Going entirely paperless is very important, but it is still not as easy. A completely digital and paperless environment is still probably decades away and the requirement for printers is still in high demand. While most offices and homes today are investing in printers as the most needed appliance for work, the topmost concern for both segments is the running cost.
Printers as equipment are very cheap, but the cost involved in maintaining the same is what hits the consumer. Think of it like owning a car that has a low mileage. So if you own a printer, you have to keep it running frequently to avoid the print heads drying up, which is a costliest replaceable part. Apart from the head drying up, you have to refill the ink cartridges, which does not come in cheap either.
Almost all companies who manufacture printers offer a starter ink cartridge that consists of a few millilitres of ink that can print an average of 500 – 1,000 pages. These cartridges need to be replaced with original ones as refilling an ink cartridge will put your printer out of warranty. Since the warranty is the main issue here, users end up being forced to buy original cartridges that are pretty expensive. While ink cartridges do come in two variants — standard and XL, they are also prone to running out, making sure you end up lightening your pockets at least once every month. Black XL cartridges can hold up to 20ml in quantity of ink within, yield around 300pages and cost as high as Rs 1500 to Rs 18,00, putting the cost of each black print at an average of Rs 6 per copy. Colour will be almost three times the amount.
Inkjet printers today also have another unique way to gauge the amount of ink balance in the cartridge tanks. No, there is absolutely no sensor inside the tanks to know the exact level of the ink remaining or used. The printer calculates the life of the cartridge based on the number of print copies passing through the printer’s mechanism. For example, if your cartridge is pronounced to yield 1,000 pages on a full tank, the printer will report the cartridge empty after exactly 1,000 pages — including paper jams being counted. So whether you print a single dot on all 1,000 pages or print a totally black page, the ink tank is estimated to give you 1,000 pages till it shows empty. In the first case, if you simply printed one dot on 1,000 pages, your cartridge will still have more than 90 per cent of ink balance, but the, printer will force you to replace the cartridge thinking that the cartridge is now blank. In the second case where you print entire black pages, your cartridge will run out of ink in around 200 pages or less, and the printer will still not allow you to replace the ink tank since it still thinks there is a lot of ink remaining. What is needed in printers today is intelligence on the amount of ink being dispersed on a page in ratio to the amount of ink inside the tank.
The above examples are facts and hence printer companies are usually bad named as ‘making money via cartridge sales.’ The fact is partially true as it would be cheaper to buy original cartridges rather than void your warranty. Refilled cartridges will not give you quality prints as the ink being used varies in quality and colours as compared to original ones. Also, you end up losing warranty. However, at the end, you could come up with a possible claim too that buying a new printer is cheaper than opting for new cartridges.
Another major concern is where consumers think twice to buy a printer at home or small office if the printing volume is low. There are many printers that have a high yielding cartridge, but still, need a replacement after they are exhausted. However, the most expensive part of a cartridge is the print head, after the ink itself. Hence the concept of ink tank printers came into existence. While leading printer manufacturers are slowly bringing in ink tank printers for consumers with high printing volume needs, are they good enough as an investment? The answer is yes, provided you do have high print volumes.
Canon, a leading manufacturer and old-time player in the imaging business, has recently released the Canon Pixma G2010 in India. The printer boasts of a really huge ink tank that is very easy to maintain by the user himself. The printer is an all-in-one MFD and hosts four large individual ink tanks for each colour CMYK.
The Canon Pixma G2010 is a refillable ink tank all-in-one printer especially meant for high volume printing purposes. The printer is meant for small businesses, schools and alike where printing a lot is a major requirement on a day-to-day basis. The G2010 can print, scan and copy with speeds of up to 8 pages per minute in black and 5 pages per minute in colour. Photos can be printed in approximately one minute.
The printer sports a maximum resolution of 4800 x 1200 dots per inch (dpi) and has a total of 1,472 nozzles that spew out the high-resolution images onto the paper. Three colour tanks and one black tank make up the printer’s ink reservoir with each colour (CMY) holding up 70ml and black (K) can hold 135ml of ink. The ink is supplied in a bottle and all one has to do is simply open the lid of the tanks and empty out the bottle. The ink tanks are visible from the front to help the consumer physically see the level of ink inside each tank and refill or top-up the ink whenever he requires. While the black ink tank is on the left, the three colour tanks are on the right. Each tank is connected to the print head via long pipes. The print head is also a replaceable component so the consumer can replace it when it goes bad or dry. The print heads are placed on the moving arm of the printer.
The printer has a top-loading paper foldable tray that can hold up to 100 sheets at a time. The front output tray is foldable but does not close the compartment completely which allows for dust settling inside. The printer does not feature duplex printing, which leaves the user to manually flip the paper for dual-side printing. Adding a duplex printing mechanism is a huge requirement to save on paper today and Canon could have enrolled this printer with the same design too.
Moving away from the printer, the MFD has a built-in flatbed scanner but does not sport an ADF. The scanner has an optical resolution of 600 x 1200 dpi @24-bit and can scan A4 documents in colour at the speed of around 32 seconds. The printer and scanner together create a copier machine which can scan and print black copies at will. Multiple copies can print in one go, up to 20 copies in each batch.
The Canon Pixma G2010 runs on a regular USB 2.0 port connected to the PC. There’s no wireless connectivity or Ethernet port which could put this MFD as a network printer, making it just short of an office or business printer. The printer is built with a rugged all-plastic body and has a matte finished exterior.
The top features the control panel with a simple and very basic 1.2-inch LCD display to indicate the number of copies. A total of six physical buttons are available for power, maintenance, copy count, stop/cancel and copy in black and colour each. The buttons are very tactile and large enough for a good ergonomic operation. The rear panel sports a power jack and a USB port.
Installation of the printer is pretty simple. The printer comes with a bundled set of ink bottles and a set of print heads for colour and black. Each print head needs to be installed initially and the bottles need to be emptied into each respective tank. An optical disc containing the necessary software is also provided for the drivers and utilities required for printing and scanning. This includes a print assistant and a scanner utility.
The printer utility has the necessary tools and options to allow the user to clean the print heads whenever he faces issues with print quality. This includes head cleaning, deep head cleaning, bottom plate cleaning, roller cleaning, print head alignment, ink flush, nozzle checking and quite mode settings. Additional features that are probably a good option are auto power on/off and remote power off where you don’t need to physically approach the printer to turn it off. The scanning utility is basic and can do scanning for each type of scans, which include document scanning, photo scanning, stitching and automatic scanning.
On the whole, the printer is pretty simple and straight-forward to use and maintain by any common user with minimal to zero tech knowledge. The best part is the large ink tanks which will give the consumer a relief from expensive cartridge replacements and the transparent ink tanks which allow the user to know when a refill or top-up is required. The printer costs Rs 11,255, with all four ink bottles and the two print heads bundled along. The printer with the supplied ink can give you a total yield of a whopping 7,000 pages (estimated prints per three cartridges combined, ISO standard). Third-party ink providers retail all four ink bottles for a mere Rs 370 – Rs 525, while original bottles will cost you Rs 470 for each ink bottle (Rs 1,880 total). While original cartridges can give you a cost per print of <20 paise per page, third-party ink can dive <1 paise per print.
The Canon Pixma G2010 is a perfect printer for homes with kids and small offices where printing volumes are very high. The price for the printer itself can be recovered in a few months. We recommend using an ink tank-based printer for a simple reason — lower costs, ease of refilling and peace of mind.