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


HP Envy 4520 All-in-One Printer Review and RatingsIn HP’s 2015 lineup of Envy all-in-one printers (in this case, they are print-, copy-, and scan-capable models), you’ve got some very cheap printers—no other way of saying it.

Only one other Envy model, the Envy 4500 e-All-in-One Printer, is shorter on features and less expensive than the unit we’re reviewing here today: the $99.99-list Envy 4520 All-in-One Printer. In fact, as we wrote this in late October 2015, HP was selling the Envy 4500 for a mere $49.99—mind-bogglingly low for a full-blown multifunction printer. The Envy 4520, on the other hand (most likely because it’s so new), sold everywhere we checked for its full $99.99 MSRP. Still, that’s very inexpensive for a photo and document printer that can do all it does.

HP Envy 4520 (Top View)Like the HP Envy 5540 we reviewed a week or so before this model, the HP Envy 4520 was part of a new six-printer lineup HP released midyear. Ranging in list price from $79 to $299, the six new models comprise two Envy personal or family all-in-ones (AIOs) and four home- or small-office OfficeJet AIOs. (As we noted in our review of the Envy 5540, over the course of the next month or two we’ll look at most or all of them.) They all have one thing in common, though: support for a program HP calls “Instant Ink,” in which you pay a flat subscription fee to print a certain number of pages per month. To make that possible, HP sends you the necessary ink cartridges in the mail as you run low, automatically.

Instant Ink-compatible printers like these six new ones come ready to take part in the program right out of the box. Even so, most of HP’s recent, Internet-connectible consumer- and business-grade printers support or are eligible for, Instant Ink. (That includes some high-volume models, such as the popular OfficeJet Pro 8630 e-All-in-One Printer we looked at back in early 2014.)

The real-world distinction here is that signing up for Instant Ink is much easier with the printers that come Instant Ink-ready, as opposed to those that require you to register the machine with the service on your own. In fact, we found registering an Instant Ink-supported OfficeJet Pro 8620 a much more involved process that eventually led to a short session with HP’s Instant Ink support team. The good news is that the technician was knowledgeable and knew exactly how to help us.

HP Envy 4520 (Angle View)Like its similarly priced sibling, the Envy 5540, the Envy 4520 is small, prints somewhat sluggishly versus competitors, and lacks an automatic document feeder (ADF) for copying and scanning multipage documents. (You have to flip them over manually to copy or scan the other side.)

In other words, this isn’t a workhorse AIO by a long shot, and it’s missing some important convenience and productivity features you might expect on a slightly more expensive AIO. At the same time, unless you need multipage scanning and high-speed volume printing and copying on a semi-regular basis, the Envy 4520 isn’t a bad little entry-level printer.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper


HP Envy 5540 All-in-One Printer Review and RatingsIt may have taken a little while, but it looks like HP’s subscription Instant Ink program—which proactively sends you ink by mail when your printer is running low—has managed to gain some traction in the marketplace. The proof? Here in 2015, the company has released six new Instant Ink-capable printer models.

Ranging in list price from $79 to $299, the new lineup includes two Envy personal/family all-in-ones (AIOs) and four home- and small-office OfficeJet AIO models. Eventually, over the course of the next month or two, we’ll take a detailed look at most or all of them.

Today, as a first leap into this new group, we’re reviewing one of the smallest and least expensive of the bunch, the $99-list Envy 5540 All-in-One Printer. Granted, Instant Ink, which we’ll look at in more detail in our Setup & Paper Handling section a little later on, is the impetus for these new machines. In itself, except under certain circumstances, Instant Ink is not a good primaryreason to choose a given printer model over another. When it comes to controlling the day-to-day cost of running a printer, though, one of our primary concerns among entry-level and midrange inkjet AIOs has consistently been the cost per page (CPP). And in that regard, the Instant Ink program stands on solid ground for certain kinds of output.

HP Envy 5540 (Front View)In short, Instant Ink lets you print a certain number of pages per month for a flat rate, and HP sends you the ink to make that possible as you consume it. The program is a cost leveler across printer models, in that no matter which Instant Ink-compatible HP printer you’re looking at, the per-page cost of ink will be the same if you subscribe to the program. As a result, you can concentrate on choosing a printer with the right print-volume rating and feature set.

As for this specific Envy, just as its $99 list price suggests, it’s not only small in terms of its physical size, but also in terms of volume and overall print speed. While this Envy (like most others in the HP Envy line) really isn’t very fast, the good news is that our test prints, scan samples, and practice photocopies looked good. Doing the latter kinds of tasks, though, is strictly a page-or-two-at-a-time affair. That’s because neither Envy model in this wave of HP Instant Ink printers (which also includes the HP Envy 4520) has an automatic document feeder (ADF) mechanism for scanning or copying multipage documents.

If you want an Envy with an ADF, you’ll have to spring for the Envy 7640. (We haven’t yet reviewed that model, but we will. It has a list price of $199.99, and was selling for $149.99 at hp.com as of this writing, in mid-October 2015.) A good alternative to that model might also be one of HP’s business-centric Instant Ink-ready OfficeJet models, all of which have ADFs.

One thing is certain: When you combine these new Envy and OfficeJet models with HP’s existing lineup of similar printers, the company now offers an extensive line of modern, small-print-volume AIOs with a twist—they have, due to Instant Ink, respectable CPP figures. And that’s unusual among low-cost inkjets. Usually they are the priciest printers on a per-print basis.

HP Envy 5540 (Angle View)As for the Envy 5540, feature- and volume-wise, it falls between the HP Envy 5660  we reviewed a few months ago and the Envy 5530 we looked at a couple years ago, both of them decent low-end printers. As is, the Envy 5540 is a good little printer like its forebears, as long as you don’t try to use it beyond its recommended monthly page volume of 300 to 400 pages. Anything past that, and you’ll start to feel the pinch of this machine’s volume limitations, not to mention that of its low-capacity paper trays and single-sheet manual scanner. For heavier use than what HP recommends, a higher-volume printer will be a better pick.

Otherwise, within its limitations, the HP Envy 5540 is a quality printer for a home or home office.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.


Canon Color ImageClass MF810Cdn Review and RatingsIt’s not every day that a printer comes to our labs on the back of an 18-wheeler, strapped to a pallet and requiring at least two people to lift the machine out of the box. Typically, packages are shipped in this manner, via “freight,” to make them easier to move around—say, from plane to truck, or from one truck to another. Today’s review unit was hard enough to move from door to den—never mind across the country

The Canon ImageClass MF810Cdn is the less-expensive sibling of another high-volume laser, Canon’s $1,299-MSRP ImageClass MF820Cdn Color Laser Printer, a formidable multifunction color laser we reviewed (and dragged to and fro) back in April 2015. The MFC820Cdn weighed in at just over 99 pounds. The MFC810Cdn isn’t exactly the slim twin; this $999-MSRP beast weighs just over 95 pounds. That said, aside from noting a lower maximum Canon-rated monthly duty cycle (67,000 pages per month, versus 88,000), we didn’t find many significant differences between these two models. They’re both big and bulky, and they both print quite well.

Canon Color ImageClass MF810CdnGranted, Canon has a host of enormous ImageClass printers in its product-line past. But in addition to being reasonably fast, this one (as you’ll see in the section coming up) brings several firsts to the ImageClass series. These include large (3.5-inch) touch-enabled displays and a few new mobile-connectivity features. (These too, we’ll get to in a moment.)

The biggest bottom-line checkmark in the MF810Cdn’s Pros column, though, is that delivers a decent black-and-white cost per page (CPP), which we’ll look at in some depth in the Setup & Paper Handling section later on. We’ll also talk some there about this model’s expansion options, which include combinations of paper cassettes that can take paper capacity upward of 2,000 sheets.

Then, too, the MF810Cdn comes with a wealth of security, productivity, and convenience features that you’d expect from a $1,000 workgroup printer, among them device and document-management software, and a host of mobile connectivity options, including Canon’s Mobile Printing app—again, all of which we’ll cover over the next few pages.

Canon Color ImageClass MF810Cdn (Platen)Granted, the ImageClass MF810Cdn Color Laser Printer isn’t for everybody; you’d need a rather busy team or office to justify this much printer and this much horsepower. But, as mentioned, if you realize you need to start pushing this printer to its limits down the road, it can expand with you. Canon provides expansions to give your printer more—a lot more—capacity. As full-featured, color-laser MFPs go, the ImageClass MF810Cdn is a pretty good one.

Read entire review at Computer Shopper


Dell E525w Color Multifunction PrinterWith apologies to the philosopher Heraclitus (assuming he even said the original in the first place), the one thing that’s constant in tech is change? Somebody tell Dell.

In all the years we’ve been looking at laser-class printers, Dell’s machines have been the ones that have changed the least, and the most slowly, on the outside. Take, for example, 2011’s Dell 1355cnw, a multifunction color-laser-class printer that looks almost identical to the new Dell machine we’re reviewing here in 2015, Dell’s $329.99-list E525w Color Multifunction Printer. And, when we looked even further back, we found other Dell multifunction printers (MFPs) that looked an awful lot like that E525w.

Points for consistency, at least: The family resemblance in Dell’s line over the years has stayed clear and constant. In fact, as we’ll discuss in some detail, from an appearance and interface perspective, the E525w isn’t just long in the tooth. Compared to some of today’s more modern competitors, such as HP’s snappy-looking Color LaserJet Pro MFP M277dw, it’s like stepping back a decade or two in time in printer design.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. And the Dell E525w comes with two offsetting positives: (1) Despite its aging and somewhat ungainly design, the E525w delivers exceptionally good prints, for the kind of printer it is. And (2) a comparable machine 20 years ago would have cost four or five times as much. This model, with a $329 list price, is modestly priced enough, but at this writing Dell was selling it for $199.99 with free shipping, and some other sellers had it as low as $179.99.

Now that’s cheap. And yes, the E525w delivers excellent-looking output, including photos that are better looking than you might expect from a laser-class machine. The only problem? The cartridges…oh, those toner cartridges. The E525w prints at an exceptionally high cost per page (CPP), especially for the color output. It’s the same old printer story of charging a low price up front for the printer itself, only to make it up on the back end with a relatively high per-page price for consumables (in this case, toner).

This, of course, isn’t an unusual practice. It’s certainly common among printer makers in their entry-level and midrange machines. Aside from that all-too-frequent tactic, though, Dell did a whole bunch right in this printer. Besides printing top-notch output for a budget-level laser-class machine, the E525w comes with a decent mix of features. That includes, in a forward-looking fashion you wouldn’t expect from this printer’s backward-looking design, several ways to connect to most mobile devices, which we’ll cover in more detail momentarily.

Before moving on to the next section, though, we should point out that as a “laser-class” printer, the E525w isn’t technically a laser printer at all. Instead it’s a LED-array printer, in which a fixed strip of LEDs does the same (or similar) work that the laser apparatus does in a “true” laser printer, in that it charges the image drum appropriately to transfer toner to paper.

Dell E525w Color Multifunction Printer (Angle View)While LED-based machines operate inside somewhat differently from true laser-based ones (the former are often smaller and have fewer moving parts, for example), the machines themselves appear to operate identically from the outside. The print quality between LED and laser is about the same in most cases, too, and LED-based models tend to use less power—a win-win for all involved.

In any case, aside from a too-high CPP, as well as a few other, more minor grumbles, the E525w is a fine laser-class printer, with better-than-average print quality for the price. You won’t want to print loads of output on it—the consumables are just too pricey for that—but used in moderation, it should be good enough for many would-be MFP owners who have never owned a color laser before and will use it just for occasional output.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper


Lenovo Tab 2 A10-70 Review and RatingsOne thing’s coming clear from shopping the virtual aisles for Android tablets here in 2015: For the most part, today’s models are about general media consumption, not pushing the envelope on gaming or other graphically intensive tasks. Compact 7- and 8-inch models, as well as full-size 9- and 10-inchers, are, with few exceptions, all leaning in the same direction. Playing music and digital videos is the order of the day with today’s mainstream tablets, and most models are priced to match those basic expectations.

With most gaming on Android tablets dominated by casual titles, Android tablet makers haven’t seen fit to outfit their tabs with the extra oomph it takes to become graphics standouts. Only a few, notably Nvidia’s Shield Tablet (based on its own Tegra silicon), are strong gaming devices. Just like mainstream Windows tablets and 2-in-1 convertibles, most Android tablets are designed for sending and receiving e-mail, browsing the Web, interacting with social-media sites, and perhaps listening to music on headphones—you get the idea.

Lenovo Tab 2 A10-70 (Vertical in White)

Two recent mainstream tablets that fit that description are Lenovo’s $249.99-list Tab 2 A8, a compact model we reviewed a few weeks before this review, as well as the next model up, the Tab 2 A10-70, a full-size version of that tablet (and the topic of this review). Much like the Tab 2 A8, which was outfitted with an above-average Dolby-enhanced sound system and speakers, as well as a good-looking screen, the Tab 2 A10 comes with similar accoutrements, both improvements over last year’s Tab A10. In the case of the Tab 2 A10, the audio is the most notable upgrade, with significantly upgraded speakers—a design approaching a miniature sound bar, if you will—that surprised us in a budget tablet. This Lenovo Tab also comes with a better, higher-resolution (1,920×1,200-pixel) screen, which we’ll discuss in the some detail later on.

The Tab 2 A10 comes in three possible configurations, available when we wrote this in mid-September 2015 direct from Lenovo. Two of them cost $249.99 list, with direct pricing varying a little day to day. Our tested review unit is one of these, the Tab 2 model A10-70-ZA000009US. It comes in a duotone of dark blue (back) and black (front bezel), and it’s outfitted with 16GB of internal flash storage and a MediaTek ARM CPU. After that comes the $249.99-list Tab 2 A10-70-ZA000038US. It’s identical to our blue review model, except that it’s in white on both sides.

Lenovo Tab 2 A10-70 (Colors)

A step up from those two units is the $279.99-list Tab 2 A10-70-ZA000086US, which is also blue-backed and very similar to our review unit, except that it has 32GB of internal storage, instead of the 16GB of the other two. Furthermore, at the time of this writing, all three models were on sale, with the two 16GB models at $50 off ($199.99), and the 32GB tablet at $60 off ($219.99), all sold straight from Lenovo’s online store. Lenovo’s direct pricing tends to fluctuate often; your mileage may vary when you check.

As we pointed out in our review of the Tab 2 A8 a couple of weeks before this review, most full-size tablets these days are, in terms of design and performance, premium models (Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S 10.5 and its new Galaxy Tab S2 counterpart, as well as Dell’s Venue 10 7000, all around $500, come to mind). Hence, when we see a relatively inexpensive full-size model like this one come around, we sit up and take notice. So it was especially refreshing that, for the most part, we found little to quibble about in its design or execution.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper


Epson Expression Home XP-420 Small-in-One Printer Review and RatingsFor such a small printer, its name sure is a mouthful.

Epson offers a range of Expression Small-in-One models, but the $99.99-list Expression Home XP-420 Small-in-One Printer is one of the smallest. It’s the direct descendant of the XP-410 Small-in-One, itself one of the most compact entry-level inkjet all-in-one (AIO) printers you could buy in its time. The thing is, despite the Small-in-One name, both of them are, for the most part, full-featured AIOs.

In this case, the XP-420 AIO can print, copy, and scan, but not fax; some much bigger AIO models don’t fax either, so that feature is not really a victim of this printer’s size. But perhaps the best news is that the XP-420 Small-in-One has been on the market a few months now, enough time for e-tailers to get their discounting hooks into it. When we wrote this at the tail end of August 2015, you could buy the Expression Home XP-420 from Epson (and many other online sellers) for $59.99, a full $40 less than the list price.

Epson Expression Home XP-420 (Angle View)

The Expression Home XP-420 is not the smallest Expression XP model Epson makes, but it’s close. The XP-300 series, which includes the XP-310 and its more recent replacement, the XP-320, are smaller still, but less capable in terms of volume and features than our XP-420 review unit.

As we’ve said about several other Small-in-Ones in previous reviews, you need to know these printers’ limitations. While these are capable compact printers, they have the same core issue as most competing models in this price range: a high per-page cost of operation, what we call the cost per page (CPP). And that relegates them to low-volume, occasional-use machines, which is fine if that’s what you’re looking for. If that’s the type of printer you need—one that sits around most of the time, waiting for you to use it—this one will fit the profile, and on the upside, $60 isn’t a lot to spend on it.

However, as you’ll see in the next section, the CPP is not the only thing about the XP-420 that makes it a low-volume model. The input and output trays are small and therefore hold only modest amounts of paper stock, and the scanner has no automatic document feeder (ADF) for processing multiple-page documents. You’ll have to place them onto the scanner’s platen glass manually, one at a time, and one side at a time.

Epson Expression Home XP-420 (Front View)

As we said about the Expression Home XP-420’s predecessor, the XP-410, what this little AIO has going for it is excellent print quality and decent performance for the money. It’s hard to find much beyond that at so low a price. Granted, compared to the competition of its day, the Expression Home XP-410 was a little faster than the XP-420 is, but not by much.

What’s more interesting is how well the newer model holds up to its competitors, compared to the older one. It’s clear that Epson’s competitors haven’t been idle; two years after the introduction of the XP-410, the competition seems to have gotten stiffer. So while this is a surprisingly able printer for its price, the landscape has changed, which is likely also the reason we’ve seen the XP-420 discounted so far, so soon.

In any case, as we also said about the Expression Home XP-410, if a few hundred pages a month, at most, is all you need to print or copy, and you don’t do much multiple-page scanning, Epson’s XP-420 Small-in-One should get the job done.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper


Dell E515dw Multifunction Printer Review and RatingsIn the admittedly fusty world of laser printers, few things are less glamorous than a monochrome multifunction (MFP) laser or laser-class printer—except, maybe, a single-function one.

Even so, both kinds of printers have their admirers and adherents. Many, many offices and businesses, such as auto-repair shops, insurance agencies, and title companies, don’t need to print in color—and indeed, will garner real savings by opting for old-school, strictly mono lasers. At the same time, many of these types of businesses, small or large, often need to make copies, scan documents and images, and at times even send or receive a fax or two. That’s where the multifunction angle comes in, and it’s where these kind of printers deliver their value.

Granted, many businesses purchase single-function print-only laser models because either (1) the printer is too busy to stop for scanning or making copies, or (2) when it does need to print, what it’s printing is too critical to wait for a long copy or fax job to complete. (After all, you don’t want to keep your customers waiting.) But for those users whodo need all of an MFP’s functionality—print, scan, copy, and perhaps the occasional fax—and can wait for the various operations, Dell has recently released a revised cadre of laser-class machines, including the topic of this review, the $219-MSRP E515dw Multifunction Monochrome Printer. (We call these “laser-class” printers because, technically, these printers don’t use lasers inside to draw your page image onto a print drum; they use an array of non-moving LEDs. From the outside, though, they’re mostly indistinguishable from lasers.)

Dell E515dwFor those home-based and small-office users who need their MFP to print and copy in color, Dell has also put out an entry-level, color-laser-class machine, the $329-MSRP E525w Color Multifunction Printer, which we have on hand and will be reviewing shortly. Overall, these multifunction machines are part of a group of five printers the company offered up in mid-2015 to refresh its line. The other three are another MFP, the E514dw Monochrome Laser Printer (essentially, the same as our review unit, but rated for slower speeds and with no fax function, for about $50 less), and two single-function models, the Smart Printer S2810dn and the E310dw, both of which we have reviewed. (Hit the links for the skinny on those.)

Dell E515dw

While all five printers in this group have relatively low out-of-pocket prices, their comparatively high per-page printing costs (which we’ll cover in some detail later on) relegates them to low-volume, occasional-use machines. That’s downright fine, so long as you know that going into the purchase, and that is indeed the kind of printer that you’re looking for.

The E515dw has a maximum monthly duty cycle of 10,000 pages, which is low for a laser-class machine in general. (“Duty cycle?” “LED printer?” See our primer, Buying a Printer: 20 Terms You Need to Know.) But if you plan on printing anywhere close to that amount, as we’ll get into in the Setup & Paper Handling section, this is not the right printer for that. In fact, because of the relatively high cost per page (CPP), we suggest you don’t opt for the E515dw if you plan to print more than a few hundred pages each month—say, 300 to 400. The more you print, the more you should consider a higher-volume model.

But if your print volume fits that 400-pages-max profile, and all you need is the occasional black-and-white document copied (or you don’t mind if your copies are converted to gray scale), this printer isn’t a bad deal at all. The list price may be $220, but we saw the E515dw selling as low as $179.99 at a few non-Dell outlets when we wrote this in mid-August 2015. And, as mentioned, if you don’t need the fax functionality (many people and small businesses don’t, nowadays), there’s always the E514dw. We spotted that slightly stripped-down model as low as $129.99, down from an MSRP of $179.99.

In any case, on the whole, we liked this little MFP LED printer—especially as a low-volume, occasional-use machine for a small office or workgroup, or perhaps a personal-laser companion on your desk. It delivers good value so long as you set your page-output volume expectations appropriately.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper


Lenovo Tab 2 A8-50 Review and RatingsLooking back over our Android-tablet reviews for 2015, we realized that we haven’t reviewed a new 7-inch tablet all year. (Indeed, the number of new Android tablets on the whole seems to be way down.) The low end is taking on a new shape, too: As we thought in 2014, 8 inches has become the new standard for compact Androids. You might say 8-inchers are the new 7-inchers, in terms of both popularity and price.

Case in point is last year’s $179.99-MSRP Lenovo Tab A8, which we reviewed in July of 2014. At that time, the Tab A8 was one of many entry-level compact Android tablets available, with most of the 8-inch models selling for just under $200 and most of the 7-inchers going for a bit over $100 ($129.99, or thereabouts). Here we are, just a year later, and Lenovo’s sequel to the Tab A8, the Tab 2 A8, raises the quality level for the price over last year’s model (even though both slates use the same processor). And it also lists for $20 less: a $159.95 MSRP. (Plus, as we wrote this in August 2015, it was selling at shop.lenovo.com and several other places for $40 less than that, or $119.99.)

Lenovo Tab 2 A8

Plenty of things about this slate place it firmly in the “entry-level” column, such as its relatively low-resolution, 1,280×800-pixel display, a mediocre 16GB of storage, and a relatively slow 1.3GHz MediaTek processor. Even so, its better-than-adequate display panel and Dolby-enhanced sound make it a good device for watching videos and for other kinds of not-so-resource-intensive media consumption.

Its shoulder-shrug-at-best performance on our benchmark tests suggests that this little slate might be somewhat sluggish, compared to other competing 8-inchers. The numbers suggest that perhaps you might notice it even when performing some everyday tasks—such as composing and responding to e-mails, Web browsing, and social-media interaction. But that was not the impression we got from our hands-on trials. As long as we didn’t try to push the Tab 2 A8 too hard, as we’ll get into in our Performance section later on, the Tab 2 A8 performed just fine.

That said, it’s also important to point out that the Tab 2 A8 simply could not complete a few parts of our cadre of tests. This, in turn, relegates this slate to a not-small group of entry-level- and midrange-performing tablets capable of most of the basics, but not up to the stresses of the most demanding Android games and apps.

In short: It’s dressed in fine accoutrements for media consumption—a good screen and speakers—but at the core this is a basic tablet. It’s ideal, we think, for first-time tablet buyers, for children (to keep their hands off Mom’s and Dad’s much pricier iPads), and anybody else looking for an inexpensive-yet-capable compact Android to help them keep in touch friends, family, and the world.

Read entire review at Computer Shopper


HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M277dw Review and RatingsLaser printers are as staid as modern PC technology gets. We’ve been saying for some time now that, aside from tacking on the occasional new productivity and convenience feature, or increasing speeds a smidge on occasion, we haven’t seen any heavy-hitting improvements to the laser printer in ages.

If something is going to change in lasers, though, HP is as predictable a source for that innovation as printer makers come. And what the company has done is not so much change the printer, as much as its diet.

That would be the toner. HP’s recent toner reformulation, dubbed ColorSphere 3, is part of an overall toner-cartridge and print-engine revamp that it is calling “JetIntelligence.” According to HP, between the toner reformulation and logic built into both the “new Original HP Toner cartridges with JetIntelligence” and the printer, your LaserJet will use up to 53 percent less energy, take up to 40 percent less space, as well as wake up and print duplex (two-sided) pages faster.

HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M277dwIn fact, in a recent press release, HP’s vice president and general manager of LaserJet hardware and technology, Tuan Tran, claimed, “Today’s announcement represents our most significant laser printing re-engineering since the introduction of the first LaserJet in 1984.”

The biggest thing to hit the laser in 30-plus years? That’s worth a closer look to see whether there’s heft or hype there. HP sent us one of these initial printers based on JetIntelligence and the new toner tech, the $429.99-MSRP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M277dwBest Price at Amazon. Again, many of the JetIntelligence benefits come from reformulated toner and reengineered cartridges, which we’ll discuss in some detail in the next section.

What we will say here, though, is that HP’s JetIntelligence promotional material makes a lot of the idea that you get significantly more prints per cartridge (33 percent more, according to its estimates), rather than more prints for your money. And this is a key distinction: While that may mean fewer toner-cartridge swap-outs over the life of the printer, the technology doesn’t necessarily mean more money in your pocket. While this is a great little printer, as you’ll see in our Setup & Paper Handling section later on, it is somewhat pricey to use, especially for color pages.

HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M277dwHence, as we’ve said about many an entry-level and midrange printer, no matter how attractive and up-to-date it is, this model just doesn’t compute for environments with heavy print loads. HP does offer some uncharacteristically high-volume toner cartridges (up to about 2,400 pages) for a printer this size. But, again, the actual per-page cost of using the Color LaserJet Pro MFP M277dw is too high for all but small and home-based offices with print loads of, say, just a few hundred pages per month.

Again, we’ll discuss why this makes sense as a low-volume, personal color laser printer later on. In the meantime, though, know that the M277dw is a sharp little color laser all-in-one (AIO), well worth taking a good look at if you’re not trying to outfit a business that prints all day, every day. As we wrote this in early August 2015, HP was offering a $100 discount off the MSRP, trimming the price to $329, so this model could make good sense for environments that need modest numbers of color-fast prints.

Read entire review at Computer Shopper