Buyer Beware
Published on May 13, 2011 By Daiwa In Personal Computing

Purchased an HP6500A Plus All-in-One MFP about 3 weeks ago.  I wanted a machine that could do duplex printing, scan using a multi-sheet document feeder and serve as a TWAIN scanner for scanning apps, in particular Essential Fax.  Didn't plan to use it as a standalone fax as the Essential Fax computer app is far better for managing in-bound faxes, most of which I don't want to print to paper anyway.

I debated between the HP and the equivalent Canon product, the MX870 AIO, and from what I could tell, the consumable (ink) cost would likely be lower with the HP.  There was only a $10 difference in printer cost, so the HP seemed like the better long-term choice.  But I have a history with HP.

About 5 years ago, I took a contract job doing credentials for a specialty event, the X-Prize Cup, in Las Cruces, NM.  One of my tasks during pre-event prep was to acquire 3 MFP's and I bought 3 identical HP units (can't remember which model) at the local WalMart.  The software for them would not install on any of our computers and I wasted more than half a day of time I didn't really have to spare in a fruitless exercise with HP tech support trying to get the things to install.  No matter how many times & ways they tried, the HP software would not install and there was no other option - no simple printer drivers you could use in the Windows Add Printer applet, no TWAIN drivers.  We finally decided to cut our losses, boxed them up & returned them the next day.  Only one of the three really needed fax capability so we picked up one Brother Fax/Copier and 2 Konica Minolta color lasers, with which we encountered no installation issues at all.  I made a mental note to avoid HP products henceforth.

Flash forward to my recent purchase.  I figured they surely must have improved their installation software in 5 years, so took a flyer on the 6500A despite my prior experience.  You can guess where this is going.

The installation software simply refused to 'find' the machine on my network, wired or wireless, even though it could be pinged and the Wireless Setup Wizard was able to connect it to my router.  An incredibly painful 2 & a half hour tech support call with an agent who was quite cordial but whose English was almost unintelligible and who was obviously operating entirely from on-screen algorithm prompts rather than knowledge, failed to resolve the detection problem and the agent and her boss concluded that there was a problem with my router (mmm... OK).  After hanging up, I was able to get the printer installed as a TCP/IP printer using the Add Printer applet.  Couldn't get scanner drivers installed, though.  But I was at least able to print.

I received an email from a senior case manager at HP a few days later inviting me to call for escalated tech support.  Of course, they're east coast and have hours which don't quite match my availability, but I managed to have this morning free so I gave them a ring.  A little over four hours later, their software still could not identify the printer on the network even though we could ping it and launch its built-in web browser by navigating to its IP address.  Without HP's installation software identifying the printer, however, the scanning software could not install.  He promised to do some more research on the problem & call again in a couple of days.

Coincidentally, all the starter cartridges ran out of ink yesterday evening.  So I shuffled off to Costco this afternoon to get some ink.  To reach the ink shelves I had to walk by the printers and the MX870 was on sale for $10 less than when I bought the HP.  The set of HP ink cartridges was going to cost $85.  The MX870 was $99.  Made the decision on the spot to solve my tech support problem by buying the Canon instead of the ink.

Suffice it to say, within 30 minutes of opening the box, the printer was fully installed on the network.  There were no detection issues and the TWAIN scanner driver works perfectly with Essential Fax.  Another 15 minutes and the printer was installed on the other two network PC's without a hitch.  The HP is now a big shiny black paperweight.

The HP hardware seems pretty solid, and their LaserJet monochrome printers are superb (we have 4 of them in my office), but those people can't write installation software worth a crap.  Having now had 2 nightmarish experiences with consumer HP printer installs, I'm pretty sure I'll never try another one.

If you are in the market for a printer, save yourself a potential headache and avoid HP.  But I strongly recommend Canon products.  I had a Canon N670U flatbed scanner that was trouble-free (replaced by MX870 now) and I have a Canon i9900 photo printer that installed easily, even on a wireless print server.  They seem to know how to make stuff work.

Sorry for the ramble, but it feels good to get it off my chest, since I didn't allow myself to scream into the phone at that poor tech in Mumbai (or wherever) that first night.


Comments (Page 1)
on May 13, 2011

we have a canon i860 (a no frills printer) that we've had for some time. it has been dependable and I would probably never buy another brand of printer.

on May 13, 2011

The Canon product would have been a better pick cause One it's Canon two the ink as in when you run out of blue in your HP you'll have to buy ALL 3

to where the Canon if you run out of blue that's all you would have to go get... the other good one to have got would have been an Epson their like Canon one color is out that is all that one would need to get.. but an Epson is just a tad bit higher and their ink too.. 

 

other Note is one would only need a Printer and or a Scanner  as for a PC can be used as a fax

 

The MX870 was $99. Made the decision on the spot to solve my tech support problem by buying the Canon instead of the ink

Grate Choice

 

The HP is now a big shiny black paperweight.

Take it back and get your $$$ back

on May 13, 2011

I've never been sorry about going with Frogboy's suggestion to get the Pixma MX560. He got one for his mom for Christmas.

Canon is just the way to go, for me anyway.

Glad you ditched the hp and are a lot happier, Daiwa. Gives you more time to update Granular/Granulation. Would have been done if you'd gone Canon in the first place - lol.

(no...I'm not gonna stop 'nudging' you until it gets done).

on May 13, 2011

Daiwa....timely....

I just [2 days ago] bought a Canon MX885 to replace a 'painful' PP fax machine.....

Need I mention the installation [network included] was totally hassle free.

Does everything it's supposed to do.....calmly and correctly....

Last HP product I had was a scanner.....it karked it before it could work out what XP was ....and met its maker.

Doubt I'll ever buy HP again.

on May 13, 2011

DisturbedComputer
The Canon product would have been a better pick cause One it's Canon two the ink as in when you run out of blue in your HP you'll have to buy ALL 3 to where the Canon if you run out of blue that's all you would have to go get...

Well, Daiwa have speak about  HP MFP in his post... having a old HP Color Laserjet CM1015 MFP, i can certify that for these printer, you can buy one of the 4 cartridge ( black, cyan, magenta, yellow )...

By the way, i use the printer with XP pro x64, Solaris and Linux without problem... with Canon, they have Linux driver too but only to 32 bits open source library... so heavy work is needed for install everything on Linux x64...

Well, i have a good experience with HP and Daiwa have good experience with Canon... don't mean that one of us is wrong... a printer is like a computer, buy one who allow you to make what YOU wish... for me, multi OS support was very important... and low cost color print too ( so liquid ink printer was not a option with their very small expensive cartridge )...

on May 13, 2011

I'm not knocking HP hardware.  Their business class laser printers, monochrome & color, have a history of excellence.  The four LaserJet 4000N printers we have are a decade old and going strong.  In fact, so strong that HP quit building them when they figured out they were of such high quality they wouldn't break or wear out.  I have a standing offer from our (occasional) IT firefighter to purchase them when/if we don't want them any more.  The toner is inexpensive, especially monochrome.  They also use standard driver architecture for them which makes installation easy.  HP is a great choice for business and for all I know their business class AIO's are great.

The home/small business class stuff is a different story - comes with bloated proprietary installation software that is just poorly written garbage (based on my two experiences with a 100% failure rate - actually, it may be three experiences as my son bought an HP AIO about 6 years ago & had issues just installing & using it on a single PC).  It's also all-or-none - if any part fails, it all fails.  Canon's installation software, on the other hand, let's you install only what you want or need.

on May 13, 2011

technically, jafo did spell everything correctly. yes, virginia, "by" is a word. for that matter, so is "buy".

 

clean up in aisle 4!

on May 13, 2011

Jafo pokes out tongue....

on May 14, 2011

I bought my wife a Canon Pixma MP560 last year... we love that printer. Never have any issues with it. Ink is inexpensive, too.....

on May 14, 2011

Come on, MadDeez - give Jafo a break.  He got karked right, didn't he?

on May 24, 2011

I now have an Epson Stylus Photo TX710W, and it does all it is supposed to and more... it was connected to the wireless network the moment I first turned it on... no ifs,buts or maybes.  Before I had a HP 3-in-1... it drank ink like nobody's business and paper jams were frequent.  As for the HP software, I got a techie mate to come install it, such was the pain in the arse it caused me. 

I did learn on trick from him, though, and the next time I found the software installed like a charm, though that was in Vista not XP... and that was to turn off the Windows firewall.  I had no end of issues with it in XP - couldn't get it to install, no-way, no-how, yet in Vista it was simple once the firewall was disabled... and it still beats me why people called/call Vista Microsoft's Red Headed Step-Child.  I run Vista Home Premium x64 on my current rig in a dual boot configuration with Win 7 Home Premium x64, and performance-wise I find very little difference between them..... one OS is used for multi-media, video/music editing, conversion, etc, and the other for pretty much everything else... saves cluttering one or the other and makes for a cleaner registry, etc.

on May 24, 2011

Really like my Canon printer. Avoid HP like the plague.

Jon

on May 24, 2011

I remember your story about the 3 printers from the past.  And like you, I will swear by he hardware (I have a Photojet that is over 10 years old but keeps on working!  Of course Windows 7 does not support it.  While a Lexmark MFP died within a year of purchase).

Sorry to hear about your continued problems.  I have found the HP software to be very problematic - but never had issues as bad as yours (it just aggravated me and caused extra time - usually about an hour).

on May 24, 2011

'painful' PP

 

Doc... u got something for Jafo? 

on May 24, 2011

vStyler



Quoting Jafo,
reply 4
'painful' PP


 

Doc... u got something for Jafo? 

It only has one 'l'.  [if that's to which you refer] The adverb has 2 ...... Spell checker ...