Is it normal to get this excited about a laser printer?
I’ve had my eye on the Lexmark e120n for some time now, and I ordered it on a whim a couple of days ago. (I got mine through EnByte because it looked like a reputable online store and had cheap delivery.)
I received it at work today and when I got it home, I unpacked and installed it in three minutes flat while my lasagna was reheating in the microwave. (Home cooked by Kate, special treat for me, no McCains in sight here…)
Anyway, the e120n is a 20ppm mono laser printer with an ethernet print server built in!
So I’ve connected it up to my Billion ADSL modem/router and now I can print wirelessly from anywhere in the house.
It also supports OS X beautifully, appearing automatically in my list of printers via Bonjour automatic network discovery technology. OS X didn’t have a driver for it but the included CD from Lexmark had the driver for OS X 10.2, 10.3 and 10.4. Seriously impressive!
And then there’s the fact that unlike most ultra-cheap printers, the toner cartridges for this AREN’T overly expensive. They go for $89.60 at ITParadise. (Sure, the cartridges are only rated for 2000 pages at 5% coverage, which makes the prints expensive at 4.5c each compared to most laser printers, but I’d be lucky to go through 2000 pages in four years. I mainly use the printer to print out forms and online purchase receipts.)
The lack of a screen on the printer isn’t too much of a downside because it comes preconfigured to get a network address automatically via DHCP, and when it is first powered up after getting a new network address, it prints out a page telling you what address has been assigned to it. Then you can type that IP address into your web browser and configure the printer entirely using a web-admin interface!
Browsing through the web-admin interface, I can see that the cartridge that comes with the printer has a capacity of “0.5K” which I assume means 500 pages. Well, it’s no worse than inkjet printer makers and their starter cartridges. And you could hardly expect a full $89 cartridge as part of a $164 printer!
The ONLY downside that I can see is that it only has a low capacity paper tray… 150 pages. But if you were churning through 150 pages on a regular basis, you’d probably want to spring for the next model up, anyway.
I tell you, it’s a stereotype that home users want colour photo printers. They’re a pain in the ass. They never have networking built in, the paper feeds are forever fouling up, the ink cartridges are extremely expensive, they’re slow, and there’s a non-specific karmic frustration related to the fact that they print pages line by line rather than a whole page at a time.
Props to Lexmark for bringing out such a totally great value printer for a geek like me who wants network printing at a low cost with pages shot out fast. And for supporting Mac OS X comprehensively.