September 23, 2010


Canon rules, HP drools

by Nori
Categories: Economics, General, Wising up
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Unless we’re forced to change, we have a tendency to stick to what we know, however bad it might be, because we know it.  It’s the classic fear of the unknown.  Such was the case when my old HP printer bit the dust.  I blindly bought another HP.  Boy was that a mistake.  A BIG mistake.

I don’t need a lot in a printer.  It needs to scan, it needs to print.  That’s it.  It doesn’t need to make coffee, wake me in the morning or fax obscure documents to scholarly thinkers.  I don’t need a printer that prints both sides of a piece of paper.  The printer just needs to print and scan.  Oh, and have inexpensive ink or refillable cartridges . . . or maybe both.  And I don’t need add-on software that does everything under the sun.  While I may not be a simple woman, I do have simple needs.

So let me tell you about my last (not the last one I owned, the last one I will EVER own) HP printer.  The software install for the HP Deskjet F4235 should have been a clue.  The install required ALL the software or the product wouldn’t work.  There was a LOT of software, software I didn’t want, software I’d never use, software that took up space on my programs drive.  Yuk.  There’s something here that smacks of “we know what’s best for you” that truly grates.  HP uses what I call “progressive” software.  It whispers at us “we know what’s best . . . we’ll take care of you.”

And then the ink ran out after what seemed not very many printed pages.  I tried to find a refill kit for this printer.   Nope, not available.  HP created unfillable cartridges figuring they’d hold consumers hostage to purchasing their ink cartridges.  At this point I’m unhappy, but not truly pissed.  Then, with all the lovely automatic updates HP did to the force-installed software (auto-installed updates, mind you), the printer reached a point where the only way the computer would send work to the printer was if I reinstalled the printer software every time I booted my computer.

Have you ever tried to reach a real person at HP?  I wouldn’t advise attempting.  Trust me, I tried.  I tried to find answers to the problems I was having, I tried finding a live body to talk to.  The HP website said if I wanted to pay them, they’d talk to me.  Never mind that my printer was under warranty and virtually brand new.   By this point I’d installed new ink cartridges but over time I couldn’t even use it as a copier.  The brand new ink cartridges had dried up after printing maybe a dozen pages.  I accepted this purchase was money very poorly spent and resolved to move on.

When I posted the HP printer to our local FreeCycle list with a disclaimer on why I was replacing it, noone wanted it.  That’s pretty telling.  I dropped it off at Goodwill and thus ended my years long relationship with HP’s printer division.

After a bit of research, I bought a Canon Pixma MP560.  It prints, it scans and it connects to my network via WIFI.  Setup and install was a breeze.  It WIFI’d to my router effortlessly.  There’s no paper tray sticking out of the front collecting dust and it has a separate collapsing (with dust cover) feed for transparencies and photo paper.  The install disk allowed me the option of installing only the driver, though I also installed the settings software I need to tweak the printer settings.  The only problem I had was finding the serial number when it came time to register.  I can handle that kind of problem.  FYI, it’s on a sticker inside the printer in the center to the right of the centered print head.

And of all that blessing doesn’t have you just overflowing with joy, the ink cartridges are inexpensive AND refillable.  Picture me smiling.