Is there a decent fax/printer combo?
June 9, 2005 9:13 AM   Subscribe

My employer is offering to buy me a replacement for my fax/printer/scanner unit that I hate. Does anyone know of a decent one? I don't need the scanner part.

I work from home full time, and my employer has provided me (among other things) with a combo fax/printer/scanner/copier unit. It's a Lexmark X63, and frankly it sucks.

The print quality is awful, it can't load a sheet of paper straight (and yes, I've adjusted the paper feed tray), it spontaneously resets itself or goes offline. The only part that really works is the fax.

They've offered to buy me a replacement if I can find a decent one, but I'm getting towards the opinion that there is no such thing as a decent combination unit any more -- jack of all trades, master of none sort of thing.

I use Linux exclusively, so that usually means that bleeding-edge models with windows-only drivers can't be used. I don't need to fax from the computer, and I don't need the copier/scanner functionality, since I already have a scanner.
posted by 5MeoCMP to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
It sounds like all you really need is a printer, given that you can continue use the current one as a fax machine. I would recommend asking for a color laser printer. Apparently the Minolta QMS Magicolor printers have Linux drivers, and it looks like you can get one for under $500.

I've owned a couple of Tektronix/Xerox color lasers over the years and have one now in my home office and have been very happy with it. I bought the cheapest available printer/fax/scanner combo for a fax machine (some low-rent HP thing).
posted by MarkAnd at 9:50 AM on June 9, 2005

Canon iP4000 printer. Doesn't scan/fax, just real good printing - color prints excellent, b&w fast from separate cartridge. About $140. I gave up on mutipurpose units a few months ago agreeing with your jack-of-all assessment.

Sorry, but I don't know the Linux driver situation for Canon.

Yes, Lexmark sucks, and imo so does HP nowadays.
posted by anadem at 9:51 AM on June 9, 2005

Panasonic makes very good laser printer/fax machines I found after doing some research. We picked one up a few months ago for ~$200 and its been great so far.
posted by gus at 10:59 AM on June 9, 2005

Oh, I should have mentioned -- the current unit is owned by my employer, and would have to be returned when a replacement is provided, so I really do need a combo fax/printer unit, since they will not spring for two separate boxes.
posted by 5MeoCMP at 11:07 AM on June 9, 2005

Do you need a colour printer or would a b/w laser be sufficient? If the latter, I've been using a Brother fax/printer unit similar to this one for about 4 years. Works great. Cost me about £200.
posted by blag at 11:32 AM on June 9, 2005

Laser printers are great. Since you won't be paying for consumables, I would probably reccomend a brother laser printer. Snappy and clear output. Ungodly expensive to run (and I mean ungodly, I believe ours cost us somewhere between 100x - 1000x the price of our laserjet to run).

Laserjet printers are nice if you do need to worry about consumables. Just got us an HP 2550l which works nicely for us with linux every day (only tried B&W in linux, the windows machines handle all the colour work). I'd reccomend upgrading the RAM in the printer, though. Consumables on the 2550 are a little expensive, though. :-(
posted by shepd at 12:40 PM on June 9, 2005

I've been very happy with the HP 3330. I don't use the scanner. HP is now making a color laser version that has similar functionality but I've not seen it yet.
posted by Dick Paris at 12:52 PM on June 9, 2005

We used a xerox combo fax & printer unit for years at our small business and found it to be very well made. That said, I used it as a printer perhaps 50 times in total - mostly I used it as a fax. It was a workhorse, however.
posted by phearlez at 1:22 PM on June 9, 2005

Lexmark really does suck, don't let it convince you that it's only as bad as everything else, it's far worse.

I looked this up a while back and I think I also found a Brother multifunction laser to be the best option. I didn't go with it personally because *all* the scanner/printer/fax devices were too big for where I was going to put the device -- I ended up with a fax/answering machine/cordless phone which was much smaller. (Also, I really wanted a fax, answering machine and 900MHz cordless phone -- you'd think one of the big multifunction things would have all three of those features.)
posted by krisjohn at 6:37 PM on June 9, 2005

I've only had it a couple weeks now but I'm pretty impressed with the HP 3030 I just bought for use under WinXP. I got it with a 175x jet direct box which would be a buck easy way to hook it to a linux box using the network printing subsystem of your choice but they also offer linux drivers on sourceforge if you want to forgo the network printing.
posted by Mitheral at 7:32 AM on June 10, 2005

I bought a HP OfficeJet 6110 refurbished directly from HP and have been very happy with it. Color Inkjet fax/printer/scanner.
posted by softlord at 4:56 PM on June 10, 2005

Thanks to all the responders. I just ordered an HP OfficeJet 6120, partly due to the recommendations here, and partly because the Linux support is good.
posted by 5MeoCMP at 1:57 PM on June 13, 2005

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