Feb 24, 2010

[Gadgets] Printer Options

In recent months, I've been making a few significant gadget purchases here and there and have been documenting such plans here on the Geeky Guide. Things started with my plans of getting a netbook as opposed another desktop or a full laptop. After much deliberation, I ended up getting an Asus EEE 1005HA, which I'm pretty happy with.

Then I started considering what new mobile phone to buy and after much deliberation, I ended up with my first smart phone: a Nokia E63. My transition to a smart phone and a QWERTY keypad has been pretty decent as well and once again I'm happy with my purchase. The only other gadget consideration I had in mind was trying to figure out what digital camera I wanted and for now I sort of settled on keeping a look out for a Panasonic Lumix ZS3, although this is the only purchase that I have yet to fulfill.

And now I'm considering what printer to get, so once again I'm going to document my considerations.

Flat-bed Scanner.Image via Wikipedia

This all started when my partner indicated that he wanted to get a flatbed scanner for his comic book pages and perhaps a photo printer for those pages that he edits on the computer. In the interests of our budget and space constraints, an all-in-on (AIO) printer-scanner seemed like the best option. So in the interests of getting him a nice gift, I've started researching on what would be the best possible unit to purchase.

We're not going to do a lot of printing, mind you, and my partner is sure to utilize the scanning function more. Thus the priority of features is (1) a good flatbed scanner, (2) overall affordability / price, (3) good photo quality printing, (4) affordable ink system and (5) decent printing speeds. Things like wireless networking are bonus perks, but certainly not primary requirements.

The first printer that caught my attention given its prevalence amongst the computer stores was the Canon Pixma MP198. It certainly seems like a promising unit given (1) its initial unit price is around PHP 3,000, (2) it's both a printer and a scanner and (3) it has borderless printing, which is something that my partner is interested in for his comic art. It seems to be practically everywhere these days and so it's definitely an easy option to explore.

However when I started looking up the reviews for the MP198 online, the results were less than favorable and many complain about the slow printing speed and the inconsistent photo quality.

Another option I have looking at the Brother line of printers which seem pretty affordable with many of them already offering wireless networking options. However there are complaints for a few of the models about their compatibility with Windows 7 so I may have to wait for a latter version that ensures the appropriate OS patches.

Then there's the Epson Stylus TX400 which got rave reviews in this PC World India article ranking different budget all-in-one printers. It got high marks for print quality with it's black ink only option and overall print speed. I'm not sure how reliable the scanning side of it is - most reviews tend to ignore discussing the scanning for some reason.

Of course there's also HP to consider with all-in-one printers like the HP Photosmart Plus B209. It's more expensive than the Epson but also comes with wireless networking and of course it's an HP unit, which is know for pretty decent quality. If might be a wee bit beyond my price range but then the wireless networking might be a major bonus given our wireless setup here at home. Of course HP is notorious for very expensive ink and I doubt that's going to change anytime soon.

So at the moment, the rankings have the Epson coming out first, the HP unit second, a miscellaneous Brother unit at third and the initial Canon printer now trailing behind. If have experience using these printers or have your own recommendations, then I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to leave a comment with your feedback or of course you can get in touch with me more directly (if you know how).

Hurry! I want to get this gift for my partner already! Hahaha!

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