* Prices may differ from that shown
i hate spending money on any kind of appliance. I get no joy from it mainly because it means I am usually in a bad mood because something has broken and thus it needs replacing. This is how I found myself in some kind of electronic gadget type shop parting with good money for this three in one printer. To be fair it is quite good and it does seem to be an improvement on its Lexmark predecessor.
The printer looks fairly good and it is not too cumbersome especially considering it is a three in one. It folds away quite nicely (by that I mean the paper trays fold away, not that you can fold the whole thing into a tiny block!) and it doesn't take up too much room on the desk. It is quite simple, which I like, in that there are not a lot of unnecessary buttons making it look like some kind of landing equipment for a spaceship. It is completely black and the buttons are too, with each one having a little drawing on the side to show what it does.
The printer was ridiculously easy to set up as most o them are these days and with only a little help from the pretty good instruction manual, we were happily printing away within minutes of getting it home. It is very easy to use as well, so much so that even an almost tecnophobe like myself can use it. We have used all three functions on it (scan. photocopy and print) and all of them are very simple. The scan is possibly the most complex procedure but the onscreen directions take away any difficulty.
The printer is quite loud and it seems to take a while to get itself going when it has been switched on. I think it probably takes a minute or so to warm up and during that time it makes lots of whirring and clicking noises that always makes me think it has bitten the dust. They must be normal though because it always does get going eventually.
One of the things I like about this printer is the quality of printing in quick print mode (or whatever it is called). I don't use my printer for important documents very often so I have it set to the most economic setting and the quality is quite good actually. In fact it is so much better than my previous printer that i actually thought that it wasn't doing it in quick print at all. I also like that the machine remembers that i use quick print and does it in that mode every time unless I tell it otherwise. With the old one I had to keep changing it every time I wanted to print.
The ink lasts a good while on this machine as well so it is very economical even though the ink cartridges are fairly expensive to start off with. We have had ours about six months now and we are still on the same cartridges that we had originally. We probably print four or five sheets a week so we are obviously not prolific users, but I still think that it good all the same because we tend to print out things like boarding cards for flights and so on that have a lot of blocks of colour on them so use up a lot of ink in one go.
We paid just under £50 for our printer and I would say that it is pretty good value for money considering how long the cartridges last and the fact that it is an all in one device. I wouldn't recommend it if you are a prolific printer because although it is pretty quick, I don't think it is quite quick enough for heavy duty use. Recommended.
Truth be told, I wasn't in the market for a new printer. Our Lexmark 3 in 1 had served us well for the last 10 years and was showing no signs of wear. Unfortunately, I was in for a shock when it came to buying a new ink cartridge for it. A black cartridge was priced at £31, a far cry from when they used to cost £15 each! Luckily for me, I noticed that the store were selling a Canon 3 in 1 printer, complete with black and colour cartridges, for less than the cost of a replacement ink for my Lexmark. I could get the whole bundle for a reasonable £29.
Most importantly, I had a quick look at the replacement ink cartridges for this new model. it would be pointless if they cost a fortune, as it would be false economy. Happily, they were also reasonably priced at around £13 for black, which suited me fine.
Setting up the new printer was a doddle. There was an instruction sheet which consisted of various simple diagrams explaining what to put where. I must note at this point that the printer did not come with a USB cable that runs from the printer to the computer. To be fair, we were warned about this in the shop. The logic behind this is that most people buy a new printer to replace an old one and will likely already have the necessary cable. If this is your first printer though, you need the USB cable, which can usually be purchased from Poundland very cheaply.
Basically, it was just a case of wiring up the printer to the computer and wiring up the printer to the power socket. Then I had to install the ink cartridges supplied. This was very easy and straightforward. The printer comes with a disc which guides you through the setup process and allows you to print a sample page. It also downloads some software onto the computer, but admittedly, most of it is superfluous. The desktop icon is useful, but the "picture gallery" tends to clutter up my screen. I will have to get round to deleting it.
I would say that the setup process should be relatively pain-free for even the most inexperienced computer users. I certainly had no problems at all. The only slight issue was remebering to set my new printer up as my default printer in the control panel.
You can print directly from a web page, or print a document from Works, or similar programs. Printing is relatively quick and the print quality is good. I haven't had any issues with smudging or fading so far. I think it is quite unusual that the printer prints pages in reverse order; if you have a 3 page document, it prints the last page first. That took some getting used to.
Scanning is likewise very simple indeed, which is a good job, as I had lots of documents to scan and copy. To copy a document, simply lay it on the scanner and prress the colour copy button. The printer will print off a nice copy with no loss of quality from the original.
The printer is not too large or cumbersome, seeing that it is a 3 in 1. It slotted quite neatly in my computer cupboard. It is easy to clean with a damp cloth and has no fiddly bits to worry about when cleaning. It also seems pretty robust. A lot of the other printers in the shop looked quite fragile, but this is a big solid beast. With its matte black finish, it looks functional, but not old fashioned.
Now for my gripe...the noise! Boy, is this thing noisy. Switch it on and it chunters away to itself for ages. Put a document in for printing and it shuffles and chunts at you before deciding to print it. And when it prints, it is really loud! It sounds like lots of gears whirring and grinding. This is quite the noisiest priner I have ever used. I always make a point of switching it off and unplugging it if I am not using it.
In conclusion, this is a fabulous little budget priner and scanner, ideal for those, like me, that do not print high volumes of stuff but like to have a printer ready for the odd occasion that it is needed. I predict that the current ink will last me a good while, as I only tend to print about 3 documents a week. My kids also have no trouble using the printer, as it is really user friendly.
Cheap to run, easy to maintain and robust enough for everyday use. This was a real gem of a find.