I keep meaning to post more about what is going on at work, but that always seems like so much effort to get it right. In any case I got a new printer, which is fun. I’m a fan of the multifunction printers, by which I mean ones that can scan and print in the same unit- fax I don’t really care about and I suppose in theory I could “copy” but I never do.
My old printer was a Dell All In One 962. Dell was practically giving these away free a few years ago and frankly it has done a decent job. But as with most cheap mechanical devices it has started being more and more flaky, plus the software never really worked right with Vista and so the older scan to PDF (with OCR) function hasn’t been working right which has sucked.
Looking at reviews of other printers I noticed that Canon overall seems to get good marks and I was pretty excited to see a couple of models that support duplex printing and scanning. The worst part is that it was very very difficult to tell what the difference was between models, but I ended up getting the slightly more expensive one at just less than $300. In today’s printer market where the printers are almost free and they gouge you on ink, that is a fortune.
My first impression was that the footprint of this thing was huge- much bigger than I expected. It fits in the spot where my old printer was, but only by bulging out onto my desk an extra 6″ and getting a little in the way. I suspect this might have to do with various protrusions that are used to flip the paper for the duplex stuff. Setting it up I noticed a cool feature that old printers didn’t have- the print head unit is replaceable- one of the big problems with my old Dell is that over time the print head has gotten gross so being able to replace it is a nice thing (even if at close to $50 it costs as much as many printers).
The ink is also in individual reservoirs for each color. Again, this gives you potential savings since you don’t have to replace the whole thing the first time one runs out, but it also means there are 6 different things to replace at $15 each. It also has this “clear ink” which frankly I don’t get. This review of the MX7600 explains that clear ink is used to coat normal pages so they work as well as special inkjet paper so we will see.
The setup was both of a bit of a pain and kind of cool. It does a self-calibration step that takes 10 minutes and failed the first time, but basically prints some stuff and uses some optics to make sure it worked right automatically. Still, it did work on the second try and I was off to software setup. The software setup took forever and a half and installed 300mb+ of crap on my machine and required a reboot, none of which are cool. I’m using the printer connected to the network but it doesn’t just work as a normal Windows network printer- you have to hook it up the first time on USB + Ethernet and then you can ditch the USB. Still it requires their software install on every computer that wants to print (unless you use a computer as a server which isn’t really the point of a network printer in the first place).
Printing seemed slow but the quality was fine, and what do you expect for an inkjet. Scanning seemed much faster and the software is much nicer than the old stuff from Dell. Duplex scanning from the paper-feeder rocks, and they have a great mode where it shows the scanned pages and lets you easily rearrange / collect them before combining them in a PDF.
Overall looks pretty good so far..