Ottawa PC Users' Group, Inc.
 Product Review 


InkSaver
by
Chris Taylor

I was sceptical. But I am also cheap. So when I saw InkSaver, and it promised to “Save money every time you print”, I just had to take a look. I use an Epson Stylus Color 640 printer and, while I use third party inks, they are still expensive. As most people come to realize after buying their first ink jet printer – the cost of the printer itself is a very minor portion of the overall cost of printing. Over the lifespan of an ink jet printer, the cost of ink can easily be 10 or 20 times the cost of the printer.

InkSaver v1.0 is a software product from Strydent Software, of Burnaby, B.C. It is designed to battle the high cost of ink for many models of HP, Epson, and Canon ink jet printers by allowing a fine degree of control over the amount of ink used, while maintaining print quality. While most printers switch to a lower resolution when printing in draft mode, InkSaver allows you to continue printing at high resolution yet reduce the volume of ink laid down on the page.

Installation from the CD-ROM was simple and straight-forward. When the program loads for the first time, it offers to print a sample sheet. It was at this point that any scepticism I had evaporated. What came out of the printer was nothing short of impressive and conclusive.

Two pages were printed out. There was a short passage of black text and a small colour graphic repeated 9 times at varying levels of ink savings. It starts with the printer default setting and then progresses through to 75% ink savings.

Now I would be the first to admit that the 75% savings setting don’t look terribly great, especially for colour. But modest savings, such as 24% or 30% for colour and up to 50% on black provide remarkably good quality printing.

From the main InkSaver dialog box,  you can adjust the ink savings from 0% to 75% in 1% increments.

It is important to note that the savings are based on the default settings for the printer. If you already have the printer set to an “economy” mode, the printout will be barely legible at the 75% savings setting. I recommend you set the printer defaults in Windows to the highest quality and then use InkSaver to control print quality.

Without InkSaver, adjustments to printer settings are typically buried deep in dialog boxes. Even checking to see the current settings requires a spelunking adventure. InkSaver provides a system tray icon. Hover the mouse over it and a tool-tip tells you your current settings. Right-clicking lets you easily adjust the settings from a pop-up menu, or you can double-click the icon to bring up the full dialog box. When it is that easy to check and adjust your settings, you are much more likely to adjust your printer settings for different print jobs.

From the main InkSaver dialog box, you can adjust the ink savings from 0% to 75% in 1% increments. One of the things I really appreciate is the ability to control ink saving separately for colour and B&W. For example, when I print from web sites, I often want the print quality to be pretty good, but I don’t care so much about the colour graphics, which are frequently advertisements. With InkSaver, I can leave the black ink savings at about 35% and crank up the colour savings to 60% or even higher.

On my wish list for InkSaver would be the ability to set a default for my ink savings and then adjust for a single print job, with InkSaver reverting to my selected defaults when the print job ends.

All in all, InkSaver is a very impressive package. Highly recommended!

InkSaver works with the following printers; HP Deskjet 600, 800 (except 820), and 900 series printers, Epson Sylus Color/Color II, Stylus C20, C40, C60, C70, C80, Stylus Color 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, and 900 series, and Canon S100, S200, S300, S400 and S500 series (except S520), BJC 2000, 2200, and 4000 series (except BJC 4450 and BJC 4650). As they may have added additional printers, check out the web site at www.strydent.com for the currently supported printer list.

Supported printer connections are USB, parallel, serial, and TCP/IP. Due to the way a printer driver interacts with networking, networked printers will only work with InkSaver if they have an IP address. It won’t work with a printer shared out from another computer.

InkSaver requires Windows 98, ME, 2K, or XP and 20MB hard disk space.

My only other gripe was the fact that this Canadian company’s web site is geared to US customers. The price is only listed in US dollars. You can buy the program and download it from their web site for US$34.95. If you want them to ship you a physical package, the shipping charges are US$16.95 for Purolator or a whopping US$27.95 for FedEx! Ouch!

Fortunately, I found out that there are cheaper options. First, if you call Strydent at 1-800-443-2122, you can order it for CAN$34.99. Shipping and handling via Express Post for up to 3 packages is CAN$8.00. Also, by September, Future Shop should be carrying it.

All in all, InkSaver is a very impressive package. Highly recommended!


Bottom Line:

InkSaver
CAN$34.99 plus S&H
Strydent 1-800-443-2122
Web site: http://www.strydent.ca


Copyright and Usage
Ottawa Personal Computer Users' Group (OPCUG), Inc.
3 Thatcher Street, Ottawa, ON  K2G 1S6

The opinions expressed in these reviews may not necessarily
represent the views of the OPCUG or its members.