media jam tray 1

Seriously printer? A phantom media jam… again? You really are irritating me these days. Your status alternates between that and “Incorrect Black Cartridge” (a constant reminder than we opted for the cheapy, off brand version instead of the name brand that cost thrice as much). I would throw you out you if I didn’t have other reasons to love you.

We have a konica minolta magicolor DL. It’s a laser printer and a solid beast. It was $350 from costco six years ago, and has seen a full gamut of work thrown it’s way. Everything from wedding invitations to 10K reports. It’s a workhorse. It’s also finicky and high maintenance. It’s very particular about the type of paper it likes and will behave like a spoiled four year old if it doesn’t get it’s way. Puttering out, giving a sigh and flashing “media jam tray 1” until you coax it back to life. It doesn’t like too much paper in the tray (forget about filling it up to the “max” line). It also doesn’t like too little. Err on either side, you’ll find out soon enough. It doesn’t like labels – you have to manually feed them in one sheet at a time, giving a little shove when you feel the rollers grip the edge of the page ever so slightly. Don’t push too much, though, or the machine will protest. Same goes for photo paper, card stock or any other non standard type of paper.

The reviews online actually rank our printer one of the best for the money. We’d have to move up to the $1,000 range to find comparable features in a replacement. So, I really shouldn’t complain too much.

Here’s the “love” part of this machine. It’s reliable. Although it has it’s quirks, and requires a lot of hand holding and babysitting to get through the most basic of tasks, it works. There are days it works flawlessly. You feed it the right kind of paper, just the right amount, and send the right documents over? It’s perfection. My favorite part, though, is something I stewed over with ink jet printers for years. There’s no ink to dry up. In six years, we’ve replaced our black cartridge twice, and our color cartridges ONCE. We’ve saved hundreds in not throwing out dried up ink cartridges that meet their demise early. That part? I love. It negates almost all of the cons. It allows me to forgive my printer for it’s neediness and bad attitude.

The final con, though, is one that can’t be offset. I’m constantly underwhelmed by the quality of photos from our printer. I realize laser printers are just not built for this kind of job, so I can’t fault our specific printer. It just comes with the territory – the pictures that print out are probably going to suck a little. What I don’t get is why the laser printer companies profess how wonderful the pictures come out? When we bought this printer, the demo photo was a guy on a snowboard, thrashing down the side of a mountain, snow spraying the trees in the foreground, beautiful blue skies in the background. Why did you let me think this printer could be anything more than it is? That it could function as a substitute for printing family photos? That it would address all of my printing needs?

It’s a good thing it’s so cheap to print photos at costco… and they do a fantastic job, at that. Otherwise, printer, we might have to find you a little brother or sister to handle those photo printing jobs.

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Mom to "C", wife to Ben. I'm a part-time blogger, cook, organizer, seamstress, house cleaner, taxi, nurse (the mom kind), accountant... I could go on, but really... it's all in the blog. Read away!

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