HP Officejet Pro 8740 All-in-One Printer Review and RatingsAmong the most successful multifunction printers (MFPs) in recent years has been HP’s 2014 Officejet Pro 8630 All-in-One Printer—also, not coincidentally, one of our highest-rated Editors’ Choice recipients (4.5 out of 5 stars) over the past few years. An all-in-one (AIO) printer must hold up well under our scrutiny and impress us to receive so high a score.

Alas, all good things must eventually get refreshed and replaced.

Now, it’s time to talk about not only the Officejet Pro 8630’s replacement, but also the retirement of the entire Officejet Pro 8600 series, which includes the 8600, 8610, 8620, and the 8630 flagship model. The 8630 is much like the 8620, minus the former model’s second drawer. In the same way, aside from dropping a few features, such as an auto-duplexing ADF (and, of course, that second drawer), the 8610 is much like the 8620.

HP’s new generation was unveiled in early March 2016. The Palo Alto printer giant introduced, along with 15 to 20 other printer models, the Officejet Pro 8700 series, which included the flagship, today’s review unit. The $399.99-MSRP Officejet Pro 8740 All-in-One Printer, as you’ll see over the course of this review, is no incremental update to the Officejet Pro 8630. Apart from some similar specs, these two printers don’t have a lot in common—especially, as shown in the image below, in appearance…

HP Officejet Pro 8740In fact, this series, including our Officejet Pro 8740 review unit, which we’ll discuss in some detail in the Design & Features section next, looks quite different from any inkjet AIO we’ve seen, now or in the past.

In addition to the Officejet Pro 8740, on March 8 HP also unveiled the Officejet Pro 8710, which is a bit of an outlier. In addition to having, as you’d expect, features reduced versus the Officejet Pro 8740, it’s dark gray (unlike the 8720, 8730, and 8740) and looks more like the previous-gen 8610 than the other three new releases do. The Officejet Pro 8720, 8730, and 8740 are more of a kind, with several features in common, including legal-size (8.5×14-inch) duplex printing, scanning, copying, and faxing, plus single-pass duplex scanning.

We expect all of these features, as well as a respectable per-page cost of operation (what we call the “cost per page,” or CPP) for both black-and-white and color pages, from any business-centric inkjet that lists for $400. That’s not the upper limit for business inkjets these days, but it’s a premium machine. We’ll look at the CPP, as well as this AIO’s versatile paper-handling options, in the Setup & Paper Handling section later on. But a teaser: If you plan to print and/or copy at levels close to this machine’s actual 30,000-page monthly duty cycle, the CPP here is probably a bit too high. That’s compared to some other relatively high-volume models, including HP’s own significantly more expensive PageWide Pro 577dw Multifunction Printer we reviewed a few weeks ago.

HP Officejet Pro 8740 (Old and New)Of course, seldom is it a good idea to push any printer to its absolute maximum suggested limit, month in and month out. If you have printing needs that heavy, you need to buy a printer with a bit more overhead. That said, this AIO’s CPP is about right for what it is, if you use it for well under HP’s recommended monthly printing limit, or “duty cycle”—even though $399 is a bit pricey for a printer in this class. Printer pricing is an ever-moving target, though, and if the Officejet Pro 8740 behaves on the open market as its predecessor did, it will spend much of the time on sale at around $299, which we think is a much more appropriate price given the competition. (At this writing, that remained to be seen, though.)

All that said, as usual with HP, you’re paying for style and innovation, as well as dependability and quality. For many users, those assets are worth a premium price. And we think that most folks would be happy with this printer whether they paid an additional $50 or $100 for it, or not. Pricing quibbles aside, the Officejet Pro 8740 is a very fine—and refined—small business and micro-office printer.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper

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HP PageWide Pro MFP 577dw Review and RatingsIt has been just over three years since HP’s release of its Officejet Pro X line of printers based on the company’s fixed PageWide inkjet printhead technology, as described in our February 2013 review of the Officejet Pro X576dw Multifunction Printer. Many things about this new line impressed us at the time, including its exceptional print speed, great print quality, and extraordinarily competitive cost per page. In fact, this was the cheapest-to-use multifunction printer (MFP) we had tested at the time, be it a laser or an inkjet. (It still holds that distinction.)

However, HP never really filtered the PageWide technology way down its product stack. Unlike its competitor Epson, which offered a new printhead in mid-2014, dubbed “PrecisionCore,” in models all the way down to its entry-level, low-volume WorkForce multifunction printers (MFPs), the Palo Alto printer giant kept PageWide out of its lower-volume (and lower-priced) office-centric products.

That remains the case. On the date of this review, March 8, HP is rolling out a new, second-gen line of HP PageWide printers—and indeed, PageWide joins LaserJet and Officejet as a discrete HP product family—with more levels than before. Today’s review unit, HP’s $899.99-MSRP PageWide 577dw, for example, sits near the top of the PageWide product line, while the cheapest PageWide model, the PageWide Pro 452dw sfp, a single-function machine, lists for $499.99.

HP PageWide Pro 577dw (Angle View)That’s a far cry from the average consumer- or small-office-grade $199 and $299 high-volume inkjets designed to churn out a few thousand pages per month. Our PageWide Pro 577dw review unit, for example, has an 80,000-page monthly duty cycle, which is the number of pages HP says the printer should be able to handle each month without undue wear. Since PageWide is a “fixed” printhead spanning the width of the page, more akin to a laser printer mechanism than a conventional inkjet, it can churn out pages mighty fast, without the limitations of a moving printhead carriage.

What we really liked about the first round of PageWide printers, though, was that unprecedented low cost per page (CPP) of operation. At the time, only very expensive enterprise-grade laser machines could touch it in that regard.

This time around, you can buy black cartridges with page yields up to 17,000 pages (and color tanks with yields up to 13,000), as opposed to 9,200 and 6,600, respectively, in the previous generation. The CPP figures, for both monochrome and color, have stayed about the same, which we’ll get into in greater detail in the Setup & Paper Handling section later on. Like any self-respecting high-volume printer, this one delivers a CPP low enough to make printing out multiple reams of paper each month reasonably economical compared with other like-priced printers.

Now, while a high duty cycle and a low CPP are important, so too are print speed, print quality, and, of course, mobile connectivity and cloud features. The 577dw delivers that, not to mention a wealth of security and network-administration options, along with some design features that make this, like its X576dw predecessor, a top pick for businesses that need bulk output, color, and not necessarily laser-quality text.

As we alluded to earlier, the PageWide Pro models are part of a much larger collection of products that all debuted on March 8. In addition to the PageWide additions to HP’s product stable (a total of seven printers, there, in PageWide Pro 500, PageWide Pro 400, and PageWide 300 lines), the company is also pushing out new and replacement models in the Officejet Pro, PageWide Enterprise, and Officejet Mobile product families. We’ll be getting down to reviews of many of these in the coming weeks.

All considered, we found little to quibble about in this high-volume workhorse, other than what seemed to us a lofty price, versus competing models such as Epson’s $549.99-list WorkForce Pro WF-6590 Network Multifunction Color Printer. The good news for HP here, though, is that this new PageWide model provides significantly lower CPPs than the highest-volume Epson WorkForce Pro models that are available at the moment, which is very important for high-volume printers like these. And the good news for businesses that need that kind of mass output: The PageWide Pro 577dw maintains most of the high points of its illustrious predecessor.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper

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Epson WorkForce Pro WF-6590 Network Multifunction Color Printer Review and RatingsThe further you work your way up the Epson WorkForce Pro product line, the more impressive these high-volume all-in-one inkjets get. Over the past couple of years, we’ve awarded several WorkForce Pro models our Editors’ Choice award. Most recently, these were the WorkForce Pro WF-4630 Network Multifunction Printer (which earned a very rare perfect five stars) and the WorkForce Pro WF-5690 Network Multifunction Color Printer With PCL/Adobe PS.

Why did these particular high-end, high-volume printers score so high? For a number of reasons, but foremost: These are fast, robust machines with exceptional print quality and a highly competitive per-page cost of operation.

Add to that group the subject of our review today.

The $549.99-list WorkForce Pro WF-6590 Network Multifunction Color Printer is, with its 75,000-page monthly “duty cycle” and potential capacity of up to 1,580 sheets, an extremely well-built and capable all-in-one. (The monthly duty cycle is the number of pages the manufacturer says you can print each month without causing undue wear and tear on the machine.)

Essentially a replacement for (or an alternative to) a laser printer, this PrecisionCore-based workhorse comes with just about every convenience and productivity feature appropriate to this level of high-volume multifunction printer (MFP). As we’ve pointed out in past reviews of PrecisionCore-based MFPs, they hold some key advantages over laser and laser-class (LED) machines, including significantly lower power consumption, the ability to print higher-quality photographs, and—especially—a much lower cost per page for color prints, as we’ll get into in a later section of this review.

Epson WorkForce Pro WF-6590 (Left Angle)Midrange and high-volume laser models tend to churn out black-and-white pages at reasonable per-page costs, but printing color pages on them often costs two to three times as much as the same pages would on a WorkForce Pro or some other competitive high-volume inkjet, such as HP’s venerable, PageWide-based Officejet X576dw. Our point is that this WorkForce Pro model, several of its siblings, as well as HP’s PageWide Officejet X models outpace comparably priced laser MFPs in many ways.

For the most part, the WF-6590 is the next step up from the WF-5690 (which lists for $150 less), with capabilities and volumes increased by roughly a third. For example, the cheaper model has a 45,000-page monthly duty cycle, compared to the WF-6590’s 75,000 pages. Furthermore, the WF-6590’s print speed is slightly higher, rated at 24 pages per minute (ppm), as opposed to the smaller model’s 20ppm. Copy and scan speeds are somewhat faster, too.

In brief, as we said about the WorkForce Pro WF-5690 a while back, the WorkForce Pro WF-6590 is an excellent high-volume MFP, as are the other WorkForce models listed in the previous paragraphs. They are ideal picks if you need large amounts of text (and don’t require true laser quality), as well as a good bit of color printing with photo-output quality that beats what you’ll get on any color laser. The good news is that whichever WorkForce Pro model you select, each one delivers a very low cost per page for both of those kinds of output. As we see it, any of them will do a good job—you just need to decide on how much volume you need.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper

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Epson Expression ET-2550 EcoTank (Documents)It’s been a few months now since our first look at Epson’s relatively new ink-delivery system, EcoTank, in our review of the $499.99-MSRP WorkForce ET-4550 EcoTank All-in-One. (We reviewed it back in August of 2015.) Now that the EcoTank tech has been out in the wild for a while, we’ve had a chance to chew on it in light of other ink developments in the inkjet-printer marketplace, and users have chimed in. And our opinion of it has changed some—but not enough to reconsider the Editors’ Choice nod we gave to the WorkForce ET-4550.

EcoTank now plays in a field with HP’s Instant Ink service and Brother’s INKvestment, two new means of delivering and pricing inkjet ink. EcoTank, while it cansave you money on ink, as we’ll get to in a moment, is, of the bunch, a bit of an odd bird, at least when it’s applied to certain printer models. That brings us to today’s EcoTank review model, the $399.99-MSRP Epson Expression ET-2550 EcoTank All-in-One. For the $100 difference between this unit and the WorkForce ET-4550 we tested, you get a more robust machine in the WorkForce model. (So far, the purchase price hasn’t come down on either model from the list price, no matter where you shop.)

As we explained in our review of the WorkForce ET-4550, these recent EcoTank models really are just versions of earlier Epson AIOs with four big ink reservoirs added, encased in a housing attached to the right side of the chassis. In the case of the ET-4550, for example, it is, at the core, Epson’s WorkForce WF-2650 All-in-One; today’s review unit, the ET-2550, is actually the $89.99-list Expression Home XP-320 Small-in-One Printer, as shown here…

Epson Expression ET-2550 EcoTank (With and Without EcoTank)(If the AIO on the right looks larger, except for the EcoTank attachment on the right side, it’s not, actually; it’s just a question of perspective in the two images. The machines are the same size, barring the EcoTank hump on the ET-2550 model at right.)

Like the ET-4550, then, the ET-2550 is an under-$100 AIO with enough ink in the box, Epson estimates, to last you for two years—which is to say, enough ink to jack up the purchase price to $400. On the ET-4550, Epson estimates its 11,000 black-and-white pages and/or 8,500 color prints are the equivalent to two years’ worth of printing (comparable to about 50 ink-tank sets). Our ET-2550 review unit, on the other hand, comes with enough ink, according to Epson, to churn out about 4,000 monochrome pages and/or 6,500 color prints. That, according to Epson, is equal to about 20 cartridge sets. A cartridge set consists of, in this case, all four of the cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK) process-color tanks.

Epson Expression ET-2550 EcoTank (Front Open)As you’ll see on the next page, the EcoTank system in itself can, if you’re willing to spend the additional money up front, save you money—if (and this is important) you use your printer often enough to justify buying all that additional ink. (We’ll get into that math a bit later on.) But the bottom line on EcoTank, at least as it is implemented with this entry-level AIO, is complicated by the fact that this is a very modest printer apart from the EcoTank stuff. So what about the printer itself? Is it worth $400?

That’s what this review will be all about. In short, though: Except for the four large bottles of ink in the box and the “supertanker” ink reservoirs on the right side, everything about this printer says low-volume, right down to its 500-page recommended monthly print volume (which works out to about 15 to 20 pages per day). Epson has provided enough ink to print about 167 black-and-white pages and/or 271 color pages each month. The good news is that should you require more ink, as you’ll see in the Cost Per Page section later on, refill bottles are remarkably cheap.

The key thing, though: Were you to require much more volume than what Epson suggests, the ET-2550 (and possibly your patience) probably won’t be robust enough to handle the day-to-day stress. This model’s small input and output options, and, as you’ll see next, its lack of certain key features, render it not up to the needs of a large number of would-be buyers. The Expression ET-2550 couldserve you well, but only if you match it closely to how much you print (and how little you scan). To do that, read on.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper

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Asus ZenBook UX305CA Review and RatingsAs we took the 2.7-pound, $699.99-MSRP ZenBook UX305CA from its box, we experienced two sensations: one, that it was exceptionally thin, light, and balanced; and, two, that we had seen this 13.3-inch-screened laptop before. Our first observation we’ll discuss over the course of this review. The second, that we had seen this laptop before, is true—the identically priced ZenBook UX305FA we reviewed back in July 2015 was, in many ways (but especially appearance) much alike.

Apart from the version of Windows (Win 10 here, versus 8.1 on the UX305FA) and a different generation of Intel Core M processor, these laptops differ little. The ZenBook UX305CA’s processor is a second-generation version of the Core M. (We tested a 900MHz dual-core Intel Core m3-6Y30 in today’s review unit; the Core M-5Y10 in the earlier ZenBook was a 800MHz dual-core.)

Asus Zenbook UX305CA (Front)Unlike the first round of Core M chips, which were classed simply as “Core M” and seen in only two variants, this next generation comes in the familiar “3”, “5,” and “7” stepping that Intel uses with its higher-end Core processors. (It’s a parallel scheme; instead of Core i3, i5, and i7, Intel has stacked the new Core M chips into Core m3, m5, and m7 classes.) Core M is all about power efficiency and keeping heat in check in small spaces, and by providing finer slices of its Core M silicon than before, Intel has enabled makers of laptops and 2-in-1s more flexibility in these thin, thermally challenging designs. Just as entry-level and mainstream portables typically run on Core i3 and i5 CPUs, and models meant for resource-intensive games and media editing/processing are home to more powerful i7 processors, we should see similar stratification with these new CPUs.

Of course, with Core M designed for work in tighter confines than Core i, we can’t help but wonder whether even Core m7 chips, without cooling fans, will be powerful enough to act as media crunchers for high-res photos in Photoshop or as effective mobile video workhorses. [Jury’s still out on that, as we we’ve tested just one example; see our review of the Core m7-based HP Spectre x2 2-in-1 detachable for more. —Ed.]

We’ll see as more Core M comes to market, but if clock speed is any indication, Core M will be more about base productivity work than CPU-heavy load crunching. Early on, it looks like the primary differences within this new-gen Core M line circle around clock speed. The Core m3 CPU in our ZenBook review unit, for example, runs at 900MHz, while the two Core m5 processors in the wild when we wrote this in mid-January 2016 (the Core m5-6Y54 and Core m5-6Y57) run at 1.1GHz, and the Core m7-6Y75 in the Spectre x2 runs at 1.2GHz. All of the other base specs in the new line are the same.

While the Core M CPUs emphasize low wattage and other power-sipping options, one of their more attractive features is that they’re designed to be “fanless,” allowing laptop and tablet manufacturers to build near-noiseless laptops and convertibles. (Noise, then, becomes a factor of the storage drive, but for the thin portables that Core M makes sense for, the drive is almost always a silent solid-state model.) It’s also the reason that this ZenBook and its predecessor are so thin. Although the marketing moniker “ultrabook” is falling into lesser use, if not disuse, these days, plenty of laptops still fit the profile, and being thin and light has always been one of the primary attributes. Whatever these machines end up being called, Core M CPUs should help keep them that way.

Which brings us back to our review unit. Like with its ZenBook UX305FA predecessor, given the UX305CA’s $699 list price, you get a respectable set of components. The top-line ones: That Core m3 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB solid state drive (SSD), and an attractive 1080p HD display panel. On the whole, this is a respectable midrange ultrabook with an excellent mix of components that skillfully balances the perception of just-enough speed for productivity work without ever spilling into overkill. And like with the ZenBook UX305FA, we found very little to quibble with on this ultrabook’s design, assuming the level of performance matches the way you work.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper

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Canon Pixma MG7720 Wireless Inkjet All-In-OneUnless you’ve been watching the printer market awfully closely, you’ll find it difficult to trace the lineage of today’s review unit through the evolution of Canon’s photo printers. We’re looking at Canon’s current flagship model among consumer-grade, photo-ready all-in-ones (AIOs), the Pixma MG7720 Photo All-in-One Inkjet Printer. (Its list price is $199.99, but while writing this, we found it on sale at shop.usa.canon.com for $50 off, or $149.99.) Canon’s MG line emphasizes photo printing; its MX line of Pixmas is geared more toward balanced general printing and document handling.

Canon Pixma MG7720 (Introduction 1)An upgrade to the $149.99-list Pixma MG6820 we reviewed not long before it, this six-ink Pixma prints some of the brightest, most vibrant photos you’ll get from a consumer-grade photo printer. To get better output than this, you’ll have to turn to a professional-grade photo printer, such as Canon’s own $499.99-MSRP Pixma Pro-100 or Epson’s $799.99 SureColor P600—elaborate, large nine-ink printers, both.

Aside from printing better photos, the professional-grade models mentioned here and their numerous counterparts aren’t really designed for printing document pages consisting of text and graphics. Nor is it economically feasible to do much of that on them. It’s not that they’re notcapable of printing all kinds of output; they surely are. But using them to do so is wasteful. It’s too expensive to use your nine-ink photo printer to print business reports or presentations.

In any case, back to the history of this particular AIO. Prior to the MG7000-series Pixma printers, Canon, in 2010, offered a higher-end six-ink Pixma, the Pixma MG8120, which not only was an excellent photo and document printer, but could also scan slides and negatives—a well-rounded photo-centric AIO. But Canon eventually ditched the somewhat expensive MG8000 series (which topped out, in their time, at $299.99) for a less-expensive six-ink MG7000 series (now cresting at $199.99).

Canon Pixma MG7720 (Introduction 2)

If you shop around, you’ll inevitably find these printers for less. (That’s always been the case with these consumer Pixmas.) Unfortunately, the same does not apply to the ink. Unless you’re feeding the Pixma MG7720 third-party ink, this model’s per-page cost using genuine Canon ink relegates it, where documents are concerned, to being a low-volume printer.

It’s expensive to operate as a photo printer, too, simply by the nature of photo printing, as we’ll get into more later on. But if top-notch “keeper” photographs are what you’re after, you may find the outlay worth the price. Granted, HP’s Instant Ink allows certain of that company’s photo-ready Envy models to print images dirt-cheap. But those are four-ink, two-cartridge machines that, while they print decent-enough photos, are not equal to what the Pixma MG7720 gives you in vibrancy and color depth.

Our bottom line on this printer, its siblings, and its predecessors? If you’re looking for the least-expensive way to print the best-looking photos, the Pixma MG7720 is arguably it. Beyond it, you’re looking at a much costlier proposition to buy and operate one of those professional-grade photo printers we mentioned earlier. But as a general-purpose printer, the Pixma MG7720 is not as strong a choice. The output is unimpeachable, but it will be dear.

Read the entire article at Computer Shopper.

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Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro Review and RatingsBig-screen Android tablets are starting to look like bison on the Great Plains once the West was settled: thin on the ground. In 2015, we’re seeing fewer and fewer new full-size Android slates (models with screens around 10 inches) than ever. Part of the reason? The bar for these tabs is already pretty high.

The 2015 models we have seen, such as Dell’s Venue 10 7000 and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S2 9.7, are elegant, high-performing devices for media consumption. Also, some of them, such as the Venue 10 7000 and the topic of today’s review, Lenovo’s $499.99-MSRP Yoga Tab 3 Pro, are constructed quitewell, with a balanced, polished solidity to them.

Similar to the Venue 10 7000, many of the Yoga Tab 3 Pro 10.1’s most impressive features center around a tube-like appendage, or in the case of the Yoga, what’s called a “barrel hinge.” In the case of the Venue 10 model, the cylindrical portion was used to fasten Dell’s accessory keyboard to the actual tablet. The barrel hinge on the Yoga Tab 3, on the other hand, connects a thin metal “kickstand,” as shown in the image below, to the slate. But that’s hardly all it does.

In fact, aside from this slate’s gorgeous 2,560×1,600-pixel screen, much of its pizzazz and unique functionality stem from that hinge and what’s inside it. The slate’s barrel contains a larger battery than the one on the Yoga Tablet 2 of the same screen size, for a terrific showing in our battery-life testing. Also, the speakers have been updated significantly, and this Yoga has a miniature projector built in for sharing the screen contents with others, flashed onto the doors and walls of your home or office. This kind of tablet-integrated “pico” projector made its debut in the earlier Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro, which was a 13.3-inch Android from 2014. We’ll discuss the projector a little later in this review, but it’s by far the least common feature in this tablet.

Nearly every aspect of this classy tablet is new and improved. Compared to the competitors of the day, its Intel Atom processor, one of the company’s late-model “Cherry Trail”-family chips, performs relatively fast and seemingly glitch-free. With a pleather backing and a few other external refinements, the Tab 3 Pro is a little heavier than the Yoga Tab 2 of the same screen size was. But considering that this slate is designed to either prop up on (or hang from) its built-in kickstand—this slate’s other defining feature—and that the tubular portion is easy to grip, the extra weight is not a huge demerit.

Lenovo Tab 3 Pro (Kickstand)The bottom line for this tablet? Like Apple’s iPad Airs or Samsung’s Galaxy Tabs, it’s designed as a media-consumption device, primarily for movies, YouTube, Netflix, and other media sites and services that serve up digital video. As you’ll see in the Performance section later on, it also did better than we expected on our gaming performance tests, suggesting that it might fare better than most others on high-end, resource-intensive games down the line.

Our one major quibble we have with the Yoga Tab 3 Pro isn’t with the tablet proper but with one of the design decisions that affects the accessory prospects of this tablet: the lack of a detachable keyboard. Because of the barrel-like kickstand hinge, it’s not possible to snap an accessory keyboard onto this tablet to turn it into an impromptu Android-based laptop. For a tablet that has “Pro” in its name, we found that a bit of a disconnect; we’d expect a “Pro” tablet to offer at least thepossibility for keyboard-based productivity work. You can, of course, always supply a third-party, separate Bluetooth keyboard of your own, but it will always be, at best, a near match and a separate piece to wrestle with.

That said, as we’ll get into in the next section, this lack of a native keyboard accessory isn’t necessarily a drawback; this is a tablet that’s all about watching video. If you use it for its intended purpose most of the time—media consumption—the Tab 3 Pro will serve you as an impressive slate that’s likely worth the price, so long as you’re not jonesing after one of Apple’s iPads. (Those top tablets, the iPad Air and iPad Air 2, come in around the same price.)

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper

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HP Envy 7640 e-All-in-One PrinterIt took a while (it was released in 2014), but we finally got our hands on HP’s flagship Envy all-in-one (AIO), the $199.99-list Envy 7640 e-All-in-One Printer. One benefit of reviewing a printer after it’s been out for a year or so is that, by that time, the machine has settled into its place in the market, which usually means a price point somewhat lower than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. As we wrote this in mid-November 2015, Amazon.com was selling the Envy 7640 for $85.99, less than half the original MSRP.

Even though it’s at the top of the Envy product line, the Envy 7640 (whose AIO functions comprise printing, copying, scanning, and faxing) is nonetheless a low-volume, entry-level machine. It’s designed to print and/or copy about 300 to 400 pages each month. A primary difference between this Envy and its siblings, though, is that this one has an automatic document feeder (ADF) to help you scan multipage documents. As we’ll get into in the next section, this is a huge advantage for this particular Envy model.

HP Envy 7640 (Cover)Over the years, the Envy line has changed considerably. At one time, HP offered only one model at a time, such as the Envy 100, Envy 110, or Envy 120. Now, HP offers a bunch of concurrent ones. In addition, at one time HP’s Envy brand—be it printers, desktop PCs, or laptops—was given only to the company’s top-of-the-line, highest-quality machines. Now, the Envy-name criteria is much more relaxed and mainstream, with an emphasis in printers on mobile connectivity features, as well as a decent mix of productivity and convenience options.

Even though this Envy is the sturdiest branch on the Envy tree, it’s by no means a high-volume multifunction printer. As you’ll see in our Setup & Paper Handling section later on, its input and output paper trays are quite small. And, while the print quality isn’t bad overall, it’s by no means perfect. HP promotes the Envy line as photo printers, and most of the Envy models we’ve reviewed have printed respectable photos, or ones as good you’d expect, at least, from four-ink printers. This one was a step behind.

HP Envy 7640 (Cover 3)

If a photo printer is what you’re after, you’ll generally get brighter, more accurately colored images from machines that deploy five or six inks—even HP’s own five-ink Photosmart 6520 e-All-in-One Printer or six-ink Photosmart 7520 e-All-in-One Printer we covered back in 2012. Since then, we haven’t seen any five- or six-ink consumer-grade photo AIOs from HP.

As with other Envy models, as well as the latest round of Officejet models, if you stay within HP’s suggested page-volume guidelines and subscribe to the Instant Ink consumables delivery service to save on ink, the Envy 7640 will satisfy. It isn’t a bad little low-volume printer for homes or home-based offices, especially as cheap as it is now. But you can find much better photo printers, if that’s what you are after, for not much more money. (Even a couple of recent Envy models we’ve tested printed better images than this one.) If, however, all you need is an occasional-use printer with the ability to scan and make usable copies now and then, this Envy works for that.

Keep in mind, though, that this printer makes much more budgetary sense if you enroll in HP’s Instant Ink program, described in the Setup & Paper Handling section a bit later—especially if you’ll use it for mostly photo prints.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.

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Epson Expression Premium XP-830 Small-in-One Review and RatingsWe first encountered Epson’s Small-in-One printers in the Expression Premium XP-800, the first in a series that debuted back in November 2012. On sight, not much has changed in Small-in-One land since then.

In fact, as you can see in the image below, aside from the model number, from the outside the 2012 XP-800 and 2015 Expression Premium XP-830—today’s unit up for review, which lists for $99.99—are nearly identical…

That’s the XP-830 there on the right. Just like today’s review unit, changes to interim models in this series, such as the Expression Premium XP-810 and XP-820, were internal—that is, the updates consisted primarily of feature add-ins and performance tweaks.

When these Small-in-One units debuted a few years ago (especially the higher-end models like this one; Epson also offers Small-in-One models in its XP-400 and XP-600 series), we applauded them as impressive feats of engineering. They did (and do) so much given their diminutive sizes. And for all three previous XP-800-series models, our assessment was about the same: excellent little printer, but costs too much to use.

Unfortunately, while Epson has piled on the features over the years, it hasn’t done anything to bring down the per-page cost of ink. The XP-830 and all of its predecessors are, first and foremost, photo printers, and photo-oriented all-in-ones (AIOs) historically have a higher cost per page than equally priced and equipped office-centric AIOs.

Epson Expression Premium XP-830 (New and Old)That hasn’t changed here. New features have been added with each of the updates, for the most part the underlying XP-800-series machines haven’t changed all that much, nor their cost per page. As we pointed out in 2014’s review of the Expression Premium XP-820, however, the pricing on these units has gotten more aggressive.

The original XP-800 started out at a $279 list price. After that, the XP-810’s MSRP was $50 lower, or $229; then came the $30-cheaper ($199 list) XP-820. This year’s XP-830 also comes in at an MSRP of $199, but as we wrote this in mid-November 2015, it was discounted on Epson’s own Web site by $70, for a total price of $129. This price brings it close to parity with Canon’s five- and six-ink photo-centric Pixma AIO models, such as the five-ink Pixma MG6820 we reviewed recently.

Epson Expression Premium XP-830 (Off)When it comes to print quality and features, the Pixma MG6820 and the Expression Premium XP-830 are reasonably close. However, our Epson review unit has an automatic document feeder (ADF) for feeding multipage documents to the scanner—a feature that many users find very handy, and that the photo-centric Pixma MG models just don’t have.

Alas, few users need or have the space for a printer for each task, say, one for printing documents and another for photographs. When it comes to printing business documents, both black-and-white and color, the XP-830’s output quality, as discussed near the end of this review, is quite good. And when it comes to keeping up with the competition, this little Small-in-One held its ground in our speed tests, too.

Each year since 2012, we have given the latest XP-800-series models in this series 4 out of 5 stars; they have just missed our Editors’ Choice nod due to their too-high cost-per-page figures. Granted, many of Canon’s and HP’s budget photo printers have high per-page ink costs, too, but just because they all do doesn’t mean it’s justified—we haven’t given the competitions’ consumer-grade photo printers the award either. But with changes afoot in the inkjet-printing market, notably HP’s Instant Ink subscription program, which can rewrite the book on color printing costs if you print just a few hundred color pages a month, we have to dock an extra half a star here for the lack of progress on that front from Epson in its Small-in-Ones. Were it not so expensive to use, the XP-830 would surely have been an Editors’ Choice winner.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper

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HP Officejet 4650 All-in-One Printer Review and Ratings

As we reported a few weeks ago in our review of the budget-model-inkjet HP Envy 5540 All-in-One Printer, HP has lately more fully embraced its Instant Ink delivery service, releasing six new Instant Ink-ready all-in-one (AIO) printers. That debut comprised two Envy models, the Envy 5540 and a lower-end Envy 4520 All-in-One Printer, both of which we’ve reviewed over the past few weeks. The other four are Officejets, and the first, the $99.99-MSRP Officejet 4650 All-in-One Printer, is the topic of this review.

In many ways, these new Officejets are simply Envy models with several added office-centric features (or perhaps, vice versa, the Envy printers are Officejets with the office features removed). Most Envy printers, except for the top-of-the line Envy 7640, don’t, for example, come with automatic document feeders (ADFs) for scanning, copying, and faxing multipage documents automatically, without you, the user, having to feed them page by page or flip them over manually.

They’re not otherwise terribly far apart, though. Here’s a visual comparison. The Officejet 4650 is the one on the left, the Envy 4520 on the right…

Imagine the Officejet on the left without the ADF (which we’ll talk more about in a bit), and you wind up with the Envy 4520 on the right, plus or minus some productivity and convenience features we’ll cover throughout the course of this review.

HP Officejet 4650 All-in-One (Top View)Given the Officejet 4650’s $99.99 suggested retail price, its feature list isn’t bad at all, nor is the cost per page (CPP), at least when you use HP’s Instant Ink ink-delivery service. We’ll look at the Instant Ink product, which is essentially an add-on, later, in the Setup & Paper Handling section. Meanwhile, this Officejet is priced and behaves very similar to its Envy siblings.

It wasn’t long ago, prior to some of today’s new ink-delivery initiatives—i.e. HP’s Instant Ink, Epson’s EcoTank, and Brother’s INKvestment—that using this kind of entry-level printer was, on a cost per page basis, an expensive proposition if you used your printer often. Nowadays, though, these vendor-specific services are making it cheaper to use some of these models. (We should add that so far we haven’t had much hands-on time with Brother printers relative to its INKvestment initiative, but will be doing so in the near future.)

Without question, if you plan to scan a lot of multipage documents, this Officejet model is more practical than one of the Envy units. If you’ve ever scanned a multipage document one page at a time, it doesn’t take long to realize that it’s tedious and time-consuming work.

Bottom line? As you’ll see in our Performance section later on, like the recent Envy models we’ve reviewed, this Officejet model is, well, pretty slow. Aside from that, it does everything that it’s supposed to—print, copy, scan, and fax—in fine fashion, in the same quality and with the same agility as its Envy counterparts.

HP Officejet 4650 All-in-One (Comparison)In the case of both those Envy units and this particular Officejet, we should not lose sight of the fact that they are low-volume printers with relatively low monthly volume ratings. From that perspective—an occasional-use machine with a low ongoing per-page cost—we think the Officejet 4650 is a good value.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper

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