Never trust anything with “smart” in the title..

After seven years, I decided to replace my home printer with something a bit more modern. Something with better Wi-Fi support (2.4Ghz AND 5Ghz support). Something that supports HP’s Instant Ink service. Maybe upgrade to a laser printer? I don’t mind sticking to black and white as I don’t tend to print much in colour anyway.

So, I bought an HP LaserJet MFP 234dwe at Amazon for £149.99 (but paid over 5 months at £29.99). It includes a 6-month trial of HP Instant Ink (well, toner) and includes an additional year’s warranty. It’s small, it sits nicely on my desk that I use for stationery related items and doesn’t make too much noise. It is almost perfect.

The only downside to this thing was having to use the HP “Smart” app to set everything up. Despite my Netgear router being able to talk to everything and anything in the home, neither the iOS nor macOS HP Smart app would get the machine to connect to the Wi-Fi network. I even disabled WPA3 authentication and dropped it down to WPA2 on the 5Ghz bands to see if that was the problem. Nope.

After a LOT more faffing about, I got the printer set-up on the 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi band by rebooting the router completely. Everything worked simply fine after that. The stupid thing is that the HP Smart app couldn’t see any of the three broadcast networks my router advertises – it could only see one and I wasn’t able to change it. Looking at the “simple” push-button WPS set-up, even that involves the use of the dreadful HP Smart app.

But now everything has been set-up and working, I’m going through toner like no business until my HP Instant Ink toner arrives within the next week. I’ve printed my father’s memoirs (in their current form) double-sided – some 43 pages and I’m impressed with the quality of text. I’m using HP Premium paper for this, so I ruddy well hope it came out well!

Photos are a different story. Obviously being black and white is going to have a massive difference, but I printed a landscape from my trip to Iceland taken on my ex high-end compact Sony camera and a iPhone 13 Pro Max photo that I took of my sister and dad at Christmas. The results are okay-ish, a bit like having a newspaper cutting.

But then again, I’d have bought an ink-jet printer if I wanted to print mainly photos. Most of what I print are documents, forms, and instruction manuals, and this printer will do me just fine.

I’ve now got to reconnect my old OfficeJet printer to the network, have it disconnected from Instant Ink and HP services, and then I can sell it for £25 or so.

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