Are HP printers losing their mojo?
While following up this week's article about the best multifuction printer for a small home office, I began to wonder whether HP still merits its reputation as the champion printer manufacturer.
When I needed a small office printer about four years ago, my decision was almost automatic, despite the eye-watering £59 price tag for the HP 1015's toner cartridge. But that machine developed a fault that was not economic to fix and I started looking for a replacement.
My mum is something of an inkjet demon (she uses them for laying out artistic handbag designs) and has a stable of three machines of varying vintages: an old Epson Pixma, an HP InkJet 2355 and a newer HP Photosmart 4380 - a special offer, apparently, that she couldn't resist. In use, she found the new machine's interface was much more complicated and finnicky than the older model, and with the arrival of a new Dell PC running Vista, the drivers threw a strop.
It took ages for Dell & HP to come up with new drivers and they still occasionally unload themselves for no apparent reason. Other people I consulted confirmed that HP's interface software is "clunky".
The company has gone on a big acquisition drive and moved into more profitable IT services - but has this affected what was once its strong point: its reputation as THE leading printer manufacturer with a strong commitment to R&D?
If other people have similar experiences to me, I may delve more deeply into the subject to confirm whether an era has come to the end. And if it has, which supplier would succeed HP as the printer king?