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Looking for a good multi-function printer (with scanning, fax, color)

Posted on 2008-06-14
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Last Modified: 2013-12-27
Sometimes I dream of owning a product with specific features that don't actually exist in reality, no matter how useful and logical these features might be...

So far, I have not found a multi-function printer with all of the following features; can anyone tell me if such a product exists?

- multiple telephone ring sensing (for single line / multiple rings)
- fair to excellent print quality with efficient ink consumption (this might be hard to measure)
- fax feature
- sheet feeder
- scanner (flat bed)
- color printing
- fax memory with the ability to view/delete faxes without printing them (via computer) -
  AND/OR
  The ability to capture all inbound faxes to computer and send faxes from computer.
- network (via wired or wireless)

Must be under $300.00 (obviously I am looking for an inkjet at this price).

Many of the multi-functions I've looked at do everything but the ring sensing and the fax memory/receive/send feature. Am I expecting too much?

Your suggestions are valued and appreciated. Thank you.
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Question by:sconnell
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12 Comments
 
LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 21788226
i am afraid you ask too much - many of the desired options can be found, but it will be difficult to have them all in one device ...
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 21788230
you can contact the manufacturer though :  http://www.hp.com/sbso/assist/index.html
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LVL 54

Expert Comment

by:b0lsc0tt
ID: 21827236
Expecting too much (as Nobus mentioned).  I recommend you get 2 devices.  Color printing, especially if you want good or excellent quality, should not be combined with another device.  Depending on the type of documents, paper, etc I would even suggest looking at laser for the color printing.  Quality can be very high on even average paper types and the cost per page is hard to beat, especially compared to inkjet.  If cost is a factor then go color laser.

If you are getting faxes, unless you are the last person in the world not getting fax-spammed, I wouldn't get a color device.  Unless you have to get/send color faxes it just isn't worth it in that device.  The phone ring feature I think you want is distinctive ring.  Look for that in the specs since not all devices will support it.  Of course this assumes you want it so the fax knows what to answer and not to actually support different lines or numbers.

One caution and really a possible conflict.  From my experience the ability to preview (with computer) faxes before printing is done with USB.  However a qualification you mentioned is network port.  If you expect to preview faxes with the ethernet connection then I really think you will be out of luck.  I would at least be very cautious because most that support it do so with USB and software that needs that type of connection.

Let me know if you have a question or need more info.

bol
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LVL 4

Author Comment

by:sconnell
ID: 21827645
"Expecting too much" ?  What a terrible attitude!  As much as I appreciate your efforts to post, making a blanket statement without bothering to research is not in the spirit of EE.

When I posted this question, I wasn't looking for an easy way out... having someone else do my homework, I continued to research and as a result, I actually found what I am looking for in the Brother MFC-685CW. This particular model gets check marks for each of my criteria. Yes, bol, this unit really can view faxes and send faxes via wireless network.

To make it even better, the application s/w is even well behaved in Vista 64! Wow... not even Microsoft programs are all well behaved in Vista 64!

To be fair, it was very difficult finding and comparing all the specifications I was looking for over a simple Google search. I had to download PDF manuals in order to find the one I was looking for.

Thanks for your input!
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LVL 4

Author Comment

by:sconnell
ID: 21827653
Let this be a lesson to you folks! :-)

Nothing is impossible, given enough time, effort, perseverance, and sometimes money.
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LVL 54

Expert Comment

by:b0lsc0tt
ID: 21827722
Good luck with it.  I am glad you found something that will work for you.  Don't think my advise comes without research and experience though.  I probably just read too much into "fair to excellent print quality with efficient ink consumption."  I would never say Brother color printing is excellent (I am a fan of Brother printers for certain other uses so it isn't just a general [uninformed] bias).  From my knowledge and experience with Nobus I feel the same can be said of him/her.

I do hope it will actually deliver on everything you want and need.  Thanks for letting us know the model you decided on.  Those details make this useful to others in the future.

If you have a question about closing this then let us know but you should be able to click the Accept as Solution button/link in the answer at http:#21827645 .  It will keep this question, mark that comment as answer and refund your points.

bol

p.s.  It is interesting that you seem to condemn and criticize us when, at least in my case, using "expecting too much" was just going off the wording you used in part of your question.
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LVL 4

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by:sconnell
ID: 21827871
>p.s.  It is interesting that you seem to condemn and criticize us when

Looking back at what I wrote, I now see that I was a little harsh. I am so sorry, I apologize... that wasn't my intention to outright condemn. But I was 'lightly' chastising for you being more or less definitive in your assumption that I was not going to find what I was looking for.

>as just going off the wording you used in part of your question.

That was based on my frustration that for every 'perfect' product I thought I found, it was missing one of the key components I required. But I never said impossible. :-)

>I would never say Brother color printing is excellent

Not even close... but I did say fair to excellent now didn't I?  I would say that this Brother is definitely on the fair side of quality. Too bad because everything else about this MF printer is near perfect (relatively speaking).

Still I wonder if price were not an object, if there is a MF printer that also outputs excellent print quality. In this case, I might agree that I am better off with multiple products that are excellent in their speciality.
 
Again, thanks for the effort. :-)
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LVL 54

Expert Comment

by:b0lsc0tt
ID: 21828886
Thanks for the reply.  I'll be the first to admit that I deserve a light chastising in a case like this.  You had the right to deliver it but did get a little heavy handed. ;)   I can see what you mean that it was unintentional.  I don't have an ego though and don't hold grudges.  Your apology and post were nice to get.  I am glad you didn't take my last post personal or to be harsh.

This has been an interesting question.  Thanks!  Hopefully I will be more helpful the next time. :)

bol

p.s.  If you are looking for all the items above and price isn't an issue then a digital machine is about the only other option I can think of.  I believe there are some models that come with all you listed.  They don't use ink though. :)  I haven't actually worked directly with a digital machine like this though so I can't recommend a specific one.
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LVL 1

Accepted Solution

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Computer101 earned 0 total points
ID: 22054913
PAQed with points refunded (500)

Computer101
EE Admin
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LVL 4

Author Comment

by:sconnell
ID: 22055185
b0lsc0tt: Sorry, I did not see your response until today. EE doesn't seem consistent with notifications.

I've been using this Brother multi-function for some time now and I am still impressed with its features. It's not perfect (print quality isn't the best) but it is good considering the price.

Computer101: Since this question might help others, I would recommend keeping it.
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LVL 54

Expert Comment

by:b0lsc0tt
ID: 22055249
sconnell,

Sorry you did not get the notification.  You may want to make sure the EE email address(es) are in your email program or mail server's "whitelist" so they don't get accidentally treated as SPAM.  I have had a rare few not reach me but in general they seem to be pretty good.  Of course depending on the provider, account and other programs there may be problems.  I hope this helps though. :)

The recommendation to PAQ means this will be kept.  That stands for previously asked question and refers to questions in the database.  Those that are closed and kept for others to use in the future.  One of the more than 2 million solutions. :-)  When used as a "verb" the recommendation to PAQ means to close this by accepting a non-Expert comment.  This means your points will be refunded but this will still be kept.

I hope this clears that up.  Let us know if you have a question but it sounds like you agree with the recommendation but just misunderstood what it meant.  The admin has actually already finalized this so the question is now closed.  Let us know if you have a question though.

bol
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