HP Ink DRM

HP X451dw

I love this printer, when it works... It's a fraction of the cost of a laser, instantly ready (no warm-up time) and stupidly fast (I believe, at the time, it was the fastest available although I'm sure it's been surpassed by now) at almost a page per second.

I also actually don't print much. I bought the printer in 2014 for £249 and, other than the black, it was still running on the original (reduced yield) starter cartridges. The replacement is less than half the price if you're looking for a printer that's fast and really good quality.

However, recently I've wanted to throw it out of a window...

Black Only Printing

In order to print black, all four colour cartridges must be usable (why?!) so I needed to buy more ink...

OEM HP Ink is almost £400 for a set of four cartridges, or more than 3x the cost of the current printer, and a little shy of double what I paid for the printer three years ago.

Third party ink

Thankfully, there's a wide range of compatible ink, and I've used the excellent stinkyink many times before, where I could pick up a full set for almost the cost of a new printer (yes, this - somehow - is considered a bargain the world of printer ink)

Rejection

At first the printer worked perfectly, then like some failed transplant it started rejecting it's new ink; offering to print one page of a large document before requiring the dance of powering it off and on again, removing and replacing the same cartridge at which point page two could be coaxed from the printer.

This sort of "Ink-DRM" is nonsense. Imagine buying a car that would run smoothly on BP fuel, but if you were to fill it with Esso it would go 5 miles before stopping in the middle of the road and demanding you replace it with BP!

My printer is long out of warranty so, much like getting your car serviced at the main dealer for the first three years (which, incidentally, is also now illegal for a manufacturer to enforce) it makes no real difference thereafter.

"Dynamic Security Feature"

I eMailed stinkyink, who replied almost immediately with a couple of helpful links and confirming that many customers had experienced issues as a result of HP's update.

So, this "feature" was introduced AFTER I bought my printer?! Essentially HP deliberately changed a device I bought after purchase to reject third party ink.

This is unacceptable.

HP also (although it's hard to find unless you know this inane behaviour is caused by a "Dynamic Security Feature" provide a firmware update to remove it which I can only assume they've been forced to do by someone with some legal expertise because I can't see them doing so out of the good of their hearts.

Stinkyink: 1, HP: 0

Many thanks to Tori at Stinkyink for the quick response and pointing me in the right direction. I've not had a chance to test, but hopefully this will resolve my issue. If not, they immediately offered (in the same eMail) a full refund or replacement – without being badgered to do so like so many companies I end up ranting about.

HP, however, despite being eMailed several days ago, are yet to reply.

And they expect me to pay 3x as much for their ink? You get better service from the third party suppliers.

In summary; want a fast, high quality, printer? The HP x451 (and subsequent replacements) are actually quite hard to beat much as it pains me to admit it.

Want ink for your printer? There's no reason to use OEM ink when companies like Stinkyink (despite their odd name) offer better service!

This is simply a review of my experience. I'm not in any way affiliated with Stinkyink.

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