Printers; Still the World’s Most Disobedient Robots
It’s 2017 and no matter which brand of printer you buy, you will eventually want to take a baseball bat (#OfficeSpace) to it. Probably more than once.
I can’t remember the last time I used a printer for an extended period of time and it didn’t crap out on me. I currently have a pretty decent HP AIO (All-in-one) at home and the same model at the office. They’re both wireless enabled as well as connected to iMac’s through USB. I’ve had to reinstall the drivers for both of them a multitude of times.
If we can build an airplane which fly’s for 21 hours non-stop on a single tank of gas and land a probe on a comet hurtling though space, why can’t we have printers which don’t act like petulant little children?
The reason you’re going to want to beat the absolute f#@$ out of your printer has more to do with business than technology. Most consumer level printers, the kind you have at home or in your office, are sold at a loss, the companies make their money selling you the consumable items like the cartridges and the fusers. This is also known as the “Razor and blades” concept whereby you don’t really pay a lot for that initial razor you buy but you can expect to fork out an arm and a leg for the actual blades.
Now because the companies sell printers at a loss the quality invariably suffers and you don’t necessarily get an “inferior” product, you just get one which is going to be extremely temperamental, what I expect buying a used Aston Martin would be like. Sure if you buy a more expensive printer it’s probably going to be a little bit better than the entry level model, but probably not that much better.
The quality game changes when you get into the business class printers, those big ones which have their own trolley to be wheeled around and have a couple of ethernet ports instead of one or none – those are really the ones to drool over. Those break down and drive people insane too but more because of the fact that they’re used so much and put under constant abuse rather than being built poorly.
I’ve heard a lot of people complain about network printers not being available to all resources or crashing half way through a massive print job. I’ve personally never had that experience. Most of the places I’ve been to which have a lot of printers of that scale usually have a pretty strong network and good IP structure for their devices. If you don’t invest in a good networking setup when you have large files moving across the network to those printers all day, you’re gonna have a bad day.
Is there a solution? Sure, buy the best printer you can afford and expect to spend on the cartridges. You can always refill inkjet cartridges at least once but the newer printers are becoming smart to that so it’s not always an easy shortcut. If you print a lot and want to save money and headache in the long run you should buy a laser printer. They’re more expensive to buy and to run initially but the cost per page is much less. They’re usually better built then the average inkjet printer as well. Or you could always just share PDF’s.