Epsons, multi-functions & a look at HP Laserjet Pro 200

HP Laserjet Pro 200 M251n boxed

First a word on my old Epson.

My previous printer, an Epson R220, whilst capable of producing great printouts, was notoriously work shy. Fickle actually. Prima Dona comes to mind. Give it a gourmet diet and it purrs, but dare you offer it ink that isn’t their own label and incidentally costs more, weight for weight, than solid gold and the problems start. Ink not recognised, ink empty when it’s a new cartridge, general cussedness. The trick is to uninstall the drivers, remove the device and add it again and, lo and behold, you have full ink, no blinking red lights. Do miracles never cease? At least until you turn it off and off again… I lost count of the number of times I’ve felt like pitching it through a window, but you get used to it and that makes you complacent. So I bought a load of ink. Boxes and boxes of the stuff. And it died. “Paper jammed.” No it’s NOT. “Ink’s empty” Which one? you ask, hopefully, "None, all, I dunno". Needless to say that entire range is now obsolete, so it’s gone out the door for recycling and I’ve a tonne of ink to give away. Sodding thing.

I had previously decided to replace it with a Kodak Hero as they got good reviews, but seeing as they went bust and no longer make printers, off to a bad start. I did look on-line and in a few stores for new alternatives. Fun.

"Can I help you, Sir?"
"Actually, yes. I’d like a good printer. What do you recommend?"
"With a fax?"
"Why in god’s name would I want a fax, they went out of style and use in the 90’s eMail killed it."
"A copier? A scanner?"
"I had this **** in the coffee shop, I just want a printer."

I didn’t really have that conversation, other than in my head, but I thought it loudly and repeatedly. Why on Earth does virtually every printer on the market seem to be a multi-function, all-in-one, copier, fax, scanner, wireless, ethernet, piece of junk? How can they built all that into a £49 colour printer? My last scanner, an Epson 700 printer cost me over £350 at the time, I think, and they haven’t updated the model since because it’s that good. In fact in the years since I bought it they added another £100 to the price and pushed it’s posh brother, the 750, up to about £650. And you want to tell me a fifty quid scanner – with everything from a fax to a colour printer bolted on is going to be good value? Pttt! I am not so sure

It’s not just the low-end of the market, that’s what gets me. It’s large A3 office inkets, massive footprint industrial laserprinters and everything in between. The mind boggles.

Anyway, lurking behind all this planned junk were two real printers, a Samsung CLP-415N colour laser (or CLP-415NW if you need wireless too) and the HP I settled on, Laserjet 200 color M251n. Wasn’t a lot to choose between the two models, either in reviews and general respect for the manufacturer and the HP appears a tad cheaper on toner, so that won it. Heavy, chunky beggar to lug back, but it fits fine on a pedestal drawer where the Epson previously squatted, so I was happy. And both were a mere £149. You can pay more than that for a set of Epson ink!

So, how was installing it?

Ran the cables, plugged it in and turned it on. Eventually. First I stared hard at the installation guide until it filtered into my caffeine deprived brain that nearly all the set up images were for the M251nw and I neither wanted nor greatly needed the wireless option. Apart from the pop up screen they are basically the same, but it threw me anyway. So, as I was saying, turn it on, run through the setup – pulling the tabs off the toner cartridges, a few confirms for things like country and network options, initialisation and of it goes, getting the IP address.

hp-laserjet-pro-200-m251n-toner-cartridges

That sorted, put in the installation CD and off you go. A little slow for my liking, but it checked for updates first, installed and ran off a test print. Couldn’t be happier…

Apart from the fact the install wanted permissions for proxy server and hung when I didn’t comply. Nothing task manager couldn’t kill and it’s been fine since. That said, installing it may have corrupted the gadget bar, so I’ve disabled it. It is thought to be a security risk, but I happened to like having the clock and cpu monitor, so I’ve a bit irked in that respect. Meanwhile, on my wife’s computer, Window 7 fell over when she rebooted. In all fairness I cannot say if the cause was Epson’s after summarily dispatching it’s software and devices, or the HP updater or something completely unrelated. All I do know is it rolled back the system to before I removed the Epson R220 – and took out the internet security on that machine. Fixed that first, killed the Epson again and simply told it to look for the printer. So much easier. Found it on the network, went on-line for the drivers.

Ready to print. Paper tray is smaller and flimsier than I’d like or am used to but it’s colour and a tenth the price of the chunkier old mono HP4 I had back in the day.

hp-laserjet-pro-200-m251n-tray

windows-printer-test-page-hp-m251

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