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Last post Author Topic: What printer?  (Read 16940 times)

Target

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What printer?
« on: August 06, 2008, 08:16:00 PM »
I'm looking to buy a new printer and wondered what others might be using, or more importantly, be prepared to recommend

I guess we're looking at an all-in-one type machine, and probably at the 'budget' end of the range (<$200AUD) which may or may not help...

some background - we purchased a HP 4280 all in one last Xmas, but it's performance has been far from stellar.

Print quality is pretty ordinary (even for text) and the software is worthless (eg attempting to use any of the supplied software results in a BSOD, attempting to use the built in card readers results in a BSOD, it routinely attempts to dial home regardless of any settings to the contrary, and it randomly reinstalls itself - there are currently 3 or 4 copies of the printer installed...)

It's installed on my wifes PC which is (currently) running Vista, which may be some of the problem, though I have no real way of knowing...

hmmm, somewhere along the way this has turned into a rant... it doesn't matter now as we're going to return it...

Anyways, over to you guys, any/all ideas/suggestions/feedback appreciated 

cranioscopical

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Re: What printer?
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2008, 08:50:23 PM »
For printers at a modest price point:

For monochrome laser printing I always choose H-P, and I always use a stand-alone printer, not all-in-one.
I've used H-P LaserJets for years and cannot fault their durability and print quality (currently using a LaserJet 2420).

I'm on my second Canon all-in-one ink-jet (the previous one fried when I carelessly left it connected during a big storm -- it was working perfectly).
The replacement model is a Pixma MX850.  I find the price astonishingly reasonable (around $250 Canadian).  The MX850 copies, faxes, prints, and scans at levels that are perfectly acceptable for small-business use.  It has two alternate paper feeds so you don't have to stop and switch stock.  One is an in-board paper cassette, the other a rear-feed paper tray.  The choice of feed is software or hardware selectable. 

The software that relates to basic functioning works flawlessly, as did that included with the previous version.  (I didn't even investiate whatever other applications came with the machine.)   If you want an inkjet, I can't recommend the Canons too highly.

If you want really good photo reproduction you'll need to go for a dedicated printer that puts that function first (I use Epsons for that).  That said, the Canon is better at photo reproduction that it ought to be at this price point.

Hope you find what you need!




mouser

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Re: What printer?
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2008, 09:31:11 PM »
I love my brother laser printer with duplex and network ($174 how can you beat that)
http://www.amazon.co...Duplex/dp/B000BQ535K

I got burned too many times by hp printers to ever buy from them again.  they used to be great back in the early days now i avoid them.

As for color inkjet, canon all the way.

ps:
if you do significant amount of text printing i definitely recommend a laser+inkjet separate printers.

Target

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Re: What printer?
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2008, 09:39:17 PM »
cool, though both those printers are somewhere between $350-$450 locally

I must say i have been leaning toward the canon's (we bought the HP based on previous experience, and likewise avoided the canons...too bad)

me, I rarely print anything, SWMBO on the other hand...

cranioscopical

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Re: What printer?
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2008, 10:11:00 PM »
if you do significant amount of text printing i definitely recommend a laser+inkjet separate printers.
I couldn't agree more!

Which reminds me, about 18 months ago I bought my wife a little Samsung 2010 (laser) for about $80 on sale.  That does a very creditable job as a text-only monochrome printer.  Small footprint, quiet...  I never hear anything about it, which is good news (I hear all about stuff that's problematic).  ;)

Target

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Re: What printer?
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2008, 11:13:41 PM »
(I hear all about stuff that's problematic).

that's because it's because of something you've done (obviously... :huh:)

40hz

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Re: What printer?
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2008, 11:41:34 PM »
 A few thoughts.

1. Avoid all-in-one combos. They cause more problems than they're worth and are an absolute nightmare to troubleshoot.

2. In general, avoid ANY printer that doesn't do image processing on it's on it's own electronics. A lot of inexpensive printers (i.e. some lasers and many inkjets) save money by taking the "smarts" out of the printer and putting them on your PC. Your all-in-one does it that way. That's sometimes called a "dumb printer" or "remote RIP" design. And it's not a good idea. I have yet to see one that doesn't cause all kinds of headaches. Rule of thumb: if a printer requires you to load any software (other than a driver) to use it, then you're looking at a dumb printer. Word of advice: Keep looking.

3. For mono go laser. Mouser's recommended Brother HL-5250DN is an excellent choice.

4. For volume non-photo quality color printing go with a color laser, otherwise the cost of ink cartridges will kill you. PC World had a good roundup recently. Link at:

http://www.pcworld.c..._laser_printers.html

FWIW: I've found the reviews at PC World are generally reliable.

5. I can't really recommend any specific inkjet printer since I've never been wild about any of them, although I've had the best experiences with Epson (for very high quality photo work) and Canon (for everything else). Try to get a model that has each ink color in a separate cartridge. Most affordable inkjets lump all the colors into a single one. I always run out of cyan twice as fast as anything else. :)

6. Be sure you check out the cost of consumables. Especially ink cartridges. Much like automobiles, the cheapest part of owning a printer is the purchase price of the printer itself. I once went to OfficeMax to buy a color cartridge for a low-end Canon printer my girlfriend owned. I wound up coming home with a whole new Canon printer. It was on sale - and it cost $5 less than the ink cartridge I came to get.  8)

7. Check for availability of consumables in your area. Unless you're better organized than me, make sure you can get your supplies at some local store. Nothing worse than running out of toner and having to keep looking out the window for the Fedex guy so you can get your report printed. ;)
« Last Edit: August 06, 2008, 11:44:04 PM by 40hz »

tomos

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Re: What printer?
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2008, 02:21:24 AM »
I wanted to post about a Brother printer/Multifunktiongerät (all-in-one)
Specifically the DCP 130C but I suspect all Brother inkjets may be like this:-
-
They do automatic printhead cleaning every two days, not only that, they do it whether you print or not - if you're using the printer you dont need "cleaning", and, every two days ??? :huh: wtf :)
The costs of ink because of this cleaning are simply HUGE -

-
I made the mistake of recommending it to in-laws (it was on sale locally & I just read up a few reviews at the time) - they're looking for a new printer now...

6. Be sure you check out the cost of consumables. Especially ink cartridges. Much like automobiles, the cheapest part of owning a printer is the purchase price of the printer itself. I once went to OfficeMax to buy a color cartridge for a low-end Canon printer my girlfriend owned. I wound up coming home with a whole new Canon printer. It was on sale - and it cost $5 less than the ink cartridge I came to get.  8)
-
Kodak brought out an inkjet printer lately where the ink is cheaper (but you pay a bit more for the printer) havent heard anything else about it since & cant remember the name ... :-[

Any recommendations for a small laser Copier/Printer (I guess that's going to be an all-in-one then too!) ?
Tom

Shades

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Re: What printer?
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2008, 03:03:42 AM »
Don't rule out Samsung for a laser printer. They are great price/performance ratio.

Yes, I can use a car analogy here ;D....HP laser printers would be any kind of Mercedes car (with diesel engine). Rock-solid, but comes at a price. A Samsung printer would be a Peugot, stylishm almost the same rock-solidness, but a whole lot cheaper.

I had (and have) the pleasure to work with both brands.

mouser

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Re: What printer?
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2008, 03:10:27 AM »
hp printers are not rock solid anymore -- not for a while now, from my personal experience.

i'm not saying they are horrible, i'm just saying they built up a reputation for many of us old timers with their old HP laserjet II type models which made us associate HP with extreme quality and longevity, but that the days of that quality printer are long gone, and hp makes the same cheap crap printers as everyone else now.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2008, 03:13:18 AM by mouser »

Stoic Joker

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Re: What printer?
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2008, 06:55:26 AM »
Hm... (Confession-> The company I work for is an HP Authorized Service Provider (Er... Dealer if you will).

Now that being said, I also do not "give quarter" when it comes to poor quality... But I can probably explain some of what you've encountered.

HP's bundled Printer Software SucKs (true) ... Even they know that which is why they either offer a corporate/business version of their (newer) drivers, or put (well hide....) a custom install option in the driver install software that will actually (*Shocking*) just let you install the driver without the 700MB of (The printer is now your new (god awful chatty) best friend) "Support Software".

If the printer is BSODing Vista, then it's still using an older Kernel Mode driver ... there should be a newer User Mode driver available (no it won't be clearly marked that way).

I've not a clue on the exchange rate ($200 AU -vs- $200 US). But $200 US will put you in the home user budget/class of device.

If you can clarify your usage requirements it would greatly assist in making a recommendation.

Target

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Re: What printer?
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2008, 05:42:24 PM »
If the printer is BSODing Vista, then it's still using an older Kernel Mode driver ... there should be a newer User Mode driver available (no it won't be clearly marked that way).

interesting - letting the auto update function run doesn't find anything new, nor does there appear to be anything on there website

Quote
If you can clarify your usage requirements it would greatly assist in making a recommendation

I suppose in general terms our usage requirements are pretty low - we want to be able to print the occasional photo, but mostly it's a pretty standard fare (mixed text and images), hence the budget allocation.  My wife does uses the copy/scan function a lot

the exchange rate is currently pretty close (about .9 to 1), however the translation isn't necessarily that simple, eg prices for the printers quoted above were over double here what they appear to have cost in the US

 

Stoic Joker

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Re: What printer?
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2008, 07:07:52 AM »
So... I'm guessing that you'd be happy to stay with the printer you now have (cheaper) ... IF you could get the blasted thing to work! ...Yes?

I do have one question, that came up while I was looking into this. There are actually two different HP 4280 AIO's:
     Photosmart C4280 All-in-One Printer
     Deskjet F4280 All-in-One Printer

Now the DJ F4280 hasn't had a driver update in over a year, but it has no Card Reader (Which you mentioned having trouble with.

The PS C4280 has a driver update that came out last month, and it also has a Card Reader. (Granted I've caught HP back dating drivers to make it look like they weren't slacking before...) It might be worth exploring the 6/2008 v11.0 driver's Basic (e.g. driver only) Driver Package.

Also, never "update" a USB printer driver (I don't care what the book says... ;)).
1. Strip out all instances of the printer driver (and any drivers for printers that no longer exist).
2. Uninstall all of the HP software in Control Panel->Programs & Features (Was Add/Remove prog)
3. Disconnect the printer (USB) and reboot the machine to be sure it's all gone.
4. then reinstall the (Driver Only) "Basic" Driver Package (and don't plug in the USB cable until the install says to).

Let me know how it goes.

Target

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Re: What printer?
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2008, 12:25:25 AM »
it's moot now as we returned the thing - getting rid of the software was something elsee again though

Using Revo, I removed everyting I could find - it took about 90 minutes and I'm not 100% convinced I got everything, but that's a job for another day

We are looking at a Canon MP610 as a replacement - seems to be somewhere in the middle of the available range quality wise, but only time will tell

BTW, Revo reported over 9000 orphan/redundant registry entries during the uninstallation process (WHAAAAT!!) - not hard to see why people get into trouble, or why our systems get untidy over time...   

cranioscopical

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Re: What printer?
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2008, 07:09:22 AM »
I'm sure you're ahead of me but I'll say this anyway...
If you can get to a store that has one, I'd certainly take a look at the output from an MP610 before buying, especially its text.
I've no reason to think it'll be anything other than acceptable but it's always good to see some physical output before buying any printer.

Good luck in your hunt!

Target

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Re: What printer?
« Reply #15 on: August 11, 2008, 06:08:15 PM »
thanks Chris

most retailers have models on display

some retailers occasionally have some samples which may or may not have come from the printers on display

I have yet to find anyone who offers the opportunity to see one in action though  :(

come to think of it, I've yet to find a salesperson that can do more than read the box to me   :huh:>:(

40hz

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Re: What printer?
« Reply #16 on: August 11, 2008, 06:30:51 PM »
I'm sure you're ahead of me but I'll say this anyway...
If you can get to a store that has one, I'd certainly take a look at the output from an MP610 before buying, especially its text.
I've no reason to think it'll be anything other than acceptable but it's always good to see some physical output before buying any printer.

Good luck in your hunt!

This is probably the single best piece of advice for buying a printer. Obvious, yet all too often overlooked.

Great comment "C" :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup:

cranioscopical

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Re: What printer?
« Reply #17 on: August 11, 2008, 08:41:22 PM »
I've yet to find a salesperson that can do more than read the box to me   :huh:>:(
You have salesmen who can read?!
Boy, you're living large there!

Take a few pages of your own paper with you to the store.  Make any purchase conditional on seeing output and watching it emerge from the machine yourself.  Most, if not all, machines will run out at least a test page which will give you some idea of what you're getting.  If the machine is on display then there's an open box somewhere with the manual in it.  Even your ever-so-educated salesman can probably find it given sufficient motivation.  That'll tell you how to get the test if you're unsure.

Target

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Re: What printer?
« Reply #18 on: August 11, 2008, 09:07:57 PM »
You have salesmen who can read?!
Boy, you're living large there!

well, they give that impression, though it could just be a sales trick...

I gotta say though I can't believe that retailers are so ignorant about us (their potential customers) that they
  • don't train their staff in the products they're selling
  • employ 'sales' people that have no idea what a 'sale' actually requires

There's nothing so infuriating (to me) as to go somewhere that has a room full of stock on display, but no literature or price tags, and salespeople that bug you endlessly but have nothing to offer/add... GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!...</end rant>



cthorpe

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Re: What printer?
« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2008, 01:32:45 AM »
I have a HP 1320 that does a great job.  The elementary school I used to work at had one of these for the Math Lab.  It worked flawlessly for the 2 years I was there.  During that time, it printed 500+ pages per week with no problems whatsoever.  So when I decided to go laser at home, it was the obvious choice.  I've been running it at home for about a year and a half with no problems at all.  Ink is cheap if you invest in the larger size refill.

C

techidave

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Re: What printer?
« Reply #20 on: August 12, 2008, 05:38:47 AM »

Also, never "update" a USB printer driver (I don't care what the book says... ;)).


So what is the reason for not updating a USB printer??

Lashiec

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Re: What printer?
« Reply #21 on: August 12, 2008, 01:16:19 PM »
So what is the reason for not updating a USB printer??

For all things involving drivers is better to do a clean install (if possible) to avoid random problems. For example, I had a problem with missing DLLs after updating my HP printer drivers quite some time ago. Not that printer makers update their drivers often anyway.

Target

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Re: What printer?
« Reply #22 on: August 13, 2008, 06:12:18 PM »
and given the mess left by the HP software I'd have to say that I'd really have to need to update to do this...

jojo99

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Re: What printer?
« Reply #23 on: August 15, 2008, 04:56:22 AM »
I have a Brother HL-5250DN mono laser which is rock solid.  And I love the duplex capability which I think is a must for anyone to get.

For color, I picked up a Canon IP4500 a few months back for US$90 on Amazon (probably cheaper now).  Works great.  And Canon support is terrific (I have a Canon digital camera also).  They have an 800 number and the people you speak to are usually very knowledgeable.

Perry Mowbray

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Re: What printer?
« Reply #24 on: August 15, 2008, 05:18:05 AM »
We are looking at a Canon MP610 as a replacement - seems to be somewhere in the middle of the available range quality wise, but only time will tell

We bought a MP610 a couple of weeks ago and we're very happy with it (although we don't expect our printing to be perfect).

It's the first Canon we've bought. I like lots of people started life with an HP, the current Canon replaces an Epsom that died far too early for my liking.