FOGEY 5 All-in-One Printers

Jan 27, 2011 No Comments by

The Fogey 5 are the best five products in their class by virtue of expert and consumer review from at least 10 respected and authoritative websites.

Ten Top 10s, nearly 100 multi-function printers and precious little consensus.  Ten printers featured on more than one Top 10 list.  The HP Officejet Pro 8500a Plus was on five lists, the Canon Pixma MX 870 and MG 6150 were on four lists and three others were on three lists.  Which is six, I know…

There are other significant printer brands which much to recommend them: Kodak (whose ink is exceptional value), Brother, Epson and Lexmark for example and there was a curious anomaly in that Which? rated three Dell printers very highly whereas that brand hardly featured at all across the other reviews sites.  But in terms of consistently high ratings across a brand, HP and Canon scored highest.  And bear in mind that small office printers can be rather large…

HP Officejet Pro 8500a Plus

Aimed at small businesses and home workers who want to be well prepared for when their cupcake empire goes global, the Pro 8500a is a printer, scanner, copier and fax. And it prints wirelessly, which is a boon if you have several devices from which to print such as laptop, desktop pc, camera and iPhone. Even within such a sprawling product description there are two models.  The ‘Plus’ suffix adds ePrint, which you don’t get with the slightly cheaper variant.  ePrint is some sort of web-connected facility that this Fogey is too dim to appreciate the value of.  Oddly, the one place where the 8500A comes in for stick is on the Hewlett Packard website.  Some had issues with the auto paper and card feeding; others didn’t.  There’s a welter of stats on the HP site and ’bravo’ if you find them meaningful.  ‘Features and performance justify the investment,’ reckons PC Advisor.  ‘A fine, robust inkjet all-in-one’, says Trusted Reviews who scored it 9/10.  It’s also very black and glossy and good luck keeping it that way.

Launched Q4 2010.  Around £230.  More info here.  Buy HP Officejet Pro 8500A Plus


Canon Pixma MX870

Another offering for the small office/garden shed the MX870 is printer, scanner, copier and fax, and can print wirelessly.  The MX prefix denotes small office whereas the MP prefix denotes photo printing. As with most new all-in-ones do these days you can also edit and print photos by slotting in your camera’s memory card and using the machine’s touch-screen.  A bit like you would at the supermarket.  One relevant and true generalisation about relatively expensive printers is they are more cost-effective with ink; the MX870 uses five single ink cartridges so you need only replace the used ones.  This might seem crashingly obvious but if you’re printing holiday snaps with huge swathes of blue (or grey if you sojourned in Scotland) the blue (cyan) will run out before the others.  On some printers where the colour ink is all in one cartridge this could mean dumping that cartridge when it’s still full of the other colours.  Which is daft.  And ye olde faxes don’t print unless you want them to; save trees and read ‘em on your PC. Just F.Y.I. Trusted Reviews rated the Canon Pixma MP990 their Best Home Office Printer 2010 but no other site was similarly effusive.

Launched Q1 2010.  £180 or less. More info here.  Buy Canon Pixma MX870

Canon Pixma MG6150

Do you take HD movies with your phone/camera/camcorder?  If ‘yes’ and you’d like to be able to print photo-lab quality frames from them as HD snaps then Robert’s your mother’s brother because the MG6150 will do it.  But then so will Canon’s third Fogey Fiver the Pixma MG5250 .  Hmm.  On the face of it and apart from the 6150 being about £50 more expensive, there doesn’t seem to be much difference between these two.  Both will print wirelessly, scan and copy although neither has fax.  According to the blurb on the Canon website the MG6150 (and its bigger brother the MG8150) are ‘capable of printing a 10x15cm borderless colour photo in approximately 20 seconds.’  ‘The touch panel controls built into the scanner lid are very easy to use and give the machine some extra sophistication,’ say Trusted Reviews of the MG6150.  Having said that MX denotes small office use and MP photo printing what could MG mean?  An obtuse bunch those Canon-eers.  Or Canonballs. Or whatever.  Launched Q4 2010

Launch price £199.00; now trading for around £150.  More info here.  Buy Canon Pixma MG6150


Canon Pixma MG5250

Having scoured the Canon website it seems that MG has superseded MP as regards denoting photo specialisation. The MG5250 scored well in customer review forums on both Amazon and Best Buy.  But what do you, the great unwashed, know about print technology?  How much do you need to know, washed or otherwise?  As discussed, this silky black beast will print/scan/copy and has five single ink cartidges (the MG6150 has six).  It has ‘auto-duplexing’ which could refer to printing on both sides of the paper – handy if you’re putting together a calendar or brochure or photo album of your last exotic vacation. Quality is excellent, everyone seems to like it and it’s good value.  How much of a risk would you be taking?  It’s a Canon.  They make good stuff.  Launched Q4 2010.

Launch price £149.00; now trading for less than £100.  More info here.  Buy Canon Pixma MG5250


HP Photosmart Premium C309g

The C309g was Which? Printer of the Year for 2010, and any sane person might have thought such an accolade would have prolonged its production life.  But, no – even in the relatively anodyne world of printers there’s room for snazzy new features that no one really cares about so it’s been discontinued and replaced with the CN503b which hasn’t made enough of an impression in reviews-land for it to make the Fogey 5.  Having said that, the printer that tops the Which? charts at time of writing is the HP Laserjet Pro 1102w, available for a snip-like £87.02 from Crescent Electronics.  Back to the C309g though: very fine print, scan and copy resolution, PictBridge (if your digital camera has this facility it means you can print wirelessly from said camera without having to fart about with cables and a PC), wi-fi and HP even chuck in a USB printer cable, which few others do.   Launched Q3 2009.

Launch price £199.99; now trading for around £160.  Very little info here.  Buy HP Photosmart Premium C309G


HP Photosmart Plus B209a

The HP Photosmart Plus B209a has also been discontinued to be replaced by the CN216b.  As is often the case, the newer model is cheaper than its predecessor and has more/different features that are supposed to be so enticing you’ll happily junk the dinosaur you currently own to make house room for the newbie.  The B209a is, however, still available, new, on Amazon.  It’s worth mentioning compatibility here; make sure the printer you buy will work with your operating system (OS).  Newer machines might not like an older OS such as Windows XP or even Vista.  In spite of having been phased out the B209a is sufficiently up-to-speed that it allows you to print snaps, wirelessly from your iPhone.  Launched Q3 2009.

Launch price £149.99; now trading for around £80.  Very little info here.  Buy HP Photosmart Plus