Some technobabble by Maynard

When my ancient HP Officejet All-in-One gave up the ghost, I went looking for a replacement. Knowing that the world changes rapidly, I figured my knowledge of printers was obsolete, and I shouldn’t trust my instincts.

For example, I first assumed I should get another inkjet. These, being cheaper than laser printers, are the apparent solution for people that don’t do much printing.

However, laser technology offers one advantage for the low-volume printer: The toner cartridges don’t clog or dry up like inkjet carts and print heads may do. The only downside to laser technology is it’s considered inferior to ink for printing photographs. So maybe a color laser printer is attractive…if it’s cheap enough.

I checked the market and found the newest Brother all-in-one printers are actually LED printers rather than laser printers. These are of the same general technology as laser printers, except they use an LED matrix as a light source rather than a laser. The result is said to be slightly less precise than a laser, but more reliable and cheaper. (See the Wiki article on the general technology.)

It seems to me that, at this moment in history, Brother is pricing its printers much more aggressively than the competition. Brother offers several options in color multifunction printers. The LED printers were the ones that were cheap enough to tempt me. The MFC-9010CN prints and copies and scans. The MFC-9120CN adds faxing. And the MFC-9320CW adds wireless networking. These units offer everything I could want except duplex printing.

These (and other) printers are being periodically offered at great discounts. For example, as I write this, you can get the MFC-9010CN delivered to your door from NewEgg for $279.99. Wow! That deal is good through Monday.

Meanwhile, at Amazon…The MFC-9320CW is listed right now at $339.99. The MFC-9120CN (which is lower on the food chain) costs $10 more at this moment. And the low-end MFC-9010CN costs $10 more than that. Watch these details, or you’ll end up paying more to get less!

Again, all these prices include shipping. Prices go up and down on an irregular basis, apparently as promotional deals expire and are reinstated. I eventually bought an MFC-9120CN from Amazon, which I caught on a dip to $319.99…but I’ve seen it go as low as $309.99 at NewEgg.

I can’t believe Brother is making any money on these deals. How can they possibly manufacture a big, heavy (50+ pounds!), complex device and ship it halfway around the world for so little? Unless it’s a piece of junk (which it doesn’t seem to be), they’ve got to be losing their shirt.

Of course, they hope to make it up in the long run on toner cartridge sales. But, with my minimal printing needs, I may go for years on the included “starter cartridges” (should be good for a thousand copies).

I was focused on color printers. Monochrome printers are even cheaper. (Here’s the whole selection at NewEgg.)

As we know, America’s capital is flowing to China, and we’re going broke. But I figure by buying stuff like this, I’m making China (or maybe Japan) go broke too.

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10 Comments | Leave a comment
  1. azlwcats says:

    Thanks for sharing your research, Maynard!

  2. lord-ruler says:

    This is Maynards backhanded swipe at Carly Fiorina. I know it!!

    • Maynard says:

      Everyone should keep in mind that the value of HP halved during Fiorina’s tenure. My HP connection tells me the people there despise her. I don’t know enough to make a definitive declaration. But Carly’s certainly got some ‘splainin’ to do.

  3. Rob says:

    Also – sweet deals on used printers from businesses closing under the thumb of Obamanomics.

    • Maynard says:

      There’s nothing like a recession or depression to drive down prices, which will drop to what people can afford to pay. This is assuming the government doesn’t step in and subsidize everything, which will merely pile up the debt and keep prices unaffordably high.

  4. jmucciola says:

    Heck of a coincidence Maynard! I bought a Brother MFC 9010 CN All-in-One about 6 weeks ago after having two HP printers break down on me in less than one year! So far the Brother is great.

  5. RuBegonia says:

    Hey Maynard – speaking of America’s capital flowing to China, this Keynesian Tale sends me into another tailspin.

  6. thierry says:

    when the labor is a few cents an hour…

    i have an hp photosmart ink jet printer that is 5 or so years old and it’s sort of awesome. it has never clogged- not even once because each tank cycles itself and pulls the ink back into the chamber- it’s not left on the print heads. i take a lot of photos- the prints are exceptional and i get good mileage on the tanks. text print out is good and it even scans printed material well. previously i went through printers like mad-epson mostly which really all sucked and were nonstop clog fests. the photosmart is still going and i use it quite a bit.the best printer i have ever owned.

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