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Why Your Next Printer Won’t be a Dell

This is not one of those times. HP, Epson, Canon, and others have been playing in the printing business for sometime. I work for HP and have some insight into how the market and the company are changing. HP listens to their customers and watches their competitors like a hawk. Look for some big changes in the near future, but that is all I can say right now. I can say that HP feels confident in the direction they are moving and do not see Dell as a big threat in the printer market.

So why would I buy a Dell printer? The only thing that I can think of is ease of initial ordering. This is akin to buying a “meal deal” from a fast food chain. It is natural to assume that you will be buying a printer with your PC, assuming that the PC you are buying is your first. I cannot think of very many people who buy a new printer with every new system; but who knows. So we are getting a drink with our fries and burger. But what if I want a Pepsi, Snapple, or wine instead of Coke? The major players all offer ways to order on the web, either through their site or via another retailer. No big advantage there.

There are many other things that I would consider as downfalls:

Can only buy ink from their online store

You can run to your local Target, Office Depot, or Circuit City and buy ink cartridges for most major printers. How many times have you printed a photo, your term paper, or resume and ran out of ink? You cannot wait around for someone to deliver a cartridge to you. Optionally, HP does have links to their online store and other retailers from the toolbox in the systray of your computer (assuming you have HP?s software installed).

Touch factor

If I want to compare the print quality of a Canon next to an HP DeskJet, I can run to Circuit City, CompUSA or wherever, and hit the “Print Sample” button. Why would I buy a printer without knowing if I’m going to like it or not? Also there are other things to consider: noise, form factor, and speed.

Wolf in sheep’s clothing

Let’s face it; you’re buying a Lexmark, not a Dell printer. ’nuff said.

Limited selection

Granted this will only be a short term problem but with plenty of selection currently on the market, buying a Dell printer right now should not be an option.

Ink system

I am no big fan of ink refilling. After working here, I have realized that refilling cartridges can really ruin your printer and make a huge mess. But I understand why people do it. However, if you refill a Dell cartridge, it will no longer work. The new Dell printers will recognize a cartridge that has been refilled and lock it out. Other companies are trying to do this but currently most printers will allow 3rd party or refilled pens.

There are many different printers out there to chose from, many of them better than a Dell/Lexmark printer. Don’t waste your time buying a Dell printer just because it says Dell on it. You’ve been warned…

Quotes: “Few heads will turn this morning when Dell Computer makes its long-awaited entry into the computer printer business…and customers aren’t likely to flock to Dell’s Web site to trade in their existing printer for a new one with a Dell logo.” — San Jose Mercury News – Article

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