By Simon Williams
Reviewed: 28 Dec 2010
Review Price £100.14
I've had no end of problems with HP printers, paper tearing, mis-feeds, jams, all sorts of problems; building a mechanical printer with the necessary robustness and tolerances for £90 is ludicrous, resulting in too many corners being cut, too much creaky plastic and way too high failure rates. HP has proved time and time again in the last few years that they are not capable of the necessary manufacturing quality at such a low price. They should stop trying.Alas, the economic model that HP and others choose to follow is to provide a cheap base unit, with absurdly expensive consumables. Even the ink cartridges have DRM! I'm sure this is profitable, but I am getting rather fed up with the shoddy hardware on offer, and HP stopped caring about quality some years ago. We'd be far better served by a £400 robustly built printer with cheap ink and paper. I can't see this happening soon, though.
The £400 well built printer is a Colour Laser printer. At that price the running costs tend to be pretty reasonable as well, well below inkjet costs but still some way off being the cheapest.HP used to have the Business Inkjet line that filled this space, but they seem to have dropped those now in favour of tricked up consumer models at a lower price point. Of course it is possible to spend much more on printers as you increase the size. I've got a Xerox A3 colour laser in the office that when new (2005) cost the best part of £5k. I got very lucky and got it for virtually nothing a couple of years ago. Toners cost £120 each from ebay, but last for 20,000 pages each. The only downside is that it is as big as a washing machine and weighs over 100KG. Not practical for most people. For the most part people would be better served by having a B+W laser for printing homework/documents, and getting their photos professionally printed. *Ahem*
It worked really well out of the box. The next time I tried, it failed to print altogether, so I went through the set up procedure - from the CD provided, and from driver software downloaded from HP site, but to no avail. Called HP, who spent 2 weeks on the problem, in the course of which I spent hours on the phone (at my expense), at my computer (running diagnostics and sending them the results) and waiting for them to return my calls (usually without result). As a final insult, they changed all the numbers on thier contact line, leaving me tearing my hair out. When I finally asked for customer complaints, I was sent 2 (black) ink cartridges - which I have no use for, since I have just sent the whole thing back to Amazon. Maybe I'm just unlucky, but I shall in future avoid HP and its products like the plague - dysfunctional kit, dysfunctional support organisation! Only sorry I couldn't award zero stars.
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