Aldi Canon TS3160 Cloud Printer review



It's been years since I had a printer. There's just no need for printers, until you need to print or scan something. A year ago a friend was moving house and twisted my arm into accepting an unopened box with a Canon MG2400 (pictured above, grey). So, OK, I have a printer on my desk again. And I plugged it in and it just worked. Then at the end of 2017 we got into the Internet of Things (lights, fan, Google Home minis in every room) so I've become somewhat obsessed with stuff connected to the internet. Enter, the Canon TS3160 "smart" "cloud printer" (pictured above, black).

Here are a some first impressions, mostly bad:
  • On connectivity, so I unpacked it, plugged it in, and assumed that the rest of the setup was gonna me quick and easy. Wrong. After exhausting my wits I gave up and had to resort to the User Manual. My fight the beastly machine continued for a bit longer, but then had a breakthrough. I installed the Android app. The not so obvious sequence was to click the Power button (on the printer), then click and hold the Wireless Direct button for a few seconds (also on the printer), then use the Android app for to connect the printer to the LAN. Oddly, unlike other network printers, this one does not show up on the LAN.
  • On access, the Canon app looks good, you can scan from it, but it failed to configure the printer for Google Cloud Print. For that you need to log into the admin console via a browser. You will need a password. The not so obvious trick to this is get the password. The password is the serial number, found on the back of the printer, as a sticker. Once logged in you can set up Cloud Print.
  • Scanning via the app does not let you select the DPI or save as a lossless PNG; the files tend to be big and not worth it for the average user. Hassle free driverless scanning from a browser, like what is supported on a HP all-in-one devices, does not exist here. Currently it appears the Simple Scan does not support this device at all, so will have to keep my old Canon MG2400 simply because it just works.
  • To print from your mobile, select the browser page that you want, click ... , Share, Print, and you will get a print preview and finally print. But it looks like the app extension sends a URL to some server that renders a page as a picture which in turn gets sent to the printer. The outcome is that the printed page is not logged in as you, so you are likely to get a public page or a "please log in" message instead of what you see on your screen. The good news is that if you can get your content into a Google Drive document then you can print via Cloud Print, which is either great if that is all that you ever wanted, or otherwise is a punishing convoluted Rube Goldberg machine-like workaround for what is a simple Print button function elsewhere.
  • On the economics ...

    The cost of the printer (with ink): $40

    The cost of replacement inks: $27.39 for PG-645 Black + $32.98 CL-646 Color = $60.37

    It's not that good, is it?

Based on my unfortunate experience so far, all of the time wasted, and the somewhat more embarrassing state of my desk, I recommend avoiding this model, also brand. If you must get a printer then get an Epson or HP only.

Comments