A friend gave me a HP AIO printer to service as it 'wouldn't work'. The cartridge transport ... wouldn't move (as it should when you open the hatch to change the cartridges). Brute force was needed to gain access to the cartridge holder. Then the cartridges wouldn't come out ... needed a multitool to extract them. At this point I knew it was trashed. The cartridges were clones from a well known cheapo supermarket ... anyway when I asked why clones I was told it was the £4 a pair versus £50 a pair for the real HP ones. Did you have any trouble getting them in ... oh yes I had to use a hammer in the end to 'tap' them in. Sent them away to get a new printer!
I have had the Epson Stylus PHOTO R300 for several years now, and it continues to produce very good results indeed.
I stopped using Epson inks a long while ago, because of the highly inflated cost, and now use Jetec compatible cartridges (6 colours), and have to say that I can't tell the difference. Prints made some years ago, using Jetec ink, are still vibrant.
I did try other brands of compatible ink cartridges, but found these less than satisfactory.
Unfortunately, the R300 has long been superceded, and I have no experince of its replacement models.
I have the Epson R3000 Photo, and use Photospeed cartriges which are part of their replacement for the Epson inks.
The inks are of a very high quality, and i do not have any problems with printer heads .This printer also gives me the advantage of
9 inks and is fantastic for black and white as there are dedicated blacks and greys. Hope this helps .