I picked up a new Brother HL-2170w last week. It’s a network-enabled (wired and wireless) black and white laser printer. At just under $100, and with $30-50 replacement toner cartridges good for thousands of pages worth of output, it was quite a steal in terms of features for the money.
I had been looking for an all-in-one color printer to replace my scanner and inkjet, but the more I looked, the more horror stories I saw. And when I didn’t see horror stories, I saw absurd ink costs on a per-page basis The sheer number of horror stories was astounding. I have always considered printers to be evil, banes of our very existence but the tales of woe that wait on printer reviews are really like no other components.
So as inconvenient as it may be for color, it seems that doing photo prints (99% of what I want in color) is cheaper to do at an in-store lab (such as Wal-Mart) than to do it at home, plus I don’t have to worry about the crazy quality of inkjet printers, or expensive-yet-not-photo-quality color laser output. I still have my existing inkjet for the rare case where I might need a print fast, but at what seems to be about $0.50/print, it’s really not worth it.
The Brother printer was pretty easy to setup. Plug it into the network, and it
pulls a DHCP address. I went to the printer’s web interface and setup a static
IP, changed its name, and had all the PCs printing in no time. The Windows 7
boxes found the driver automatically, XP I had to pick the driver by hand, and
my FreeBSD workstation needed the
hpijs-pcl5e driver for CUPS, but needed no
other special configuration.
Given all the negative experiences I’ve had with printers (and everyone else has had), I thought I’d share this positive one.
- Update 2020-03-25:
- 12 years later this printer is still going strong! Heck of a good investment.