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Recommendations for best MF home printer

Posted on 2014-11-19
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Last Modified: 2014-11-26
Dear all

I have a customer who wants recommendations on buying the best home printer for the family network.

He wants something multi-purpose: Print/Scan/Copy/Fax.  He also wants to print from his phones and wireless, so:

1. WiFi
2. NFC
3. USB
4. Ethernet Port
5. Colour
6. Very good at printing family photos
7. Android ( Specifically Samung Note 4) and iPhone Compatible
8. Windows 7 and Windows 8 compatible

Less important but nice:
- Double Sided
- Running costs
- Not too big as he is limited in space to put it.

Not important:
- Speed: Not important as it is a home printer, very good quality is important but not speed.
- Running costs: very willing to compromise on running costs if needed in order to get good quality and connectivity and flexibility.

Has been looking at the following printers, but not sure that these are the best as each has compromises:

A. HP Office Jet Pro 6830 e-All-in-One
B. HP ENVY 7640 e-All-in-One ( Only one cartridge, so can it really be good at photos)
C. The Canon MX926 ( Good but older model now)

Thanks for any help.

Robbie.


( Internal Ref #: 1027885IP)
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Question by:IP4IT Staff
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40452230
I use (A) above: HP 6810 All-in-one.  I hook it up on Ethernet because almost all printers work better this way. It has USB, double sided printing, low cost black printing, scanning, fax and all you mentioned above. I can print to it from my iPhone. I have a Windows 7 Desktop and a Windows 8 Laptop. All good.
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by:rindi
rindi earned 25 total points
ID: 40452259
In my point of view, "the best" printer is the one where you can easily refill the toner or ink cartridges, without having to worry about chips counting how many pages were printed and refusing to keep on printing when a certain number has been reached. Printers that have such "features" are a rip-off and also add to the huge pile of waste we create today, so they are totally environment unfriendly.

After that, a printer must support ALL OS's, not just Windows or MAC-OS, and it must have either a NIC or WLAN print-server built-in (or both).

Personally I prefer Laser Printers, they don't have to flush their cartridges regularly as ink printers do, to keep the nozzles from clotting and drying up. That wastes ink. Besides that, a toner generally lasts much longer than ink cartridges do, and lasers also tend to print faster once they have warmed up. The toner won't smudge like Inks do when they aren't dry yet.

Basically a "good" printer is more pricey than a "bad" one, but you don't have to replace the printer after the toner is finished, because the replacement toner is more expensive than the printer was originally...
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by:Herman D'Hondt
ID: 40454569
I would recommend a laser too, except for 1 thing: you require top photo quality. For that you need an inkjet - at its slowest speed setting, with expensive photo paper. It's much cheaper to get photos printed commercially, but if that's what the customer wants, what more can I say... There are also many more inkjets with WiFi than lasers, but I do not recommend WiFi for printers. Ethernet is much more reliable.

I won't recommend a printer here, as most of my experience is with lasers.
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by:t_hungate
ID: 40454817
Robbie,

I think you are looking at your issue from the wrong perspective here.  Anytime you are purchasing something like a printer the first step is to determine the primary purpose for the device.  Whether it be day-to-day black and white or high quality color photo printing.  Once you have determined the primary purpose you can better weigh the must have features vs. the nice to have features.

For example if your primary purpose is to print high quality photos, then you need a printer that is made for that purpose, meaning it will be an inkjet of some sort or another as they produce the best color and clarity.  That also means that they may or may not have duplexing as that is not a feature commonly used when printing photos.

It sounds like you want an everyday all-in-one that also has the ability to print photos.  Keep in mind these printers will not produce high quality photo prints, the nozzles, ink and construction are just not the same as a high end photo printer.

All that aside I can speak to the HP OfficeJet Pro series extensively, as I have 3 different models being used in 3 very different ways.  My favorite among them is the newer 276dw. (HP Product Page)  I think it will meet most of your requirements, it is quite fast, produces very good quality prints (B&W and Photo), and it allows for a number of different connection types as well as supporting Androids CloudPrint and Apples AirPrint.  One of the best features for me is the supported OSs, I use Windows 8.1, 8, 7, Linux, Android and iOS to print to this printer without issue. You can also print from the cloud if you are not home or near the printer and need to print something, you can from anywhere and it will be there waiting for you when you get home, pretty nice feature.  This way I don't forget to print something from my email or text and end up being late.

Another nice feature with the HP drivers and operating system is the ability to manually override almost any setting which speaks to rindi's point about cartridges.  You can tell the printer to ignore the pages per cartridge or ink level warnings and to keep printing.  You just have to keep in mind that there could be an adverse effect on a printer if you continue printing when the ink well is dry.

Bottom line here is that you need to figure out what the primary purpose, that will help you determine features that are priority when it comes to printing, and not convenience, from there you can do a side-by-side feature comparison to see what meets your needs best.

Hope this was helpful, ended up being much longer than expected.

References:
Printing to a non-AirPrint Printer
iDevice Wireless Printing
PrintShare Mobile Printing
Android Printing
Everything You Need to Know About Android Printing

Suggested read for anyone looking for quality digital printing:
All About Digital Photos

~:TLH:~
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Author Comment

by:IP4IT Staff
ID: 40455159
Excellent t_hungate

I was thinking of the myself, my only remaining concent was its ability to print very good quality imaes.

Its exactly as you say, a good all round all in 1 printer with vey good connectivity ( Wi-Fi, LAN, Cloud, USB) and Smart phone printing.

But one of the bigger things is photo printing.

I am stuck between the Epson XP 820 and the HP 276dw.

http://www.techradar.com/reviews/pc-mac/peripherals/printers-and-scanners/multi-function-mfd/epson-xp-820-1273286/review

One thing I noticed is the difference in DPI for prining. Maybe its just the marketing material, but it appeasr that the Epson prints at ahuge amount more DPI.

HP 276dw DPI=         1200x1200dpi
Epson XP 820 DPI = 5760 x 1440 (Optimised dpi ((what ever that means)

1. What are your thoughts on the DPI issue above?
2. What are your thoughts on the comparison on those two printers in general ( same price) for the above requirement?

I probably should have said that the customer has all kinds of access to Laser printers at his work place, this is for his home computing use.

Thanks again.
Robbie
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t_hungate earned 250 total points
ID: 40455252
I'm glad that you found my input somewhat helpful.

I have to be honest with you here, if photo printing is a main concern then you are not looking for an All-in-one, they will never be able to produce the image quality you are looking for. This is mainly due to how they process the digital images and convert the Pixels Per Inch (PPI) into Dots Per Inch (DPI).  You need good software, good hardware and a good image to produce a good photo quality print. I wrestled this same dilemma myself and ended up getting an all-in-one (HP OfficeJet Pro 8600) for simple printing and day-to-day stuff, then a good photo printer (Epson Stylus Pro Series) for when I want to print quality images. Doing it this way allow you to save cost both but probably spend a bit more overall.

As briefly mentioned before, there are a lot of things to consider when it comes to printing images, the main one is the quality of the image being printed.

This is taken form this link: http://www.rideau-info.com/photos/mythdpi.html

There are four main factors that determine image quality:

1) The size (in pixels) of the digital image.
 2) The quality of the recording device (camera's optics and sensor, scanner's sensor).
 3) The digital format it is stored in (lossless vs lossy compression).
 4) The technical proficiency and the "eye" of the photographer

A big thing to understand is that you can print a very high quality picture at 100 DPI and not see a difference when printed at 3000 DPI. The printer has to convert the pixels to dots and there are often cases where there are not enough pixels or dots to make conversion that will turn out as clean as you would expect.

I also suggest that you read this thread from that same source website: Home Photo Printing

I can say that I have bee extremely happy with my Epson, never doubted that choice once.

~:TLH:~
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by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 150 total points
ID: 40455281
if photo printing is a main concern then you are not looking for an All-in-one,

I tend to agree with this, but for ALL your other needs, a good All-in-One works great for me (HP8600 series).

You may wish to consider 2 printers:  All-in-One and Photo.

For home / home office, the inkjet HP8600 is low cost for black and white - low enough to run up to 20 copies of something and does colour. For me, this makes it better in my situation than a laser printer (which I use at clients).
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Author Comment

by:IP4IT Staff
ID: 40455345
Thanks for the input again t_hungate and John.

I agree with all, but as the customer already has access to multiple printers at his work, Laser, photo, etc., he does not wish to invest in two printers for home.  He just wants a good All-In-1 that will do a bit everything for the family, in a quality way as practical, and that in so far as possible excels at "Photos" with the understanding that it will never be as good as a dedicated photo printer. Also, as its for all the family he wants it as connectable as possible, LAN, USB, Wi-Fi, Cloud Print would be very nice, (NFC optional), Android, and iOS.

Thanks for all your help and thoughts'.

What would your choice be ( given the above info) between:

HP 276dw
Epson XP 820

BTW, both are the same price from our distributor.

Thanks.
Robbie.
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by:t_hungate
ID: 40455416
In that case I would go with the HP, I have found mine to be rock solid.  Divers have never been an issue and they just simply work and do what I need.

The photo printing ability isn't bad, provided you use photo paper good photo printing software and that they NEVER downsize a photo for printing. The software should take care of that though.

Best of luck.

~:TLH:~
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by:Herman D'Hondt
Herman D'Hondt earned 75 total points
ID: 40456582
Printer dpi ratings are deceptive. Most lasers print at 600 x 600 dpi, inkjets go to 1200 x 1200. I believe Epson does a real 1440 x 1440. Anything higher than that is "perceived dpi" or whatever they call it. Here's what it means.

Four colour printers can only print 8 colours: the 4 primaries (CMYK), 3 mixes of 2 by 2 colours (CM = blue, YC = green and YM = red) and white. Any other mixes and tints are produced by putting dots side by side, using so-called halftoning. Standard halftoning on a commercial printer uses an 8 x 8 cell to produce tints, with rotated screens. At 2400 dpi your halftone resolution (also called lines-per-inch, or lpi) is 2400/8 = 300 lpi. However, other forms of halftoning can achieve higher lpi with the same dpi. If a printer is given an effective resolution of 4800 dpi, that means that its halftone algorithm is twice as good as the standard one.

This means that that printer will be able to print clearer halftones. As a result, lines or text in grey or other tints will be clearer. It does not mean that it can print solid colour lines and text any better than what its real dpi lets it. In general, for lines and text the real dpi is the important one, for images the perceived one is what matters.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40467294
@robbiebreslin  - Thank you and I was happy to help.
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