Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Printer Predicament

My solid Epson Stylus C86 has decided to do what my previous Epsons did - clog up. My experience has been that Epsons print with high quality, but ones I had in the late '90s always crapped out when the inkjets clogged. When I bought my C86  a few years ago, I was under the impression that the "DuraBrite" inks would be clog resistant. Well, two years later, I find that this printer is not much different than my previous Epsons. In fact, many other C86 users have the same opinion. I don't want to waste time dissembling the printer, or injecting archane fluids into the head - like I did with previous Epsons. 

So, I've decided to get a new printer. And it's not gonna be an Epson. 

My father-in-law (Japanese Tech Dude) favors Canon, but I've noticed HP has made inroads into the Japanese market. It also seems that the Canon/HP models available in Japan and the US are using the same naming scheme, making review-scanning pretty easy.

I didn't think I would be interested in an all in one printer - but after checking out models in person at stores, I have to admit they are very sexy. I've narrowed down my choice to the HP-C5180 and the Canon Pixma MP600. Both printers have copier, scanner, color/monochrome/photo printing, card-reader slots, and an LED for photo previews. Both can use English menus on the LED. Neither printer has fax capability, but this is not a big dead for me. Both printers are about ¥20,000 and Yodobashi has a 20% points campaign. 

The HP has ethernet/wireless networking built in, and a slightly smaller footprint. However, it lacks PictBridge (which I probably won't use) and only prints single-sided. 

The Canon has duplex printing (HP doesn't), OCR software, and the scroll wheel menu control is far superior to the HP's sticky 4-way button. The Canon doesn't have networking built in, but I might be able to do it via USB connection to Airport (maybe - I've read different things about this). The networking thing is of dubious usage, as scanning and transfer over a network seems to be arduously slow. The Canon also has the advantage of more menu options, and seems more user friendly. This is important for my wife.

So, I've setted on the Canon MP600 at this point. I hope to get my printer this afternoon.


Jason said...

I used to be an HP supporter. Then got an Epson when here in Tokyo like 2 years ago. I had no problems with my HP printers, but apparently they are not as good as others. I thought Epson would be great, but mine is UNFATHOMABLY SLOOOOW. It's hooked up to my Airport Express, but it's not just printing that is slow, it must take at least 2 minutes from the time I push the power button until it settles down and is ready to print. Then from clicking print on my screen to it startint to print, maybe another 2 minutes! Ludicrous.

I'd go with the Canon if I were you. Did you buy it? Post photos!

perma said...

I'm in the exact same boat as you- deciding between the 5180 with ethernet and the mp600 plugged into my airport extreme N...

Need to decide in the next day. Do you like the MP and does it work with your airport?

umijin said...

Yes, I like the MP600. Are you in Japan or elsewhere?

The Japan version is actually a little different - I haven't posted a follow post yet. It is Pixus, instead of Pixma b/c of the ink. But seems to be the same otherwise.

The printer does work via aiport - at least with my Airport Express. At least printing does. I have yet to try the scanning over the airport connection.

I really disliked the 5180's control buttons. Too rigid and not very responsive. Plus it doesn't have duplex printing. The PM600 lets me choose from either tray for paper -which is great. My wife uses A4 paper, and I have to use US Letter paper most of the time. Very handy. Maybe the only advantage the 5180 has other than ethernet-ability is its footprint is smaller, IIRC.

Shoot me any other questions you might have.

perma said...

Thanks, Im in California. I'm buying a Macbook Pro tomorrow, and Apple has their $100 printer rebate deal, so trying to pick a printer. My wife did the same deal last fall and picked up the hp C3180 for free. I wanted to replace it with something that we could network. I picked up an airport extreme N this week thinking we'd just use the USB printer sharing. Then found out that only the most basic print functions are supported- no scanning, and no printer feedback. Also discovered that of all the printers Apple sells, they won't tell you which ones are airport compatible. And, the manufacturers won't tell you either. HP has a short list, but none of the listed printers are sold by apple. No Canon list exists that I can find, and many people saying that pixmas won't work with airport.

The MP sounds like the better printer of the two, but I'm thinking of skipping the whole usb thing and using ethernet direct with the HP might be the smarter route.

Question: When using the airport, are you still able to set all of your print options like print quality, paper tray, etc or do you have to use the control panel on the printer?

By the way, I'm also in the same boat as you on the ultralight mac... I've been holding my fujitsu together with tape and superglue for 2 years waiting to replace it with a 12 inch macbook... I can't wait any longer and will need to get a 15 inch mbp. Not thrilled about carrying something this big, but don't want another windows machine. I got used to the tiny japanese imports on like the panasonics, fujitsus, sonys etc... I can't believe that apple hasn't responded yet.

umijin said...

About the MP600:
I also read some people had problems with the MP600 and airport. Printing to it is no problem at all with my AirportExpress. However, it won't scan to the computer via Airport - as far as I can tell. I recall you can get a BlueTooth dongle for wireless printing as well for this printer. That might be a good compromise. Hardwire it to your desktop and print via bluetooth from laptop. Or better, hardware to your desktop and share the printer - no dongle needed.

[Remember with the HP, if you are doing any photo uploading or scanning when you have it as a network printer - expect those transfer rates to be quite slow compared to USB.]

As far as I can see, I can access all the print settings as an airport printer. Just checked. However, you can't access the printer utility for ink level info, etc. (This was also true for my Epson, BTW.) Fortunately, you can get that info from the printer's LED menu.

About the Ultraportable:
Thanks for the commiserating. I'm actually quite down about it. I can't believe Apple would leave such a gaping hole in its line-up. And they wouldn't need to do much R&D to release something small. And with my hip joint needing to be replaced, weight is at a premium. I used a Windoze laptop last week for PowerPoint, and it went fairly well. I'm seriously thinking of getting a small one now.

perma said...

Thanks for all of the info. I'll probably go with the mp600. Great user reviews on

Enjoy your time in JP. I haven't been there since 2001 when I made a few trips for work and loved it. I'm actually watching Black Rain tonight- all shot in Osaka I think.