Today I learned that HP’s printer ink is seven times more expensive¹ than a 1985 Dom Perignon. I can’t say I’m surprised. My honeymoon with inkjet printers drew to a close many years ago. In contrast to the once-famous battery brand, they are NeverReady. And in the unlikely event that they do become ready they are usually out of one colour or another. Put it another way, would you print your boarding pass with Dom Perignon?
Most people do very little printing these days (except, perhaps, for keen photographers who want copies to paste in the album). So when you send your page to an inkjet printer there follows minutes of whirring, juddering and, presumably, jet cleaning. There’s always one cartridge that’s low and I swear the ink just evaporates like a tankful of fuel when you leave the cap off.
Four months ago I bought a cheap Samsung monochrome laser printer against the advice of almost everyone. Why do you want a laser? They cost much more to run and they are only suitable for thousands of copies a month. Everyone buys an inkjet these days.
Well, the simple answer is that I wanted a laser printer because they are far less trouble than inkjets. They are quieter, quicker and more reliable. If I send this page to the Samsung it will print in a nifty ten seconds, all without lots of clatter, banging and echoes of Victorian carpet beating. The wireless connection to my network works faultlessly (even though it was a bit of a pain to set up) and, all in all, I am a delighted consumer.
I even find I am printing more things now, simply because it’s easier and more reliable. Having said that, I do print very little and I am still on the “free” half-size starter cartridge. And who needs colour anyway?
¹ I first read this gem in The Times, lurking behind its paywall on my iPad. Sadly I couldn’t give you a link to Murdoch’s finest because it isn’t allowed. So I Googled The Register and quoted them. The poor old Times, now imprisoned in Newgate Goal, used to be called “The Thunder.” In the internet age, sadly, it is destined to be “The Squeaker”.