A (so far) suckless printer at a good price

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In my last post I said all printers suck — at least in my experience. YMMV, as they say.

The most recent suckage at our place was produced by a Brother laser printer and an Epson ink-jet that co-died while I was elsewhere (coincidentally dealing with an Epson printer that refused to print anything from my wife’s laptop, which is the same model as mine, running the same OS, with the same printer drivers).

So I bought the Samsung M2830DW Xpress Monochrome Laser Printer on the Staples website. The price is currently $59.99, which could hardly be better, since Consumer Reports top-rates it over Canons, Brothers and HPs, all of which cost more.

It works well. I gave it five stars on the Staples and Consumer Reports sites.

However…

In case you buy this thing, I also want to share the caveats I put in my reviews at the two sites:

  1. It comes with no manual and cryptic pictorial multi-lingual instructions. You’ll need patience. Getting the toner out and removing various strips is the hardest job. But it can be done. (Here’s a link to the manual.)
  2. Wireless operation requires a software install by an enclosed CD, followed by initial wireless set-up by a computer over an enclosed USB cable. This is a one-time thing. That’s so the unit can know, for example, the wi-fi access point security code. (Though it might be more than one-time if you change access points or codes, so don’t lose that CD.) This is a pain if your computer doesn’t have a CD/DVD drive. Neither my MacBook Air nor my wife’s can play CDs or DVDs. (In fact most small new laptops don’t have that feature, since CDs and DVDs are terribly retro now.) So we had to fire up an old laptop and install though that. (Really, Samsung should have the same installer downloadable from the Web. Far as I can tell, they don’t, but I may not have dug deep enough on their website.)
  3. There is no clue to how much toner comes standard with the unit. The Brother this one replaces printed about a dozen sheets then wanted a replacement. The Staples where we picked this up did not stock the toner. In any case, you’ll need spare toner anyway, so get some, if you can, when you buy the thing.
  4. The cost of this unit on the Staples site was $79.99, discounted from $159.99. This is far below Consumer Reports’ reported prices of $127 – $199 (both, oddly, at Walmart). So I was happy with that until I got an email from Staples asking me to rate the unit. The Email sent me to me to the page where I am writing this — and the price now is $59.99. Great price, but I feel a bit cheated.
  5. At the store where I picked up the printer, I was pitched a three-year protection plan for $4.99, but when the guy behind the counter tried to make that work with “the system,” it came up as $30, so I declined. But now I notice this on the page for the printer: “3-yr Printer Protection Plan ($30-59.99) $4.99.”

I also notice that it’s also $59.99 at Amazon, for what it’s worth. Guess they’re trying to blow it off the shelves.

So here’s hoping it doesn’t start sucking soon.

[Later…] I contacted Staples through the chat agent on the printer’s page, and the agent quickly adjusted the price I paid to $59.99. So that was nice. Unfortunately, the agent couldn’t retroactively give me the $4.99 protection plan.

 

5 comments

  1. MacRat’s avatar

    This printer is great up until you put in brand new toner cartridges and it decides they are empty for no reason.

  2. Doc Searls’s avatar

    I await that failure. Thanks for the warning.

  3. Graeme Robinson’s avatar

    My recent printer experiences (last 10 years) reflect yours Doc. Similarly I have reverted to a simple mono laser – a Xerox Docuprint P255DW. Its ethernet wired, which I prefer in a printer for reliability, emails me when the toner is low (which just happened – $60 for two full sized replacement but aftermarket cartridges) and was cheap – $60 (these are Australian dollars by the way so the machine should be cheaper in the USA).

    So far I’m very happy, and changing cartridges was very easy. Call me old fashioned but I like the occasional emails I get from my printer too :-) As far as I’m aware this printer can’t be connected to social networks. And it prints double-sided.

  4. Mihai Pintilie’s avatar

    I had a HP laser printer, I was happy with it. Then a Samsung, also pleased with the performances. Now I have a big Brother all-in-one laser with all the functions one would need. Again happy with it. The problem is I never used them at their full potential.

  5. Alan Davis’s avatar

    I have owned two Brother lazer printers. Each of them is incredibly cheap to operate. Refilled toner cartridges are 2 for less than 20.00. A refurbished drum was 15.00 or so. They print forever.

    A newer brother inkjet I have outfitted with Chinese mammoth sized cartridges that hold 100ml (black) and 30ml each (color). So nice. Colors are a bit off. Setup was incredbly easy. It loads landscape by default and is able to do 11×17″. Wifi works easily. (using a Mac.)

    The samsung is attractive at that price. I think cost of ownership is a bigger deal. It absolutely is, I mean, at least for me.

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