Epson SureColor P600 Wide Format Inkjet Printer Review and RatingsIt’s not often that we see a printer go as long as four years without an upgrade, a relaunch, or a name change. It’s a short life, being a printer: Most of today’s mainstream all-in-one (AIO) or single-function models get updated (or discontinued) within a year or two. But some printers, meant for specialized uses or audiences, roll on and on.

Take the topic of this review, Epson’s $799.99-list SureColor P600 Wide Format Inkjet Printer, and the machine it replaces, the Epson Stylus Photo R3000, which we reviewed way back in 2011. These are not mainstream printers. An Editors’ Choice winner back then, the highly versatile R3000 was a wide-format, near-dedicated photo printer. It stuck around on the market almost twice as long as most of its kind, thanks to some excellent execution on Epson’s part. The SureColor P600 won’t be nearly as lonely in its dotage as the R3000 was, though: According to Epson, the SureColor P600 is one of 10 “Sure”-branded professional-grade printers that Epson plans to release by 2016.

Despite the long dry spell between upgrades, the SureColor P600 looks, performs, and prints much like its predecessor did. In other words, the SureColor P600 starts out with an excellent lineage, which includes not only the venerable R3000 but also 2009’sStylus Pro 3880 (the Stylus Photo R3000’s predecessor), which is still on the market today.

Epson SureColor P600 Wide Format Inkjet PrinterInterestingly, if you look back over the six-year span of these Stylus machines, you’ll see that while they have changed considerably in terms of ease of use and other features, the one constant has been their excellent print quality.

Aimed primarily at semi-professional photographers, fine artists, and hobbyists, the SureColor P600 features both an elaborate, many-hued ink-delivery system and support for an exotic array of paper and card stock large and small. We’ll get into that in more detail in the Setup & Paper Handling section later on. In short, though, the P600 uses nine of Epson’s UltraChrome HD Inks, and it prints on premium paper from 3.5×5-inch snapshot stock to 13×19-inch photo paper, as well as banners and panoramas up to almost 11 feet long.

If this sounds like a lot of printer, make no mistake: It is. If it sounds expensive to use: Yep, it’s that, too. As we’ll also cover in detail later on, to get the best results from the SureColor P600, you’ll have to use good paper, and don’t evendream of opting for generic ink-cartridge refills in this printer. Neither the ink nor the specialty paper (the latter, especially, at its biggest sizes) is cheap.

Know what this printer is not. It’s not a snapshot printer first and foremost (though it can certainly churn out some good ones). And even though it’s perfectly capable of being a document printer, that completely misses the point. Oh, it can print Word docs and Excel spreadsheets (big ones), and the like, but take our word for it, this isn’t the printer for that, except perhaps in a pinch.

Epson SureColor P600 Wide Format Inkjet Printer (Paper)Why? A number of reasons, but mostly because printing anything on the P600, especially compared to on an actual document printer, is rather expensive. Trying to estimate just how much each document page would cost over the long haul, if you’re using this printer for a mix of documents and big photo images, probably wouldn’t yield any kind of accurate numbers. That’s because, typically, high-end photo printers like this one are not rated for printing costs in cost per page (CPP), but instead in price per milliliter of ink. (Again, we’ll talk more about the S600’s ink and operational costs later on.) And given how pricey its ink is on a cost-per-milliliter basis even versus other competing photo printers, document printing can’t possibly be cost-effective here.

In any case, whether you are upgrading from an older wide-format photo printer, or you’re making the transition from a consumer-grade photo printer (perhaps Canon’s Pixma MG7520 Photo All-in-One Inkjet Printer or Epson’s own Expression Photo XP-860 Small-in-One Printer, both six-ink all-in-one models), you’ll enjoy this machine if big, bold, accurate image prints are what you are after.

Read entire review at Computer Shopper.

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Asus VivoTab 8 Review and RatingsLike everybody else, we expected great things from Windows once it became more touchable, and, no matter how disappointing Windows 8 has turned out, it has (for the most part) accomplished that much. Despite the flaws (yes, some were serious) and the circuitous route it took to get there, today we enjoy relatively easy-to-use, high-quality, and affordable touch-screen Windows tablets and convertibles—as demonstrated by Asus’ Editors’ Choice recipient, the $329.99 VivoTab Note 8 we reviewed back in April 2014.

One of that slate’s most notable features was its built-in, pressure-sensitive stylus, which, considering how small many of the menu entries, buttons, and icons were (especially in desktop mode), came in quite handy not only for taking notes and drawing, but for navigating Windows in general. And at the time, its price was remarkably low.

Now Asus has introduced another 8-inch Windows tablet, the $199.99 VivoTab 8 (only $149 at the Microsoft Store as we wrote this). For the most part, this is the same tablet as last year’s VivoTab Note 8, but without the stylus and with a few other minor differences we’ll get to over the course of this review.

Asus VivoTab 8 landscapeFor example, the Note version contains a slot on one edge for housing the stylus, which in turn makes for wider bezels, and display hardware for supporting the stylus. This means that the VivoTab 8 is a much leaner tablet—both smaller and lighter than the VivoTab Note 8.

That said, many users won’t mind the extra girth. For them, giving up the stylus for navigating this small screen is no small sacrifice. On the other hand, if you can live without the pen, this VivoTab is, in terms of screen quality and performance, a winner in its own right.

Granted, the display resolution of 1,200×800 pixels isn’t particularly high, but it’s plenty high enough for this petite screen. The Web sites, photos, games, and videos we looked at were…well, not necessarily spectacular, but certainly sharp enough to deliver great-looking images and graphics.

And that’s just it—if you don’t mind the concept of Windows 8 on an 8-inch screen, which will inevitably present you with buttons, icons, and menu entries small enough to sometimes require multiple attempts at manipulating them, you will probably like this tablet. We did.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper

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Epson WorkForce Pro WF-5690 Network Multifunction Color Printer With PCL/Adobe PS Review and RatingsOn the whole, we’ve been impressed with Epson’s recent run of WorkForce Pro high-volume inkjet workhorses, starting with the $499-MSRP Workforce Pro WP-4590 All-in-One Printer back in 2012, up to the $299.99-MSRP WorkForce Pro WF-4630 a couple of years later in 2014. The WF-4630 was, by the way, the first printer to achieve a perfect 5-star score from Computer Shopper in recent memory.

Epson’s WorkForce Pro models are excellent machines for small and medium-size businesses, and the flagship model here at the start of 2015 (and the subject of this review) is no exception. This $399.99-MSRP printer has a bit of an unwieldy name: the WorkForce Pro WF-5690 Network Multifunction Color Printer with PCL/Adobe PS. (Now there’s a mouthful!) Like the WP-4590 of a few years ago, the WF-5690 is a fast, feature-rich multifunction printer (MFP) that’s efficient to use in terms of cost per page.

Epson WorkForce Pro WF-5690Both the WF-4630 and the WF-5690 were part of Epson’s PrecisionCore printhead technology rollout in June 2014. As we’ll discuss on the next page, PrecisionCore printheads allow for faster, cheaper-to-use printers. Pair them with ultra-high-capacity ink cartridges and mechanisms with laser-printer-like duty cycles, and business inkjets saw a shake-up of the kind that hadn’t happened since HP introduced its PageWide technology the year before. (“Duty cycle” is the maximum number of prints the manufacturer says the machine is capable of in a given time without subjecting it to undue wear. For more on that and other crucial printer terms, see our primer, Buying a Printer: 20 Terms You Need to Know.)

Of the 11 PrecisionCore-based machines that debuted last year, we’ve reviewed four of them; of those four, three—the WorkForce Pro WF-7610 (a wide-format model), the WorkForce Pro WF-4630 (our 5-star winner), and now the WF-5690—have been Editors’ Choice award recipients. Only the WF-3640, a non-“Pro” WorkForce model, failed to wow us enough to win, and that only by a sliver. In light of competing machines, such as some of Canon’s new Maxify printers, the WorkForce WF-3640 cost a bit too much too use.

Now, let’s stop here for a moment and talk about the “With PCL/Adobe PS” at the end of this printer’s name. Both are laser-printer languages: HP’s Printer Command Language (PCL) and Adobe’s PostScript. Certain applications benefit from these language emulations, but they’re relatively few and far between. They are used primarily in connection with high-end prepress and printing-press runs, as well as computer aided drafting (CAD) programs, and several other applications that require high-end imaging. In short, if you need support for these languages on your new printer, it’s almost certain that you already know it from long experience.

YEpson WorkForce Pro WF-5690 (Straight On)ou don’t want to opt for it just to have it, though. The PCL and PostScript support costs you an additional $100 versus the next WorkForce Pro model down the line (the WorkForce Pro WF-5620, which is otherwise the same machine, but without the laser-lingo support). Then, too, there’s the $299.99-list WF-4630 we reviewed a few months ago, which was discounted on Epson’s site to $199.99 as of mid-January 2015. It, too, is quite similar to the WF-5690, except that it’s rated by Epson for a lower monthly capacity (30,000 pages, versus the WF-5690’s 45,000 prints).

Our point? While the WorkForce Pro WF-5690 is an excellent high-volume MFP, so are the other WorkForce models listed in the previous paragraphs. The good news is that whichever model you choose, they all deliver very low per-page operational costs, making each of them fine values assuming you need the volume. Granted, the support for the additional printer languages may seem expensive, but if you need it, having the ability to emulate either is well worth $100.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.

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AARP RealPad Review and RatingsMost of us have a technologically challenged elderly relative or two. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center (and several other sources), about 70 million people living in the United States today are over the age of 50—and about half of those folks are only “marginally” connected to the Internet (or have an Internet connection but don’t use it much). And about 30 million seniors aren’t connected to the Internet at all.

Enter senior citizens’ advocate AARP. With the help of chip maker Intel, AARP late in 2014 introduced a compact Android tablet geared toward seniors, the $189-list AARP RealPad. According to Steve Cone, AARP’s vice president of membership and integrated value, the organization identified the need for a product, a value-added tablet designed to make technology less intimidating for seniors. That happened in late 2013, when the group started holding its AARP Technology, Education, and Knowledge (AARP TEK) seminars for members across the country.

AARP RealPadAARP’s CEO, JoAnn Jenkins, explained further that “AARP understands that while technology is a wonderful thing and boomers are one of the biggest consumers of personal tech, it can still be a daunting experience for a large majority of Americans 50-plus.” And there’s a lot of incentive to fix that, beyond a giant market opportunity: Personal-computing devices, like tablets, not only alleviate boredom and help stimulate the brain, but they can also help seniors stay in touch and participate remotely in events with friends and family.

The heart of the RealPad is an Intel Atom processor. About the RealPad itself, Brian Fravel, Intel’s director of North American marketing, said, “In addition to powering RealPad, Intel helped build the software and unique interface on the tablet, making it simple and intuitive to interact with a RealPad tablet, even for those with little technology experience.”

So goes the claim. Because of the unique front end on this tablet, and the services connected to it (which we’ll get to in a bit), this is a niche slate aimed at a particular group, even if the niche is huge. So it was clear to us that we needed to assess it from a couple of standpoints: First, how well does it hold up against other recent entry-level, compact tablets—essentially, its physical-hardware competition? Second, do the software, help system, and other enhancements succeed in assisting seniors not only to use the tablet, but also to access the Internet, e-mail, social media, and the like? We’ll look closely at that software and other enhancements in the Features & Apps section later on.

AARP RealPad (Landscape)As to the tablet itself—its build and screen quality, overall speed, and how well it holds up to today’s other entry-level, compact slates—we’ll cover these issues in several subsequent sections of this review. In a nutshell, though: Suffice it to say that the RealPad’s somewhat sluggish dual-core processor (an Intel Atom Z2520) and short battery life might earmark it, at first, as an underachiever among under-$200 slates.

The processing power, though, is not at all the point in a tablet like this. AARP and Intel are banking far more on this slate’s support and learning features to set it apart. These include a “RealQuick Fix” option for near-instant tablet status updates and one-click problem-solving, as well as numerous tutorials, videos, and enhanced help files. Those items are backed up by 24/7 live tech support, and the purchase price also includes a one-year membership (or membership extension) with AARP itself.

All of this can very well be worth the $189 going price, provided the senior in question is willing to and able to work through the tutorials. The point behind them is to alleviate as much of the frustration as possible in trying to learn to use the tablet. After all, if you have little or no computing experience, Android (or even Apple’s cleaner iOS, for that matter) can seem intimidating.

Our bottom line? As compact tablets go, were price the only thing this slate had going for it, we’d recommend that you pass on it. But if you (or your senior) have been avoiding technology because it’s just too hard to learn, AARP’s RealPad really should help. It’s a good effort, given that it’s the first of its kind.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.

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Acer Iconia Tab 8 (A1-840FHD) Review and RatingsIn 2014, Acer sent us a budget-minded tablet, the Iconia A1-830, a well-built and attractive Android slate with an extreme resemblance to the Apple iPad Mini. However, as we stated in our April 2014 review of that compact Acer model (we classify slates with displays between 7 and 9 inches as “compacts”), a tablet has to do more than look like an iPad to do well in a product review. (See also our review of the Kocaso K-mini, another iPad Mini-alike, for more evidence of that.)

The good news is that Acer took a different approach with its latest compact Iconia Tab, the subject of this review: the $179.99-MSRP Iconia Tab 8 (model A1-840FHD). Not only does this Iconia Tab deploy the standard 16:9 high-def aspect ratio used by most Android tablets (rather than the 4:3 ratio used on iPads and old pre-HDTVs), but it also has a higher-resolution screen than most other entry-level compact Androids.

Acer Iconia Tab 8In fact, as entry-level slates go, we found much to like about this one, but it also stumbled in some key spots. It felt well-built and durable, and it was snappy on most of our benchmark tests, too—except, notably, a sag on our challenging battery-rundown test. As you’ll see in the last section of this review, this Iconia Tab 8 delivered one of the shortest unplugged runtimes we’ve seen from any name-brand Android tablet. (One of the few trailing behind it is AARP’s seniors-focused RealPad, another 8-incher that we’ll be reviewing right after this model.)

A complaint we’ve made about several recent compact tablets is that, while they were fine tablets in their own right, none of them brought anything fresh to the genre, nor any surprises on price. That’s much the case with the Iconia Tab 8, too. Mind you, it’s loaded with productivity and convenience features, such as a 1,920×1,200-pixel screen and a micro-HDMI output for pushing all those pixels to an HDTV or other high-definition display.

Unfortunately, we had a little trouble with the responsiveness—or rather, the lack thereof—of the screen. Often, we had to touch an app’s shortcut twice, or sometimes three or four times, to launch it. We experienced similar trouble when attempting to perform swipes or other expansive touch gestures.

Acer Iconia Tab 8 (Landscape)That’s not a small concern. But apart from that, as inexpensive compact tablets go, this one’s not bad. We really liked the look of the high-resolution display, even as it stubbornly ignored our taps at times.

Depending on where the pricing on this tablet goes, you may or may not find that trade-off tolerable. While writing this, we found the Iconia Tab 8 discounted online to as low as $139.99 (from Best Buy; we’re not sure how long that price will last). That’s a more reasonable price at this screen size, considering the quibbles we had with this model. But you’ll want to look at it in light of other Android 8-inchers at similar prices with better touch response.

Read entire review at Computer Shopper.

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Canon Maxify MB5320 Wireless Small Office All-In-One Review and RatingsYear after year, we looked on—and dutifully reported—as Canon’s Pixma MX series of office-centric all-in-one (AIO) inkjets floundered a bit in the small-office and home-office (SOHO) market. They certainly weren’t (and aren’t) bad products, by any means. But from model to model, they tended to be outclassed in one major way or another.

Therefore, it’s good to see that the Japanese imaging giant finally came to the realization—judging from its revised product line—that high-volume, inexpensive-to-use inkjets can be more practical than their color-laser and LED (laser-class) counterparts. Its competitors (primarily Brother, Epson, and HP) figured that out years ago. In response, in late 2014 Canon unveiled a new “Maxify” family of office-ready inkjets that hold up nicely—in terms of print speed, volume ratings, and cost per page (CPP)—to most other high-volume inkjet AIOs in the marketplace.

Canon Maxify MB5320 (Straight-On View)Perhaps we’re being a little disingenuous. We suspect Canon has known full well how important high-volume printers are to small and medium-size businesses (SMBs). After all, for quite some time, the company has been building laser-printer engines not only for its own customers and its ImageClass line, but also for HP. Possibly, Canon saw how high-volume inkjets could be a threat (and they certainly are) to its laser-printer interests—and the writing on the wall just couldn’t be ignored anymore.

In any case, the good news is that Canon’s new Maxify line of business-ready inkjets all look to be decent printers, although some may prove to be more decent than others. They range in price from $149.99 (MSRP) for the single-function Maxify iB4020 to $399.99 (MSRP) for the high-volume Maxify MB5320 Wireless Small Office All-in-One, the flagship model we’re reviewing here.

This first round of Maxify models consists of four MFPs and a single-function (print-only) workhorse. Of the four MFPs, two of them, the $199.99-list MB2320 and MB5320, have two spacious input trays, while the $179.99-list MB2020 and $299.99-list MB5020 have only one. In addition, the two MB5000 series models have twice the maximum monthly duty cycle (the maximum number of pages the manufacturer says you can print each month without premature wear on the printer) than the two MB2000 series machines: 30,000 pages monthly on the MB5000 series, versus 15,000 on the MB2000 series.

Versus the less-expensive MB2000 machines, the MB5000 series models are also faster; they have slightly larger touch screens, as well as auto-duplexing ADFs; and, most important, they sport a much lower cost per page (CPP). Where it counts, the MB5000 machines are essentially twice the printer of their parallel MB2000 models—at roughly double the list price.

Canon Maxify MB5320 (Printing)As high-volume inkjets go, the Maxify MB5320 is a good one. Not only is it loaded with productivity and convenience features, but, as described in the Setup & Paper Handling section later on, it uses high-volume, efficiently priced ink cartridges, greatly increasing its overall value. Overall, we found little to quibble with in this printer, but it does compete with a few well-established high-volume models from Epson, Brother, and HP. In short, this Maxify model is a very fine AIO, but then so are its primary competitors, which includes Epson’s five-star, $299.99-list WorkForce Pro WF-4630.

It would be tough to say that this Maxify is “better” than similarly priced MFPs—you can find some great high-volume inkjet machines out there, such as Epson’s $399.99-list WorkForce Pro WF-5690, which we’re in the process of reviewing. This Maxify is one of those well-built, feature-rich machines that does just about everything, and does each thing well. It excels at high-volume output, which is what it was built for.

What, eventually, may set it apart is price. Depending on how the pricing trends go on this machine, it could end up being an even better value than when we reviewed it. When we wrote this in mid-January 2015, the major online e-tailers were selling it at its full $399.99 MSRP, though we did see one, briefly, discounting it heavily—more on that at the end of the review.

Read entire review at Computer Shopper.

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Epson Expression Photo XP-860 Small-in-One (Front)We’ve looked at a bunch of Epson’s Small-in-One inkjet printers over the past couple of years—everything from the budget-model, $99.99-list Epson Expression Home XP-410 Small-in-One Printer to the flagship of the line, the $349.99-list Epson Expression Photo XP-950 Small-in-One Printer. For the most part, we’ve found them capable machines with good-looking output, not to mention excellent engineering and strong feature sets.

Today’s Small-in-One up for review, the second in line after the XP-950, is another six-ink, photo-optimized model: the $299.99-list Expression Photo XP-860. Like the XP-950, the XP-860 is an excellent photo printer. For the $50 difference, you give up the ability to print on 11×17-inch, tabloid-size paper. (The XP-950 takes a single sheet of that big paper via the override tray.) On the other hand, the XP-860 comes with a 30-page auto-duplexing automatic document feeder (ADF) for scanning and copying multipage, two-sided documents, while the more-expensive XP-950 does not.

Both models also have the ability to print on appropriately surfaced “printable” CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray discs. Optical discs may be fading in importance these days, but this labelling function comes in handy in a few different scenarios, such as cataloging high-resolution images for long-term storage, or making music CDs.

In addition to its excellent print quality, ADF, and ability to print to discs, this Small-in-One comes with a slew of productivity and convenience features. As you’ll see on the next page, it supports a wide range of mobile connectivity options, as well as printing from several cloud sites and kinds of memory devices, and much, much more.

Epson Expression Photo XP-860 Small-in-One (Printing)Like most other all-in-one (AIO) printers in this class, though, this one, while itcan print exceptional-looking documents, has limited document-printing support. As you’ll see in the Setup & Paper Handling section later on, not only does this photo printer have exceptionally small input and output trays, but it’s also expensive, in terms of cost per page (CPP), to use.

The XP-860’s closest competitor, Canon’s six-ink Pixma MG7520 Photo All-in-One, is also a low-volume, expensive-to-maintain printer, but it lists for about $100 less. To be sure, the Epson Small-in-One holds the edge on features, notably the ADF, and a few others. But the real balance has to do with the pricing, and whether you shop around. As we wrote this (in late December 2014), Epson was offering the XP-860 for a $70 discount off list, or $229.99 direct, bringing it well within striking distance of the Pixma MG7520.

Hence, like some of the other Small-in-Ones we’ve reviewed, while the XP-860 can print great-looking documents, the per-page cost of ink, as well as a few other things, limit it as a business document printer. However, if bright, detailed, high-quality photos, with the occasional business document thrown in, are what you’re after, we think you’ll like this printer. (You’ll also get easy, good-looking scans and copies of both photos and multipage, two-sided documents.) It may not be cheap for what it is, but we doubt you’ll have quibbles about any of its output, on paper or digital.

Read entire review at  Computer Shopper.

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Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Review and RatingsAbout six months ago, we looked at Sony’s sleek and capable Xperia Z2 Tablet, a full-size (10.1-inch) Android tablet with a wonderfully thin, light, and attractive design. It had a great-looking screen and superior battery life, too, making it a no-brainer recipient of our Editors’ Choice nod. The Xperia Z2 was in a word, a very fine tablet.

As a result, we couldn’t help but get excited when the Japanese electronics giant announced an 8-inch compact version. (We classify tablets with screens between 7 and 9 inches as “compact.”) And that excitement was well-justified: Aside from its reduced screen size and some slight changes to the port layout, the new, littler model—Sony’s Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact—is otherwise much the same super tablet, right down to the 3GB of system RAM and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor powering it inside.

While this new Xperia’s screen is 2.1 inches smaller—from 10.1 inches down to 8 inches—the native display resolution (1,920×1,200 pixels) has stayed the same. As we’ll discuss more in a bit, going down by 2.1 diagonal inches means a significant reduction in screen real estate. But because the screen is so much smaller physically, the actual density of pixels per inch (ppi) is significantly higher. And that increases the overall perceived detail and quality.

Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact (Vertical View)One thing that did not shrink along with the screen, though, is the price. The Z3 Tablet Compact starts at $499.99 MSRP (for a version with 16GB of onboard storage), putting it at the same starting price as the full-size Z2 Tablet. That makes the Z3 Tablet Compact the single most expensive compact slate we know of in its base version, with Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S 8.4 and Apple’s iPad Mini 3 (each starting at $399 list) being its most closely priced compact competitors.

Though we fully understand that miniaturization costs money, Sony’s pricing scheme here is puzzling, and it runs counter to competitive trends. Apple and Samsung both offer full-size and compact versions of their flagship tablets, and the latter are at least $100 cheaper than the big versions. The fact that Sony engineered the same high-performance CPU into the Z3 Compact as in the full-size Z2 Tablet is to its credit, and likely part of why the Compact’s pricing remains high.

Even so, $500 is a lot of dough for a compact Android tablet. It’s a lot, too, for any full-size tablet not named iPad. Is this Xperia worth it? It’s definitely a matter of three things: a matter of taste, a matter of how much you like Android, and a matter of how deep your pockets are. What we can say pretty firmly is that the Z3 Compact’s amazingly trim chassis makes for one elegant-feeling tablet. It’s so light and balanced that you can forget you’re holding anything at all.

In addition, the Z3 Tablet Compact, since it’s built around the same CPU and RAM configuration, performed very closely to the Xperia Z2 Tablet on several of our benchmark tests, and it actually lasted nearly an hour longer on our demanding battery-rundown test. That really surprised us, given that the Z2 performed admirably in that regard as it is. The Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact’s unplugged runtime is one of the best in the tablet business, Android or not.

Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact (Vertical)Plus, like its predecessor, the Z3 Tablet Compact is dustproof and waterproof—to the extent, that is, that Sony claims it’s safe to use your slate in the bathtub or the rain. We’ll look at this and other design features later on in this review. But our bottom line on this little Android is that it’s upscale indeed, and priced like it knows it.

For some buyers, given all the top-notch components and that gorgeous screen, it may well be worth it. But make no mistake: This is a luxury model among Android tablets, with a price to match. And realize that those who’d prefer a still-state-of-the-art, but bigger-screened, tablet can get a Samsung Tab S or Apple iPad Air 2 flagship tab for the same price, while those after maximum performance in a compact tablet can opt for the rip-roaring, albeit much less slick, Nvidia Shield Tablet at about $200 less.

Read entire review at Computer Shopper.

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Canon Pixma MG5620 Wireless Inkjet Photo All-In-One ReviewIn the same way that the sun rises and sets, and the seasons change, so go Canon’s printers. Canon has refreshed its MG and MX families of Pixma printers—its consumer and home-office bread-and-butter models—reliably each year for some years now. 2014 was no different, and here’s the last installment in our reviews of Canon’s 2014 round of photo-optimized Pixma inkjets, which included the $199.99-list Pixma MG7520 and the $149.99-list Pixma MG6620. (The latter, we reviewed a few weeks before this model.) Here, we’re looking at the least expensive of the three, the $99.99-list Pixma MG5620 Wireless Inkjet Photo All-in-One. There’s the least to say about this model, but that doesn’t mean it’s the least of the lot.

If you’re shopping the Canon Pixma line, you may notice a lot of things in common up and down the MG printers, and it’s especially true of this printer. (“MG” is Canon’s designation for its photo-centric all-in-ones.) Except for a handful of features missing from the cheaper MG5620 model, the Pixma MG6620 and the Pixma MG5620 are essentially the same printer.

That’s meant to give budget consumers a choice of a close-to-bare-bones model or a modestly featured one. For the $50 difference in list price between them (the street prices will vary, so the delta may be a bit more or less than that in practice), you give up a few things that may or may not matter much to you: a couple of pages per minute in print speed (primarily with black-and-white pages), the ability to print directly from flash-memory cards and USB thumb drives, and support for Near-Field Communication (NFC). NFC, if you’re not familiar with it, allows you to print by touching your NFC-enabled Android smartphone or tablet to a hotspot on the printer. One other difference: The LCD on the control panel is slightly smaller on the Pixma MG5620.

Canon Pixma MG5620In short, this model is the most stripped-down of the three. Also, as a five-ink photo printer, the Pixma MG5620 has the same drawback as not only most other Pixma photo printers, but photo printers in general: The ink is pricey enough on a per-page basis that, while the printer can print good-looking documents, doing so in volume is hurtfully expensive. Simply put, the cost per page (CPP) is too high.

By the same note, this is not a printer for processing large documents through its scanner or copier hardware. Like its Pixma MG siblings and its predecessors, the MG5620 lacks an automatic document feeder (ADF) for scanning and copying multipage documents. Instead, you must feed your big docs to the scanner bed one page at a time—scan them, save or copy them, then restart the process for the next page, which can be quite time-consuming.

Then again, that’s not really the point of this printer. The real question is: Is this a decent photo printer? Like we said about the other five-ink machine in this 2014 batch (the Pixma MG6620), the answer is yes. It indeed prints nice photos, almost as nice as its six-ink sibling, the Pixma MG7520. As consumer-grade photo printers go, this is a good one. And, as mentioned, it also prints fine-looking documents, though at a dear ink cost.

Canon Pixma MG5620 Wireless Inkjet Photo AIOOur recommendation for this Pixma is much the same one we gave for the other two 2014 MG models: If you need a strong photo printer with the ability to churn out the occasional business document, or make a scan or copy now and then, the Pixma MG5620 is capable on all fronts. Just know it’s not an efficient document printer, in terms of operational cost. It’s best suited for snapshots and other images, and the occasional “other” printout.

Read entire review at Computer Shopper.

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Top 100 Products of 2014: Best PrintersHere’s my contribution to Computer Shopper’s “Top 100 Products of 2014.” My beat this year is printers. Here are the best printers of 2014:

Table of Contents

  1. Printer of the Year: Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4630 All-in-One Printer
  2. Best Budget Printer: Dell B1165nfw Mono Laser Multifunction Printer
  3. Best Photo Printer: Canon Pixma iP8720 Wireless Inkjet Photo Printer
  4. Best Small-Office All-in-One Printer: Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4630 All-in-One
  5. Best Inkjet All-in-One Printer: HP Officejet Pro 8630 e-All-in-One Printer
  6. Best Color Laser/Laser-Class Printer: Dell Color Multifunction Printer C2665dnf
  7. Best Basic Monochrome Laser/Laser-Class Printer: Samsung Xpress M2020W
  8. Best Basic Monochrome Laser AIO Printer: Samsung Multifunction Xpress M2070FW
  9. Best Consumer/Small-Office Wide Format Printer: Epson WorkForce WF-7610 All-in-One Printer

Read the entire article at Computer Shopper.

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