Epson are behind quality wise unless you go with the very expensive papers and the ink cartridges are, as you say dearer and/or more trouble. Things like the printer refusing to continue printing when it decides one colour has run out.
I’ve never had a low end printer since I’ve always paid at least Â£300 for my printers but in general I prefer Canon. The only trouble is their ink often tends to bleed into the paper a bit when using plain paper (unless you tunr down the intensity.)
Don’t worry too much about all the marketing crap like resolutions or the quoted ppm rates as most of this can be taken with a pinch of salt to say the least.
I guess it depends on how much you want to pay, what you print and how often.
The reviews I’ve seen lately have put Canon at the forefront overall. I have a couple of HP printers but I don’t know if I’d buy another - stupid laserjet can’t even feed pages perfectly straight and HP knew about this with the laserjet 1100 but didn’t fix it with the 1200.