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Member since 11/2004

The Epson ET-3760, No More Inkjet Cartridges for Me

Epson3760My deep dive into technology stretches back nearly thirty-nine years to August of 1982, when I got an Apple II+ computer and an Epson MX-80 dot matrix printer. I am guessing the computer, printer and some software cost something over $3,000 US. That same $3,000 translates into about $8,400 in purchasing power today.

Printing and computing technology has gotten less costly instead of increasing expensive. Both technologies have also gotten much more capable. Today’s inkjet printer can print faster with much higher quality results than the Epson MX-80 of 1982. I had to have an Orange Micro Grappler + parallel interface card just to take advantage of the printer on the Apple II. Even so, some of the early word processing software required inserting control characters to get the printer to print bold or italics characters. On my first Apple II+ I installed a Videx keyboard enhancer just to be able to see upper and lower case letters on the monochrome monitor that I had.

The idea that one printer without a specialized card would work across a bunch of computers was as foreign an idea as having a printer that can scan and copy items plus print perfectly acceptable photos.

We are eons ahead of where we were in 1982, in computer technology, and but we have come even further in cross-platform printing abilities in the seventeen years since I wrote this article about the work required to print from my 2004 Linux computer. I bought my first All In One printer in 2006. At the time it was even a challenge getting it to print from my Macs. The HP AIO Photosmart C6180 never died on me, but I did replace it with a smaller Cannon TS9100 AIO printer a couple of years ago. I was having challenges using the C6180 on some computers.

This year just as I was getting ready to purchase my third set of ink for the Cannon it dawned on me that if I made that order for $40 of ink, I would be very close to paying as much for ink supplies as I had paid for the printer. While the only other complaint I had about the TS9100 was its flimsy paper tray, I decided that I would get off the inkjet-cartridge-addiction train. As Joanna Stern says in her WSJ article, The Best Printers for the Home—Say Goodbye to Ink Cartridges, “The only time an old-school, cheap cartridge inkjet makes sense is if you need to print a page here and there. Say, a return label once a month.” While I don’t print a whole lot and I  have a Dymo label printer, I print enough to think that 18 months of ink supplies should not cost more than my inkjet printer.

When it came to choosing a printer, I went with an Ethernet equipped Epson ET-3760. It was under $299 tax included, delivered to my doorstep by Costco. Filling the ink tanks was mess-free because of the special ink bottles. Like both of my previous AIOs, the printer manufacturer photo software is worthless. However, I use Lightroom so I am more picky than most people.

In order to get fully functionality (scanning and printing) with my main Mac OS and Windows 10 machines, I downloaded the software but there were no hitches or glitches. I have both M1 and I5 based based Macs running everything from Mac OS X High Sierra 10.13.6 to macOS Big Sur 11.2.3. For some reason the printer just worked from my 2010 iMac running High Sierra. We have three Windows machines running Windows 10. The oldest would be six years old. We also have a repurposed I5 Lenovo desktop from 2015 that runs Ubuntu Linux. In the surprise of surprises the Linux machine printed to the new Epson without me doing anything but selecting the Epson when I went to print. My wife and I both use Chromebooks for our evening browsing. My wife’s Lenovo Chromebook and my Asus Flip C434 both have had no problems printing to the new printer. On top of that my Google Pixel 2XL smartphone prints to it as does my new iPad Pro.

I have more operating systems and architectures printing without any problems to the Epson ET-3760 than I have ever had. I am actually amazed at how easy it was for the Epson to join our challenging group of hardware. Printing has never been this easy in my complex world of computers.

The scanning software also works well. I have printed a few 4X6 photos and the quality is fine though it is maybe not quite as easy to switch paper sizes as it was on the Canon.

This is a long way from the days when we used to flip dip switches on cards to get printers to work and sometimes even make custom cables. I still have a dedicated scanner and a black and white laser printer so I might not push the Epson ET-3760 as hard as someone who has no other printers, but I will try to report back on how long the original ink supply lasts. I will use it quite a bit for color printing since I have found it hard to get my color HP LaserJet CP1025nw to print using some of my computers.

Even ten years ago I doubt that I could have imagined that for $670 before taxes I could have both a very capable computer, my ASUS Chromebook Flip C433 2 in 1 Laptop, 14” Touchscreen FHD NanoEdge Display, Intel Core m3-8100Y Processor, 8GB RAM, 64GB eMMC Storage ($390 -June Prime Day Special before taxes) and a terrific multi-funtional Epson ET-3760 inkjet printer with Ethernet ($280 before taxes).

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