The one time that it's OK to buy an inkjet

I try and print as little as possible. Doing otherwise offends my green sensibilities and I can hardly ask teachers to cut down on paper consumption if I'm cranking out reams myself.

I try and print as little as possible. Doing otherwise offends my green sensibilities and I can hardly ask teachers to cut down on paper consumption if I'm cranking out reams myself. When I do print, I tend to send documents to a large shared mopier that we have, since the cost per page is the lowest of any device we own.

However, the other day I picked up an HP OfficeJet Pro L7580. It was on clearance at Staples and I walked out of the store with a high-speed printer/copier/fax/scanner and a complete set of replacement print heads and ink cartridges for $300. Regular readers will know that I'm doing everything I can to get rid of inkjets in the district; the cost of consumables is simply too high. So what the heck am I doing buying an inkjet?

Mostly, I needed a decent scanner. I need to be able to post web content quickly, archive documents, share paper documents with teachers and staff, and otherwise get rid of paper. Since the L7580 has an automatic document feeder plus a large flatbed scanner, it was almost worth the price just for the scanning capabilities. It comes with solid OCR software and scans of photographs came out brilliantly.

I'm not actually endorsing or even reviewing the L7580; in fact, it's been discontinued and replaced by the 7590. What I am suggesting, though, is that devices like this can serve a valuable purpose for some users. For users who need to print a lot, this sort of device will become very expensive over time. For users like me, though, who print very little and just need the occasional memo printed or article copied, a device like this can make a lot of sense.

When I do need to print, it's quite fast. Photographs, brochures, and other rich paper content look great. The scanner works like a champ. As with everything we do, it's simply a matter of weighing requirements to decide if it's worth making an exception to the no-inkjets rule.

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