Internet Watch : William Harrel – Journalist


A PCMag What’s New Now Top Review, September 25, 2018


My review of HP's new voice-activated smart home Tango X AIO at PCMag

  • PROS

    Small and spiffy. Voice control with supported smart home UIs. IFTTT scripting for extending smart capabilities. Impressive print quality. Competitive ink costs with Instant Ink, plus free snapshot printing from your smartphone.

  • CONS

    Borderless prints limited to 5-by-7-inch. Single, small paper input. “Scans” and “copies” only via smartphone.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    HP’s Tango X “smart printer,” the first we’ve tested with voice activation and smart home features, is all about printing from mobile devices. It’s not perfect, but given its unique free-snapshot printing angle, it will be a tough act for future models to follow.

Plenty of us shout things at our printers. But what if yours heard you? Of midpriced all-in-one (AIO) printers, none is more cutting-edge—and attentive—than the HP Tango X ($199) and its less expensive sibling, the HP Tango ($149), among the first printers to support voice control. They are designed to work primarily with mobile devices—desktop PCs and laptops are an afterthought—and they have the unique distinction of letting you print snapshots from your smartphone for free, in a sense (more on that later). We tested the Tango X, which delivers print speeds, output, and running costs comparable to similarly priced competitors without all the smarts. All these things and more elevate the HP Tango X to our first Editors’ Choice in a budding category: the smart, or smart home, printer.

Read the entire review at PCMag



  • PROSEditors' Choice

    Excellent photo quality. Prints borderless images from 4 by 6 inches to 13 by 19 inches. Uses new Claria Photo HD inks. Small and light for an oversize printer.

  • CONS   

    Running costs a bit high. Prints speeds are slower than the competition.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    The consumer-grade Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 Wide-Format Inkjet Printer produces output quality that’s comparable with much more expensive professional models.

[amazon_link asins=’B076PLTQQT’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’8d38e8d9-1e3f-11e8-b646-9f7c7a3c13ec’]When it comes to consumer-grade supertabloid (13-by-19-inch) inkjet photo printers, the only one I knew of before the Epson Photo HD XP-15000 Wide-Format Printer ($349.99) is the Editors’ Choice  Canon Pixma iP8720 Wireless Inkjet Photo Printer. Both are single-function (print only) models. Both six-ink machines print exceptionally well, especially photos, and they’re priced similarly, but the XP-15000 has better paper-handling options and connectivity features, as well as a more modern and easier-to-use control panel on the rear of the machine just enough to ease into our top choice slot for wide-format consumer-grade photo printers.
Read the entire review at PCMag

Revoke pf the Kodak Photo Printer Mini at Computer ShopperApparently, dedicated photo printers like the $99.99 Kodak Photo Printer Mini [amazon_link asins=’B01KO0T5VA’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’d9f001ca-0aa0-11e8-a422-2f78ad097aa8′]  we’re reviewing here today are quite popular. Three of the four major inkjet printer makers—Canon, Epson, and HP—offer at least one standalone snapshot printer, and Kodak, which was once a major inkjet printer vendor itself (back when there were five), offers several, including the Kodak Photo Printer Dock [amazon_link asins=’B01MRKFTQJ’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’c0dd3de2-0aa0-11e8-bdb6-d9a3ac146d0d’] we reviewed a few months ago.

Over the years, as the Information Age has transitioned increasingly from desktop computing devices to handhelds, standalone snapshot printers like these two Kodak machines, HP’s SprocketCanon’s Selphy CP1200, and a few others have evolved with them. Nowadays, several snapshot printers, including the Sprocket, Kodak Photo Printer Dock, and now the Kodak Photo Mini, work exclusively with smartphones and tablets, forgoing desktop and laptop PC compatibility altogether.

[amazon_link asins=’B01KO0T5VA’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’f5e76d95-0aa0-11e8-acbe-b16a52ca028d’]As with the HP Sprocket, the only way to print to, configure, or gain access to the Kodak Mini at all is via your mobile device and the company’s Kodak Photo Printer app. And, as with the Kodak Dock and the Sprocket, you can print only one size photo; in this case 2.1 by 3.4 inches, which is about the same as the average business card. HP’s Sprocket output size, at 2 by 3 inches, is similar, and the Kodak Dock, at 4 by 6 inches, is designed to churn out snapshots about twice the size.

We don’t, of course, evaluate these little printers on the same terms as their full-size document printer counterparts. Here, the primary focus is four-fold: price, convenience, print quality, and ongoing running costs. Aside from a somewhat high per-print cost of operation, we found the Kodak Mini’s price reasonable. The printer itself was very easy to set up and use and the software made preparing and printing photographs a snap.

Read the entire article at Computer Shopper



 

  • PROSReview of the HP Envy Photo 7155 All-in-One Printer at PC Mag

    Reasonable purchase price. Good overall print quality. Low running costs with Instant Ink. Attractive design. Supports SD card flash memory.

  • CONS

    Cost per page is high sans Instant Ink. Potentially wasteful two-cartridge ink cartridge set holds all four inks. Noticeable banding when printing dark gradients and backgrounds.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    A well-designed and attractive consumer-grade photo AIO, the HP Envy Photo 7155 All-in-One Printer is capable of churning out good-looking photographs at highly competitive running costs, but only with HP’s Instant Ink subscription.

[amazon_link asins=’B074P4T1FT’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’58214bcb-09ce-11e8-b078-9b044ba555d6′]A step below the HP Envy Photo 7855 [amazon_link asins=’B06ZY9LP74′ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’4c458f0c-09ce-11e8-bdf2-57afaeac1f8d’]—the flagship model in the photo-centric HP Envy all-in-one (AIO) line—the HP Envy Photo 7155 All-in-One Printer ($149.99) [amazon_link asins=’B074P4ZS68′ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’02f10449-09cf-11e8-a8f4-67d7c759cdcb’][amazon_link asins=’B074P4ZS68′ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’02f682d3-09cf-11e8-bc0e-3d7532936f48′] prints well overall, and it’s fast enough to keep up in this relatively slow genre of home-based and small office printers. In direct competition with the Editors’ Choice Canon Pixma TS9120 Wireless Inkjet All-in-One,[amazon_link asins=’B074VFYB9J’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’552309f1-09cf-11e8-ad99-090ab1524173′] the Envy 7155 lacks a few features, and it doesn’t print quite as well, especially photos. With a subscription to HP’s Instant Ink program, however, the Envy 7155 is cheaper to use than the Canon TS9120, making it a sensible alternative for families and home-based offices on budgets.
  • PROSRead the review of the Brother HL-L2370DW XL at PCMag

    Small and light. Fast. Good text quality. Ships with large complement of toner.

  • CONS

    Graphics and photo quality could be better. Running costs should be lower, given purchase price. Small duty cycle and paper capacity for price.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    The vsts could be prohibitive for higher-volume environments.

[amazon_link asins=’B0763TXM5Q’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’2bc163a9-0845-11e8-a181-7f43bd59e072′]The Brother HL-L2370DW XL ($279.99) [amazon_link asins=’B0763TXM5Q’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’3581e154-0845-11e8-8cee-d373755d5243′] is a member of the company’s recent line of bulk-toner laser printers. These new “XL” printers and all-in-ones are essentially entry-level machines that are, due to large a large complement of toner in the box, sold at midlevel monochrome laser printer prices. Whether it or a comparable, but less expensive, model like the Editors’ Choice Canon imageClass LBP251dw [amazon_link asins=’B0188WLLVI’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’a54e2eb4-0845-11e8-a797-25f7092ff1e2′] is right for you comes down to considering that your cost of ownership is going to go up once that first batch of toner is gone. If that’s not a deal-breaker, the HL-L2379DW is a highly capable single-function monochrome laser printer for home-based or small offices, and micro workgroups. It makes a good personal laser printer, too.

Read the entire review at PCMag



 

Review of Dymo LabelWriter Wireless at PCMagPROS

    • Reasonably fast labels. Good print quality. Strong selection of label types. Cost of consumables is competitively low.

CONS

    • Cutter somewhat clumsy and low-tech. While decent, design and print software could be more modern and intuitive.

BOTTOM LINE

  • The Dymo LabelWriter Wireless churns out labels in numerous shapes, colors, and sizes at a competitive per-label cost.

[amazon_link asins=’B0725W4BHR’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’6f2c34f8-ed89-11e7-88a3-09106fa8372a’]xThe newest Dymo desktop label printer, the Dymo LabelWriter Wireless ($149.99) [amazon_link asins=’B0725W4BHR’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’b189f43f-ed89-11e7-9aa1-e7ab7544f1ee’], is comparable in price and features to Brother’s QL-810W,[amazon_link asins=’B01MTWGMRR’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’e5304db6-ed89-11e7-a1c4-b1421334aa32′] which itself is a step down from our Editors’ Choice, the QL-820NWB.[amazon_link asins=’B01MTYE0X6′ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’2143a3ae-ed8a-11e7-9fe6-8baeab147145′] The LabelWriter Wireless is much like the Brother QL-810W in that they both have adept label design and print software for PCs and mobile devices, and you can connect to either via Wi-Fi or USB. However, the Brother model is somewhat slicker in a few key ways: It comes with an automatic cutter, as well as support for an optional battery that makes the printer functional where power is unavailable. Even so, the LabelWriter Wireless is a highly capable, networkable label design and print system, making it a decent alternative to the Brother QL-810W as a home-based or small office labeling solution.
Read the entire review at PCMag


With all of the innovation going on in information technology these days, printers may not be the sexiest set of gear, but they remain one of the bedrocks. An absolute in the printer market nowadays is that, no matter what you pay for it—from $50 to $1,000 or more—your single-function or multifunction machine should print at least passably well, and it should perform like a champ—in terms of mechanical functionality, if not necessarily speed. Those are 2017’s printer table stakes.

Computer Shopper's Top 100 Tech Products of 2017: Printers

From small or home-based offices to huge enterprises and workgroups, an ongoing trend in printer technology over the past several years has been mobile connectivity—printing from and scanning to your smartphone, tablet, or laptop from virtually anywhere and everywhere. The year 2017 continues that trend, as well as the ongoing ink wars, in which printer makers promote various technologies and programs for providing lower-cost ink (or at least the illusion of it), especially among lower-end consumer and small-office all-in-ones (AIOs). The reality is that ink’s not really any cheaper, but these products do provide a lot more transparency into what it actually costs to keep your printer inked up.

Read the entire article at PCMag



 

See the entire article at Digital TrendsBefore the current Wi-Fi standard, called 802.11ac, wireless broadband was never quite robust enough: Too many devices were vying for your limited, inefficiently distributed bandwidth. This latest standard has proven faster and more reliable, and WiGig and mesh networking will help. But with the ever-increasing proliferation of Wi-Fi devices — PCs, smartphones, tablets, webcams, printers, wearables, refrigerators, and more — it won’t be long until we’re playing catch up again.

According to estimates by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the number of internet-connected gadgets for an average family of four is now at 10 per household. The cross-government trade group estimates that number will reach 50 wirelessly connected devices by 2022 — all competing for the same bandwidth, over the same connection.

[amazon_link asins=’B01LLAK1UG’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’743869f1-c330-11e7-a92c-e5c13b5b7c87′]“The Wi-Fi device and traffic explosion, higher density Wi-Fi deployments, growing use of outdoor Wi-Fi, and the need to support a great variety of different device types will require more efficient Wi-Fi implementations that can help to deliver richer experiences for enterprise and consumer applications that are hungry for bandwidth,” according to Andrew Zignani, Senior Analyst at ABI Research.

The good news in all this is that the people who tend to Wi-Fi standards haven’t been idle. The 6th generation of Wi-Fi, 802.11ax, is in the final stages of certification, and new products based on the standard are underway. Broadcom, a maker of circuit boards and other gizmos that drive today’s information technology, has just announced Max Wifi, the first 802.11ax chips designed for use in routers for homes and businesses, as well as wireless gadgets such as smartphones and tablets.

The need for massive increases in bandwidth and throughput is upon us. The question is, is 802.11ax enough, or is it too little too late?

Read the entire review at Digital Trends


 

IN A WORLD SATURATED IN WI-FI, THERE’S STILL ROOM FOR BLUETOOTH MESH - at Digital TrendsYes, current Wi-Fi-based smart home technology can turn on the lights with your smartphone or voice. But do you call that home automation, really? Isn’t it just a slightly more convenient light switch?

How about this? When you unlock your front door, the lights in the foyer come on, the motion sensors on your alarm system turn off, the thermostat starts the air conditioning, and your entertainment system begins playing your favorite music—all before you put your keys down!

Now that’s home automation, right?

What about a more serious, or potentially life-and-death scenario, where hospital staff could track patients, staff members, and equipment from any console, PC, or tablet on the premises?

[amazon_link asins=’B01N7EW596′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’0bb587f4-c3e6-11e7-8545-5da339a663cc’]While the best Wi-Fi systems allow us to take baby steps into building automation, wireless security, asset tracking, and more, a new technology called Bluetooth Mesh — an update to the standard Bluetooth wireless solution that most of us know — promises a better, more efficient, and much less expensive solution.

“As people’s expectations for networks go up, they demand networks capable of handling hundreds (or thousands) of IP addresses, offering Wi-Fi-level of signal performance across the house and building,” Daniel Cooley, Senior Vice President of Silicon Labs, told Digital Trends. “People won’t put up with flaky Wi-Fi anymore. If they can get away with fewer antennas, it would be much better.”

Cooley is a member of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, or SIG, which oversees and develops Bluetooth technology. If he’s right—and industry watchers and makers of networking equipment are betting that he is—many aspects of our lives will soon be secured and simplified by this latest Bluetooth update.

Read the entire article at Digital Trends

Introducing Bluetooth Mesh Networking from Bluetooth SIG on Vimeo.


 

IWilliam Harrel's reviews on Computer Shoppert’s hard to believe, but I have been writing for the legendary Computer Shopper for over eight years (as of October 2017), and have been a contributing editor there for about seven years. My beat has covered everything from desktop systems and laptops, to tablets and 2-in-1s in several flavors (operating systems) and size, printers and all-in-one printers in all shapes and sizes, video cards, SSD and other types of disk drives—you name it. It’s been a wild ride.

More so than ever, competition in the tech markets is cutthroat and fierce. It’s been my pleasure to do what I can to keep you all informed.

For a list and links to my articles on Computer Shopper, click here