Grandma-friendly USB printer?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by cleo, Feb 21, 2005.

  1. cleo macrumors 65816


    Jan 21, 2002
    Tampa Bay Area, FL, USA
    I recently bought my grandmother a slot-loading G3 iMac to replace her old and malware-killed eMachine. I got an amazing deal on it (including upgrading the RAM to 1GB, it cost under $300), and I'm not really looking to pour money into the setup. But Grandma needs a printer -- her old one was even older than the eMachine, and went kaput around the same time. So I need recommendations. The main thing is that it needs to be super-easy to use (no kidding, I just spent 45 minutes on the phone troubleshooting the fact that her hockey-puck mouse was pointed in the wrong direction). Second thing is cost, which shouldn't be a problem, as I'm looking for the most basic of basic inkjets -- no fancy photo-printing needed, she just wants to print out the occasional funny email forward. Third is that it'd be nice if it were available on Amazon, as I have Amazon Prime.

    Any thoughts?
  2. Littleodie914 macrumors 68000


    Jun 9, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    Haha... I got a chuckle out of that :)

    I can't really recommend any easy printers, as we've only had one so far, but I can tell you it's definitely something you want to stay away from. It's a Hewlett-Packard PSC750 (One of those All-In-One deals), and is horrible to deal with... It doesn't come with Mac OS X drivers, so you have to download the ones from HP's site, which are slow, require to be launched on login, and are the most buggy things I've ever used.

    I hear Brother makes very Mac-friendly printers, you may want to give them a shot. Good luck ;)
  3. mcgarry macrumors 6502a


    Oct 19, 2004
    I had a Canon i450 that was the easiest, most trouble-free one ever for me. (I gave it to my brother when I recently "upgraded" to an iP4000, but that's another story ...) Knocked the pants off the old Lexmarks and HP inkjets I used (though to be fair the HPs were very old).

    In the current lineup it has been most directly replaced by the iP1500. That and the iP2000 might be worth a look. All for sale on Amazon.

    They both use relatively low-capacity, cheap ink cartridges (BCI-24bk, @$7 for black rated at 150 pages). This is good for people that don't print a whole lot since ink cartridges can dry out within 6 months if you don't use it all. It also can just feel better to pay les for ink, even though page-for-page it's not any cheaper if you actually get full use from the larger HP etc. cartridges.

    You might also want to consider a cheap laser.
  4. cleo thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 21, 2002
    Tampa Bay Area, FL, USA
    Rock on, excellent suggestions! The iP1500 is exactly what I was looking for... all of the HP printers in that price range have gotten crap reviews on Amazon, and I just didn't know where else to start looking.

    Thanks again!

    (Now to go pick out a cheap, un-confusing mouse...)
  5. jsalzer macrumors 6502a


    Jan 18, 2004
    Another vote for Canon

    My HP experience - huge drivers. Squeak, squeak. Unplug USB, replug USB, unplug USB, replug USB.

    My Xerox experience - we've decided not to support OSX on this model. Unplug power chord and replug power chord since there's no power switch and it constantly needed to be reset.

    Canon - Pure joy. Quiet. Never crashes. Never grabbed multiple sheets of paper. Love the four separate ink cartridges (saves money in the end.) Easiest cartridges to install (even the wrappers have simple tabs if grandma has arthritis.) Go canon! They aren't very pretty (my Xerox was beautiful), but the beauty's on the inside.
  6. mcgarry macrumors 6502a


    Oct 19, 2004
    yeah, the iP1500 is basically a re-badged i450 minus the tray that catches the paper coming out, plus a full-closure piece of plastic on the top for when there's no paper loaded. It also retails for 1/2 what the i450 originally sold for. The i450, at least, did a great job with borderless photo printing-- for the price, not in general-- with good detail, just crappy colors. For just text, it should be fine. Both models have had generally favorable reviews.

    For what it's worth, if grandma likes calling tech support other than you when the need arises, I have had good experiences with Canon. Though my iP4000 has had serious problems, Canon support has been good. (don't worry, the two models use different print heads, paper paths, and ink tanks)
  7. asphalt-proof macrumors 6502a

    Aug 15, 2003
    Funny I had the opposite experience. I went through two Canon printers before I chucked in favor of an HP 1200. That being said, my general experience with printers and macs have made me want to cry. It seems that this is one area that MS does well. Truly plug and play. I spend too much time futzing around with my printer and this mac. Just my experience.
  8. mac_westy macrumors newbie

    Jan 13, 2005

    I have owned three Epson printers that had great color and features, but I had a ton of problems getting it to print reliably. I had to do a lot of resetting, holding my tongue out the left side of my mouse, increasing my Karma, and etc., to get these things to print. My sister had the same problem with her Epson and recently bought a HP (all-in-one), which I installed and it has worked extremely well. She is a teacher and uses it to copy, scan and print a lot and has great success (not to mention I have had a lot fewer phone calls). She paid $99 CAD for it so it was reasonably priced. May have too many bells and whistles though for Grandma.

    Anybody else have problems with their Epson? I would be interested to hear.


  9. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    My mum loves her Epson CX5200 all-in-one. She has all these little projects and correspondence to copy, along with basic printing from time to time. It's saved her a lot on copy prices and gasoline. Epson has updated them since then, but they work really well. I have a CX6400 and it's a lifesaver at times.
  10. Stratification macrumors regular

    Jan 17, 2005
    Spokane, WA
    I'll drop another plug for Canon. Just recently got our first mac (12" iBook), plugged in our Canon i860 and downloaded the drivers. Went in clean and beautifully. Not a hiccup.

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