was told every day made my life so much easier.