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Technology

Why do I seem to have to pay more for less tech?

(26 Posts)
Savvy Thu 08-Apr-21 20:44:32

Over the weekend, my printer broke. It was an older one and had been used and abused.

Trying to find a new one has been a nightmare! The computer I need to attach it to is not connected to the internet, nor will it ever be as I use my tablet for that, I don't have wifi, or broadband, or a landlines, or even live television in my house.

However, every printer I looked at was wireless. Finally found one that connects through a cable for about £40, it's a 3 in one, but when it arrived I found I had to have the internet to download the driver. That printer is going back and a full refund will be made.

Following a lot of telephone calls I was told that the only printer that would fit my requirements was £90. It's a standard black and white, no frills, bog standard printer. So why is it more than double the price of the one with the bells and whistles, just because it's not wireless?

I can't help thinking that, regardless of the way the world is working now, we are being pushed into buying things we don't need, having to upgrade tech for the sake of it, and priced out of what we really need.

Jaxjacky Thu 08-Apr-21 20:56:12

Because the majority want wireless, so wireless printers have volume production, hence cheaper. If you want more or less ‘bespoke’ it costs more, like a handmade suit as opposed to a high street shop one.

What does your tablet connect to if you use it for the internet?

Savvy Thu 08-Apr-21 21:04:01

It's a small android. But it doesn't have the capability to store the 300+ page documents I have on the desktop.

The only thing bespoke about the expensive printer is the cd-rom that holds the driver. Surely that cannot justify an extra £50.

Elegran Thu 08-Apr-21 22:02:31

And you can't download the driver via however you have sent your message to Gransnet, then copy the driver onto the printer via the cable? That is one use of the internet, but not through wifi, and you need never use wifi on it again.

Elegran Thu 08-Apr-21 22:04:18

The bespokeness is in you choosing something that is currently rare. Bulk manufacture is cheaper per unit than manufacturng a smaller quantity.

Doodledog Thu 08-Apr-21 22:12:31

I'm sorry for your troubles, but please may I ask where you sourced a wired printer for £40? I am looking for one to take to my lodge that is not (so far) internet-enabled.

I do need to go online there from time to time, but use my phone as a hotspot, and don't want the expense of another monthly broadband bill (and nor do I want Mr Dog to sit glued to the million TV channels that an internet connection would allow) grin.

A plug-in printer would be really useful when I am working over there, but I can't find any cheap ones that don't need a subscription to ink that in turn needs an internet connection.

M0nica Thu 08-Apr-21 22:15:47

Savvy I do feel you are making life very difficult for equipment suppliers and, indeed for yourself. Is there any reason why you will not have wifi, or broadband, or a landlines, or even live television in my house.?

Cheap technology depends on a mass market and the vast majority of households have everything in their houses that you do not, so the manufacturers make equipment for the mass market and leave the specialist companies, with short production runs.

It is not a question about the technical difference between the cheaper and more expensive printer that matters, but the cost of setting up a production line for both printers will be much the same, but the production for the mass market may be a million printers, that for the one you want, may be only 10s of 1000s. It is called the economies of scale.

The one with the long production run makes each unit much more cheaply. The cost of setting up the production line is divided among many more printers, they also get discounts for all the bits that are assembled to make the printer because they are ordering in millions not thousands.

In addition printer manufacturers are usually also ink suppliers and the printers are sold at a low price because the profit is made on the ink sales, not the printer and because there will be a high demand for ink because of the numbers of printers made, the ink will also be cheaper to produce in volume, again all the economies of scale are lost with printers made in short runs.

Savvy Thu 08-Apr-21 22:18:38

What cable? The only cable for the tablet is to charge it's battery? It's basically an old mobile phone with a few gig of data with the call package. It doesn't connect to the desktop, not even via Bluetooth.

The driver needs to be put on the desktop, not the printer and certainly not the tablet. Plus the tablet is android and the desktop is windows 7 so they're not compatible.

I never print from the internet.

Savvy Thu 08-Apr-21 22:20:53

Doodledog

I'm sorry for your troubles, but please may I ask where you sourced a wired printer for £40? I am looking for one to take to my lodge that is not (so far) internet-enabled.

I do need to go online there from time to time, but use my phone as a hotspot, and don't want the expense of another monthly broadband bill (and nor do I want Mr Dog to sit glued to the million TV channels that an internet connection would allow) grin.

A plug-in printer would be really useful when I am working over there, but I can't find any cheap ones that don't need a subscription to ink that in turn needs an internet connection.

It came from from ao.com

Savvy Thu 08-Apr-21 22:25:22

MOnica I live alone so I only need a mobile for calls etc., so I don't need a landline, I cannot get a good enough signal for wifi, or broadband, and I simply hate live television.

At the end of the day, I simply refuse to pay for stuff I either cannot or will not use.

Doodledog Thu 08-Apr-21 22:26:26

Thank you, Savvy.

SpringyChicken Thu 08-Apr-21 23:16:23

I'd ask at a local computer shop for help.

M0nica Fri 09-Apr-21 08:02:53

Savvy I fully appreciate your attitude to the technology you do not have, but the downside to that, is that it is the technology the rest of the world runs on, and the equipment available to run on your stripped down system. is limited and expensive because so few people now use it.

simtib Fri 09-Apr-21 08:12:44

Get someone to download the driver and transfer it to your PC. If you are anywhere near mid Essex I will do it for you.

Savvy Fri 09-Apr-21 12:27:02

The new printer arrived today, the other one goes back on Sunday.

The point that grates is that both printers are wifi enabled, both printers can run via a cable, the cheaper one has more features as it's a 3 in 1, thr more expensive is a just a printer, the only extra piece of kit is the cd-rom to install the driver, which has in effect cost 50 quid. That's the annoying bit and I can't see how a cd-rom justifies more than double the price.

heretohelp Fri 09-Apr-21 21:39:22

Savvy

The new printer arrived today, the other one goes back on Sunday.

The point that grates is that both printers are wifi enabled, both printers can run via a cable, the cheaper one has more features as it's a 3 in 1, thr more expensive is a just a printer, the only extra piece of kit is the cd-rom to install the driver, which has in effect cost 50 quid. That's the annoying bit and I can't see how a cd-rom justifies more than double the price.

I know I'm a bit late to the party but i joined specifically to reply and hopefully help future members with similar issues.

As you've found out, almost any printer will work. Even though many are now wireless, most will also have a USB connection and as long as your PC has the a compatible operating system (e.g. Windows 8) and the correct connection (usually USB), you should be fine as you get a CD in the box, or can get the drivers/utility online (possibly via a friend / family member if you do not have a direct connection).

Often, a printer will work out of the box without a driver, but more advanced functions will require the installation of a driver/utility. In the rare circumstance this is not included in the box, manufacturers may be willing to send you a CD in the post.

Happy printing

Savvy Fri 09-Apr-21 22:32:31

Thanks heretohelp, apparently the cd-rom in the box is the rare part as they just assume you'll download it.

Unfortunately I have no friends or family who could get the drivers for me. The only viable(?) option would be to wait until the libraries are back open, spend about £10 on a taxi (I'm disabled so taxis are essential as I don't drive, and can't walk far,) hope to be able to get a computer slot (not sure what the waiting list is like), hope that they will allow me to download the driver (some don't), get back home and hope it all works.

On the plus side, the new printer installed with the cd-rom in less than 2 mins.

AmberSpyglass Fri 09-Apr-21 22:49:25

I’m not sure why you’re complaining about having to pay more for what is essentially a specialist/niche piece of equipment?

Savvy Fri 09-Apr-21 22:58:00

But it isn't a specialist or niche piece of equipment, it's a bog standard printer which connects to a bog standard pc. I object to having to pay an extortionate price for the bog standard cd-rom being included in the box.

B9exchange Fri 09-Apr-21 23:06:01

What will you do about driver updates then?

Savvy Fri 09-Apr-21 23:20:54

It doesn't need driver updates, once it's installed, there's nothing to update.

B9exchange Fri 09-Apr-21 23:31:56

All software needs to be updated from time to time. Out of date drivers can get corrupted and cause malfunctions. Or you will just have to search for another printer in a couple of years!

AmberSpyglass Fri 09-Apr-21 23:31:57

But it isn’t a bog standard printer anymore!

AmberSpyglass Fri 09-Apr-21 23:32:35

You’re trying to buy out of date tech that’s not widely on sale and wondering why it’s more expensive and harder to find.

Hetty58 Fri 09-Apr-21 23:42:33

Savvy, I really don't understand why you didn't just download the driver with your tablet, then upload to the computer?