Monday, June 15, 2009

Low cost ink jet printer

After many years of refilling the cartridges, my Cannon i250 ink jet printer finally stopped working. I replaced this with a Epson Stylus TX100. This was the lowest cost printer I could find which had individual ink tanks for each colour. It is annoying when one colour runs out and you have to buy a new three colour cartridge (it is only slightly less annoying trying to refill a multi-colour cartridge).

The TX100 costs A$69 from the Australia Post shop, before a A$10 cash back offer from Epson, making it A$59. Big W have the TX200, with more features, for $10 more. The replacement low capacity Epson ink cartridges are about A$14 each and high capacity third party ones about A$10 each.

The printer is twice as big as the one it replaces, because it also includes an A4 flatbed scanner. I did not want a scanner, but couldn't find a low cost printer without one.

The TX100 hardware was easy to install, but I had some difficulties with the software. Like many modern printers, the TX100 insists on installing a whole lot of drivers which say resident, running even when you are not printing.

Print quality is very good. One aspect which surprised me is that the copy function on the unit does not require a computer. You can use the unit as a standalone photocopier: put an original on the scanner, press "copy" and an inkjet copy is make. The results are not as good as a laser copier and this is a very expensive way to make copies, but could be handy for occasional use.

The TX100 looks like it will work well for the one or two pages I print a week.

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