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testing a wireless thrift store, garage sale printer with a tablet?

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Steven Avery:
Sometimes I see nice looking HP wireless that would cost $100 or more for a refurb and $300 new on sale for $25. Bring some paper along, plug it in, and test? (if it needs ink it should tell you, I picked up a Brother that needed a cyan for $10'at Cartridge World, Office Max wanted to sell a set of colors at $50)

What would be the best printer apps? Ipad and android? (the software part of the question.). Or will it work with native functions?
An alternative would be a laptop and bring an ethernet cable. A smidgen more awkward, and you likely get ok.

Or you could just take the risk.and plunge. 

Granted, there is a lot to be said for buying new on sale from BestBuy, MicroCenter, Costco,etc.  And even paying for an extended store warranty. When it breaks 2 years later, they may even give you a new one.  They do sell printers cheap, hoping for your ink purchases later.

Your thoughts?


I love buying things at thrift stores, but i've never bought a printer, because these days printers (especially inkjet) seem to be selling at below cost new these days, because they make their money on ink. The savings in cost rarely seem worth it.
Add to that the possibility of printer not working as well as new due to clogged heads, etc. and it really becomes hard to justify.

For the same reason I would avoid an extended warranty -- the printers themselves are near disposable, might as well buy a new one when the current one dies -- it's the ink that costs you.

Steven Avery:
I agree that with a personal printer like the HP Envy, buying new in the box on sale for $50-75 is a no brainer.  Buying any used for $15 is unlikely to be worth the effort.

However the issue can be a bit different when looking at one that is $250 new.  HP Officejet 6500 wireless is the I saw yesterday, with original papers, in a reasonably ritzy Goodwill (Oro Valley, north of Tucson.)

If an extended warranty is 2 years more, store not manufacturer (their warranties are close to worthless) store not 3rd party, costing say 25%, I see it as worthwhile, if you know this will be your daily use.  After all printers are mechanical, they break, and a store like Microcenter will often simply replace.

I did notice that BestBuy says they have a price match guarantee that applies even to Internet sites.  That might be the best all around deal.

Stoic Joker:
While the procedure varies widely from model to model, they all have some variation on an internally generated demo/test page. so if it has a UI of any kind, poke at it looking for the reports page. and if it doesn't have a UI try holding down one or more of the buttons for 2-3 seconds (don't go over 4 - that's diagnostic stuff), and then let go when the light pattern changes.

More often than not the report will also display the current ink levels...while demonstrating if the remaining ink can actually make it out of the print head.

Stoic's advice is great -- much better than trying to connect and print a page from your tablet, and the result will be more informative.
You might even look up on the web the general procedure for printing test page for an hp, epson, canon, and take those with you.  99 times out of 100 that should be enough to get a test page printed.


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