Tired of the frustrating snags inevitably encountered with home printers? HP has come up with an all-in-one fix-it for that, writes PAT PILCHER.
If there’s one bit of tech with which consumers have a deep love/hate relationship, it has to be their printer. From connectivity woes to forking out the equivalent of the GDP of Ghana in ink and toner, there’s plenty of reasons for the complicated relationship we have with printers.
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None of this has been wasted on HP. They have been moving heaven, earth, and toner to make home printing a far less frustrating experience now that most of the world is stuck working from home with a PC and printer.
Their solution takes the form of HP Plus. It consists of cloud-related services and optionally can tie in with HP’s Instant Ink service. While you must commit to using HP toner/ink cartridges, HP Plus doesn’t involve a subscription fee. There are no additional costs unless you opt into the Instant Ink/toner cartridge delivery service (HP Plus typically comes with a six-month free trial of Instant Ink).
So, what does this HP Plus malarkey get you? First things first, you get cloud resiliency. In non-geek-speak, this means network connectivity is monitored. Should there be any connection hiccups, HP Plus will try to fix things to keep your printer connected and you less stressed out.
The next cab on the HP Plus ranks is Smart Security. This is a service that automatically monitors your printer and blocks any malware attacks. If your printer is online, it can be compromised, leaving your digital front door wide open to everything else on your home network. Because an unsecured printer can be taken over by hackers and used to steal your data or made to be part of a botnet to mount external attacks elsewhere, keeping your printer locked down (but still network accessible) is always going to be a good thing.
Perhaps the single most useful part of HP Plus is easy-peasy network printing and printing from mobile devices. If you find a great recipe while pootling about on your phone or have a document you need to be printed when you are out and about, printing it is a doddle. If you’re away from your home network, you can email a document to a customised printer email address, and it’ll print.
Handier still, you also gain the ability to queue documents. They’ll then print when you’re in front of your printer, just like with those fancy pants printers in the office. For remotely printing sensitive documents when working from home, this feature is a real lifesaver.
A smart dashboard is also part of the HP Plus offering. This gives you the ability to remotely keep tabs on your printer and anyone using it. Most important of all, it makes managing all things print-related a lot less complicated. Given the amount of time most of us spend quietly (or not so quietly) fuming at our printers, it can only ever be a good thing.
Last (but not least), HP also includes Forest First as part of HP Plus. This sees HP spending on reforestation based on pages printed using HP paper.
So, is HP Plus all that and a bag of chips? HP has played it smart with HP Plus in that it’s a win-win for both you and them. For anyone wanting to simplify their relationship with their printer, HP Plus promises to be a godsend. Instead of pulling out one’s hair and shouting at your poor printer, you should be able to (in theory) print with minimal fuss. The move to HP Plus fixes one of HP’s biggest woes: people using remanufactured or third-party ink/toner cartridges. While you’re locked out of using cheaper ink and toner, you get a tonne of other benefits at no extra cost.