One of the more aggravating things in life: consumer electronic reviews, and printers

Is trying to shop for small appliances and electronics. I’m in the process of trying to replace my printer and it’s just painful to do research on them. It appears that HP printers now have chipped cartridges that will just cease to function when THEY think it’s time. Other printers get some one-star reviews that are blood-curdling in their venom. I just need a multi function that will work with an iMac. Is this too much to ask? I don’t even care if it has color. Easy set-up and functionality shouldn’t require a degree in tech.

It’s just as bad shopping for some simple appliance, like, say, a waffle iron. How difficult should this be? It’s not a complicated piece of gear, and yet the vitriol aimed at things like this is astonishing. Coffee pots that leak, waffle irons that don’t heat, blenders that don’t blend. Fucking hell.

This is one of the few downsides of sites like Amazon. I can be standing in Target needing a new toaster. Honestly, any of the two dozen toasters they have will probably be just fine. I know I should grab one for $15 and be on my way. But I can’t help myself. Before I know it I’m on amazon reading reviews. Apparently, every one of these toasters will undercook my toast, set my house on fire, pop the toast up too loudly and burn everything that gets put in it.

Eventually I just have to remind myself that it’s just a toaster. A $15 appliance is on borrowed time as soon as it’s out of the box.

Of course, we have to always keep in mind that people that do have legitimate (or imagined) problems with something put a lot more energy into putting bad reviews out on the internet than all the people that bought the same thing and never gave it a second thought. I mean, my toaster from Target is still working fine 10 years later. I certainly didn’t run to Amazon to give it 5 stars…but I may have given it a bad review if I had a problem with it.


Whatever you are asking, it’s too much.

Don’t even get me started on printers. Back in days of yore (35+ years ago) I had an inkjet printer that worked really well. Simple. No wifi. But technology moved on and so did I. Since that printer, I haven’t had one that I haven’t had to physically restrain myself from, at some point, hauling it out in the street and driving over it with my car. My latest one is an Epson. I did not sign up for Epson’s automatic refill-ordering scam, but even so, it seems that I can print five things and the messages start popping up: “Danger! Danger! You’re almost out of ink in <name of color cartridge>,” and there’s no way in hell that that can be true, because I print about 10 things every year. Okay. Sorry for the outburst.

:rofl: Thanks for the laugh! I needed that!

Seriously, you are correct. Researching techie stuff is challenging. One of my go-to places besides amazon is Wirecutter. I don’t know if you have to be a NYTimes subscriber. They’re sort of the America’s Test Kitchen of gadgets, tech and otherwise.

Because of my recent BlackBerry battery issues, I’m thinking of going with a mainstream Android phone, and researching that over the last couple of days has made me nuts.

I am also shopping for a printer, but I have a different problem. I did a bit of comparing and researching in my quest for a color laser printer that can handle two-sided printing and I found the one I want to buy. It is a model from a major printer manufacturer, has existed for a few years, and is listed on lots of sites (Amazon, WalMart, etc.). However, no one currently has it in stock and the availability keeps getting bumped back. For the last two months, everyone shows it as being back in stock “in 2 to 3 weeks”. I can’t figure out if this is a COVID-related shortage, a model that is being phased out in favor of something new, or something else.

And then there’s my large photo printer that takes nine (yes, NINE) colors of ink. One of them is matt black, which I have never used. But I see that the matt black cartridge is gradually becoming depleted.

Ink slowly dries out all by itself, which is one or the reasons I am shopping for a laser printer.

We bought our Epson ET-2760 last November at Costco and it’s doing great (it replaced a really awful HP). The EcoTank thing does seem to work out well even for light residential printing needs.

We had a horrible time finding printers last year. A very nice saleslady at Staples explained there was a supply shortage because so many more people were needing printers for home work/school and suppliers weren’t keeping up. The microchip shortage I’ve heard about as a problem with new cars might or might not also be relevant here.

I had an all-in-one color printer at work. I never, not once, ever printed anything in color. However, once a day or so, the printer would ‘self clean’ all the print heads. So the (individual) colors would run out. Even though I only used it for printing in black and white, if any of the cartridges ran out of ink, it would refuse to print anything at all. Plus the cartridges were different prices, since I only printed in black, I just picked up a bunch of whatever the cheapest color was. Nope, it knew I put the wrong color in and refused to print.

Since this was our work printer and fax machine, we had to keep ink stocked up for it. We couldn’t afford to have the printer or fax down for any length of time. It turned out to be a huge money pit.
I eventually emailed their support people about it. Hoping maybe there was a setting to disable the self cleaning mode or to get it to print even though it was out of ink. There wasn’t. So I made a complaint on BBB and they sent me a new laser printer.

Hmm… I see that it can handle duplex printing. Have you done any double sided prints, and if so, do you have any trouble with bleed-through?

I usually do double-sided and at least for things like recipes, bleed-through has not been an issue.

I got so stabby with the inkjet color depletion problem that I finally gave up and bought a Samsung M3065FW B/W laser 3 in 1 for 99 bucks. I have given up on the idea that perhaps printing in color might be fun someday–I’m sure it would be but in the many years I dealt with fucking inkjets and their magically disappearing cyan cartridges I printed MAYBE one page with something in color on it to probably 200 pages all in stark black and white. Doesn’t help that I print MAYBE 100 pages per year. I scan way more than I print, way more. So far, even though I’ve suddenly had the need to print way more pages per year than previously I have only managed to get through the teensy cartridge the printer shipped with and I’m still working on #1 of the two cartridges I ordered at the same time as the printer (because I’m a suspicious old woman who has had to order way too many color inkjet cartridges, only to find out that hey presto, the cartridges for MY particular printer are no longer being made at all and the third party ones don’t work for shit) and I figure that I might actually die of old age before I use up both of these cartridges. No matter, Samsung laser printers are a dozen in a dime bag and this one is not smart enough to reject a toner cartridge from Fat Tony’s Sleazy Toner World Dot Com so I think I might just order a couple more (at about $20 each) to make sure generations yet unborn can still print shit off Granny’s old beater. Oh, and to bypass ALL the wifi bullshit I just ran a six foot USB cord from the media box right up to the back of the printer. Go ahead, motherfucker, figure out how to deny THAT! *cackles maniacally with slightly hysterical undertones*

Oh yeah, baby. I use a cord, too. Waaaay tired of wifi fails.

I think I may have dated this guy. Once.

I’d really worry about you if you gave him a second bite of the apple, girlfriend.

Same, only mine is longer :smiley: (This is actually bad. My modem cable is also very long.)

I once had wi-fi working, but then we switched providers. I literally could not enter the required punctuation in the password (since I had to input info on the printer rather than the computer). Ugh.

Oh, hells yeah. This Epson ecotank is supposed to be able to work using wi-fi, which is why I bought it. My wife uses the desktop Mac and I use a laptop PC. Nothing I did would work to get the damn thing set up for wi-fi, so I finally gave up and connected it via cable. If I want to print something that’s on my laptop, I transfer it to a card, walk into the other room, and stuff it in the Mac.

It’s actually given fairly good service for five years, but it really doesn’t like being told what to do by the Mac, and will freeze up. This requires disconnecting the power cord and then rebooting the printer and trying again. But now, despite many, many head cleanings, it’s streaky and things are just becoming unreadable.

I frequently print maps, rule booklets, character sheets, and other handouts for my players in tabletop roleplaying games. With my current inkjet printer (and previous ones), if one side of a page uses a lot of ink for a map or illustration, printing on the other side of the page makes both sides get smudgy or bleed through due to residual moisture in the paper from the art on first side. I have no problems if I am only printing text or if I wait for the paper to thoroughly dry before printing the second side, but waiting is annoying. :grin: Heavier paper stock might help with this, but that is more expensive, which is also annoying.

I’ve never been happier with a printer than the HP LaserJet I bought a couple of years ago. It’s possible those of my generation have a mental block that ZOMG A LASER PRINTER is super-expensive or some kind of pro-level luxury, I don’t know, but it’s not. It was $100, plus $100 for the toner cartridge, and cheap at twice the price.

True, just black and white printing, and I have no idea what a photo would look like since I only print text documents. But it’s great. As far as I know, no chip, no nonsense about the laserjet ink supposedly expiring or the jets needing cleaning (which uses tons of ink, which is of course the point). In fact, I understand that powder toner inherently stays fresh a lot longer than liquid ink anyway.

I’m looking for a color laser printer that won’t break the bank in toner and stuff.

I saw a nice Brother black and white, but I want color, just for no reason. Does anybody have any thoughts for me?

We have all Macs, and iPads/iPhones we would like to print from. Our old HP laser Is too old to be used on the most recent Mac systems. I don’t know whose fault this is, but it irks me. I also broke up with HP because of a junk laptop they tried to pass off on me as a computer recently. (It was dead on arrival, and tech support said I absolutely had to return it for repair. I said no, I would return it to the store for refund, and the tech guy got testy with me and said I must sent it to him. (That’s when I concluded he was not really HP, but instead a repair service running an approved scam.) I returned it to the store. So no HP here.

The repair people sent me notice after notice after reminder to return it to them.

And I think a mesh network is in my near future, but I have to figure how to use our MacBooks’ Time Machine on that. I think there is some magic and garlic-waving to make Time Machine work on mesh.

Now I don’t know which decision comes first; printer or mesh.

Anyhow, what color printer-scanner is good, reliable, easy and reasonably priced? Or is all that too much to ask?

Just in case they have anything useful, here are a couple relatively recent threads:

There is an interesting psychological phenomenon related to this called the paradox of choice which shows that to many choices actually makes people less happy with the thing they actually choose.