A few years back, in every store and shop, you can witness a noisy printer printing your purchase receipts. If you look at the receipts, you can find the letters to be in dots. This is the work of dot matrix printers which were popular in the 70s till the end of the 90s.
But after the start of 2000, the printer started to decline and, in this article, we shall discuss the reasons for its obsoleteness in recent years.
Why Dot Matrix Printers are Becoming Obsolete?
Dot matrix printers have become obsolete due to the following reasons:
- Outdated Technology
- Quality of Print
- Loud and Noisy
- Slower speed
- Changing market demand
- Lack of font and graphic capabilities
- Lack of modern features
- Improved Technology
- Works with Specific applications only
- No smartphone compatibility
- Discontinuation of Manufacturing
Let us explore each of these reasons and understand how modern printers have become more versatile than the old-school dot-matrix printers.
The technology used by dot matrix printers is quite old and it is not as efficient as modern printers. The dot matrix printers work under the following mechanism:
- It has a print head that has a grid of pins attached to it. The head can move horizontally across the paper and according to the data fed to the printer, the pins are actuated.
- Between the print head and the paper, you can find a ribbon that is soaked in ink.
- When the data is fed to the printer, the pins are actuated accordingly, and they press against the ribbon soaked in ink.
- When the print head with pins moves over the paper, the letters are imprinted with the help of the ink present in the ribbon.
The use of pins in the print head is not very effective and produces only a coarse print on the paper. You can find the letters to be spaced and dotted. But modern printers like inkjet or LaserJet can provide accurate prints with excellent replication of the data fed into it. It can even print digital photos and images accurately.
Quality of Print
Dot matrix printers can print relatively low resolution with around 9 to 24 pins per inch. This makes the end result look coarse and dotted. The accuracy of the print is also questionable due to the possible lower impact of the pins against the paper.
On the other hand, modern printers can provide highly accurate text printing or image copies. You can easily print any kind of photograph, image, text, etc. with color accuracy as well as data accuracy. Dot matrix printers cannot print color and the accuracy or quality of print will be very poor.
Loud and Noisy
Dot matrix printers are known for their loud and noisy printing. If you look at the printing mechanism, the print head has a set of pins that rub against a ribbon soaked in ink. This mechanical rubbing produces a great deal of noise.
Modern printers also have a certain amount of noise. But compared to dot matrix printers, the noise level is way less and you may find the dot matrix printers to be annoying. Inkjet or LaserJet printers don’t rub against any mechanical parts for printing. Therefore, you can find them to be quieter than dot matrix printers. Due to this disadvantage, printing a lot of copies was very difficult with a dot matrix printer.
Dot matrix printers are very slow in printing. Since the pins have to press over a ribbon and imprint on the paper, the print heads are designed to move slowly for accuracy.
If the print heads moved faster, their accuracy will be very poor, and the noise level will be way higher. You can find some dot matrix printers in recent times for billing receipt printing and if you look at the receipt, the letters will be out of order. This is due to the poor alignment of the pins and print head.
When you compare modern printers, the dot matrix printer is dead slow. Modern printers can print hundreds of pages within a few minutes while a small receipt can take a whole minute to get printed with a dot matrix.
Changing Market Demand
People want a print copy then and there instantly. The demand for quick prints and instant copies has increased a lot and using a dot matrix is impossible. The printing technology has gone to a level where inkless printers are starting to occupy the market. You can get a printer in a very compact size that is easily portable.
There are certain models which can even print images then and thereafter a click of a button. The need for instant printing has become more popular and the market is driving towards portable printers.
Therefore, you cannot survive in this market with slow technology like dot matrix printers. That is why you can find the dot matrix to be on the decline after the 2000s.
Lack of font and graphics
The dot matrix printers have pins to replicate the data fed into them. They are designed to print only alphabets and letters more effectively. That too only in a certain format. Even if you feed the printer with stylish fonts, the end result of the print is just dotted letters. The inability to print different fonts and styles is a major drawback and reason for its decline.
Similarly, you cannot print any kind of graphics or photos using a dot matrix printer. It is impossible and it will not do the deed. The printheads don’t move in a different fashion to replicate a person’s image. Therefore, the lack of fonts and graphics is one of the reasons for its obsoleteness.
Lack of modern features
Modern printers have the ability to print anything, and they have good compatibility with software applications. If you have a modern printer connected to a system, you can literally print anything using it. You can instantly print any page you are on or any image you like. But dot matrix printers cannot do it.
Also, with modern printers, you can check the ink level, and print head condition, and they can even warn of a misalignment or paper unavailability. But dot matrix printers cannot produce such features and options and don’t have good compatibility with every software application.
Printing technology has improved a lot and has reached up to wireless printing and inkless printers. You can print anything with your smartphone instantly and the printers have shrunk to a very minimal size. You can carry a mini printer in your hand which can print any data on an A4 sheet. When technology has improvised a lot in a very progressive fashion, the technology of the dot matrix seems very outdated and backward.
You cannot carry a dot matrix printer around and its printing speed is very slow. So, the technology of dot matrix printers will not be suitable for the current trends, and it cannot compete with modern printers too.
Works only with specific applications
Modern printers let you print anything you put on your computer screen. The software can digitally feed any data into the printer and get it done within a few seconds. But a dot matrix printer works only with specific applications that are compatible with its printing style.
You cannot simply feed any kind of data and expect a dot matrix to print it. There are certain applications and programs your dot matrix printer will work with. Only data that is compatible with this application will be printed by a dot matrix.
No Smartphone Compatibility
Dot matrix printers cannot be connected to a smartphone and used for printing. They can only be connected to a desktop and requires specific software for it to run. On the contrary, modern printers can wirelessly connect to a smartphone and print wirelessly any data fed to it.
You cannot connect a smartphone to a dot matrix through a cable too. The printer is not designed to work with smartphones at all and they cannot be used with them in any manner.
Discontinuation of Manufacturing
Dot matrix printers are no longer manufactured, and you will not get any kind of spare parts for them. They have become obsolete soon after the invention of inkjet printers in the 1990s. So, they began to see a steep fall after it and during the 2000s you can find them to be out of usage among many people.
The decline of dot matrix printers reduced their manufacturing, and you can no longer find any company producing them. Only the old pieces are still being used due to their affordability. And if they fall into any kind of repair, you can no longer find a suitable spare part to repair it and reuse it.
Therefore, dot matrix printers are no longer a viable printing technology, and it is best to switch over to modern printers if you are still using a dot matrix.
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We have now understood the reason for the unavailability of dot matrix printers today. If you are using one right now, you may have to shift to an Inkjet or LaserJet printer right away. They are more accurate, versatile, and affordable too.