ThinPrint Printer Dashboard review: First Look

Managing printers doesn't have to be taxing as Kat Orphanides find outs when she puts the Printer Dashboard management utility to the test.

PRINTER DETAILS BOX

Clicking the Printer details button below the box listing all your printers provides even more information about the status of the device you're looking at. This includes the printer's name, the name you've given its locations and IP address along with its last error code (again, not always human-decipherable) and a helpful shortcut to its administration page.

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The Referencing Printer button lets you see which drivers on the local PC point to the printer in question. The last button beneath the device list, Enter Costs, lets you enter the cost of consumables for the printer, which Printer Dashboard can then use to calculate how much each of your printers costs to run.

You can click into each printer to view more details about its status and identity.

You can click into each printer to view more details about its status and identity.

You can select the type of consumable from a pull-down menu that lets you choose between default options of Toner, Ink, Paper and Other. For everything except Other consumables, you can select a subcategory such as ink/toner colour or paper size. We were bemused to find that the default options aren't the ones you're likely to be entering most, though. The default colour for toner and ink Red and the default paper size is A2, both of which are so uncommon as to be almost unheard of in most offices.

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If you select the Other category, you can enter your own description of the consumable, which is handy for non-standard paper types as well as hardware consumables such as optical photoconductor drums and waste toner bins. There's another oversight in the Currency pull-down: you can only choose between Euros, U.S. Dollars, Hong Kong Dollars, Japanese Yen or Chinese Yuan. British pounds are nowhere to be seen!

We liked the ability to enter dates for both the purchase of our consumable and its first use. Once you've entered all this information for your printer, the Printers tab will start keeping track of the total cost of all your listed consumables.

Printer Dashboard includes some basic tools to help you figure out how much your printer's supplies are costing you.

Printer Dashboard includes some basic tools to help you figure out how much your printer's supplies are costing you.

Most of the same options are available for devices listed in the Printer objects tab, as well, although here you can also view data about the driver, including what ports and printer processors it uses. The Referencing Printer button here displays the hardware device that goes with each driver.

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