When it comes to wireless keyboards, or keyboard-and-mouse combo sets (also known as “wireless desktops”), most people think of Logitech and its many retail-friendly, budget bundles it has offered over the years, as well as Microsoft, perhaps, and its often ergonomically focused gear. On the other hand, one of the oldest (and one of the standards-bearers among desktop input-device makers) is Cherry, a German company.

Cherry Professional Wireless Rechargeable B.Unlimited AES (JD-0400EU-2)

Cherry has been manufacturing wireless keyboards, mice, and keyboard-and-pointing-device bundles for quite some time. But you may not have known it, because most of the stuff is meant for the professional and office markets.

Cherry’s also known for setting industry standards in input devices. It’s best known to consumers as the maker of the seminal Cherry MX mechanical key switches, the mechanisms that come in a small assortment of types (Cherry MX Blue, MX Red, and the like) and lie under the keytops of many of today’s best and priciest gaming and productivity keyboards for desktop PCs. The thing that may be confusing: Cherry makes lots of its own branded keyboards, but they don’t all, by a long shot, use those premium Cherry MX mechanical switches. In fact, most don’t.

Cherry offers a keyboard or combo set for lots of different categories of computing, including point of sale (POS), healthcare, government, and industrial, as well as yet another broad category, “professional,” which can, of course, mean just about anything. But what Cherry means, in this case, are professional typists, writers, data-entry professionals—people who use their input devices essentially to make a living. And for a subset of them—users who need to rely on bulletproof data security in data entry—the company offers up its $97-MSRP B.Unlimited AES desktop set. (It’s also known as the “Cherry Professional Wireless Rechargeable Desktop Set B.Unlimited AES.”)

So what, besides responsive, comfortable keys and an accurate, ergonomic mouse, does a professional need? Well, that certainly depends on what kind of professional you are. If you work in healthcare, where personal info is sacrosanct and subject to regulations, or in professions where you can’t even tell your spouse exactly what you do, locking down your data input at every possible weak point in the computing chain may matter to you. If that’s you, according to Cherry your relatively expensive professional desktop set should be Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) compliant, which secures the wireless signal between keyboard and receiver.

This keyboard/mouse set is also rechargable, which is well and good, but a $100 wireless-desktop set should be, we think, also comfortable and complete by default. While overall this is a well-built, high-end set, it provides little in the way of wrist support or other ergonomic features that you may see in other such bundles from Microsoft or Logitech.

Even so, we found Cherry’s B.Unlimited desktop set had decent key feel and felt sturdy, and the unusual AES angle makes it a good fit for security-minded, can’t-fail environments.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.

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Brother MFC-J6520DW Review and RatingsWith its Business Smart, Business Smart Plus, and Business Smart Professional Series families of printer, Brother was one of the first printer makers to support wide-format printing in a big way in multifunction inkjets for consumers and small businesses. Whether it’s simply printing the occasional oversize document, or delivering the ability to scan, copy, fax, and print them, a subset of these business-oriented all-in-ones (AIOs) adroitly handle tabloid, or 11×17-inch, pages at prices usually reserved for models that support paper no larger than letter- or legal-size.

The topic of this review, Brother’s $229.99-MSRP MFC-J6520DW, is one of these wide-load-capable models in the Brother line. A Professional Series model, the MFC-J6520DW does it all. It not only supports printing to tabloid-size stock, but because the scanner and the automatic document feeder (ADF) also support 11×17-inch pages, you can also scan, copy, and fax pages that big. (When you fax, of course, the document gets reduced on the receiving end if need be, since most receiving fax machines will be letter- or legal-size only.)

Brother MFC-J6520DW (Intro)Unlike the other major makers of inkjet printers, which by now have all come out with a wide-format model or two of their own, nearly all of Brother’s business-centric models support tabloid printing. We’ve reviewed several of them, including the MFC-J6520DW’s higher-volume sibling, theMFC-J6920DW, a late-2013 Editors’ Choice recipient that’s still going strong on the market.

Over the past couple of years, though, we’ve seen business-centric wide-format models from both Epson and HP, such as the WorkForce WF-7610 All-in-One and Officejet 7610 Wide Format e-All-in-One, respectively. (Canon’s most recent wide-format inkjet model, the Pixma iX6820, is a very different animal, a single-function photo printer.) However, while these two machines have several features in common with our Brother machine under review, they also differ in some very significant ways.

Both the Epson and HP wide-format models, for example, additionally support a slightly larger page size, the next size up from tabloid at 13×19 inches, also known as “supertabloid” or A3+. (We say “slightly larger,” but the fact is that supertabloid pages contain 60 inches of additional surface area versus tabloid.)

While support for these even larger papers may not matter to everybody, a feature we really like about this Brother multifunction model is its low per-page operational cost—the cost per page, or CPP. As you’ll see in the Setup & Paper Handling section later on, compared to other wide-format printers, this one is relatively inexpensive in terms of ink upkeep, making it an ideal candidate for high-volume print runs of both standard letter-size andtabloid pages.

Unlike the costlier MFC-J6920DW, though, we had a few concerns about this model that left it just shy of a Computer Shopper Editors’ Choice high-five. As we discuss in the Setup & Paper Handling section later on, there are some significant, perhaps obvious, drawbacks to a wide-format printer with only one paper-input tray. In addition, the MFC-J6520DW doesn’t print photos as well as some of the other wide-format models we’ve talked about here so far.

Brother MFC-J6520DW (Intro 2)But, then again, reconsider that this printer is part of Brother’s Business Smart Professional Series, as we mentioned earlier. Not all business printing calls for stellar photograph reproduction, and, frankly, this printer’s low CPPs, as we see it, should make stomaching the slightly subpar image rendering easier.

Overall, we liked this printer, but its somewhat limited paper-handling abilities might make it a better pick as a dedicated tabloid printer for light-to-moderate oversize output, as opposed to a general-purpose office machine. In any case, the MFC-J6520DW prints wide-format pages on the relative cheap, and that should be attractive to a wide range of small offices and workgroups.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper

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Epson WorkForce WF-2660 All-in-One Printer Review and RatingsHave you read any of our reviews of Epson’s latest round of PrecisionCore-based WorkForce printers, especially the WorkForce Pro models (notably, our Editors’ Choice recipient, the WorkForce Pro WF-4630 All-in-One Printer)? Then you know that, generally speaking, we’re fans of these models. We’ve liked the lower-volume, non-Pro WorkForce models we’ve tested, too. But like so many entry-level and midrange all-in-one printers (AIOs) that print, copy, scan, and fax, we were put off by these current-generation models’ per-page cost of ink.

Alas, that’s often the price you pay when opting for one of the budget-friendly models in an inkjet line. But then again, many small and home-based offices simply don’t need to print more than, say, 50 or 100 pages per month. Because of that, the office just doesn’t need, nor can it justify buying, a cheaper-to-use, higher-volume model.

Epson WorkForce WF-2660 (Fliers)

When you’re printing so little each month, what each page costs you—within reason, of course—isn’t quite as important. That’s especially true if the machine otherwise prints well and delivers a wide range of productivity and convenience features. (Of course, all this begs the question of why inkjet-printer makers can’t seem to deliver low-cost inkjets that also deliver a very low cost per page, but that should be obvious: It’s the business model for these printers.)

So, with that in mind, enter Epson’s $149.99-MSRP WorkForce WF-2660 All-in-One Printer, a low-volume multifunction printer. While most certainly an inexpensive all-in-one meant for light duty, this little office-centric model, as you’ll see in the Design & Features section on the next page, has more features than we’ve seen on most inkjet printers, period, let alone a model this small and low-cost.

When we wrote this review in early May 2015, the WorkForce WF-2660 was the top model (and most expensive) of three in Epson’s WorkForce WF-2600 series. The WorkForce WF-2660 and its siblings are the smallest WorkForce AIOs the company offers, and therefore also the smallest printers available based on Epson’s relatively new (mid-2014) PrecisionCore printhead technology, which has been confined to its business-oriented printers so far. As we’ve explained in several recent WorkForce printer reviews, in addition to providing several other benefits, PrecisionCore-based printers so far have proven to be relatively fast at their price points, and they print quite well on the whole.

In any case, in addition to the WorkForce WF-2660, with this line you can choose either the $99.99-MSRP WorkForce WF-2630 or the $129.99-MSRP WorkForce WF-2650. Before going into what these cost differences get you, we should first point out that as we wrote this in May 2015, all three models were discounted heavily from those list prices on Epson’s Web site, as well as elsewhere. Shop around, and you could save $30 on the WorkForce WF-2630, $40 on the WorkForce WF-2650, and $50 on our review unit, the WorkForce WF-2660, making the bottom-line prices $69.99, $89.99, and $99.99, respectively.

Epson WorkForce WF-2660 (Charts)

At these markdown prices, for the $10 difference between the WF-2660 and the WF-2650 you actually give up a lot: a 2.7-inch color touch screen for a four-line monochrome readout, as well as support for Near-Field Communication (NFC) and a few other mobile-connectivity features. The cheaper-still WorkForce WF-2630 is slower by Epson’s estimates by about 4 pages per minute (with black-and-white output) and 3 pages per minute (with color), and its input tray is 50 pages less capacious. But then again, bear in mind that its sale price is only $70, and that for a full-fledged AIO.

We like the WorkForce WF-2660 much more at the under-$100 price point than at its $149.99 list price. As we will get into in the Setup & Paper Handling sections later on, while we’re not at all thrilled with the cost per page (CPP) of the WorkForce WF-2660, if you don’t plan to print or copy on it all that much, its Swiss Army knife-like feature set and exceptional print quality make it a great little printer for occasional use, and a good value in that role. You may not use it often, but when you need to, it will most likely have everything you’ll need to complete the task at hand.

Before going too deeply into the WorkForce WF-2660’s design and features, we should say that when it comes to a well-rounded feature set, all that this AIO really needs is an auto-duplexing automatic document feeder, or ADF. Yes, it has a 30-sheet ADF, and a good one. But alas, in order to scan two-sided originals (i.e., to capture the second sides of the pages), you must manually turn over your stack of pages being scanned.

To be fair, it’s not that we can realistically expect to see an auto-duplexing ADF on an entry-level model like this one—that is what step-up models are for! —but it would have been a nice touch, rounding out the feature set in a way that might have offset some of the sting of this printer’s very high CPP.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper

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Canon Pixma Pro-1 Professional Photo Inkjet Printer Review and RatingsWe seldom review printers that have already been on the market for well over three years, primarily because—well, most printers don’tstay on the market that long. By then, most have long since been discontinued, renamed, or replaced. Four years is an eternity in the evolution of printer technology. Here in 2015, we can look back on 2011 and see a very different landscape. For example, HP PageWide technology was still a gleam in an engineer’s eye; cheap wide-format printers were nowhere to be found; and the idea of a “high-volume” business inkjet was a borderline oxymoron.

Even so, now and then, we run across the rare machine that does what it does so well that it seems impervious to advances in convenience, connectivity features, and printhead technology. One of these is the subject of our review today: Canon’s $1,000-MSRP Pixma Pro-1 Professional Photo Inkjet Printer.

Canon Pixma Pro-1A little while back, we reviewed the company’s $500-MSRP Pixma Pro-100, a fine printer for photo pros. This one, though, is a notch or three up the food chain, both in print quality and features. What makes this printer doubly impressive is that it has held up well enough over time to maintain its premium price. When we wrote this in late April 2015, we were unable to find it anywhere online for less than $999.99, a whopping penny less than its list price. That’s especially surprising in a business that uses the discount-off-MSRP as the favorite implement in its marketing toolbox. In fact, as we wrote this in late-April 2015, some outlets sold the Pro-1 for $100 to 200 overlist price—a phenomenon that suggests excellent quality and value (or a unique product, which is not the case here), or a dedicated following.

Why has the Pixma Pro-1 been such a hit? Put simply, its superb print quality has made it a favorite among photographers (professional ones, and would-be professionals), artists, and dedicated hobbyists alike. It’s capable of printing impeccably detailed, vibrant, and accurately colored images and artwork. And it can handle any reasonable paper size, with stock ranging from 4×6-inch snapshots up to 13×19-inch “supertabloid” (otherwise known as A3+) photos, flyers, and posters.

In other words, it serves its target market exceptionally well for the price. That said, were this a standard business-centric or consumer-grade machine, aside from its ability to churn out superb oversize photos and artwork, nearly everything about it would be wrong.

It’s not price-competitive, it’s heavy, and it’s huge. It uses 12—that’s not a typo, 12—relatively costly ink tanks. And, to get the best results, you’ll want to feed it pricey, premium-grade photo and display-art paper—especially when you get into the larger tabloid (11×17-inch) and supertabloid sizes.

Canon Pixma Pro-1 (Front View)Yes, the Pixma Pro-1 can use standard copy paper, and yes, itcan turn out excellent-looking business documents, but that’s like feeding your Lamborghini Aventador a steady diet of ethanol and making it your train-station car. It completely misses the point of this type of printer. You buy it because you want it specifically to do what it does best.

Still, as mentioned, it’s not your only choice for this kind of printing. Canon’s Pixma Pro line of professional photo printers, which includes the Pixma Pro-1, the $699.99-MSRP and the $499.99 MSRP Pro-100, is an A-list family in this market, but it’s not the only one. Epson’s popular Stylus and more-recent SureColor professional photo printers are comparably priced and, as discussed in the Setup & Paper Handling section later on, provide in some cases much more versatile paper handling. Many of Epson’s and HP’s professional photo printers, for instance, have the ability to print on rolls of high-quality photo paper. In the case of Epson’s SureColor P600 Wide Format Inkjet Printer we reviewed a few weeks back, you can print borderless banners nearly 11 feet long. (Whether you have a use for that is another matter!) There are things the Pixma Pro-1, as versatile as it is, cannot do.

Usually, we evaluate printers from the point of view of speed, cost of use, and productivity/convenience features, with print quality being just one of many important factors. While price and cost of use are not irrelevant, they don’t matter as much here as do print-quality and paper-handling prowess. Compared to some other professional photo printers, this one lacks some important paper-handling features, but as you’ll see in our discussion on the last page of this review, the Pixma Pro-1 has some unique options of its own.

Obviously, the Pixma Pro-1 isn’t for everybody. In fact, it’s hard to imagine a printer sold to consumers whose appeal might be more niche-ified than this one. Whether it’s right for you depends flat-out on the nature of your photography or artwork: How serious are you about it, and how big do you need it? And, just as important, can you afford to feed the Pixma Pro-1 what it needs?

If it’s a fit, however, you can rest assured that few, if any, wide-format professional photo printers turn out better-looking prints than this one does. Be prepared to be dazzled.

Read entire review at Computer Shopper

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Epson WorkForce WF-7110 Inkjet Printer Review and RatingsInkjet printers that only print have become a rare breed. While single-function laser-class printers still abound, we can’t say the same about single-function inkjets. Shop around for a consumer or small-business inkjet, even at the very low end, and you’ll quickly realize that the market has been taken over by cost-efficient all-in-one (AIO) models.

Over the past year or two, though, we’ve seen a few single-function inkjets slip out from the major printer makers. This kind of printer has become uncommon enough that those models made us sit up and take notice. They include Canon’s Maxify iB4020, HP’s higher-end Officejet Pro X551dw Color Printer (based on its innovative PageWide technology), and the topic of this review, Epson’s PrecisionCore-based $199.99 WorkForce WF-7110 Inkjet Printer.

The first two printers are all about the high-volume output of letter-size pages. The WF-7110 is a different beast altogether, though: Of these three single-function printers, only this WorkForce model prints wide-format pages up to 13×19 inches, a size also known as supertabloid. Unfortunately, like most other wide-format printers priced for consumers and small businesses, the WorkForce WF-7110 also has a relatively high operational cost—what we call the cost per page, or CPP—especially when you compare it to a bunch of other like-priced, high-volume inkjets on the market. (We’ll look more closely at the nuances of this printer’s CPP in the Setup & Paper Handling section later on.)

Epson WorkForce WF-7110Like the midrange laser-class printers that this model and its competitors are designed to compete with, this WorkForce model is built to sit there and churn out copious bunches of pages. That’s clear from two things: its paper handling, and its maximum duty cycle. (The maximum duty cycle is the number of pages the manufacturer says you can print each month without wearing out the machine prematurely.) The maximum duty cycle on the WF-7110 is a surprising 20,000 pages per month. Also, as you’ll see in some detail later on, the WorkForce WF-7110 has two good-size input sources, with paper drawers configurable to hold sheets ranging from 3.5×5-inch photo paper to supertabloid copy stock for documents and photo paper for borderless prints up to 13×19 inches. Often, the borderless treatment on an image, a flyer, or a brochure can mean the difference between a professional- and an amateur-looking job.

In short, the WorkForce WF-7110 appears to be designed for versatility and volume—but the volume part of the equation is going to sail onto the rocks of the cost per page. As we’ve pointed out in previous reviews of wide-format inkjets, such as HP’s Officejet 7610 Wide Format e-All-in-One, most wide-format printers have a higher cost per page than their like-priced letter-size counterparts. For the most part, though, most wide-format printers have similar CPPs to each other. HP’s similarly priced Officejet 7610, for instance, delivers about the same CPPs as this one, especially when you’re talking about black-and-white pages.

Epson WorkForce WF-7110 (Intro)Furthermore, several of Brother’s numerous office-oriented wide-format printers, such as the MFC-J6920DW, have significantly lower CPPs. But, then, they can’t print 13×19-inch pages, only “plain” tabloid-size ones at 11×17 inches. (In the printer world, the termwide-format encompasses both sizes.) As is often the case with midrange printers, even though they’re capable of printing great-looking pages at highly competitive speeds, their per-page cost of operation makes them money pits for all but limited duty—beyond, say, a couple hundred pages per month.

As a result, the WorkForce WF-7110 is a role-filler, not the one-size-fits-all printer it might appear to be. Under the right circumstances, this model can be a great fit. But if your office requires high-volume output and wide-format output, there are better choices—perhaps an alternate 11×17-inch-capable model, or possibly a printer like the WorkForce WF-7110 paired with a second printer for the volume work.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.

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OKI B512dn Monochrome Printer Review and Ratings“Lasers! We’re under attack!” That might be our headline here, were we writing a cheesy 1950s sci-fi epic, not a laser-printer review. But, nonetheless, that’s a pretty accurate summary of affairs in the laser-printer market nowadays.

We’ve been saying for some time that, on the value front, high-volume inkjet printers have been edging out entry-level and midrange laser models. That’s happened for a number of reasons. Among them? Better-than-ever text printing from the inkjets (and, as ever, superior photo printing), plus competitive per-page costs for consumables.

In short, recent business-class inkjets went and cut away two of the major reasons that companies opted for laser- or laser-class printers in the first place. And laser makers have been scrambling of late to catch up.

Every now and then, though, we come across a laser-class machine that upholds the old-school laser tradition of aggressively priced consumables and excellent print quality. One of them is the topic of this review, OKI Data’s $499-list B512dn Monochrome Printer.

OKI B512dnThis is a printer clearly meant for churning loads of plain document pages, given that OKI tags it with a healthy 100,000-page maximum monthly duty cycle. (That’s the recommendation for the most pages you should run through this printer in a given month. Of course, you’ll need a forklift for all that paper delivered at once.) That rating, paired with the excellent text-print quality and a cost per page (CPP) of under 1.5 cents, made a fine impression on us. It’s not all that often anymore that we run across laser-class output in a new printer at this competitive a CPP.

That said, this OKI printer’s only real flaw—its somewhat slow print speed—offsets its appealing qualities a bit. After all, if you mean to print thousands of pages a month, it’s going to take thatmuch more time. But it’s not a deal-killer unless you mean to max out this laser-class printer, all day, every day.

Notice that we refer to the OKI B512dn as a “laser-class” printer, rather than simply a laser printer. We do so because this is not a “true” laser printer, in a sense. A classic laser printer deploys an actual laser mechanism inside to draw the page image to be printed onto the printer’s drum. (The drum, charged by the laser in that pattern, then attracts toner and transfers it to the page.) OKI’s model is more accurately termed an LED-based printer. An LED printer works similarly to a laser, but it charges the page image onto the drum with a fixed array of light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

The reason for using an LED array instead of a scanning laser is simple: LEDs cost less. Substituting LEDs for lasers also allows printer manufacturers to make smaller and lighter printers with fewer moving parts. All else being equal, LED models tend to cost less to manufacture than their laser counterparts, too. Aside from the economics involved, LED-based printers look from the outside very much the same as laser devices do, and they function and act identically, too; hence, the “laser-class” name. Unless you dismantled the printer, you’d likely never know the difference.

We like the per-page economics on this OKI printer, but overall, as modern printers go, this one is a little thin on features. According to OKI, it’s really designed to sit there and churn out page after page of text at a rate of up to 45 pages per minute. (More on that later.) Out of the box, though, it has no wireless connectivity (that feature costs extra), and it supports only a smattering of mobile-printing features.

As we’ve pointed out in many recent reviews, fewer businesses today—especially smaller ones—rely as much as before on single-function, monochrome laser-class printers, one reason being that their now-more-economical inkjet counterparts print nicer graphics and images, and in color. However, there will always be those offices that, for one reason or another, require laser output and don’t care about image printing. Think about all those tire shops, doctors’ offices, and other places of business and points of sale that require short black-and-white documents and receipts in a jiffy.

The good news about the OKI B512dn is that it can serve these needs and more while keeping a light touch on your budget. And that’s a huge part of what we expect from a high-volume printer—and what can make one a success. A printer like the OKI B512dn may be light on frills, but you don’t fault a bulldozer for pushing through big jobs and delivering muscle where it is needed—and that’s what this printer does with monochrome documents.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.

 

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OKI B512dn Monochrome Printer Review and Ratings“Lasers! We’re under attack!” That might be our headline here, were we writing a cheesy 1950s sci-fi epic, not a laser-printer review. But, nonetheless, that’s a pretty accurate summary of affairs in the laser-printer market nowadays.

We’ve been saying for some time that, on the value front, high-volume inkjet printers have been edging out entry-level and midrange laser models. That’s happened for a number of reasons. Among them? Better-than-ever text printing from the inkjets (and, as ever, superior photo printing), plus competitive per-page costs for consumables.

In short, recent business-class inkjets went and cut away two of the major reasons that companies opted for laser- or laser-class printers in the first place. And laser makers have been scrambling of late to catch up.

Every now and then, though, we come across a laser-class machine that upholds the old-school laser tradition of aggressively priced consumables and excellent print quality. One of them is the topic of this review, OKI Data’s $499-list B512dn Monochrome Printer.

OKI B512dnThis is a printer clearly meant for churning loads of plain document pages, given that OKI tags it with a healthy 100,000-page maximum monthly duty cycle. (That’s the recommendation for the most pages you should run through this printer in a given month. Of course, you’ll need a forklift for all that paper delivered at once.) That rating, paired with the excellent text-print quality and a cost per page (CPP) of under 1.5 cents, made a fine impression on us. It’s not all that often anymore that we run across laser-class output in a new printer at this competitive a CPP.

That said, this OKI printer’s only real flaw—its somewhat slow print speed—offsets its appealing qualities a bit. After all, if you mean to print thousands of pages a month, it’s going to take thatmuch more time. But it’s not a deal-killer unless you mean to max out this laser-class printer, all day, every day.

Notice that we refer to the OKI B512dn as a “laser-class” printer, rather than simply a laser printer. We do so because this is not a “true” laser printer, in a sense. A classic laser printer deploys an actual laser mechanism inside to draw the page image to be printed onto the printer’s drum. (The drum, charged by the laser in that pattern, then attracts toner and transfers it to the page.) OKI’s model is more accurately termed an LED-based printer. An LED printer works similarly to a laser, but it charges the page image onto the drum with a fixed array of light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

The reason for using an LED array instead of a scanning laser is simple: LEDs cost less. Substituting LEDs for lasers also allows printer manufacturers to make smaller and lighter printers with fewer moving parts. All else being equal, LED models tend to cost less to manufacture than their laser counterparts, too. Aside from the economics involved, LED-based printers look from the outside very much the same as laser devices do, and they function and act identically, too; hence, the “laser-class” name. Unless you dismantled the printer, you’d likely never know the difference.

We like the per-page economics on this OKI printer, but overall, as modern printers go, this one is a little thin on features. According to OKI, it’s really designed to sit there and churn out page after page of text at a rate of up to 45 pages per minute. (More on that later.) Out of the box, though, it has no wireless connectivity (that feature costs extra), and it supports only a smattering of mobile-printing features.

As we’ve pointed out in many recent reviews, fewer businesses today—especially smaller ones—rely as much as before on single-function, monochrome laser-class printers, one reason being that their now-more-economical inkjet counterparts print nicer graphics and images, and in color. However, there will always be those offices that, for one reason or another, require laser output and don’t care about image printing. Think about all those tire shops, doctors’ offices, and other places of business and points of sale that require short black-and-white documents and receipts in a jiffy.

The good news about the OKI B512dn is that it can serve these needs and more while keeping a light touch on your budget. And that’s a huge part of what we expect from a high-volume printer—and what can make one a success. A printer like the OKI B512dn may be light on frills, but you don’t fault a bulldozer for pushing through big jobs and delivering muscle where it is needed—and that’s what this printer does with monochrome documents.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.

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In late 2013, Lenovo released a couple of Android slates literally capable of standing on their own two feet. Well, strike that—they were capable of standing on their own one foot.

Literally and technically, it’s not a foot at all. As you can see below, it’s more like a kickstand…

 

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 (8-Inch, Android) (Feet)

 

That stand is what has set apart Lenovo’s Yoga Tablets—the first generation, and the newer Yoga Tablet 2 models we’ve been looking at here in early 2015—from the rest of the Android and Windows pack.

The tablet aisle has become quite the crowded place, and Lenovo realized it had to be bold in its design. In the first Yoga tablets, the kickstand allowed you to position Lenovo’s tablets in three distinct and often quite useful “modes,” standing free in several possible orientations. With the Yoga Tablet 2 models, Lenovo has added a new orientation called “Hang mode” (which we’ll discuss in the Design & Modes section later on). Now, you can use the Yoga Tablets in even more ways that other tablets just can’t pull off as elegantly.

Also with this round of Yoga Tablets, you have more choices in terms of screen size. Up from two screen-size options in Android—in the original Yoga Tablet 8 and the Yoga Tablet 10—now you have three to pick from: the $229.99-list Yoga Tablet 2 (8-Inch), the subject of this review, as well as a $249.99-list Yoga Tablet 2 (10.1-Inch), and the $469.99-list Yoga Tablet 2 Pro (13-Inch), all shown below…

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 (8-Inch, Android) (Sizes)

We should point out, though, that the 13-inch model, with its dazzling QHD (2,560×1,440) display, low-power built-in projector, and JBL speakers, is actually more of a high-end entertainment device—a sleek, premium slate not really in the same class as the 8- or 10-inch Yoga Tablet 2. Here seems a good place to point out that we classify tablets with 9-inch or larger screens as “full-size,” and slates with displays smaller than 9 inches as “compact.” With the emergence of 13-inch models, though, we’re considering calling models in that size range “oversize tablets”—far bigger to handle than the dominant 9- and 10-inch tablets that orbit the Apple iPad’s dimensions.

The Yoga Tablet 2 8-incher is quite on the other end of the spectrum from “oversize.” It has roughly the same screen size as an Apple iPad Mini 3, and in our opinion that’s the smallest truly acceptable screen size for Android tablets these days. Given prices in 2015, much of the gloss has come off of 7-inch models for us, and as high-res screens have crept into tablets this small, the difference between a 7-inch and an 8-inch tablet is that much more pronounced.

While physically this Yoga tablet looks much like its 8-inch predecessor, inside it’s a completely new animal, as you’ll see in the Performance section later on. An ARM-based MediaTek processor powered the previous Yoga Tablet 8. The Yoga Tablet 2 (8-Inch), as well as the other two Android Yoga Tablet 2s mentioned above, have gone Intel, running on Atom CPUs. (Many competing compact slates from first-tier makers also now use Atoms.) As we’ve seen with other recent tablets, the Atom chip greatly improves performance—especially compared to some of the midrange ARM processors found in the entry-level compact slates of late 2013 and early 2014.

Even so, despite its CPU, the Yoga Tablet 8 came within about $50 (given its $249 list price) of winning our Editors’ Choice nod back when we reviewed it in late 2013. We thought—and still do—that the Yoga Tablet 8 was a $199 slate, and we think the same about this newer model. So far, though, we haven’t found it anywhere online for less than its $229.99 list price, and in places for slightly more, suggesting that Lenovo’s not having any trouble selling it.

While the Intel Atom CPU certainly beefed up this tablet’s performance, most recent competing compact models have also stepped up to the same or similar Atoms. In other words, the Yoga Tablet 2 (8-Inch) is faster than its predecessor, but so are most of its competitors. And where the 2013 Yoga Tablet 8 was generally faster than many compact slates of that era, today’s model, performance-wise, is just average—even if average isn’t so bad, nowadays.

Battery longevity is a different dynamic. On the first Yoga Tablet 8, we saw a whopping 15-plus hours in our video-playback test. Comparatively, the 8-inch Android Yoga Tablet 2 came up short by nearly 3 hours. But it still lasted long enough this time around to deliver at least a couple of days of everyday work, such as browsing the Web and answering e-mails, before we had to recharge.

As we’ve pointed out in numerous Yoga Tablet reviews, the Yoga Tablet design is unique because of the cylindrical hinge and stand built into the bottom of the device (assuming the slate is in wide/landscape orientation). In addition to providing plenty of room for a capacious battery, it also makes for a great grip point for holding the tablet in one hand while operating it with the other, as shown here…

 

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 (8-Inch, Android) (Hold Mode)

We decided, even back with the first Yoga tablets, that we were fans of the overall design and its various modes, which we’ll get into on the next page. But the new innards and higher-resolution display of this latest 8-inch Yoga Tablet make this 2015 model much superior to the Yoga Tablet 8. Plenty has changed in the tablet market since we reviewed that tablet, but the improvements here outpace the field: Screen quality and performance have increased significantly, and the price went down by $20.

We’d still like the Yoga Tablet 2 (8-Inch) better at $199, but this new compact model is, nonetheless, a very nice tablet for the money.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.

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Epson WorkForce WF-100 Mobile Printer ReviewMobile inkjet printers have been around for some years now, and—like everything else tech—they have gotten better and better with the passage of time. However, unlike most other devices, their makers have only been able to miniaturize them so far. Case in point: If you want to print letter-size business documents, a mobile printer must be at least 8.5 inches wide. There’s just no getting around the basic physical size of paper!

Plus, printers require at least a modicum of moving parts to function. That precludes miniaturization beyond a certain point—but that hasn’t stopped printer makers from trying.

Take the topic of this review, Epson’s WorkForce WF-100 Mobile Printer. Epson claims it is “the world’s lightest and smallest mobile printer.” As we discuss in the next section of this review, that just may be the case—we couldn’t find a comparable model (apart from some snapshot-only models) to disprove that. But as we pointed out in our recent review of competitor Canon’s newest mobile inkjet, the Canon Pixma iP110 (a photo-centric model), miniature printers like this one are costly. Not only are the purchase prices for the printers high, but the operational costs are also off the chart, in terms of cost per page (CPP), compared with full-size printers.

Epson WorkForce WF-100 (Main)At a $349.99 MSRP, the WorkForce WF-100 costs about the same as the above-mentioned Pixma on a list-price basis—assuming you factor in the Pixma iP110’s optional $99.99 battery, a component that comes standard with the WF-100. (Also, note that while the list price on the WorkForce WF-100 may be $349.99, it was on sale on Epson’s Web site and several resellers for $100 off, or $249.99, when we wrote this in mid-March 2015.) That battery is a big deal: On the WF-100, it’s not an optional add-on, but built-in and included in the price. Furthermore, as the WorkForce WF-100’s name implies, it is part of Epson’s office-centric WorkForce line of printers; others of its kind are designed to print business documents. Canon’s Pixma iP110, on the other hand, is a photo printer with an emphasis on printing images first and business documents as a fallback position.

Whether you’re printing photos or documents, though, the WorkForce WF-100 is, like the Pixma iP110, undeniably expensive to print on. As you’ll see in the Setup & Paper Handling section later on, depending on what you print, the WorkForce WF-100 can be a little more expensive to use than the Pixma. But that’s somewhat hair-splitting: In either case, neither of these models, nor any other mobile printer we’ve tested, is economical to use for mass printing. (That includes HP’s offerings, the most recent of which is the $399.99-list Officejet 150 Mobile All-in-One, which also performs scans and makes copies.) While these miniature machines are very handy for certain applications, you pay dearly for not only the machines themselves but also the day-in, day-out upkeep.

As with full-size desktop printers, which type of mobile printer you should buy depends on what you intend to do with it. The distinction here brings to mind the differences between standard desktop photo printers and desktop office printers. What are you more likely to be printing on the road: Photos? Business documents? Unlike the Pixma iP110’s output, which would most likely consist of one page per print run (i.e., a photo), the WorkForce WF-100’s print jobs might often be longer, seeing as it’s meant as a document printer first. But even despite that document bearing, this is still an occasional-use printer no matter what you’re printing, unless money is no object. Everything you print on it is expensive, comparatively.

Our bottom line? The WorkForce WF-100 is all about convenience, and just as you pay more for a beverage at the corner store, the convenience of a mobile printer has its price—both when you buy it and when you refill it. If you’re willing to live with that, though, this is a great little printer.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.

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Canon Pixma iP110 Review and RatingsHere in 2015, nearly everybody in tech, it seems, is making moves to miniaturize their technology. Some desktop PCs are getting down to the size of iPhones. It’s impossible to ignore the popularity of candy-bar-thin smartphones and tiny wireless headsets. A few latest-generation laptops are thinner than yesterday’s tablets.

But some technologies are more suited to shrinking down than others—and one we seldom associate with the smallify-ing trend is printers.

Reason one: If you want to print to paper that’s letter-size or thereabouts, your printer’s body can only be so narrow and still handle the paper stock. Over the years, we’ve seen a variety of compact printers designed for printing snapshot-size photos, using inkjet or thermal-dye technologies, prominent among them models in Canon’s Selphy line. (See, for example, our review of the Selphy CP900$64.29 at Amazon.com.) A few are still on the market. These models are indeed compact, but they’re niche-use products. Their bodies and feeders limit them to use with 4×6-inch (and in rare cases, 5×7-inch) output. You wouldn’t use them for printing a picture today, and a Word document tomorrow.

Canon Pixma iP110Even so, a few mobile inkjet printers capable of handling bigger paper have been around for some time. And over time, they have become remarkable little tools in their own right, much like the subject of this review: Canon’s $249.99-list Pixma iP110.

When we say “mobile” or “portable,” we don’t quite mean that in the smartphone sense. The Pixma iP110 is small enough to pick up and carry with you, though not really compact enough to slide into a purse or briefcase without a second thought, like you might an Apple iPad or a really skinny ultraportable laptop. But its Wi-Fi connectivity and lack of wires (if you use this printer with Canon’s optional battery connected—more on that later) are highly convenient for use when you’re out and about—say, in a vehicle or on a work site without ready access to a power outlet. Printing off the battery might also impress at a client location, where you might not want to impose and ask to string a power adapter to an AC outlet.

Out of the gate, though, the one thing most mobile printers have in common is a high purchase price, relative to what they can do versus full-size, desk-side printers. A big portion of the price for these little printers stems from their miniaturization. (It also keeps down the size of their ink tanks, which is reflected in their per-page costs, which we’ll discuss in detail later.) Epson’s competing WorkForce WF-100 Mobile Printer, for example, lists for $349.99 and sells for around $250 online. (We’ve got a review of this unit in the works.) And HP’s Officejet 150 Mobile All-in-One (which also performs scans and makes copies) sells for $300 to $370, off of a $399.99 MSRP. HP also sells a single-function version of that Officejet, the $279-list Officejet 100 Mobile Printer, which has been around since 2011 and sells for around the same price as the Pixma iP110.

These prices may make our Canon review unit’s pricing (which comes in at $249.99 list and around $170 to $200 on the street) seem more moderate. However, you need to realize that out of the box, this is not a strictly mobile printer. You need to add Canon’s optional $99.99-MSRP battery to the mix, and if you do, the Pixma iP110 is then no cheaper than the others, and costlier than some.

Canon Pixma iP110 (Angled)Price aside, though, this model marches to a rather different beat than the Epson and HP models we just mentioned. As you might glean from the family names borne by the HP and Epson mobile models, they are business-oriented printers meant first for documents and business-graphics printing. This Pixma, though, like so many Pixmas we’ve worked with across the years, is a photo printer first, optimized for image output from snapshot-size to letter.

While the WorkForce- and Officejet-brand mobile printers are little office-optimized machines, not primarily photo printers, they print photographs well enough for most uses. If, for whatever reason, you prefer that your mobile printer specialize in photos before business documents, the Pixma iP110 is a fine match—if you can stomach the ink costs.

Maybe you’re a photographer who needs to print on-the-spot proofs or samples. Or perhaps you’re a real-estate professional who needs to let a client, on occasion, take home a hard copy of an interior room’s image. In these cases, you won’t be disappointed by the image quality you will get. Indeed, you’d be hard-pressed to top it in a mobile printer, outside of the snapshot-size-only models.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.

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