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January 24th 2012 2:33 pm

Any recommendations for a good wireless printer/scanner/copier for grad students?

This is a long read. Feel free to respond to the title question without reading.

My wife and I got an HP Photosmart C4795 something or the other that was on sale at Best Buy 2 years ago. It's the one with the gold/bronze trim and it uses HP 60 ink. It has been a headache from week 1 but, we hesitate to get something else in the same price range to be disappointed again. We are both in grad school, and need to print out papers, journal articles, scan articles, and copy forms. I liked that the HP was wireless, but that has never worked consistently from the time we got it. We resort to plugging our laptops in when we need to do anything with it. Additionally the HP60 ink tho conveniently priced and available everywhere, runs out quickly even the XL size.

At this point it is more obvious what kind of characteristics would make a great device for our needs, but not what that device is specifically.
  1. I would like the wireless to be less of a headache in some way. We both have macbook pros, and mine has the burden of containing the excessive HP software required to use the device. As with most things in life, less is more.
  2. A healthy cartridge. Efficient ink use would be preferred. Im considering those office printers with large black toners, as most of our printing only needs black ink. Another reason I considered an office level device is for:
  3. Speed. The HP is not that much of a slouch, but it is a photosmart, which tend to sacrifice speed for precision. Once again not needed. Mostly because:
  4. Less maintenance would be greatly appreciated. The Photosmart requires that an alignment sheet be scanned every single time the ink is replaced. I've dealt with a lot of HP printers and this is the most i've ever had to do that with one.
  5. A great scanner. Today was the last straw for me, honestly because I needed to quickly scan a 28 page journal article before I return it to my advisor. At one point I could've done this wirelessly with Automator, but instead I had to plug the computer in and use HP's bundled scanner software. The software is actually not bad, it allows for combining all pages into one file on the fly. But upon closer inspection the scanner seemed to degrade in clarity with each subsequent scan! Halfway thru the pages are completely illegible. What the heck!
  6. AirPrint would be awesome, with two MacBooks, two iPhones, and (count em) two iPads in the house.
Im curious about other brands and how they compare, such as Canon, Brother, Lexmark, Epson, etc.
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We too used to own an HP Photosmart - the "Photosmart Plus" I believe. Despite having owned another HP printer for several years before that one without having any real issues, it was, like yours, nothing but trouble from the beginning. Eventually we bit the bullet and went and bought a new printer, this time a Kodak - the ESP C310. It's simple to use, doesn't come with any oversized touch screen or apps (I mean seriously, I love apps but on a printer?!) and seems to be relatively economic.

One of the main selling factors was the fact that the running costs are cheaper to run than other printers, and whilst they're quite good, they're not really amazing. You'll still find yourself replacing the cartridges fairly often, but they're quite cheap to buy so I'd buy them in relative bulk.

WiFi printing seems to be reliable, and I haven't had to install a huge suite of software on all of my printers to get it to work. Having said that, it wasn't just like plug and play either.

I must say I haven't used the scanner on it a great deal, but the printing is of a decent speed and is always good quality, be it black text, colour images, or both.

Anyway, I would recommend this printer. It's not outstanding, but neither was the price, and it does all the all-in-one basics with no hassle.
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It depends on your budget and your preference of ink or laser, but the two printers I recommend these days are the Brother 9230 and Artisan 837. Both printers support bonjour and direct connection to your network.

I have installed 3 of the Brother printers, which are laser, and they are crisp and speedy printers, and the scanner is not too bad either.

I personally own two of the Artisan 810 printers (two generations older than the Artisan 837), which are ink, and haven't used them to print many document pages, but I do use them to scan album artwork from cps, print cd artwork, and print photos on photo paper. For these tasks the printer is excellent. The scanner is slightly slower than brother, but quality is indistinguishable.

There is almost a $200 difference between the Epson ($290 on Amazon) and the Brother ($500 on Amazon) so that might be the deciding point other than the ink vs laser argument. The only reason I don't own a Brother is because I already had a color laser printer at home when I bought the Epson, which I needed to print dvd artwork.

Hope that helps,

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Hp 8500 seems to suit your needs
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