Monday, May 26, 2008

Why I am Opposed to Multifunction Ink-Jet Printers

My reasons are:

1. Ink cartridges are MUCH too expensive. You easily end up with cost per printed page of 5 to 11 cents for black & white and 13 to 23 cents per page in color.

2. Printing photos at Wal-Mart, Walgreen's or Sam's Club is MUCH cheaper - and the quality is much better to boot. All you need is a thumb drive for $10 and up.

3. Ink jet printed photos last for only two to five years then they fade away!

4. Most people don’t need to print color once they realize above points 1 through 3.

5. In new computers you should have "Media Slots" directly in the computer for most commonly found formats of camera storage cards. You really don't need additional ones in a printer! If your computer doesn’t have media slots: An external multi-format USB reader costs under $20.

6. I have yet to see any usefulness in what Hewlett Packard calls PictBridge. This is software to print photos from your camera directly to the printer. Other manufacturers may use different names. In my experience I always want to transfer pictures to the computer FIRST, then review them on the computer and eventually edit and/or print them.

7. I know from many customers’ computers that all printer manufacturers install way too much software. Much of it is supposed to be permanently resident, thus impacting performance whether you use it or not. All this software stuff is definitely NOT needed! By the way: The worst of the bunch seems to be Lexmark which is the company that is behind Dell printers)!

8. Most so called “photo printers” come with some sort of “free” photo editing software. These tend to be older versions of programs that mostly are far from “best of breed”.

9. Independent of software coming with a printer I see three options for photo editing software:

1. If you want a decent photo editing software buy Microsoft Picture It!, Microsoft's photo editing program.

2. Or, if you want to go semi-pro buy Adobe Photoshop Elements for around $40. Caution: This one has a steep learning curve compared to Picture It! but it’s worth it!

3. Picasa from Google is a free album and image editing program. Some stuff to learn but relatively easy to use

4. If you want quality download "The Gimp" from here. The Gimp is a free Open Source program of professional quality - with an according learning curve.

10. Multifunction units tend to be somewhat like Swiss Army knives. Yes, they do what they are supposed to do, but generally any one of their functions will be done better by a dedicated unit. Let’s look at their functions:

1. Color photo printing see numbers 1 through 3 above.

2. Ink jet printing in general: Way too expensive per sheet!
Quality not as good as with a laser printer.

3. “Media Slots” or similar: See number 5 above.

4. Copier: A free little utility named Photo Copier can do that if you have a scanner.

5. Scanner: Dedicated scanners mostly offer better scan quality and that often for less money.

6. Faxing: Sending and receiving faxes is standard functionality in Windows XP; you really don’t want/need anything else.

11. EXCELLENT fast black & white laser printers can be bought from around $90 up. Their printing cost is around 1 to 3 cents per page! Compare that to no. 1 above.

12. A dedicated scanner can be bought from $30 up; really decent ones $60 and up.

13. If you own a multifunction unit and one part fails you have to throw away the whole thing. If you have dedicated equipment only what failed needs to be replaced!

Special tools for special jobs!

Need more arguments? I could find some more, preferably if you treat me to a Frappuccino or Cappuccino at a local Starbucks.
Thanks a Latte ;-)

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