Date: 2006-10-28 13:29:00
small office all-in-one

The last printer we had at home was an inexpensive Canon inkjet that we bought shortly before we left Texas (and sold to [info]ivo before we left). Since arriving in New Zealand, we have managed to get by with Amy emailing me things to print at work. Now that we're starting a business, we need to be able to send and receive faxes as well as print. We decided that we should get a combination fax/printer and looked around to see what was available.

I stopped in at Dick Smith Electronics and looked at what they had to offer. There was an HP unit, but HP's replacement ink cartridges cost a fortune. The base model Brother unit was the MFC-215C which does print/copy/fax/scan. The ink cartridges for the Brother unit are much cheaper than HP too.

The Brother unit was for sale new at $188, but they had a customer return there which I got for $138 (US$91). It seems to do everything as advertised, all in one compact unit. It also has slots on the front for five different types of camera memory cards, so you can stick in a memory card and print directly from the unit. I didn't think we would have a need for that, but I thought just maybe ... yes, if you stick in a memory card and your computer is awake, the memory card is mounted as a drive!

So, with one unit and a single USB connection, this device can:

This replaces two previous USB devices: our other scanner (which we'll still use for film negative scanning), and a memory card reader. Oh, and running the phone line through the unit will also let it intercept incoming fax calls. If either a human or the answering machine answers a fax call, the fax receiver will hear the fax tones and take over the call (there are three other modes, but that mode will work best for us with one phone line which is primarily used for voice). And for $2.50 per month we've got distinctive ring on our phone line, so we can distinguish incoming personal vs business calls (with two different phone numbers).

I'm really happy with this device, it just works.

There are some combo devices that also come network-ready, so that you can directly plug in ethernet. Nugget has a printer/scanner/fax combo that can be accessed via an embedded web interface for the scanning functionality.

I'm not sure I'd ever buy an inkjet printer again. I'm tired of putting up with clogged nozzles, wet ink smearing, non water-resistant ink, paper warping from saturation, etc. Laser printers (even color laser) seems to be reasonably inexpensive these days, and don't have those types of problems.
Yeah, the next model up has an ethernet port (and a document feeder). While it would have been nifty to have a network-available printer, this will do for now. Maybe our next printer will be a laser model.
Greg Hewgill <>