Tuesday, 28 January 2014
There is a culture of consumption that I’ve grown to loathe in modern technology, driven by a relentless cycle of software upgrades and a fear that whatever we’re using won’t have enough memory or resolution or bandwidth to deliver the next big thing. As if we even need it.
Having worked on, with and among many of the world’s leading tech sites and magazines, it’s disappointing to me that the majority of these product reviewers do little more than parrot the latest specs in a press release as they race to be first published, the first to get all that valuable traffic.
I won’t go into detail about the specifications of the Epson Stylus Pro 3880. It is more than three years old, a relic by media standards since there’s no money in promoting old products. Yet for me, it remains one of the best consumer-level printers money can buy.
The latest printers on the market today offer basic scanning (which is useless to me), copying (essentially the same thing), fax (useless to anyone with email and can ‘print to PDF’) and the ability to print bog-standard 6×4″ photos – all for the meagre sum of fifty dollars. Replacing one of the ink cartridges on these things can cost nearly as much as the printer itself, and you’ll need to do this a few times a year.
The 3880 costs around $1,900. It just prints photos. It does nothing else. It prints 6×4″ photos, 22×17″ enlargements and everything in between. It prints them very, very well. In fact, it uses a special type of ink that retains its colour integrity for around 100 years (as opposed to degrading within around 10 years).
I’ve been using the 3880 for two whole years now, pumping out photos of every shape and size after I resolved never to have another argument with some Photoshop wet-nap at Teds or Paxtons about how not to screw up the colours on my photos. And I only just replaced my first ink cartridge today at a cost of $70.
Now that’s outstanding value.