Monday, March 2, 2015

Disposable World...

So, we have a new printer at Casa G Sud (Free America version). The old printer - that we bought a little over a year ago - had a small touch screen that *someone* (no one 'fessed up) was a little too vigorous in pushing and shattered the LCD screen. It's weird, in that the actual touch part is completely intact; in fact, when the power is off it doesn't even look broken. However, navigating the print options is significantly more difficult, so off we went in search of a new printer.

We wound up with this guy:

Canon MX472

Here's the thing: It was $49.99 at BJs Warehouse. The replacement ink cartridges were $59.99. Now, yes, for that price you get two of the large black ink cartridges and one regular color cartridge, but I was struck by the dichotomy of the printer actually being less than the replacement cartridges. In a pinch, you would save $10 by purchasing a new printer rather than just getting more ink.

Interesting factoid: This is the first non-HP printer I've ever owned. I started out, more than 20 years ago, with a 712 (this is the color version shown; mine was just a B&W). Over the years we've had a steady string of printers, and the 712 went to the printer graveyard only a couple years ago when we moved. It hadn't been used in years, but still occupied a place on the desk.

Back when I bought the 712, it was purchased to complement a 486 DX33 with 8 MB Ram (which I paid extra for!) and a 550 MB hard drive. I had to purchase and install a soundcard and CD-ROM drive separately, and the whole setup cost me more than I paid for the car I drove in college. The last three computers we've owned - two of which were laptops - didn't cost *half* of what that computer cost...

And now it's cheaper to buy a new printer than to re-stock the ink; I guess that's progress...

That is all.

15 comments:

ZerCool said...

At least in my experience, the included ink cartridges tend to have a much lower page count than the subsequent refills. Yes, the printer is the loss-leader for the ink, but the price per-page is actually pretty low once you're down to brass tacks.

Roy said...

Go online. There are plenty of second source suppliers of ink cartridges and bulk ink. You save a lot of money that way. (Wait until the printer goes out of warranty if you care.)

I have a Canon Pixma photo printer that I've had for about 5 years. It uses 6 different color cartridges and if you buy them at the store, they retail for $15 per color.

I bought a refill kit and 6, 1/4 liter bottles of bulk ink in the colors I needed for a little over $50. It's a bit of a hassle to refill ink cartridges yourself, but it took me almost two years before I had to order more of the black ink, so it's worth the money savings. (The supplier I use is Atlantic Inkjet, but there are others just as good.)

Ted said...

The "Gillette" school of marketing. The razor blades are where the magin is. After looking at cost per page numbers / and speed we went a Lexmark color laser printer. Networked so everyone can print to it - even from wi-fi devices.

Bryn, Isle of Anglesey, UK said...

Ted beat me to it.... Colour (and Mono) lasers.
I moved away from inkjets of all brands years ago.
Yes, the initial cost is higher, but the long term running costs are tiny - especially if you get "compatible" toner cartridges, or bulk powder refills. If you choose your printer carefully, you also get a far longer working life out of them.
90% of my printing is monochrome, for which I have an elderly Kyocera FS1020D - ultra cheap to run.
My occasional colour printing is done on a Brother MFC-9140CDN - way over-specified for my needs, but the price was too good to miss...

lelnet said...

If you're looking primarily at cheap-ass inkjets, that (cheaper to buy a new printer than new ink) has been true for years.

Of course, inkjet printer ink in a printer-manufacturer's package is, ml for ml, one of the top 5 most expensive substances that ordinary American citizens can buy over the counter without any kind of special license or permit.

Ian Argent said...

Exactly why I bought a HP Color Laserjet a few years back. Well, that and I wasn't printing often enough to keep the ink free-flowing, the nozzles would clog.

Comrade Misfit said...

I bought an HP712 (IIRC) in `88, which cost ~$700. Even if a similarly-capable printer was made today (B&W, 2 PPM), it would cost about as much as a sandwich from the grinder shop.

doubletrouble said...

Yep, Amazon is your friend. After market cartridges, two complete sets, were less than almost a full set of oe.
I've got the few years older version of that same printer.

Evyl Robot Michael said...

We've got an aging but good working HP Color Laserjet in one room and a large Dell B&W in the other. I gave up on ink years ago. If you've got space for one, keep your eyes out for retired corporate machines at garage sales and junk shops. You can get a bargain on a good used machine that even if you had to buy all new supplies for, would still wind up a bargain. And speaking of replacement supplies, please do note that some machines run refurbed or aftermarket supplies more happily than others.

FrankC said...

With a busted LCD screen, couldn't you have used telnet to control the (presumably HP) printer.

About your soundcard and CD-ROM. I bought such a setup for my 486-DX33 (12 MB ram - ha!). Installation instructions and drivers were on the included CD. Facepalm.

Jay G said...

The broken HP printer did not play nice with refurbished print cartridges. Made that mistake once.

Heck, a couple times it thought actual, new HP print cartridges were imitations.

The old printer is going to be pressed into service for the kids. Since it's wireless, it can live in the spare bedroom and be available for projects they need for school without running the risk of damaging the *good* printer...

Old NFO said...

Yep, it IS cheaper... When we go on tests, we buy a $29 printer and junk it at the end of the test, because the ink is $49...

ProudHillbilly said...

That is why I got a new printer a few years ago when I was going to be printing a lot of stuff. The cartridges for the old one were more than a new and better printer was.

ProudHillbilly said...

That is why I got a new printer a few years ago when I was going to be printing a lot of stuff. The cartridges for the old one were more than a new and better printer was.

RabidAlien said...

Worked in retail selling technology for waaaaay too many years....printers may earn a company $5 over cost (companies lose money when there's sales). Ink, on the other hand, has an insanely huge margin. The cartridge you spent $15 for only cost the company $3. Or less. For inkjets, I usually recommended the upper-end HP printers, their cartridges were pricy but tended to last the longest. Canon and Epson aren't bad, but cost more in the long run. Lexmark sucked, and Kodak or Brother inkjets? You had to really piss me off to sell you one of those. If you're not doing professional photo prints, though, laserjets are the way to go nowadays. Toner doesn't dry out, you get a buttload of prints per cartridge, and the cost of ownership is really low. Brother and HP make good laser printers (stay away from the low-end of the price range, look at the mid-range and up...same with inkjets). Lexmark/Dell aren't bad (Lexmark makes Dell printers) in the laser category.