Changing My Printing Setup

Discussion in 'hardware' started by LenC, Jun 21, 2012.

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  1. LenC

    LenC Registered Member

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    I have been plugging along for many years with an HP 6P laserjet printer, and a cheap color inkjet all-in-one. The inkjet died so I am rethinking my setup.

    This is what I do...

    - I use software for my business (taxprep) that requires a laserjet printer. I don't print all that much - maybe 1,000 pages per month in tax season.

    - I scan in documents frequently and I really need an automatic document feeder on the scanner.

    - I occasionally print in color on the all-in-one.

    - I rarely use the fax feature of the all-in-one.

    So, I was thinking about a new color laser all-in-one to replace both printers - something like the Hewlett Packard LaserJet Pro 100 Color MFP M175nw. My alternatives would be to...

    - buy a b/w laserjet printer, and another inexpensive injet all-in-one for scanning, color printing and faxing, or

    - keep limping along with my 6P, and just buy the new inkjet all-in-one

    Customer reviews of the M175NW (and other all-in-one laserjets) are mixed. People complain about slow printing and excessive delay for first page. So I'm leary about the laserjet all-in-one concept.

    So I'm just not sure how to go on this. Any comments, suggestions, or product recommendations would be appreciated.

    One other question - how does wireless capability affect a printer or all-in-one? Is it difficult to set up? Does it degrade print speed?

    Thanks,
    Len
     
  2. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Slow compared to what? No, they are not quick, but they may be fast enough for you - except maybe on April 14th!

    And the first page after the device has been idle for awhile always takes longer. But if you send 10 print jobs, only the first job will have the long delay on the first page. This is common for printers and MFP (multifunction printing devices).

    And the costs of consumables (ink/toner) plays a major role in operating costs over the life of the device. The color laser's cost per page is not great but B&W laser's cost per page are typically much less than inkjet's. If you subscribe to Consumer Reports, they did a mini-review in Dec 2011 of MFPs. Worth checking out. For color laser AiOs, they only listed one they liked, the Dell 2155n for about $400.

    Note that most people don't print anything near 1000 pages in a year, let alone in 1 month. You might need to be looking at devices made for business, and not SOHO (small office/home office) devices to ensure they are rugged enough for your needs. See here, here and here for ideas. Of course, these may cost a bit more than you wanted to spend, but then I am sure you know how to write-off business expenses. ;)

    What is wrong with the 6P? It should still produce excellent printouts. Is it just too slow? Or just taking up too much room?

    How important is redundancy to you (especially in March and April)? While a single printing device takes up less space, is easier to configure, uses less electricity, etc. etc., if it fails, you have nothing to print with. With two devices, you may be stuck with ink when you wanted laser, or B&W instead of color, but you still have something to hand to the client.

    As far as wireless, I have an HP 6500n AiO Office Jet and the wireless was simple to setup. If the printing device has built-in networking (WiFi or Ethernet) setting up is usually pretty easy. And whatever the manual tells you, you don't need to use their installation disk to set up your computers or network printing. In fact, I discourage doing that for all kinds of "fluff" and other bloat you don't need will be foisted on your system. If running Windows 7, it does most of the setup work for you, and likely will already have the necessary drivers, at least to get started. Even XP knows how to print to networked printers - it just needs to be configured to print to that printer.

    And to that, I would look for a networked printer that has a built-in, browser accessible control panel. The 6500 I have, for example, lets me use my browser (IE 9, in my case) to log into it's internal control panel over my network. From there I can scan, fax, check ink, and more - all without installing any software (other than basic drivers).

    The only problem I have had with wireless is DHCP IP assignments after extended power outages. I live in "Tornado Alley" and we occasionally have extended power outages (longer than 3 hours and longer than my UPS will hold backup power :(). Once power is restored, if I don't restart all my systems (I have 7 networked computers, networked play consoles, networked TVs and a networked BluRay player, plus the HP AiO) in the right order, the printer often picks up a new IP address. This requires me to go in and edit my printer properties in Control Panel for that printer port to the new IP - on each computer that needs to print. This is a simple thing to correct and only takes a second, but something I always forget to do - until I need to print then wonder why all my print jobs are stacking up and nothing's coming out.

    I could use a static assignment to fix it permanently, but it ("long" outages) does not happen enough for me to bother.

    In any case, whether you connect via Ethernet, WiFi, or USB, the speed of the printer itself will be the bottleneck, not the network. Remember, printing devices are highly mechanical. Even slow networks can easily keep up.

    I apologize for rambling - sometimes that's just how my brain (or fingers) spit things out. I realize I didn't really answer your questions - but hopefully you have more food for thought to help you narrow down your options a bit.
     
  3. aladdin

    aladdin Registered Member

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  4. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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  5. LenC

    LenC Registered Member

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    Bill -

    Thank you for your rambling. Lots of good ideas to think about. The 6P still prints well - the main issue is lack of memory. If I have a page with lots of graphics, the 6P can't handle it and it freezes up.That happens infrequently, so maybe I'll just stick with it. I'm liking the idea of having a completely separate printer/scanner for redundancy.

    Again, thank you.


    Aladdin -

    Looks good - I hadn't heard of it before, I think I'll give it a shot.
     
  6. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Graphics were a problem for the older lasers. Maybe you can stick with laser for text and use the inkjet (with color for impact) for your graphics and charts.
     
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