All in one printers

Someone asked me, what if you want to just send a fax these days. Well, like most things, the question is complicated. There are the really low end and ugly thermal fax machines, but with all-in-one printers just $180, it is not clear why you’d want one. So the house that has everything really needs three devices that should all be networked:

# a really fast laser printer for most printing, while expensive the HP 4250tn is pretty amazing and it networked. Works really well with Macs and with Windows after you download 130MB worth of drivers 🙁
# a really nice high performance color printer. Right now Epson and Canon are battling it out, but the Canon Pro9000 at $500 is a remarkable 13″x19″ A3+ printer. Once you print a photo with it, you’ll never go back. The main problem is that it isn’t networkable, but most of the time before you print you’ll want to have a color correct computer to check the colors.
# an all-in-one or multifunction scanner, fax and copier. Ideally this one should be networked as well. There are lots of choices, but again Canon seems to win most of the reviews.

Here’s a compendium of reviews. In sum, they aren’t too expensive at $200-400 each and the best ones have an ethernet connection to use with mulitple laptops, color printing, scanning and faxing. Quite a disappointing stuff, but basically, users don’t seem to be too happy with the highest rated units even though they have all the apparent features:

# “MX700”: which lists for just $250 and is very basic. It is color, networked and small. Cnet says that it has good quality print and copy and is pretty fast at 7.4ppm, but is slow at scanning at 5ppm and best of all print quality across everything but photos was excellent (you should really use a dedicated printer like the Pro9000 for that IMHO). Not much data on usage though although some folks at “Cnet”: reported that it doesn’t have duplexing and seems to jam. It is also big at 18.2″x18.9″x9.4″ and 22.3 pounds.
# “HP L7680”: It has got great reviews from PC Magazine and “PC World”:,133289-page,1-c,printers/article.html, but Amazon, PC Magazine “Cnet users”: just hate it. Say it is unreliable and so forth. It is also big at 20.9″x15.8″x14″ and 35 pounds!

So if you go monochrome without color, then you can try the:

# “Canon ImageClass MF4270″: which is basic monochrome at $300 but does some with an ADF, networking and duplexing. Its somewhat smaller, although not much at 15.4″x17.4″x17.9” and 27.6 pounds. Big issue is that you can only scan to the USB connection while printing works through Ethernet.

Finally if you don’t need faxing (which is a big requirement still, then you can try):

# “Canon Pixma MP970″: Several reviews said the previous model, the MP960 was actually better in print speed and quality, etc. It has networking but no faxing and is just $300, but it is big at 18.5″x15.6″x8.4” and 25 pounds. Main issue appears to be the print quality according to Cnet. “Amazon reviewers”: are just five folks but they seemed to like it for Mac support and they liked the print quality. “PC Magazine UK”: did a review and they seemed to like its print quality so go figure.

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