Three things I value: Part 2 – Worth paying a bit more for

In this post you will read about a device that costs low hundreds of pounds which only does he same basic job as a something costing about a third of that, but one which I still wouldn’t want to be without.

So, what is this device, and what makes it worth the money?

It’s a printer, more precisely a HP PageWide Pro 477dw Wireless multi-function Colour printer. That’s a bit of a mouthful, so I will stick to “477” for the rest of this post.

So, what does a 477 do?

Its a multi-function device which means it prints, scans and faxes. I only use the first two, so that’s what I’ll be writing about.

let’s start with printing

It’s fast: The biggie for me is that it’s what Hp describe as a PageWide printer, meaning that the print head is the width of the paper so can print an entire line in one go.

This translates to seriously fast print speeds. HP claim 55 pages per minute (ppm) which from my experience with this printer I wouldn’t argue with.

That is nearly a page a second for both black and white and colour, a speed that most home/small office laser printers can’t get near. Impressive

It’s cheap to run: HP claim about 1p/page for B&W and 5p/page for colour, which is colour laser territory, figures which I again wouldn’t argue with.

Add in the low power consumption (70 watts printing, 10 watts on standby and 0.2 watts sleeping) and the relatively high purchase cost starts to make sense for a small office environment.

It’s tough: With a claimed duty cycle of 50,000 pages per month this printer is well up to the the demands of most offices with room to spare.

Couple this with high capacity cartridges (Black 10,000 pages, colour 7,000 pages) users will be able to get on with their business rather than fiddling with the printer.

It’s good: My printing is mainly office documents and I am more than happy with the print quality. Text is laser-crisp while images are free of banding and colour gradients render accurately.

That said, if you do a lot of photo printing, then you may want a dedicated photo-printer to sit alongside the 447.

So, what about scanning

It’s flexible: There’s a choice of flat bed scanning and a 50 sheet automatic document feeder (adf). The flat bed is faster for a single scan while the adf allows one pass double sided scanning, something which can be a real time-saver.

It will scan as Bitmap (.bmp), JPEG (.jpg), PDF (.pdf), PNG (.png), Rich Text (.rtf), Searchable PDF (.pdf), Text (.txt) and TIFF (.tif) using the supplied app. Scan destinations can be the local computers, a USB device, a network folder or direct to email.

As is usual these days it has Twain and WIA drivers so can be driven by most software.

It’s fast: I had no trouble getting similar speeds to HP’s claimed 28 ppm in both colour and B&W from the flatbed. The adf is slower simply because of having to feed the paper through the scanner, but I was happy enough with 14-16 double sided scans a minute. 

It’s good: It scans at 1,200 dpi, which is more than adequate for my needs but, as with printing, those doing a lot of photo scanning may need a dedicated unit for this task.

And what makes it worth the extra money to me?

I value its speed, whether printing or scanning. It wouldn’t be the end of the world if I had to wait few seconds longer for either, but I enjoy the fact I don’t have to

I value that it uses very little power compared to the equivalent laser. That’s good for my pocket and the environment.  What’s not to like about that.

I value how easily it does everything. It never hangs or misbehaves so when I’m up against a deadline, it never gets in the way.

Was it worth the money?

To me, yes. Until relatively recently the majority of my purchases were budget limited. That’s a posh way of saying that I didn’t have enough money to buy what I really wanted.

Even then I nearly always made a point of buying the best kit that I could afford.

Readers of my first post on this topic may recall how forgetting this rule eventually led to a great outcome, but cost me time, money and my professional pride along the way.

Consumables were a different matter, experience showing that there are some really good compatible cartridges on the market, just be prepared for the occasional disappointment.

One of the tests of value is whether you could buy cheaper and use the saving to do something else instead. That’s a bit like deciding whether to have a better car or a better holiday.

Would I have bought the 477 if money was tighter? Possibly. It would depend on my other priorities at that time.

Ultimately, it’s a personal choice. My only advice is that possessions should be useful or decorative. Having them for their own sake is the the only real waste I can think of.

Over to you

What do you think about my decision to buy a more expensive printer than is strictly necessary?

If you have a comments on this post, or would like to share a story of something that you value, please leave a comment below.

Bob Windmill


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