The Best Budget printers for 2022 in Ireland

HP Deskjet 2720

HP Deskjet 2720 is a multifunctional inkjet colour printer that can also scan and copy documents and images. It is suitable for home use.

HP OfficeJet 200

Design

Just like many other HP printer models, the HP Deskjet 2720 boasts a clean and sleek design. It has a premium look, even though it is made with 20% recycled materials. Its dimensions allow this device to scan A4 documents with ease. This is what the wide majority of users would want from their home scanners.

Functionality

If you take a closer look at the scanner lid, you’ll notice the power button on the left side, to the top. Below this button, you’ll see a small display. The scope of this tiny screen is to provide you with information on the status of the printer. You’ll be able to see at a glance whether the device is connected to your WiFi network, or whether the ink levels are still within the normal limits. This is also the place where the various errors will be displayed for you to know where to start the troubleshooting from. If you want additional information on the status of your printer, all you have to do is push the information button.

The cartridges are easy to access by opening the two front covers. To do so, simply pull the tab. If you need to change the cartridges, ensure your printer is turned on. As you open the covers, the cartridges will automatically move towards the centre of the opening, being therefore easy to extract and replace.

HP has already focused to make printers that are so easy to use that even your grandmother could operate one. You don’t even need a PC to use this printer, as it connects directly with your mobile phone via a dedicated app. The printer connects without the need for cables. You’ll need a WiFi connection, though to make this work. As a matter of fact, the cable isn’t even included in the package, so you won’t be able to connect the printer to a PC that doesn’t have a WiFi board.

After you download the application, you’ll be prompted to install a printing complement on the mobile, a sort of organiser or file manager to allow you to manage the printing of your files. If you connect your smartphone, your computer and your printer to the same network, you’ll be able to print any document or image on your mobile phone. You can even do this from your computer, provided that the three devices are connected to the same WiFi network.

On the technical side of things, this printer makes use of the HP-proprietary two-cartridge thermal inkjet technology. One of the cartridges is black and the other one is tri-colour. The monthly duty cycle of up to 1000 pages looks promising, as well as the supported resolution of 1200 x 1200 dpi. In terms of speed, you’ll benefit from 7.5 ppm when printing in black and 5.5 ppm when printing in colour.

The copy function allows you to make up to 9 copies per document, at a maximum resolution of 300 x 300 dpi. The printer also features support for automatic enlargement function. The scanning technology relies on a CIS system featuring a supported area of 216 x 297 mm, at 24-bit colour depth, 256 shades of grey and a resolution of up to 1200x1200dpi.

The HP DeskJet 2720 has a generous input paper tray that can hold up to 60 standard size paper sheets. The output tray can hold up to 25 sheets.

When it comes to compatibility, this printer is one of the most flexible available. It works with plain paper, as well as with brochure paper, envelopes, cards, and photographic paper. One small mention, though: it does not support borderless printing, so you’ll need to trim the edges of your photographs after printing. If you choose HP 10 x 15 cm photo paper, you can work with a thickness of up to 300 g / m².

HP Instant Ink Helps You Say Farewell To Buying Cartridges

HP Instant Ink is a home delivery ink replacement service that allows you to print a previously agreed number of pages every month against a fixed monthly fee. You won’t have to worry about running out of ink ever again. Besides, you’ll be able to print your photographs and your documents in colour at the best quality available, without worrying about costs. When you have HP Instant Ink, all that matters is the number of pages you print every month and not the amount of ink you use. This service must be a photographer’s dream.

Here are the available ink replacement plans:

  • Free Plan: You get to print the first 15 pages per month free of charge. Each additional set of 10 pages will cost you 1 Euro.
  • Occasional Plan: You can to print up to 50 pages per month for 2.99 Euro. It is possible to accumulate up to 50 unused pages. You can also expand this plan with packs of 10 pages for one Euro each.
  • Moderate Printing Plan: You get to print up to 100 pages per month for a fee of 4.99 Euros. You can accumulate up to 100 unused pages and expand this plan in increments of 20 additional pages for one euro.
  • Frequent Printing Plan: You can print 300 pages per month for 9.99 Euros. You can accumulate up to 300 pages and expand this plan with packs of 20 additional pages for one euro.
  • Professional Printing Plan: You get to print 700 pages per month for a 19.99 Euros subscription. This plan allows you to accumulate up to 1,400 unused pages. Also, you can expand your plan with additional packs of 20 pages at one euro each.

The HP DeskJet 2720 is a truly versatile device, able to satisfy the demands of a home or a small office. This is the printer to buy if you only want to print or copy documents. Even though it can manage photo printing at satisfying quality, there are other printers that do a much better job at that, so you should keep researching your other available options.

When you start up this printer for the first time, you don’t need to do anything else than enjoy the simple and rapid starting process. Then, you can use the printer as you wish at home or at your office. If you have a home office, you’ll want this very printer to cater to all of your printing, scanning and copying needs. It can handle various types of paper, labels, envelopes and even business cards.

The Epson XP-3100

The Epson XP-3100 is a fairly cheap home use printer. It is actually an all-in-one device that can also scan and copy documents and images in colour.

Epson Expression XP3100

Design

The printer boasts a nicely designed and lightweight body, with a fancy textured top.
It features a low profile and a reduced weight
The set-up process is extremely simple
There are some known issues with the print heads

The Epson XP-3100 is strikingly small and lightweight, taking into consideration its all-in-one device profile. If you were to compare it with the Canon PIXMA TS7450, you’d see that it weighs half, at a size of 170 x 375‎ x 300mm. It is also lighter than the Epson XP-7100.

Despite its sleek and compact profile, this printer has a robust and durable appearance. The textured pattern on the top contributes to this sensation of excellent durability. The control panel features a swing mechanism that seems robust enough to last for a very long time. The kickstand you’ll find underneath the hood of this printer is a brilliant addition. You won’t even feel the need for a slow-close mechanism.

The cover of the scanner is very thin, thus making it very easy to handle. The paper out tray feels wobbly to some extent, but this is only an impression, as it moves rather smoothly.

Like many other printers, this one can take commands in a wide array of ways: you can use a direct USB cable connection, a WiFi connection via mobile app or via WiFi Direct. There’s an application you can install to control your printer without the need for cables.

Functionality

The XP-3100 can handle double-sided printing, also known as auto-duplexing. Unfortunately, there’s no Automatic Document Feeder, so you won’t be able to make several copies of multi-page documents. Nevertheless, this is not a printer for extremely busy home office workers who produce lots of documents and need to make lots of copies of these documents. This is rather the colour printer of the entire family, a device you can also use to copy a document every now and then or to scan your passport for an upcoming trip overseas.

Setting up the XP-3100 is a breeze. As you power it and switch it on for the first time, you’ll get prompted to inset the four ink cartridges and to run a battery of alignment tests. In my situation, I needed to run some cleaning programs multiple times before the device would print the magenta ink properly; nevertheless, this was only a minor issue I never had to deal with again afterwards. All the above-mentioned processes took about 10 minutes, anyway.

The next thing you’ll want to do is to connect the printer to your home WiFi network. The most secure method to do it is to enter the password manually, using the control panel. This was a challenge, taking into consideration the very small size of the display and the fact that it doesn’t have the touch feature. If you’re someone who likes to change passwords frequently, you probably won’t like this too much.

After I got the connection set and working, I had to install some firmware updates. You can find all the needed Windows drivers on Epson’s website. For Mac users, the process is even easier, as they only need to choose the XP-3100 in their System Preferences. This printer supports Apple AirPrint. Android users have the Epson Smart Panel and Epson Creative Print apps to manage and control their printers.

With Epson Smart Print Panel you can print directly from your smartphone, from iCloud and from Google Drive. Generally speaking, it acts just like a remote control panel. You can also use it to run alignment tests or check your ink levels with ease.

Apparently, the XP-3100 can’t print directly from Evernote, OneNote or Box. This is rather weird, as many other Epson printers allow you to do it.

Epson Creative Print is the perfect app to create greeting cards or to print labels for your CDs or DVDs. The Colouring Book tool is an addictive feature that turns your photos into black-and-white line artworks. This can make a cool and entertaining therapeutic colouring tool for those in need.

Cost of printing

The Epson XP-3100 is advertised as a money-saver, thanks to its four ink cartridges, one for each colour (black, magenta, cyan and yellow). This makes it cheaper to replace the cartridges as they run out of ink, as you won’t have to change the whole set of four. On the contrary, tri-colour cartridges are usually a waste, as you have to replace them as soon as one of the colours runs out. The four-cartridge system is therefore way kinder to your family budget. This makes the Epson XP-3100 one of the best choices for families.

Print quality and speed

When it comes to text, both speed and quality are awesome. However, this is done at the expense of ink levels.


The high print speeds and the sharp fonts are among the best in this category
Graphics look nice, but photo quality could be better
It’s a good idea to get XL cartridges, in order to quench the thirst for the ink of this printer

The Epson XP-3100 is a fast enough colour printer that can produce a decent outcome in terms of copy and graphics printing at reasonable speeds.

Single A4 pages of text can complete in about 4-5 seconds. This is a fairly high printing speed. I managed to print five-page documents in a little under 27 seconds, which is the equivalent of 11 pages per minute. 20-page documents took on average 2 minutes and 10 seconds, or almost 9.9 pages per minute.

When I used the Normal print setting, the text came out sharp and distinct. I couldn’t see any instances of bleed for deformation. I also tried it with larger, heavier fonts, and I found out they were a bit blanched. I’d say you ought to increase print quality when you want to print something very important.

Single-colour photos in A4 format took 57.2 seconds on average. The photos looked decent, but I thought they lacked that special vibrancy if you know what I’m talking about. Colours were rather drained, muted and dull. My mistake was that I tried to use glossy paper, hence the struggle. I can’t really comment on the ability of the Epson XP-3100 to print high-quality photographs.

The Epson XP-3100 is a very affordable all-in-one inkjet printer, a true bargain for those looking for one. However, I’d only buy it if I needed to print sparingly. Taking into consideration its ink consumption, the long-term running costs of this printer would be too high to use it as the main printer in your office or home.

Canon Pixma TS3150

The Canon Pixma TS3150 is a wonderfully cheap yet extremely useful piece of hardware. This inkjet printer with copy and scan functions doesn’t have any of the smart or fancy features you can find on pricier models. You won’t have the duplex feature to print on both sides of the paper, for instance. However, this printer supports wireless networking, so you can connect it to your WiFi network and get rid of those ugly cables. Once connected, the printer becomes available for use with any of the computers and mobile devices on the same network. The printer is small and lightweight. It comes in two colour variants: black (TS3150) or white (TS3151).

Epson Expression XP3100

On the back of the device, you’ll find a small paper tray that can accommodate 60 sheets. The output tray on the front helps you keep things organised while printing. When you don’t need to use the printer, you can flip shut the rear tray to turn it into a lid. On the top of the printer body, you’ll find two start buttons, one for colour copies and one for black and white ones. There’s also a Cancel button and a small, basic display for status messages.

The installation process is straightforward, thanks to Canon’s setup program. It will detect your printer automatically, without any need for input from your side. If it fails, you can always use the USB cable to set up the wireless connection.

Unlike more expensive Pixma models, the TS3150 only uses two cartridges: a black one and a multi-colour one. This makes it more expensive to run, as you’d need to replace the colour cartridge each time one of the colours runs out. When using XL cartridges, the price of the colour component of an A4 page comes out at 4.3p, which is very expensive.

As this is a cheap device, we don’t expect amazing performance from it. Indeed, the print speed is low, at 7.4 pages per minute for black text. When it comes to colour printing, the performance is even worse (1.6ppm).

Scan speeds were a bit better, as they were comparable to other mid-range printers.

The prints and the copies looked very good, with excellent contrast and well-defined contours. Scans were also excellent for such a cheap device.

The Pixma TS3150 isn’t the best choice if you need to print a lot of pages on regular basis, as it is too slow. However, if you need a reliable, yet cheap home printer to use occasionally, it can be your best bet.

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