Computer Shopper Articles : William Harrel – Journalist

Review of the Canon Pixma TS8120 Wireless Inkjet All-in-One at Computer ShopperIt’s been less than a year since we reviewed Canon’s last round of TS-series Pixma printers, which included the Pixma TS8020 Wireless Inkjet All-In-One.[amazon_link asins=’B01MXYIJQR’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’c6a0f233-cd55-11e7-880a-db1986ec3c85′] That model is the precursor to the machine we’re reviewing here, the $179.99-MSRP Pixma TS8120 ([amazon_link asins=’B074VFYJM1′ template=’PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’97dfa658-c331-11e7-be39-afaad3baef7f’] at Amazon).

It’s unusual for a printer maker to refresh its line so soon. Speculating why Canon did so here would be, well, speculation. All we know for sure? Earlier in 2017, the Pixma TS series replaced the company’s MG-series Pixmas, a line of long-in-the-tooth photo-centric all-in-ones (AIOs) that we’ve reviewed year after year throughout the ’10s. Perhaps Canon felt that the first round of the new TS series wasn’t quite right. Or perhaps evolving market trends tipped the imaging giant’s hand.

[amazon_link asins=’B074VFYJM1′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’80e9a922-c331-11e7-8c71-6707203cdb11′]In any case, the Pixma TS8120 is second from the top dog in Canon’s recent TS-line upgrade. This new line of five printers comprises the Pixma TS9120  ($199 MSRP, discounted to $149.99 as we wrote this in mid-October 2017) [amazon_link asins=’B074VFYB9J’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’e689e3e5-cd55-11e7-b05e-c5e815f56117′], today’s Pixma TS8120 (discounted at many e-tailers to $149.99) [amazon_link asins=’B074VG3C5C’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’f9bd0d73-cd55-11e7-83be-b1aa445bae55′], the Pixma TS6120 ($149.99 MSRP, discounted to $99.99) [amazon_link asins=’B074VD4WZS’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’0eddaea2-cd56-11e7-ac41-b5fe570ba1e7′], the Pixma TS5120 ($99.99 MSRP, discounted to $89.99) [amazon_link asins=’B074VGYJWN’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’1b8baf3b-cd56-11e7-bb7b-49d8bcbd6428′], and an all-new entry-level iteration, the Pixma TS3120 ($89.99 MSRP, discounted to $59.99).[amazon_link asins=’B074VD1GGT’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’298bd1fa-cd56-11e7-8469-27f5c5e7e466′] We’ll be reviewing four of the five; this is the first in our Canon review wave.

All but that last one are updates to existing models. And, as usual, from top to bottom, as the prices shrink, so do the feature sets. For a $20 higher list price than the Pixma TS8120, for example, the Pixma TS9120 adds Ethernet connectivity and has a 5-inch display, whereas the Pixma TS8120 does not support wired networking and comes with a 4.3-inch screen.

Canon Pixma TS8120 (SD Card Front)

Because these models are positioned as photo printers, how well they print photos is paramount to everything else. As we’ve seen over the years, five- and six-ink printers tend to do a better job of printing across a wider variety of photos than standard four-ink (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, or CMYK) machines. With that in mind, the two top TS Pixmas, the TS9120 and TS8120, use six inks; the next two down the chain (the TS6120 and TS5120) use five inks; and the TS3120 uses the standard four inks.

A change this time around is that instead of the “photo gray” ink that six-ink Pixmas have been using for the past several years, the sixth ink is now a “photo blue.” Where the photo gray ink was claimed to increase the color gamut (or color range) somewhat and help print superior gray-scale images, the new photo blue, according to Canon, reduces graininess. (We assume that the photo blue ink should increase the color range, too.)

The TS8120 comes in three colors: black, red, and white, as shown below. Canon sent us the red one…

Canon Pixma TS8120 (Colors)

A standing difference between consumer-grade photo AIOs and their office-oriented counterparts is that the former generally cost more to use: The per-page ink cost is higher. Canon’s photo-centric Pixmas traditionally have had slightly higher running costs than their competitors, and printed some of the best-looking images among consumer-grade photo printers. Nothing has really changed on those fronts.

Whether the Pixma TS8120 is right for you depends on several factors. Positioned as a photo printer foremost, not only does it cost more to use than some other inkjet AIOs, but it also lacks an automatic document feeder (ADF) for sending multi-page documents to the scanner. ADF AWOL is not unusual with this class of printer, especially those under $200. That trend has begun to change of late, though, with newer models such as the HP Envy Photo 7855 All-in-One [amazon_link asins=’B074P4T1FT’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’4a0c2247-cd56-11e7-a204-5fbe71714596′]; we’ll look a little closer at this important development in the next section.

Canon Pixma TS8120 (Mobile)

The bottom line on the Pixma TS8120? If you’re looking for a machine mainly for printing photos, it’s hard to beat this little AIO (aside from getting the stepped-up Pixma TS9120, which we’re also reviewing, or one of a few Epson photo-centric models to be discussed later). If, on the other hand, you also need your photo printer to be nimble at making copies, printing lots of documents, and scanning pages with regularity, the Pixma TS8120 has a few shortcomings in those areas.

How much should they affect your buying decision? That depends on just how much printing, copying, and scanning you need to do. Let’s dig in and judge.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper



 

The Canon ImageClass LBP612Cdw review at Computer ShopperCanon’s ImageClass laser printers, such as the $279-MSRP Color ImageClass LBP612Cdw [amazon_link asins=’B06XY1N25H’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’7e751f59-c37e-11e7-8ded-e5f2b7130fb3′] we’re reviewing here today, typically print well, at a reasonably fast clip, and with little fuss. That all holds for this little stand-alone (print-only) model. As you may be able to tell from the price, the LBP612Cdw is an entry-level machine, in this case designed for small offices and workgroups, or perhaps as a personal color laser printer. ($279 is very little money for a color laser printer, and we’ve seen this one, at this writing, marked down under $200 from some e-tailers.)

In fact, we found only two things to question on this little printer: a too-small paper-input tray and a too-high cost per page. We’ll talk more about input capacity later on, as well as get into the specifics concerning running costs. In general, though, it’s not unusual for small laser printers like this one to have a relatively high per-page cost of toner; high enough that, we think, they may be pricing themselves out of the market. Why? Because, if the color-fast printing and precision on small fonts isn’t exactly what you need (the usual strengths of lasers), you can find several lower-priced inkjet models out there that print as well as (and sometimes better than) these entry-level laser-based machines, at lower costs per page.

[amazon_link asins=’B06XY1N25H’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’9e3b75e7-c37b-11e7-a365-3d6648b9283e’]But if laser is what you’re focused on archival or permanency issues, this budget ImageClass model is a nice sample in its price range. The ImageClass LBP612Cdw is light, small, and easy to manage, and it prints very well, too. The big sticking point is what you’ll pay for the toner to feed it versus certain inkjets. Canon’s own $149.99-list Maxify iB4120, [amazon_link asins=’B01IIOMJIU’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’a6cabf56-c37e-11e7-b8ee-ef699d8cbc0e’] for instance, is a small-business-minded inkjet that provides many of the same qualities (it’s a stand-alone printer, not an all-in-one), with running costs about a third of those of its laser cousin. Another such example is the HP Officejet Pro 8210,  [amazon_link asins=’B01HSADJIO’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’bcc1004c-c37e-11e7-bcf1-ad6307518abe’] another highly capable inkjet-based “laser alternative.” As we’ll calculate out later in this review, if you use your printer often, the difference in running costs alone could save you plenty of money over the life of the printer.

Now, of course, some applications, such as HIPAA-regulated medical offices and facilities, as well as some government offices, require laser-printed output (using toner, rather than ink), and in those cases, sometimes all you can do is bite the toner bullet—or, if you print more than a few hundred pages per month, opt for a higher-volume laser model. You may pay more for the printer, but a (sometimes much) lower cost per page will not only make up for that expenditure, but also start saving you a bundle before long.

Which brings us back to Canon’s ImageClass LBP612Cdw. The bottom line is that this is a nice little printer for environments where you need high-quality laser output in scaled-down fashion (say, no more than a couple of hundred pages per month). From that perspective—in which you don’t print enough for the money spent on consumables matters much—we have no problem recommending the ImageClass LBP612Cdw as a low-volume color laser for home or small offices, or as an entry-level personal machine.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper



 

Review of the Brother HL-L8260CDW standalone laser printer at Computer ShopperOften, printer makers release incremental versions of a product with different feature sets (sometimes very different), but with small differences in price. In those cases, you have the potential to get a great bargain if you spend just a little more—or, conversely, you can give up a lot in trying to save just a little bit of cash.

Such is the conundrum presented by today’s review subject, the $349.99-list Brother HL-L8260CDW [amazon_link asins=’B06XDS1XW7′ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’fe1739b9-c37e-11e7-9a53-5dc4e8f9cfec’] (and its $399.99-list sibling, the Brother HL-L8360CDW).[amazon_link asins=’B06XDSMKLT’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’10697993-c37f-11e7-b304-3d76e353feaa’] The printers have MSRPs/list prices that are $50 apart, and depending on the online seller, real-world selling prices that were between $50 and $75 apart at this writing.

[amazon_link asins=’B06XDS1XW7′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’4b61ddf9-c37e-11e7-9831-491c3e2a0139′]Now, $50 to $75 is a fair bit of money, in a relative sense, when you are talking about a $350 product. But what you give up for that money, in this specific equation, is substantial. (In addition, the more a printer costs, the less relevant $50 or $75 is.)

It’s situations like these, where, by dissipating the marketing smokescreen, as analysts we can help you in your role as IT decision-maker for your home office or small business—or in your everyday life. If, that is, we do our job correctly. And here, with confidence we think the extra money for the HL-L8360CDW, for most buyers, will be money well-spent.

Brother HL-L8260CDW (Right Angled)

The HL-L8260CDW is part of a multi-product launch of Brother laser printers in mid-2017, with this model being the lowest-end of the bunch. One step up from an actual entry-level color laser, such as the Canon ImageClass LBP612Cdw [amazon_link asins=’B06XY1N25H’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’276e6b56-c37f-11e7-8c2a-f18276ab2cd0′] we reviewed recently, the HL-L8260CDW is roughly comparable in HP’s line to the HP Color LaserJet Pro M452dw. Both models come with higher input capacities, higher monthly duty cycles (the number of pages that the manufacturer says you can print each month without overtaxing the printer), and input-tray expansion options that the entry-level models don’t offer.

The next model up from the HL-L8260CDW, the HL-L8360CDW, has a higher-still duty cycle (60,000 pages, versus 40,000), greater input-capacity expansion (1,300 versus 1,050 sheets), and access to higher-yield toner cartridges. The last, in turn, deliver lower running costs. In fact, the HL-L8360CDW has one of the lowest costs per page for a color laser in this price range that we know of. In contrast, the HL-L8260CDW’s running costs are, as we’ll detail later, closer to average for this class.

Even so, the HL-L8260CDW is a fine printer on all fronts, including print speed and output quality. You could choose it over its higher-capacity, more expensive sibling, of course, if you know for certain that you’d never need its expanded input capacity, higher duty cycle, and access to higher-yield toner cartridges. That said, it’s tough to get past the higher-yield model’s lower running costs—especially if you’ll be printing thousands of pages each month. (And if you’re not, either of these printers is overkill.)

Read the entire Review at Computer Shopper



 

IWilliam Harrel's reviews on Computer Shoppert’s hard to believe, but I have been writing for the legendary Computer Shopper for over eight years (as of October 2017), and have been a contributing editor there for about seven years. My beat has covered everything from desktop systems and laptops, to tablets and 2-in-1s in several flavors (operating systems) and size, printers and all-in-one printers in all shapes and sizes, video cards, SSD and other types of disk drives—you name it. It’s been a wild ride.

More so than ever, competition in the tech markets is cutthroat and fierce. It’s been my pleasure to do what I can to keep you all informed.

For a list and links to my articles on Computer Shopper, click here


 

My review of Epson Expression Photo XP-8500 Small-in-One at Computer ShopperWhen you stop and think about it, some of the things that our PCs, smartphones, and tablets allow us to do truly are amazing. Printing exquisite-looking photos on small, inexpensive inkjet printers is one of them. It’s not just having the ability to print photos that’s so awesome, though. What’s even more incredible is, when everything comes together just right—stunning content, taken in the right lighting, printed with a quality machine on premium photo paper—how striking the results can be.

[amazon_link asins=’B074V4MQ3L’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’5b368282-c3e7-11e7-b355-85a1973fc1fd’]It’s no wonder, then, that printing photos at home has become so popular, and that three of the top inkjet-printer makers—Canon, Epson, and HP—all offer machines tweaked and marketed as photo printers. If you choose the right one and feed it with the right ink, paper, and digital data, churning out masterpieces of your own isn’t particularly difficult, even if it costs a little more per photo than at Costco or the corner drug store.

You must start with the right printer, though. Today’s review unit, the $249.99-MSRP Epson Expression Photo XP-8500 Small-in-One [amazon_link asins=’B074V4MQ3L’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’68e63b76-c3e7-11e7-a785-47aad6135db0′], may face some impressive competitors, but it’s got some fight in it. A newcomer to Epson’s established Small-in-One line of all-in-one (AIO) printers (in this case, it prints, copies, and scans), the XP-8500 has photo quality that’s among the best in its class.

Epson Expression Photo XP-8500 (Control Panel)

But that doesn’t necessarily make your printer-picking decision easy. During the past year, Canon has released a wave of highly capable photo-centric models in its Pixma TS- and Pixma G-series MegaTank lines, while HP has trotted out its Envy Photo 7855 [amazon_link asins=’B074P4T1FT’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’81a0a539-c3e7-11e7-8b12-ffdbf89dfd92′] and a couple of other Envy Photo models. And Epson’s own Expression Premium and Expression Photo brands boast some formidable photo printers of their own. (Prior to the XP-8500, it had been a while since we’d seen a new Expression Photo model.)

The XP-8500 is a six-ink printer; the additional inks help increase detail and extend the printer’s color range. In just the six-ink category alone, you will find the Canon Pixma TS9020 [amazon_link asins=’B01N2RB71T’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’956eaeec-c3e7-11e7-b762-831bbcf7821b’] and Pixma TS8020 [amazon_link asins=’B01MXYIJQR’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’a743a859-c3e7-11e7-aa82-4f675f6c3027′] (as well as the just-released Pixma TS9120 and Pixma TS8120, which we’ll be reviewing in the coming weeks), as well as the Epson Expression Photo XP-960 [amazon_link asins=’B010UU5Y1O’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’78e82c0d-c3e8-11e7-bb00-393dd3493860′]. And, while they vary in features and capacity (the XP-960 can print tabloid-size 11×17-inch photos, for example), guess what? They all print mighty good photos.

A step down from those are Canon’s and Epson’s five-ink photo printers, which include the Pixma TS6020 [amazon_link asins=’B01NAGKZ9A’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’b98b1209-c3e7-11e7-8b5c-9f82aebbb678′], Pixma TS6120, Pixma TS5020 [amazon_link asins=’B01MTY15Z0′ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’d3ff87c1-c3e7-11e7-a1f5-2ff1c42d9918′], and TS5120, as well as the Expression Photo XP-860 [amazon_link asins=’B010UU5Y1O’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’016ba408-c3e8-11e7-9c0b-7fe0486c296f’]. The Canon G-series MegaTank printers (there are four of them, as of this writing) and the HP Envy Photo models (three of these) use only four inks, but they still print respectable photos. Our point? The XP-8500 has, by our count, more than 15 in-market rivals. (And there are other so-called “photo printers” out there beyond these.) Granted, as mentioned, they come at varying prices with a wide range of features. But many of them print photos comparable to what we saw from the XP-8500, and to each other.

So, for this review (and the Canon Pixmas coming up), we have our work cut out for us, without turning these comparisons into the War and Peace of consumer-grade photo printers. What we cansay at the start, though: Versus its most direct competitors, we didn’t come up with any compelling reasons not to buy the XP-8500 for churning out your keeper photos. This is one terrific little AIO.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper



 

Review of the HP Officejet Pro 7720 Wide-Format All-in-One on Computer ShopperEach year, due primarily to Brother (and to a lesser degree, to HP), the stable of available tabloid-capable (11×17-inch) all-in-one (AIO) printers widens. Many of them can print, copy, scan, and fax, and the AIOs themselves get less expensive to buy and to use.

Nearly all of Brother’s Business Smart Plus AIOs, among them the Brother MFC-J5830DW [amazon_link asins=’B01M0W4B32′ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’39af68ee-c3ea-11e7-98c6-0fcc72448d99′], support at least tabloid-size printing, and several, including the recent Editors’ Choice Brother MFC-J6935DW [amazon_link asins=’B01LYA9D2C’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’4a666f74-c3ea-11e7-88d2-6111930fb3a8′], come with scanners and automatic document feeders (ADFs) that can handle wide documents for scans, copies, and faxes.

[amazon_link asins=’B0721MVP35′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’1f69cb10-c3ea-11e7-9ea0-1fbbdf87d2ee’]While Brother makes many wide-format printers with a myriad of feature configurations, HP up until now offered only one, the Officejet Pro 7740 [amazon_link asins=’B01JUCLLGK’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’e59e0004-c3ea-11e7-b0a4-1b1db07c5b59′], that had the ability to print, copy, scan, and fax in tabloid. Now, though, the Palo Alto printer giant is offering a pared-down version of the 7740, the $199.99-list Officejet Pro 7720.[amazon_link asins=’B0721MVP35′ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’f76f4e8c-c3ea-11e7-ad6b-8391baff0c3c’] It’s different from the 7740 in several key ways. The newer model, for instance, comes with only one 250-sheet paper-input tray, versus the 7740’s two 250-sheet cassettes.

The biggest difference between these two Officejets, though, is that the newer one has a smaller scanner and ADF, rendering it capable of copying, scanning, and faxing only legal-size (8.5×14-inch) pages. Aside from the smaller paper-input capacity and the inability to run tabloid-size pages through the ADF and scanner, though, these two Officejets are the spitting image of each other. But as you’ll see as you read on, what you give up for the $50 list price difference between them is significant.

We should pause here to add that Epson, too, makes a few wide-format printers meant for small businesses or workgroups, including the WorkForce WF-7610 All-in-One [amazon_link asins=’B00JXLGETI’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’17d5602b-c3eb-11e7-a720-8fe4e0083e67′], the WorkForce WF-7620 All-in-One [amazon_link asins=’B00JXLGELG’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’250e6248-c3eb-11e7-8ce1-1d4cb331c6cf’], and the WorkForce ET-16500 EcoTank Wide-Format All-in-One Supertank [amazon_link asins=’B01IH2KLSI’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’a6311f0e-c3ea-11e7-8d52-21d6640dcf3c’]. The difference between the first two is that the latter comes with two 250-sheet paper drawers, while the former has only one. The ET-16500 is one of Epson’s “bulk ink” AIOs that comes with tens of thousands of pages’ worth of ink in the box, and, as a result, it lists for about $1,000.

HP OfficeJet Pro 7720 (Introduction)

Another significant distinction between the Epson models, compared to the HP and Brother AIOs, is that all three of them print wide-format pages up to 13×19 inches, instead of 11×17. All three are simply WorkForce models rather than WorkForce Pro AIOs, meaning that their printheads contain fewer ink-nozzle chips (two chips, as opposed to the four on the WorkForce Pro models’ printheads). In addition, the WF-7610 and WF-7620 have been around since 2014; they lack a few recent mobile-connectivity and other features, and, as we’ll discuss later, they have substantially higher running costs.

In any case, back to the Officejet Pro 7720, the newest of the bunch. As mentioned, you give up a fair bit versus the Officejet Pro 7740, including the features listed earlier, as well as an ADF capable of scanning and copying two-sided pages automatically. On the other hand, the footprint and price are both smaller, and you get the same exceptional print and copy quality. The 7740 is a highly capable wide-format inkjet with many desirable attributes, and so goes the 7720. Nowadays, though, the competition among tabloid-size inkjet AIOs is brisker than ever.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper



 

Review of HP Envy Photo 7855 All-in-One at Computer ShopperIt’s been a couple of years since we’ve reviewed one of HP’s Envy-brand all-in-one (AIO) inkjet printers. The last one, the Envy 7640 e-All-in-One [amazon_link asins=’B074P4T1FT’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’031e6569-c42f-11e7-8386-87b3d29b5cce’], was a predecessor to (or at least, in the same series as) the model we’re reviewing here today, the $199-list HP Envy Photo 7855 All-in-One.

Why has it been so long? Well, frankly, there just haven’t been new Envy models to review until now, in late summer 2017. Part of a multi-device rollout that includes the $129-MSRP Envy Photo 6200 All-in-One and the $149-list Envy Photo 7100 All-in-One, the Envy Photo 7855  is the flagship model in this new line.

[amazon_link asins=’B074P4T1FT’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’ae50decb-c42c-11e7-8e74-eb2e80817e8c’]As the highest-numbered AIO of the bunch, the Envy Photo 7855, as you’d expect, costs the most and gets the most robust set of features. It has, for instance, an automatic document feeder (ADF) for sending multipage originals to the scanner, rather than making you place them on the platen one at a time. In fact, the Envy Photo 7855’s feature set, which includes several functions its less-expensive siblings don’t have&mdashmemory device support, fax, Ethernet, an automatic extending output tray, and support for legal-size paper—is somewhat lopsided, especially given the $50 list-price difference between it and the next-step-down Envy Photo 7100.

We’ll take a closer look at the Photo 7855’s features in the next section. As context, first: By positioning these new Envy models as photo printers, HP has put them toe-to-toe with some formidable competition from two of its major competitors, Canon and Epson. The competing families are, namely, Canon’s photo-centric Pixma TS-series and Epson’s Expression Photo models. These include the six-ink Canon Pixma TS9020 Wireless Inkjet All-In-One [amazon_link asins=’B01N2RB71T’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’f0276c1a-c42c-11e7-9764-53172c99d85e’] and the five-ink Epson Expression Photo XP-860 Small-in-One.[amazon_link asins=’B00LV97LTW’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’01fc17af-c42d-11e7-b0af-d911918140a8′]

These, and several others in both Canon’s and Epson’s stables of consumer-grade photo inkjets, churn out superb photos. One of the questions addressed in the Output Quality section near the end of this review is whether HP’s more traditional four-ink (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) Envy Photo models are capable of the same brilliant and highly detailed photo output as its five- and six-ink competitors are.

From HP’s POV, the company says a reformulated black ink and some other tweaks make these new photo-centric HP AIOs highly capable photograph printers, too. That said, these so-called photo printers don’t use separate cartridges for each ink, with HP instead deploying a two-cartridge system consisting of one filled with black ink and another holding the other three inks. That’s a system most other inkjet makers have gotten away from, primarily because when one of the reservoirs on the three-ink tank empties before the other two, the entire cartridge must be discarded, thereby wasting ink.

HP says that it has successfully addressed this issue with a new technology it calls Active Ink Balancing Technology, or AIB. According to HP, AIB “…tracks how you are printing. If you are printing a lot of magenta, for instance, it would use CY [cyan and yellow inks], then, on non-PQ [Printer Quality] needed projects (like a word document, not a photo) so that your colors in the IPH [cartridge] all run out closer together.”

We have no scientific way to test this, of course. However, in answer to our question, “What if the user prints a lot of images containing high concentrations of blue sky or water, thereby requiring a disproportionate amount of cyan ink (or other like scenarios)?” HP said that AIB technology can’t compensate for extreme situations like this. In other words, it can’t perform miracles.

One thing that most so-called photo printers have in common, including the Envy Photo 7855, is high per-page ink costs. As we’ll discuss later on, though, the Envy Photo 7855 and its siblings are Instant Ink-ready, meaning that they support HP’s Instant Ink subscription service, one of the least-expensive ways that we know of to print photographs. It breaks out like this, but we’ll get into the details later…

HP Envy Photo 7855 (Instant Ink)

And that&mdashthe ability to print good-looking photographs for literally a few pennies each&mdashis without question a good reason for choosing the Envy Photo 7855 over its competitors, especially if you intend to print a lot of images. With the Envy Photo 7855, you might give up some image quality, but what you’d save on ink each month (and over the life of the printer) could save you a pile of money over time.

Read entire review at Computer Shopper



 

Review of the HP DeskJet 2655 All-in-One at Computer ShopperThe other day we stated that, at $59.99, HP’s DeskJet 3755 [amazon_link asins=’B01GAIU8ZC’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’5623f23a-c430-11e7-a30a-21997713aa19′] had the lowest list price of any all-in-one (AIO) printer—inkjet or otherwise—that we’ve reviewed in quite some time. That was before we started looking at today’s review unit, the $49.99-list DeskJet 2655. While all of the major inkjet-printer makers offer at least one model with a list price under $100, the DeskJet 2655’s half-a-C-note price is about as low as it gets.

[amazon_link asins=’B06XHXWB7B’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’3a54593a-c430-11e7-bebd-eb41920830d3′]The DeskJet 2655 [amazon_link asins=’B06XHXWB7B’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’46609bcc-c430-11e7-ac79-b1adf701f145′] and 3755 entry-level AIOs, for all their common features, are dissimilar in several ways. The most glaring difference is that the DeskJet 2655, the lower-cost model, comes with a traditional flatbed scanner, where the sensor travels the length of the page it’s scanning. The DeskJet 3755 deploys a scroll-feed-type scanner that pulls the paper over the scanning sensor.

Both models use the same ink cartridges, though, so they both hit you for some of the highest running costs in the business—if, that is, you pay full tilt for the official HP ink cartridges on a per-piece basis. But you have an alternative to that, beyond messing with refills or third-party ink tanks. Both the DeskJet 3755 and the 2655 are eligible for HP’s Instant Ink subscription service, making them (if you opt for Instant Ink) downright reasonable in running costs among entry-level printers. The only way to get a lower cost per page from AIOs with similar volume ratings and feature sets? You’ll have to opt for a “bulk-ink” AIO, such as one of Epson’s EcoTank or Canon MegaTank models. (More on those later.) But these machines are pricey by comparison; the idea with these models is, you pay more now to pay less for ink later.

HP DeskJet 2655 (Right Angled Blue)

Confused yet? We’ll delve more into the different ink-buying methods (and their prospective benefits) later in this review. Suffice it to say here that, unless you plan to print very little with the DeskJet 2655, you should definitely go with the Instant Ink plan with this printer. And if you plan to print more than, say, between 50 to 200 pages a month, you might want to consider one of the bulk-ink models, or just something other than an entry-level AIO. (A good option is the Brother MFC-J985DW [amazon_link asins=’B01D8O2VKQ’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’6db1e9fd-c430-11e7-880b-bfa676c5d014′], which, aside from the number of ink cartridges in the box, is identical to—but much less expensive than—the MFC-J985DW XL [amazon_link asins=’B01DBXM87A’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’79662157-c430-11e7-a586-ef7fe2abd2eb’] we reviewed a while back.)

Print speed and output quality are two other important considerations when buying a new AIO printer, entry-level or otherwise. We’re happy to report that the DeskJet 2655’s print quality is, given its price, surprisingly good. Its print speed, on the other hand… well, let’s just say that it’s not the slowest we’ve seen. But then none of the DeskJet 2655’s direct competitors, such as the Epson Expression Home XP-440 Small-in-One [amazon_link asins=’B06W9K5FD2′ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’8d87a1f4-c430-11e7-818b-4749e5aeeed6′], is a speed demon, either.

What you get with the DeskJet 2655 is a low-cost entry-level inkjet AIO designed with very low monthly print and copy volumes in mind. It’s slow, but it prints quite well, and the Instant Ink option tips it as an Editors’ Choice winner and a great pick among under-$60 all-in-one printers. (Mind you, that’s a very small field.)

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper


 

Epson WorkForce Pro WF-3720 All-in-One Review and Ratings at Computer ShopperEpson’s PrecisionCore-based WorkForce Pro printers have been around long enough now that it would be easy to take them for granted. But each update to the WorkForce Pro line reminds us just how fast and how well PrecisionCore printheads print, compared to more traditional inkjet ones. The Japanese printer giant’s latest release of four new WorkForce Pro models bolsters that impression.

[amazon_link asins=’B01N7RZ6AR’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’1ae6f805-c433-11e7-96dc-8347bd655d01′]This new bunch consists of four entry-level to moderate-volume all-in-one (AIO) models, ranging in list price from $150 to $300. The other day, we looked at the WorkForce Pro WF-4720 [amazon_link asins=’B01MT8VSLU’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’336b1014-c433-11e7-afe3-5f7be9164495′], which is one step up from today’s review subject, the entry-level ($149.99-MSRP) WorkForce Pro WF-3720 All-in-One Printer.[amazon_link asins=’B01N7RZ6AR’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’40d55b3c-c433-11e7-bfdc-3f8605b2328b’] In addition to the WF-3720 and WF-4720, the other two recently released models are the WF-4730 and WF-4740; we’re in the process of reviewing that last model, as well. Among other important features, those last two come with two paper drawers, whereas the WF-3720 and WF-4720 have only one. There are, of course, other differences: The WF-3720, for instance, is slower; it uses lower-yield ink cartridges that deliver higher running costs; and it has a lower (much lower) maximum monthly duty cycle (15,000 pages, versus 30,000 pages). In other words, it isn’t designed to print as many pages each month as the others.

It is, again, an entry-level AIO, meaning that it’s designed for small and home-based offices with low-volume workloads. Epson recommends that you print no more than 1,300 pages on it month in and month out, but as we’ll get into later, printing even that many pages each month would cost too much in per-page ink costs. If you need to print more than, say, 500 pages per month, you’d be better off with one of the WorkForce Pro 4000-series models, or perhaps a competing AIO, such as the Canon Maxify MB2120 [amazon_link asins=’B01IIOMNIG’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’52f36b48-c433-11e7-afcd-efaa7bd4fb27′] or one of Brother’s Business Smart Plus AIOs. One of our Editors’ Choice picks, the Brother MFC-J5930DW [amazon_link asins=’B01LZ9DKWL’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’623d250b-c433-11e7-9102-09049defeaaf’], is a good alternative, as it not only prints at lower cost but has several more features, such as tabloid-size output and an auto-duplexing automatic document feeder (ADF), for scanning two-sided multiple-page documents without flipping them by hand.

Epson WorkForce Pro WF-3720 All-in-One (Front Flat)

If, conversely, all you need is light-volume printing and copying, and you don’t need to copy or scan many two-sided documents, the WorkForce Pro WF-3720 has more than its share of charms. It prints exceptionally well, and at a reasonable clip for the price. When used in the setting it’s designed for, it’s a strong contender for small offices that require low-volume, high-quality output, given its speed and print quality.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper



 

Kodak Photo Printer Dock Review at Computer ShopperDedicated photo printers like the $149.90-MSRP Kodak Photo Printer Dock [amazon_link asins=’B01MRKFTQJ’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’01c61ffc-c4ac-11e7-8176-17364cd45723′] we’re reviewing here today fill a niche, and imaging giant Kodak has played a prominent role in the snapshot-printer market. These relatively small machines that do nothing except churn out snapshots—and often one-size-only snapshots—are not for everyone. But their popularity, as suggested by the fact that most of the major printer makers offer at least one (the Canon Selphy CP1200 [amazon_link asins=’B0195JC9D2′ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’f083caad-c4ab-11e7-be85-93fa2b289994′], part of the long-running Selphy line; the tiny [amazon_textlink asin=’B01LBWELHI’ text=’HP Sprocket’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’339a7992-c4ac-11e7-b658-afce30e8cfa4′] ; and Epson’s 2015 PictureMate 400 Personal Photo Lab [amazon_link asins=’B075FFFQR4′ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’4884a105-c4ac-11e7-ad3a-6dbf56ba6c71′], for example) is undeniable.

[amazon_link asins=’B01MRKFTQJ’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’20fe11cc-c4ac-11e7-baa2-a9ce2c56b624′]The appeal of single-minded machines like these isn’t only that they make churning out relatively high-quality photos on demand simple, but most of them—like the Kodak Dock—are small and fairly easy to take with you. Not only are these gadgets easy to use, but replenishing consumables is a snap (though it is, as you’ll see in our discussion later on, somewhat expensive). If you print a lot of photos, dedicated photo printers have some distinct convenience advantages over full-size photo-centric inkjet printers and inkjet all-in-ones (AIOs).

Until fairly recently, though, these machines were designed to work with your desktop PC or on the go with your laptop. As printers in general evolved to become more mobile-device-friendly, with features such as Wi-Fi Direct and mobile apps, so have dedicated photo printers. HP’s Sprocket, for example, is designed to print wallet-size (2×3-inch) photos primarily from social-media sites and your mobile device’s photo albums via Bluetooth.

Kodak Dock (Left Angled Box)

The Kodak Dock takes mobile connectivity to its next logical step. In addition to connecting to your computing devices via USB, Wi-Fi, and Wi-Fi Direct, the Kodak Dock allows you to dock your smartphone physically with the printer. As you’ll see in the section coming up next, after docking your smartphone up top, it becomes the printer’s control panel, which is actually quite the slick idea.

This is not to say, though, that the Kodak Dock isn’t without its flaws. For example, it can print only 4×6-inch snapshots, and as mentioned, its cost per page, though competitive with those of other gadgets like this, is a bit high. In other words, each photo is somewhat expensive, compared to having them run off at the neighborhood drugstore.

Even so, the Kodak Dock is very easy to use—which is what a lot of people consider important—and it turns out decent-looking photographs. As you read on, you’ll see that it also comes with several impressive and useful features, such as smartphone charging. In no way, however, is the Kodak Dock as handy as a full-featured photo-centric inkjet AIO that can print documents and photos at various sizes, as well as scan and make copies. You can find several good ones, such as the Canon Pixma TS6020 Wireless Inkjet All-in-One, for about the same price as the Kodak Dock.

Kodak Dock (Top Extended)

But then, the Pixma TS6020 and its ilk are not nearly as easy to use, nor can you carry them around with you in your backpack. If finding a way to print good-looking photos simply and easily, especially from your smartphone (and perhaps on the go) is important to you, this Kodak gadget is a nifty little printer designed to do just that.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper