Is a new printer worth this?

I just got a new laser printer/scanner. I don’t use a scanner very often and my needs aren’t great — just basic scans for web pages. Every once in a while I scan an old family photo for this blog or for Cognitive Daily. But I was beginning to get tired of paying exorbitant prices for Canon’s ink, and I knew laser printers offered a much more affordable price per page. Now that laser printers are nearly as cheap as inkjets, it seemed like a reasonable time to make a change.

Since I rarely use a scanner and I don’t need high quality scans, it made sense to just buy a multifunction device. For about $50 more than just a printer, you can get a combo. But I wasn’t prepared for this. Here’s an example scan I just made from my new printer/scanner (A Brother DCP-7040 if you’re interested):

Not bad (and, of course, adorable), but take a closer look at the grays along the wall:

It’s not a smooth transition from lighter to darker gray — it’s okay for a fax, but lousy for a photo.

I don’t have this same photo on my old scanner (a Canon MP-500), but here’s a similar shot:

And again, focusing in on the grays:

See the difference? Now I’m faced with a dilemma: return the laser printer and suck it up with my old device, keep the old printer around just for scanning, or perhaps buy a separate stand-alone scanner.

A big problem with multifunction devices is that they often don’t work with Macs. Indeed, the Canon multifunction laser’s scanning features don’t work on a Mac, so the Brother is one of few options for me if I want a multifunction device.

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4 Responses to Is a new printer worth this?

  1. Katie says:

    Personally, I love HP. I had Canons for years, mostly out of habit. I got tired of my ink runs costing me $75+.

    Now I do HP. Their combos are good, and cheaper than Canon’s. Their ink? A dream. Plus, I can get them at Walmart, Tagert, hell, sometimes even Giant.

    The part I like best is their coding system. When you get your printer, you get a big sign on it of an object. Mine was a chair. If you need new ink, you don’t need to remember model number, ink number, anything. Just CHAIR. Need special ink, like photo quality or day glow or transfer? CHAIR. Need new ink mounts? CHAIR CHAIR CHAIR. I can send my mother to the store with that order, it’s that easy.

  2. dave says:

    Thanks for the suggestion, Katie, but the point was to get a laser printer, not another inkjet.

    I’ve actually decided what to do. I’d have to pay for shipping to return this thing — when you add in the cost of shipping, I’ve pretty much lost the savings of a multifunction device. So I’m going to keep this thing. I still get the benefit of a copier function, even if it’s not a great scanner.

    Then I’m going to buy a separate, stand-alone scanner. Should cost around $100, and will be better than either my old multi-function scanner or this new one. Ideally, I would have bought a separate printer and scanner to begin with, but for the extra $50 I do get copier functionality, so I’m not kicking myself too hard.

  3. Anne says:

    all right, it must be said: THOSE ARE ADORABLE PICTURES!!!!

    My home devices are only really for scanning pictures to play with or printing out coloring pages for the kids. The occasional work printing is ok, but I have been happy with my Sharp all-in-one that came for $99 w/purchase of my Mac laptop last time. For $99, it’s hard to complain about anything.

    cheers,

  4. Anne says:

    (Canon. A Pixma).

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