HP SlateBook 14-p010nr PC Review and Ratings

When it comes to providing alternatives to Windows-based PCs, we can’t fault HP for a lack of trying. Not only has the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company brought a couple of Chrome OS-based Chromebooks to market of late, but it has also rolled out a few such lean machines based on all-out Android. One was the 21-inch Slate 21-k100 All-in-One Desktop PC we looked at last year; the second is the subject of this review, the $429.99-MSRP HP SlateBook 14-p010nr PC.

Now, mind you, the Slate 21 was an unmitigated flop. (It wasn’t just us who thought so; our sister site, PCMag.com, concurred in its even harsher review.) While hardware issues related to performance, design, and construction kept us from recommending the Slate 21, the software was also to blame: Android itself was a big, or even bigger, problem. An operating system meant primarily for use on smartphones and tablets, it just wasn’t prime-time ready to drive a full-fledged desktop PC.

That was 2013. Now, here we are about 10 months out, with a brand-new Android-based laptop.

HP SlateBook 14-p010nr PC (Rear View)This isn’t the first attempt at such a thing. Lenovo has an Android laptop, the Lenovo A10 (not to be confused with the Lenovo A10 Tablet), being sold in markets outside the United States, and Asus pioneered the Android/Windows laptop hybrid in machines like the mixed-bag Transformer Book Trio. And HP did try its hand at an Android tablet with a detachable keyboard dock, the SlateBook 10 x2, some months back, in the vein of earlier Asus Transformer Pads. But it’s still a pretty lean group.

The hardware itself is not a problem, this time: The SlateBook 14 is a darn nice machine. Its chassis is sleek, loaded with productivity and convenience options, and, due primarily to its Nvidia Tegra 4 quad-core processor and 2GB of system RAM, it performs quite well. The other components are no slouches, either; the raw numbers we gathered on this laptop say nothing about the SlateBook’s sharp-looking 1,920×1,080 (full HD) screen and ear-pleasing Beats Audio speakers and sound system. Together, the display and speakers make for a superior device for watching videos and listening to music.

This is, decidedly, a laptop, though. Unlike the several Android-based tablet/laptop convertible systems we’ve tested, such as the $299 Asus Transformer Pad TF103C that debuted around the same time as this machine, the SlateBook 14 does not detach from its keyboard. It also cannot flex in the way that Lenovo’s various Yoga machines and HP’s own Pavilion x360 can, with the keyboard rotating 360 degrees to bend back on itself, so that the display panel (which is touch-sensitive) becomes a de facto tablet. Was that a missed opportunity? Maybe, though many will say a 14-inch tablet would be unwieldy, anyway.

Then again, even if the SlateBook had that tablet mode, you might not want to touch certain apps on it, in any case. Sure, there are a million or so Android apps out there. However, because Android is designed foremost as an operating system for smartphones and tablets, a significant number of them do not format properly on high-resolution screens like this one. (It’s a problem on very high-resolution Android tablets, too.) Sometimes, the app won’t use the entire screen, which looks funny. In other, rarer cases, the app itself is rendered in a manner that makes it unusable.

While Android on a laptop makes more sense and has a more natural feel than Android on an all-in-one desktop, there’s no getting past the fact that the OS just wasn’t designed to run on high-res screens and in this form factor. (You have to reach across a keyboard to touch the screen, which you’ll want to do much more than you would, say, in Windows 8.) Still, Android looks better on this smaller, high-resolution 14-inch screen than it did on the much bigger all-in-one displays in essentially the same resolution. (HP’s Slate 21 has a 21-inch screen, while AOC’s mySmart AIO we recently tested comes in 22- and 24-inch varieties.)

Android appropriateness, then, becomes the real question. Is there a viable need for an Android laptop when it costs as much as a Windows one, and, more to the point, is Android robust enough to serve as your primary computing device’s OS? As we’ve said a few times in the past about these outlier Android machines, it really depends on what you plan to do with it.

Overall, this is a well-built machine, and we can think of many applications for which it would work seamlessly. But it all depends on your expectations. The SlateBook works well for media consumption. If your aim, however, is any kind of real content creation—editing images or video, doing spreadsheet work, and the like—this model only makes sense if you’re already familiar with (and satisfied with) the generally lighter-weight Android apps that handle these tasks. And you won’t save much money by opting for it, given that you can find Windows laptops with local storage and even bigger screens starting for around the same money.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.

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Asus MeMO Pad 7 (ME176C) Review and Ratings Every now and then we come across a tablet that demands we sit up and take notice—not because it’s glamorous, fashionable, or made of nifty materials, but because of its quiet competence. That was the case with the release of last year’s Asus MeMO Pad HD 7, a Computer Shopper Editors’ Choice in July of 2013.

Like most compact (7- and 8-inch-class) tablets we’ve seen over the past year or so, the MeMO Pad HD 7 was primarily an entry-level slate. At first glance, you might wonder why it was an Editors’ Choice at all, or even noteworthy. Compared to some competing compact models (such as Google’s highly desirable 2013 version of the Nexus 7), it offered little that was ground-breaking in terms of technology.

What that modest 7-inch slate diddo, though, was bring to reality a well-built, attractive tablet for under $150, complete with a decent sound system and a quite serviceable display. And that’s what the subject of this review—the MeMO Pad HD 7’s replacement—does here in 2014, as well: It redefines what a budget tablet can and should be.

Yes, the name is almost the same, to the point of confusion. The MeMO Pad 7 (no “HD”) is one of a group of three entry-level tablets that Asus rolled out in summer 2014. The others were the $299-list, 10.1-inch Transformer Pad TF103C and the $199-list MeMO Pad 8, both of which we reviewed just before this one. (Hit the links for the deep dives on those models.) The Transformer Pad TF103C, we found, was a pretty reasonable deal. It has a much larger display than our MeMO 7 review unit, and for the additional $150, you get a full-size tablet along with a fully integrated Android keyboard dock that turns it into a workable Android laptop.

Asus MeMO Pad 7 (Yellow)Still, that’s double the price of the MeMO Pad 7, and these are two very different tablets, for two different crowds. A closer match is the MeMO Pad 8. For the additional $50 that it costs versus the MeMO Pad 7, you get, well, another diagonal inch of display (which translates, if you do the math, to 30 percent more screen area).

For some buyers, that extra 30 percent is well worth another half a C-note. It does make things larger and easier to see, especially for those of us advanced enough in years to start experiencing declining eyesight. Plus, the 8-incher can be easier to read for another, less obvious reason: Despite its smaller screen, the MeMO Pad 7 has the same native resolution as the MeMO Pad 8. That means that (as we’ll discuss later on) the 7-incher has the more “detailed-looking” screen of the two, due to the necessarily smaller, tighter dots, but the 8-incher renders icons and other elements a bit larger. Even so, it’s a difference only noticeable if you really look for it, and a matter of personal preference between the two.

Otherwise, the MeMO Pad 7 and its 8-inch sibling look, feel, and smell a lot alike, right down to their controls and internal connectivity, which are nearly the same. Unlike last year’s 32-bit MeMO Pad HD 7 model, though, all three of Asus’ new slates run on a fairly new quad-core, 64-bit Intel Atom CPU, which, as we’ve seen in both the Transformer Pad TF103C and the 8-inch MeMO Pad, is an able performer. It delivered respectable scores on our battery of benchmark tests, and it contributed to a good, long runtime on our demanding battery-rundown trial. And it felt snappy in practice.

Asus MeMO Pad 7 (Angle View)Those truths, combined with the solid hardware, are what make this new MeMO Pad 7 much parallel to last year’s winner: It balances a lot of things that tend to be mutually exclusive. In addition to performing well, the MeMO Pad 7 is light, thin, and easy to hold on to. While the screen might be a little small for some buyers’ tastes in the current market, given the fast rise in popularity here in 2014 of tablets with 8-inch screens, it’s a good one, as 7-inchers go. If compact, economical, and Android are what you’re after in a tablet, it’s hard to beat the MeMO Pad 7 for the money, given the field.

Read the entire article at Computer Shopper.

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AOC mySmart All-in-One Android PC (A2472PW4T) Review and RatingsBack in November of 2013, we looked at an early attempt at an Android all-in-one PC, the Slate 21-k100 All-in-One Desktop from HP. Our opinion then was that running Android—a mobile operating system designed for smartphones and tablets—on a full-fledged computer was sheer folly. Not only was Android clunky on a 21-inch all-in-one (AIO), but several of HP’s hardware and design choices were baffling, too. As a result, the Slate 21 received one of the lowest scores we’ve given to a product in quite some time.

Now, venerable monitor maker AOC has tried its own hand at the same game with its mySmart All-in-One Android PC, another attempt to run Google’s open-source mobile OS on a large-screen AIO. This time, though, there are actually two such models: a $299.99 (MSRP) version with a 22-inch screen and the $399.99 (MSRP) model A2472PW4T, the 24-inch unit we’re reviewing here. Aside from the 2-inch-diagonal screen difference and the ensuing chassis-size change, these two machines are identical in almost every way.

AOC mySmart All-in-One Android PC (A2472PW4T)Note, though, there’s something big the AOC AIO can do that the HP Slate 21 can’t. The mySmart can double as a high-resolution (1,920×1,080-pixel) touch screen for Windows, making it, in a sense, something of a hybrid product. Unfortunately, while it makes a fairly decent monitor for straightforward viewing, this AIO has some serious design and performance issues that affect its overall value and effectiveness as a desktop machine. The touch functionality leaves much to be desired in either mode, too.

In addition, this is the first AIO we’ve seen that comes without a keyboard or pointing device in the box. You’ll have to provide your own, or else resort to typing onscreen, which isn’t at all productive. On the other hand, this AIO has several USB ports, and it supports Bluetooth, so your options are wide open if you want to buy your own input devices. We’ll talk more about these design issues on the next page.

All of this is not to say that there’snothing to like about AOC’s mySmart PC—quite to the contrary. For starters, it’s built around a good-looking 23.6-inch display panel and a decent sound system for watching movies and viewing high-resolution images. Very few Android games and apps, on the other hand, can take proper advantage of the high-resolution screen (which we’ll get into in greater detail in the Features & Apps section). So the screen is really only of note if you’ll be using the display in monitor mode.

On the other hand, for a mid-2014 Android-based device, this one is full of 2013 compromises, were it even just an Android tablet. It’s using last year’s Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, and it came outfitted with a two-versions-behind installation of Android, 4.2. While we didn’t care much for HP’s Android all-in-one, at least the HP Slate 21 came out of the gate with the most modern Tegra 4 CPU and the latest version of the Android OS at the time. Both systems, however, are low on storage (just 8GB inside).

AOC mySmart All-in-One Android PC (Front View)As we said about the Slate 21, this Android AIO provides neither a well-rounded Android-tablet-style experience, nor full-fledged all-in-one PC performance. If all you need is a large touch-screen device for watching videos, browsing the Internet, and managing e-mails and social media sites, this one will do. And, like we said before, it works as a touch-screen monitor—with, as you’ll see on the next page, some major caveats.

Still, realize that you can find basic Windows AIOs starting at about $350 (albeit with smaller screens), and for most users, those will be a far better alternative. Android doesn’t do big screens all that well to begin with, and when you stack on some this model’s shortcomings, it’s tough to get excited about the mySmart in light of what you can get for the same money.

Read the entire article at Computer Shopper.

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AOC mySmart All-in-One Android PC (A2472PW4T) Review and RatingsBack in November of 2013, we looked at an early attempt at an Android all-in-one PC, the Slate 21-k100 All-in-One Desktop PC from HP. Our opinion then was that running Android—a mobile operating system designed for smartphones and tablets—on a full-fledged computer was sheer folly. Not only was Android clunky on a 21-inch all-in-one (AIO), but several of HP’s hardware and design choices were baffling, too. As a result, the Slate 21 received one of the lowest scores we’ve given to a product in quite some time.

Now, venerable monitor maker AOC has tried its own hand at the same game with its mySmart All-in-One Android PC, another attempt to run Google’s open-source mobile OS on a large-screen AIO. This time, though, there are actually two such models: a $299.99 (MSRP) version with a 22-inch screen and the $399.99 (MSRP) model A2472PW4T, the 24-inch unit we’re reviewing here. Aside from the 2-inch-diagonal screen difference and the ensuing chassis-size change, these two machines are identical in almost every way.

Note, though, there’s something big the AOC AIO can do that the HP Slate 21 can’t. The mySmart can double as a high-resolution (1,920×1,080-pixel) touch screen for Windows, making it, in a sense, something of a hybrid product. AOC mySmart All-in-One Android PC (A2472PW4T)Unfortunately, while it makes a fairly decent monitor for straightforward viewing, this AIO has some serious design and performance issues that affect its overall value and effectiveness as a desktop machine. The touch functionality leaves much to be desired in either mode, too.

In addition, this is the first AIO we’ve seen that comes without a keyboard or pointing device in the box. You’ll have to provide your own, or else resort to typing onscreen, which isn’t at all productive. On the other hand, this AIO has several USB ports, and it supports Bluetooth, so your options are wide open if you want to buy your own input devices. We’ll talk more about these design issues on the next page.

All of this is not to say that there’snothing to like about AOC’s mySmart PC—quite to the contrary. For starters, it’s built around a good-looking 23.6-inch display panel and a decent sound system for watching movies and viewing high-resolution images. Very few Android games and apps, on the other hand, can take proper advantage of the high-resolution screen (which we’ll get into in greater detail in the Features & Apps section). So the screen is really only of note if you’ll be using the display in monitor mode.

On the other hand, for a mid-2014 Android-based device, this one is full of 2013 compromises, were it even just an Android tablet. It’s using last year’s Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, and it came outfitted with a two-versions-behind installation of Android, 4.2. While we didn’t care much for HP’s Android all-in-one, at least the HP Slate 21 came out of the gate with the most modern Tegra 4 CPU and the latest version of the Android OS at the time. Both systems, however, are low on storage (just 8GB inside).

AOC mySmart All-in-One Android PC (Front View)As we said about the Slate 21, this Android AIO provides neither a well-rounded Android-tablet-style experience, nor full-fledged all-in-one PC performance. If all you need is a large touch-screen device for watching videos, browsing the Internet, and managing e-mails and social media sites, this one will do. And, like we said before, it works as a touch-screen monitor—with, as you’ll see on the next page, some major caveats.

Still, realize that you can find basic Windows AIOs starting at about $350 (albeit with smaller screens), and for most users, those will be a far better alternative. Android doesn’t do big screens all that well to begin with, and when you stack on some this model’s shortcomings, it’s tough to get excited about the mySmart in light of what you can get for the same money.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.

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Asus MeMO Pad 8 (ME181C) Review and Ratings Here in the summer of 2014, Asus went and updated its line of entry-level Android tablets, though it hasn’t changed the names of them very much. Two of the new models, the $149-list MeMO Pad 7 (which we’re in the process of testing and reviewing) and the $299-list Transformer Pad TF103C, we’ve seen before in different guises. (We reviewed the similar-sounding, and very good, MeMO Pad HD 7 last year, as well as a host of Transformer Pads in the past.) But then there’s the subject of this review, which breaks new screen-size ground for Asus and its MeMO Pad line.

The $199-list MeMO Pad 8 is yet another in the long list of Android tablets with 8-inch screens to turn up over the past year or so from the usual tablet-making suspects. For the most part, the MeMO Pad 8 is much like the refreshed MeMO Pad 7, aside from the additional inch of screen real estate. As compact slates go, both the 7-incher and the 8-incher are reasonably good values.

Asus MeMO Pad 8What’s different with these, though, is that they’re now Intel-based. The quad-core 64-bit Intel Atom processor in the MeMO Pad 8 ran many of our test apps handily, without, compared to some higher-end 8-inch slates, breaking much of a sweat. And the tablet itself is sleeker, lighter, and thinner than several of its competitors, making it feel more premium, and, to a certain degree, elegant. In fact, in terms of overall performance, durability, and comfort, the MeMO Pad 8 held up reasonably well to some higher-end compact models, such as LG’s premium G Pad 8.3 Google Play Edition and G Pad 8.3 Verizon LTE.

In addition to performing well, looking good, and handling better than the price would suggest, the MeMO Pad 8 has a screen that doesn’t disappoint. The native resolution is 1,280×800 pixels, and we found the overall quality (as you’ll see in the Features & Apps section later in this review) a little better than average for an under-$200 slate. When you combine the screen with the tablet’s equally adequate speaker output, this is not a bad slate for viewing movies and consuming other media.

Asus MeMO Pad 8 (Front View)Plus, as we’ll get into in the Performance section of this review, the MeMO Pad 8 kept up relatively well during our tests, not only turning in very good scores on most of our speed-based trials but also delivering great numbers on our battery-rundown test. Like last year’s MeMO Pad HD 7, which impressed us enough to earn it our Editors’ Choice nod, the MeMO Pad 8, at just $50 more, is equally impressive—only with a bigger screen.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.

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Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4630 All-in-One Printer Review and RatingsOne of the best multifunction inkjets we looked at in its time (back in 2012) was Epson’s high-volume WorkForce Pro WP-4590 All-in-One Printer, a flexible $499.99-list workhorse machine. If you weren’t wedded by function, or by law, to laser-printed output, it was practically everything you’d want in a printer designed for a workgroup in a small or medium business (SMB). The WP-4590 served up exceptional print speeds and overall print quality, plus just about every convenience and productivity feature you could think of. Most crucially, it did all of that at an exceptionally low cost per page (CPP).

At the time, we considered the WP-4590 one of the best business-printer values available, and we still hold it in high regard. But now, we feel much the same way about 2014’s $299.99-list WorkForce Pro WF-4630 All-in-One Printer, the topic of this review. It hits that same rare balance that the WP-4590 did among SMB printers, of sheer feature depth, performance, and output quality, paired with a very fair CPP.

The WorkForce Pro WF-4630 is one of 11 models in the company’s dramatically refreshed WorkForce line of business printers, released in June 2014. All 11 models were built around Epson’s new, speed-enhancing PrecisonCore printhead technology. The first one we reviewed, the wide-format WorkForce WF-7610, won an Editors’ Choice award. And this one makes Epson’s PrecisionCore-based printers 2-for-2 so far.

Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4630 (Main)

In the case of this “Pro”-level model, it’s as fast as most entry-level and midlevel laser-class machines. Also, as we discuss in the Setup & Paper Handling section a little later in this review, certain PrecisionCore models, this “Pro” version included, deliver very aggressive CPP figures. That tends to be the missing piece in a moderate-price SMB inkjet, but Epson nails it here while keeping the fundamentals strong.

Also know that you have some paper-handling flexibility here. In addition to the WorkForce Pro WF-4630, Epson offers the $399.99 WorkForce Pro WF-4640. The difference is that it comes with a second 250-sheet paper drawer, for a maximum potential capacity of 580 sheets from three different input sources. (More detail later on that, too.) Both models also have auto-duplexing automatic document feeders (ADFs), for streamlined handling of two-sided multipage originals, and both have a quite-healthy 30,000-page maximum monthly duty cycle. (“Duty cycle” is the highest number of prints the manufacturer recommends in a given time period without inflicting undue wear and tear on the printer.)

In fact, the WorkForce Pro WF-4630 is one of those rare machines about which we found very, very little to grumble. It prints well; it’s fast; it’s loaded with features; and it’s inexpensive to use, not to mention highly attractive and durable. If you’re looking for a high-volume, high-quality multifunction inkjet with a terrific CPP, this is it.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.

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Asus Transformer Pad TF103C Review and RatingsStarting with the Eee Pad Transformer TF101 back in early 2011, Asus’ Transformer Pad has been one of tablet-dom’s stalwart brands, almost as long-running as Samsung’s Galaxy Tabs and Apple’s category-defining iPads. It gets the “Transformer” in its name because attaching Asus’ proprietary keyboard-dock accessories turns these stand-alone tablets into de facto Android laptops.

Asus Transformer Book TF103C (Vertical View)

Over the past few years, we’ve seen a few iterations of the Transformer Pad, starting with the all-polished-aluminum Eee Pad Transformer Prime TF201, which came with top-of-the-line everything and sold for $499.99 (MSRP), plus another $150 for the keyboard dock. It was a hot item in early 2012. Shortly after that model came the less-expensive Transformer Pad TF300 (At debut, it was $399.99 MSRP for the tablet, $150 for the keyboard.) For the most part, aside from their elegant polished-metal casings, the Transformer Prime and the Transformer Pad TF300 were, in terms of overall feature sets and performance, rather closely matched.

That was a good thing, because these Transformers were well-built, fast, and attractive tablets in their time. Their only big shortcoming: Once you outfitted the TF300 with its keyboard dock, it sold for more than $500 street price, or, if you opted for the Transformer Prime and its dock, more than $600. In fact, the Transformer Prime decked out with its keyboard dock and 64GB of onboard storage could have set you back upward of a cool $700. We know today (and, really, have known for some time now) that most buyers just won’t pay that much for a 10.1-inch Android tablet.

However, Asus is betting that today’s tablet buyers might shell out less than half that—say, $299—for a full-size Transformer Padwith the keyboard dock in the box. Provided that both the keyboard and the tablet are quality hardware, and that everything works right, we agree. And that was the case with the subject of our review here today, the Transformer Pad TF103C.

Asus Transformer Book TF103C (Detached)On the surface, before we started putting this slate through its paces, it seemed like a tremendous deal. We’re happy to report that our impressions held up to scrutiny. For $299, you get a pretty decent slate and a full Android-optimized keyboard, an impressive combo for the price.

Granted, this entry-level tablet is not identical in build quality to the high-end Transformer Pads of a few years ago. However, considering the tablet’s price, its Intel Atom processor performed well in our hands-on trials, as well as on most of our benchmark tests. The screen, while not spectacular, looked good, and the sound was better than passable, too.

Some of the early Transformer Pads were expense-no-object machines—the best of the best, as Android tablets came. The Transformer Pad TF103C, while it looks quite similar, does show some of its budget roots once you look closely, a trade-off for the lower price and the inclusion of the dock. But, frankly, considering the $299 price, it’s a trade-off well worth making if you can’t shell out the full $500 to play the full-size iPad game.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.

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Canon MG7120 Photo All-in-One Inkjet PrinterFor some folks, printing photographs at home on their inkjet photo printer is more than a mere hobby; for them, it’s a passion—only the best photo printer will do. When somebody asks me what the best consumer-grade photo printer is, I tell them to look at Canon’s six-ink photo printers, such as the Pixma MG6320 Wireless Inkjet Photo All-in-One printer. While there’s a lot of mighty nice photo printers out there, few, if any, print photographs as well as these six-ink Pixmas, including the topic of this review, the $199.99-list Pixma MG7120 Photo All-in-One Printer.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 Review and RatingsWhen it comes to elegant premium Android tablets, few companies outdo Samsung. (And only one outdoes it consistently, among tablet makers in general. We’ll leave you to guess who.) However—and this is true of most tablet makers—the South Korean electronics giant’s entry-level and midrange slates have historically been less impressive than its top-of-the-line ones. But that’s not to say that some aren’t fine tablets in their own right.

The compromises necessary to hit those lower price points can also mar the final product, making it appear cheaply constructed or lacking in high-end features. In our experience, a high screen resolution and a good sound system are usually the first victims.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1Take, for example, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 we reviewed about this time last year (July 2013). Beyond its buggy software, we found its relatively low-resolution screen and slow processor disconcerting, as well as its humdrum overall appearance and build quality. At the time, granted, it was $100 to $200 cheaper than the premium ($499.99-list) Toshiba Excite Pro and Samsung’s own $499.99-list Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition), but even so, compared to the premium slates of the day, it seemed inferior.

More recently, Samsung released its $499.99-list Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1, which we reviewed a couple of months ago, in May 2014. Much like the company’s other premium slates, the Tab Pro delivered a good-looking, super-high-resolution (2,560×1,600-pixel) screen, great sound, and long battery life. And, like most other high-end Samsung Android tablets, not only did it perform well, but it also came with the useful TouchWiz interface customization, or “skinning,” that we’ve come to expect from Samsung’s higher-end Galaxy tablets. That model set the bar until the advent of the Tab S slates.

Therefore, something’s got to give to get a lower price. The real question is, of course, are these $100-to-$200-cheaper Galaxy Tabs, such as the subject of this review (the $349.99-MSRP Galaxy Tab 4 10.1), decent values compared to their higher-end siblings? Or should you just bite the bullet and lay out the full $500 for the premium model?

More often than not, the build and display quality, as well as the performance of, the premium model are better enough that recommending the budget-friendly version over it doesn’t feel right. In other words, what you give up for the savings just doesn’t balance out.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 (Front View)Still, not everybody needs an expensive-but-gorgeous powerhouse of a slate. (Indeed, many folks, we think, would prefer holding on to the savings.) The good news is that, unlike a few of Samsung’s past attempts at making step-down slates, the Galaxy Tab 4 10.1, while in no way perfect, is a pretty decent middle-of-the-road tablet.

Granted, like most budget-friendly models, this one comes with a relatively low-resolution screen for its size (just 1,280×800 pixels) and a middle-of-the-road processor—here, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400. The 400 is definitely not the fastest quad-core tablet CPU around, but during our experience with it, it performed reasonably well, if not a little sluggishly, compared to higher-end Qualcomm, Nvidia, and Samsung offerings we’ve tried in various tablets.

The Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 is certainly no Galaxy Tab Pro, nor a Galaxy Tab Note, for that matter. However, compared to some of the midlevel Galaxy Tab models we’ve seen over the past few years, this Galaxy Tab is a clear improvement. It’s almost as attractive as the company’s latest premium model, the Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1. And, while the CPU showed a little rust in our benchmark tests, turning in less-than-impressive scores across the board, the difference was not nearly as pronounced in our hands-on trials. In browsing Web pages, answering e-mails, watching movies, and other common tasks, we saw overall acceptable performance and little to no lag.

In addition, this midlevel model comes with most of the multitasking and other Android interface enhancements we’ve seen on the recent Galaxy Tab Pro and Galaxy Note slates, which greatly enhances this budget-friendly Galaxy Tab’s overall value.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.

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Epson WorkForce WF-7610 All-in-One Printer Review and RatingsIt’s not often that we see big changes in printer imaging technology—at least not in the print mechanisms themselves. Both inkjet and laser printer technologies have been around for a while, and, for the most part, they have become predictable and stable. Over the past couple of years, though, a couple of printer makers, namely HP and Epson, have done some serious fiddling around with their printheads. Both companies have come up with more-efficient printhead technologies that are less expensive to use. And as a result, certain of their new printers are capable of competing successfully with laser-class printers on many fronts, notably speed, power consumption, and cost per page (CPP).

The first of these “alternative” printhead technologies, HP’s PageWide, debuted in a line of high-volume Officejets—the Officejet Pro X series—at the beginning of 2013. We were impressed enough with the two Officejet X models we reviewed (the Officejet Pro X576dw Multifunction Printer and the Officejet Pro X551dw Color Printer) that both received our Editors’ Choice Award. Their print speeds and quality were impressive, and the cost per page was low. Much of this was possible because PageWide employs a fixed array of print nozzles that spans the width of the page, rather than the printer relying on the usual moving printhead. In a nutshell, the way it works: The paper moves past the print nozzles, rather than the other way around, and your image or document gets printed a full row at a time.

Epson WorkForce WF-7610Both of the Officejet Pro X printers, however, were relatively high-end, high-volume, and high-priced machines meant for business use. Epson, on the other hand, has taken a different approach, as we’ll lay out in this, our first review of an Epson printer based on its recently debuted PrecisionCore printhead technology—the $249.99-list WorkForce WF-7610 All-in-One Printer. Similar to PageWide, in that the ink nozzles on the printheads are much denser, the PrecisionCore-based printers we’ve tested so far have outperformed several of their inkjet and laser counterparts, and some of them are cheaper to use, too. (We’ll get into more detail about PrecisionCore in a bit.)

The WF-7610 is one of 11 PrecisionCore models that Epson debuted last month. In a bold move, Epson just up and replaced its entire WorkForce line of small- and medium-business (SMB) AIOs with PrecisionCore-based models. The WF-7610 is one of two wide-format PrecisionCore machines in the initial lot, capable of printing on sheets up to 13×19 inches (also known as “supertabloid” stock). It can also copy, scan, and fax tabloid (11×17-inch) pages. The other wide-format model in the new line, the $299.99-MSRP WorkForce WF-7620 All-in-One Printer, is much the same machine, but with a second 250-sheet drawer.

In addition to being a wide-format machine, which increases the printer’s versatility in terms of the types of documents you can print, copy, scan, and fax, the WF-7610 is loaded with convenience and productivity features—just about everything you can think of for a business-ready AIO, and for not too much money, either. However, when it comes to the ongoing cost per page (CPP) of using this printer, it’s a bit high for our taste. The CPP is high enough, in fact, that it dampens our enthusiasm for recommending this AIO as the primary printer in an environment with a heavy day-to-day print load.

Epson claims that this AIO’s cost per page is “40 percent lower” than laser printers. We don’t know about that, but what we can say is that, as described in the Design, Features, & PrecisionCore section next, while some PrecisionCore models have exceptionally low CPPs, the WF-7610 is not one of them. Its CPPs are actually about average for an under-$300 inkjet printer, and perhaps just a little lower than several entry-level and midlevel laser-class printers.

Epson WorkForce WF-7610 (Printing)In Epson’s defense, you can’t find many high-volume printers with significantly low CPPs (say, under 2 cents per monochrome page) for much under $300. We should point out, though, that as of this writing, in July 2013, Epson was offering a $70 “Instant Rebate” on both the WF-7610 and WF-7620, dropping their list prices to $179.99 and $229.99, respectively. That softens the initial cost of this model, but it also brings us back to our only real complaint about this AIO: To match that lower price, its CPPs should be lower.

We also went back and looked over our recent reviews of some other wide-format AIO printers. We discovered that, for the most part, the WF-7610’s CPPs were comparable to those of most of them, but were not necessarily competitive with high-volume standard- or letter-size machines. On the whole, the wide-format models were more expensive to use than high-volume document printers in general.

Of course, if you’re using this in a home office with more modest page loads, the page cost is less of an issue. And the flexibility afforded by the wide-format support makes up for a lot of sins if you can own just one printer. So the appeal of this printer all hinges on how much you print. Looking beyond the CPP, this WorkForce model is a feature-rich and dependable machine—a nice printer used in moderation.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.

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