Brother continues the industry trend of inkjet printers you can refill at will
Bangalore, June 8 2015: A classic ad campaign launched in the 1960s by Avis, the world's 2nd largest car rental company after Hertz, had a famous tag line: 'When you're no. 2, you try harder'. I can sense a similar sentiment in the inkjet printer business, where the mantra seems to be: 'If you launch later, you try to be better'.
Last year Epson became the first printer maker to bring refillable ink tanks to its consumer inkjet range. Now, another Japanese player, Brother has followed suit -- and it has made a virtue of its later entry into this slot, by carefully studying its competition and trying to improve the user experience of filling 4 ink tanks from separate bottles, with some thoughtful design features.
The Brother DCP-T500W is a wireless multi-function ( print-scan -copy) machine which promises to churn out prints at between 6 and 27 pages a minutes depending on mode ( colour or monochrome) and quality setting. Thanks to its wireless option, you can latch it to your home office WiFi hot spot and print from any nearby PC, laptop or even a phone. In fact you can use the Google Cloud Print feature to send a document for printing from anywhere, through the Internet.
All this is fairly standard for wireless multi functions. The change is the ability to refill any or all of the four print tanks ( 3 colours plus black) from squeeze bottles you buy separately. And here is where Brother has tried to improve the ergonomics: The embedded tanks have been accommodated in the overall printer body, rather than sticking out on one side and increasing the floor space. More usefully, you can tilt the tanks by 45 degrees so that you can pour fresh ink without spilling.
Brother says you can get 6000 A4 sized black and white prints and 5000 coloured pages from one set of refill bottles. Since the bottles cost Rs 670 ( black) and Rs 440 ( each colour) this itself is a considerable saving over competing ink cartridge systems and even a small improvement over Brother's own cartridge printers. I am always wary about claims of price per printed page -- since this is near impossible to prove or disprove for most of us. But even if the actual price were higher than Brother's claim of 10 paise per monochrome page and 24 paise per coloured page -- it still represents a significantly lower cost of ownership for users like you and me.
The asking price of the DCP T500W is a reasonable Rs 12,150. For me, going for a tank refill inkjet at this price -- just a couple of thousand rupees over a cartridge type -- is a no brainer.
If you don't need the wireless function, the DCP -T300, otherwise similar to the T500W, comes cheaper at Rs 11,100.
As another classic ad, for a petrol brand in India, famously said, maybe it's time to "Fill up and feel the difference!" -- Anand Parthasarathy