The theory of HP’s AirPrint is very much a great one, but the execution has been mired in problems which can significantly undermine their performance as well as the credibility of Apple and Hewlett-Packard.
To start with a very simple problem is that the printers just aren’t very good both in terms of hardware and software. When it comes to the software there are numerous compatibility issues regarding their drivers which were simply not fully designed or tested. This isn’t some sort of a ‘mistake’ in my opinion – trying to cater to Macs, PCs, Ipads, Iphones and so on isn’t an easy task – but it doesn’t excuse a low but definitely existent percentage of people who are left in the dark, unable to properly operated their device simply because the software wasn’t properly created.
People have faced numerous installation issues and I’ve read several reviews about Mac’s OS X Lion operating system being specifically prone to poorly written drivers. It’s by no means just confined to Apple’s OS Lion, and you can expect there to be AirPrint driver issues which range across the board. It’s not hitting everyone of course, and the chances are you’ll be completely fine – but ultimately you’ll rolling the dice because you could be unlucky.
If you do end up pulling the short straw then don’t expect any help from HP. Their customer service support is an absolute nightmare and they cannot solve software issues – all they’ll do is pass you around from person to person for several hours over a period of week where you’ll slowly be tortured by incompetent staff who are poorly train and who potentially don’t speak English up to a quality which you’l be used to. Eventually you’ll be sent a refurbished device like this will somehow solve a software issue – and this cycle will repeat until your warranty runs out. I’ve seen one person complain of sending his printer back 4 times.
If you’re lucky you’ll face one of the numerous hardware faults and be sent a replacement which may actually fix the problem. Obviously there’s no guaranteeing it and the faults are likely to be inherent within the design itself as opposed to any other type of problem. However I have again read multiple reports (I’ve read every single review on Apple’s website and Amazon) of alignment problems and little faults which were fixed around ten years ago such as the paper grabbing several sheets at once. How does a company go back in time like this?
One really irritating this which HP does is create incredibly wasteful ink guzzling printers which can use up vast amounts of ink needlessly. They have several tactics which they employ to waste your money. The first is simply displaying the ink cartridge to be empty or ‘low’ when in fact there’s around 20-30% still left. Secondly your printer will print our ‘test pages’ which look incredible but are full of color graphics which can waste a substantial amount of ink.
I’m being more critical of their HP AirPrint printers than most of their others because even though their others are quite bad, I’ve read astonishing reports of people running out of ink after printing only 40-50 sheets of paper. These aren’t isolated incidents and I only put down reports which are said to affect multiple people. Most printing companies (not just HP for the moment) use a razor and blades technique for making money where they lose money on the product but make far more with the ink cartridges they sell. Frankly this probably isn’t true for their AP printers because they’re still overpriced – but when it comes to their other ones you can definitely expect this to be the case.