It must be said that I’m not a desktop printers greatest fan….especially if it happens to be one of those loathsome ‘all in one’ monstrosities. I work in I.T. and on the occasion I’ll show willing (after way too much coffee) and volunteer to go install said printer for user X. After all, it’s just a printer and shouldn’t take too long…….oh dear, let battle commence!
Round #1 – The printer will not work until every last bit of packaging has been removed, including all those blue and orange plastic bits that companies like HP like to hide in the most unlikely of places. The instruction sheet of course, gives no clues to their whereabouts.
Problem #2 – The amount of leftover packaging is quite scary. Card, plastics, polystyrene, sharp bits, bags of all shape, colour and sizes and tie wraps wrapped around everything that’ll make mother nature burst into tears. Oh and every type of mains plug known to man is included but do the tight swine’s include a USB cable. No they flippin well don’t.
Problem #3 – The install, and probably my most hated part. Back in the old days, you’d have a simple driver install on a floppy disk and and after a few clicks later you’d be on your way. If not, you could a simple locate the .INF file and go all old school on it and do it yourself. Can you do that today? Oh no, modern printer drivers come on CD’s chock full of all manner of crap. The really ‘special ones’ even come on DVD’s!…that’s over 4gb for a flippin driver file…oh wait, nope, that’s for the HD movie about a happy family on holiday taking photos and printing them out on their new wonder machine.
Problem #4 – Bloatware. On said CD/DVD are a whole suite of software packages that will help you make the most of your new printer and because we think they’re so great, we won’t give you any option to opt out of installing them – oh and if you try to remove them yourself afterwards, then we’re really going to stuff up your PC. Remember, we know best.
Problem #5 – We’re going to help you along the way with an interactive install guide that’ll ask you a series of unnecessary questions before actually attempting to do anything. Answers must be correct before continuing but it shouldn’t take no more than a few hours. Also, whatever you do, DO NOT plug in USB cable until told to do so. Failure to comply will anger the printer gods.
Problem #6 – Now that your printer is installed and appears to be working correctly because you’ve got a collection of the fifteen test pages we’ve took it upon ourselves to install plenty of
resource sucking programs helpful programs that will remind you to register your printer three or four times a day as well as demanding that you to buy more ink even when cartridges are not empty. Owners of printers with built in flashy TFT screens will also be treated to a slideshow of other services and products corporate X can provide for you….and no, before you ask, you can’t turn this feature off either.
Problem #7 – You have attempted to print something, but there’s a printer jam or possibly one of the doors is open. We’re not 100% sure so strip it down to component level to be on the safe side. Until you do so, we’re quite happy to sit and flash the amber light for you.
This time, things get personal as we’ve decided that my aging home printer is ready for retirement in favour of a multi functional model as Curstie needs access to a printer/scanner without having to sift through the crap in my cupboard (I call it my retro computer collection to be honest). It should also be wireless and have plenty of cool features she said….oh this is NOT going to be a fun install.
After a little research, we opted for the Epson 405WH – It’s quite a nice MFP with a surprisingly small footprint compared to the usual all in ones I’m used to.
It ticks all our boxes providing all the functions that Curstie needs and well as those funky toys for me to play with if I survive the installation process. It’s also the first printer I’ve owned with separate ink cartridges, something i wished my old HP had had.
It comes in either Black or White and I’m guessing White is less preferable as the store had it on offer for £20 less. We got the white one
Packaging was minimal although no USB cable. Not a major problem really as we plan to use it completely via wireless.
Right, let battle commence……actually, things went rather very well. In fact so well, I’m half expecting it leapt of the desk, Lemming style.
No driver install required (although dah dah daaaaaaah, there was a CD included if you wish to use it). Simply switch on the unit and use the printer control interface/TFT screen to detect your Wireless access point/Router and register for any funky services one may wish to use might like..i.e Google iPrint, Apple Airprint and or Epsons own cloud based printing service – which by the way coupled with there most excellent (free) iPad/iPhone app is a real joy to use for integrated iOS printinfg
Once connected to your home network you can enter the printer IP address in a web browser and you have full access to all manner of services and hardware features.
This time around, the burb on the box was true and it works seamlessly. Here’s an example -
I had an old photograph I wanted to adjust in Photoshop as there’s a few marks on it and I’d prefer a better print.
I dropped it on the Epson scanner, selected scan from the front menu and it asked me where I wanted to output to from a handy selection of destinations including wireless to another device on my network, email, to the SD port on the local printer or to a range of popular cloud based services. I chose my Google Drive account so I could keep an offline backup of the picture. Next it asked me what type of file type i wanted it exporting as eg, PDF, jpeg, docx and many more (am liking this!). Next came a few more options such as orientation, scaling, resolution etc. It all sounds a bit long winded but with the on board controls it really was a few seconds to get going.
On my PC i downloaded the picture, edited in Photoshop and, as I wanted to share the picture to a number of people, I placed a copy in my shared folder on Dropbox. Dropbox is also compatible with this printer, so using the app on my iPad, I printed a copy back to the Epson from within Dropbox..and finally, because I love my gadgets, I read the email that my Epson printer had auto sent to tell me all about the above actions.
So, based on this latest printer adventure, am I convinced that all printer installations have got better?….absolutely not…I was just lucky this time