Just a few years ago, wide-format printers—which print to tabloid-size (11×17-inch) or larger paper—were seldom seen, and usually expensive. Nowadays, though, all of the major makers of inkjet printers (Brother, Canon, Epson, and HP) offer at least one in their consumer- and small-business-priced lines. Brother has gone in the biggest on wide-format, in that nearly all of its Business Smart models can print pages up to tabloid-size. And several such models, such as the Brother MFC-J6535DW, also scan and copy 11×17-inch pages.
So can the machine at the center of today’s review, HP’s $249.99-MSRP Officejet Pro 7740 Wide Format All-in-One. The ability to handle tabloid-size pages greatly increases your design options across a host of scenarios. It allows you, for example, to create spreadsheets twice the width of standard letter-size (8.5×11-inch) paper, as well as four-page (and larger) letter-size booklets, by simply printing two pages on each side and folding the sheet in the middle.
However, as we’ll get into later on, unlike some Brother models, the Officejet Pro 7740’s cost per page (CPP) is high—too high, in fact, for any kind of real printing in volume. On the other hand, the Epson WorkForce WF-7620 (a two-drawer version of the WorkForce WF-7610 that we reviewed a while back) has even higher running costs than the Officejet Pro 7740. The printer’s maximum monthly duty cycle (the number of pages HP says you can print safely each month) is 30,000 pages, but the recommended monthly page limit is a mere 250 to 1,500 pages. That said, that’s less a cause for concern than it might seem at first. Given this Officejet model’s CPP figures, printing a few hundred pages (say, up to 500) each month is the only practical use for it in terms of value for money.
A major difference between the Officejet Pro 7740 and competing Brother tabloid-capable models is that the former churns out better-looking business graphics and photos. Epson’s wide-format models, on the other hand, have comparable output to the Officejet Pro 7740, and they support pages up to 13×19 inches (also known as Super B or Super A3), making those machines’ output all the more versatile. (That also applies to the company’s much more expensive—$999.99 list—WorkForce Pro ET-16500 EcoTank Wide-Format All-in-One Supertank Printer.) The 13×19-inch format makes a decent-size poster, for instance.
Nowadays, finding a wide-format printer isn’t the issue; it’s finding the one that suits your needs, such as whether quality output supersedes the cost of use. In addition to superb print quality, the Officejet Pro 7740 has a wide range of mobile- and cloud-connectivity features, as well as a single-pass automatic document feeder (ADF) for faster, more efficient two-sided (duplex) scans.
We like this Officejet as a relatively low-volume tabloid printer, but you’ll get much more value from it if you can make use of some of its other features, too, such as scanning oversize media, employing the optical character recognition (OCR), and using the printer from your smartphone and the cloud.
That’s demonstrated by the monochrome-laser multifunction printer (MFP) that we’re reviewing here today, Canon’s $299-MSRP ImageClass MF249dw. Not that long ago, monochrome printers, copiers, and scanners (as well as fax machines) were all separate devices, and depending on how far back in office-machine history we look, all of them were expensive. We can remember when quality monochrome laser printers and black-and-white scanners cost $2,000 or more each.
That’s all changed, of course. Today, almost any home-based office or small office can afford its own monochrome-laser MFP, and machines like these make good personal printers, if your typical applications require laser output (or, for whatever reason, you prefer it). Otherwise, compared to their inkjet counterparts (as we’ll dig into later on in this review), inexpensive laser printers tend to be costly to use, especially when you use them to their full capacity. And in this case, that full potential is a 15,000-page maximum monthly duty cycle and a recommended monthly volume of up to 3,000 pages. (A printer’s monthly duty cycle is the number of pages that the manufacturer suggests you can print each month without premature wear on the printer; consistently going over this amount could void your warranty.)
The ImageClass MF249dw replaces the Canon ImageClass MF227dw we reviewed in 2016. With the update comes support for the mobile peer-to-peer protocol Wi-Fi Direct, as well as a larger automatic document feeder (ADF), and the ability to scan two-sided originals without you having to turn them over manually. As you’ll see in the section coming up next, that last feature (the auto-duplexing ADF) can make a huge difference when you are scanning two-sided documents.
Of course, all of these features are moot without good output quality. And while yes, everything you print or copy will come out black-and-white, the ImageClass MF249dw certainly steps up here, with above-par output quality across the board—whether that’s text, graphics, or gray-scale photos you’re printing.
Our bottom line on the MF249dw is the same as our stance on most entry-level printers, inkjet or laser. If your print and copy volume is relatively low (say, a few hundred pages each month), this compact monochrome laser will provide good value. The more you print, though, the more you should consider a costlier midrange or high-volume machine with lower running costs, such as the OKI Data MB492 (a monochrome laser MFP), or perhaps a midrange-to-high-volume inkjet MFP, such as the Brother MFC-J5920DW.
If, however, occasional monochrome laser output is all you need, we suggest the Canon ImageClass MF249dw, our new Editors’ Choice for entry-level monochrome laser MFPs for home-based and micro offices. (To make the value even sweeter, while writing this review, we found it on Canon’s site and elsewhere for $209.99.)
With HP’s forthcoming acquisition of Samsung’s printer business (Samsung makes laser printers and multifunction laser printers for Dell), Dell’s place in the laser-printer market a year or so from now may be a bit up in the air. (The HP/Samsung deal is expected to close in September 2017.) At the moment, though, Dell is providing some of the most economical to use laser printers available. And that includes today’s review focus, the $999.99-MSRP Dell Smart Printer S5830dn, a very high-volume single-function monochrome laser printer.
A thousand bucks may seem like a lot to pay in 2017 for a print-only, black-and-white-only laser machine. (And unlike many Dell printers, it’s not been discounted by all that much, at least yet. At this mid-January 2017 writing, we saw it around the e-tailer circuit for $900 to $950.) But then, given its 300,000-page maximum monthly duty cycle (with a 50,000-page workload recommended), highly competitive running costs, and multiple expansion options, this is no ordinary beast. If, as we’ll elaborate on later, you use it to anywhere near its ultra-high-capacity potential, you’ll quickly regain (and surpass) in toner savings the few hundred dollars more that it costs, compared to most other laser printers we’ve reviewed.
But that doesn’t mean that the Smart Printer S5830dn is perfect, by any means. Wireless connectivity, for example, is optional; we get the reasoning for that, because this kind of printer is meant to live on a wired network. But more concerning: Unlike most Dell printers we’ve looked at lately, the output quality is merely so-so, especially when printing business graphics. Photos and text came out fine for a monochrome printer, making this an ideal machine for printing reams upon reams of all-text pages and black-and-white renditions of Web pages. But, say, presentations that begin as color documents? We ran into some issues there.
We’ve reviewed many business-minded laser printers in recent months, but none with the potential output volume of this one. Only its sibling, the like-priced Dell Color Smart Printer S5840Cdn (and its 150,000-page monthly duty cycle) comes close, but even that model, not really. And then there’s the consumables cost. Apart from several high-volume inkjet multifunction printers (MFPs), such as the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-R4640 EcoTank All-in-One and Brother MFC-J5920DW, we don’t know of any laser machines with monochrome running costs lower than these two Dell single-function machines. So this machine does have some key strengths.
Of course, those Epson and Brother color inkjet MFPs don’t come close in capacity to today’s Dell; both have much lower maximum monthly duty cycles, of well under 100,000 pages. (Also, the Epson machine actually costs $200 more than our S5830dn review unit, on a list-price basis.) Our bottom line for this machine is that, as we’ll get into in more detail near the end of this review, we can’t suggest it for printing Excel bar charts and PowerPoint handouts, if that’s your main aim. But if, on the other hand, you print tens of thousands of plain-text and/or text-document pages containing photos each month, the Smart Printer S5830dn was built for just that. We don’t know of a more economical-to-use, focused solution for mass monochrome laser printing, month in and month out, of up to 50,000 pages or so, and even as much as 250,000 pages, on occasion.
There must be many. Why else would Epson’s market research indicate that a relatively expensive high-speed photo scanner would be a viable product almost 17 years into the 21st century?
Enter Epson’s $649.99-MSRP FastFoto FF-640 High-speed Photo Scanning System, a sheet-fed scanner with a robust automatic document feeder (ADF) front and center, augmented by image-editing and -cataloging software. It looks like any number of other sheet scanners, especially Epson’s own, meant for scanning text documents. And that’s a departure, because most photo scanners are flatbeds, not snapshot-feeders.
Some higher-end photo scanners come with a detachable automatic document feeder (ADF) for moving images past the platen, but even so, in that design images lay flat while the scanning mechanism moves under them. Sheet-fed scanners like the FastFoto FF-640, on the other hand, pass the originals over the scanning sensor (as well as under one, with single-pass scanners like this one), scanning as the image moves by. And that hasn’t always been considered the best way to scan photos, for a number of reasons, but primarily because an ADF can damage your original prints.
That said, as we’ll get into later, the scan quality here is better than acceptable, except when scanning documents for optical character recognition (OCR). While it can scan images and documents at multiple sizes, it’s best suited for scanning piles of snapshots of the 4×6- and 5×7-inch variety. However, as we’ll get into in detail, its first-version scanning and cataloging software is a bit light on features and not very forgiving.
That’s not to say that the FastFoto FF-640 isn’t good at what it’s designed to do. It’s highly useful and well suited to exactly what it’s designed for: scanning vast stacks of snapshots. But we, like a few other reviewers (including Tony Hoffman at our sister site PCMag.com) found ourselves wishing for several other features and greater flexibility, as well as a lower price.
And that’s the rub. At this scanner’s $649.99 list price, you’d need to have a lot of photos (in the several thousands, minimum) to scan to make this purchase worthwhile economically. (Depending on how many you have, there may be less expensive ways to get your photos scanned in bulk, which we’ll detail at the end of this review.) The ideal situation, we think, would be passing the FastFoto FF-640 around between friends and family members who have lots of photos to digitize, or perhaps keeping it on hand as a document scanner after you get all of your photos in the digital realm.
Epson needs to do some work on the non-photo document side of this scanner, though. Overall, the FastFoto FF-640 is a capable scanner good at what it’s designed for, but it does suffer from some first-version blues. And we’d like it a lot better if it cost a few hundred dollars less. (At this writing in mid-December 2016, we hadn’t seen it discounted off its MSRP yet.)
A few years ago, the Android-tablet market was flush with slates in two or three different screen sizes—and economy levels—from most of the big players in PCs. Nowadays? The pickings are pretty picked over.
Whether you’re talking about compact (7-to-9-inch) or full-size tablets (models with screens around 10 inches), we just haven’t seen that many new ones in recent months to choose from—or review, for that matter. Acer, Samsung, and Lenovo have trickled out a few, but most of the full-size Android tablets that have debuted over the past year or so have been upscale, premium multimedia devices with exceptional displays and sound.
In fact, while they can do many things, most of today’s full-size Android tablets are designed primarily for watching digital video. And, much like today’s review unit, Huawei’s $419-MSRP MediaPad M2 10.0, most of these slates are quite good at it—which requires, above all else, two predictable things: good speakers and good screens. (It’s also important to note here that our review unit was near the top of its family in both components and features. As we’ll discuss in a bit, you can buy a reasonably equipped MediaPad M2 10.0 for around $349 MSRP.)
Another thing that most recent full-size tablets have had in common: a tendency to be durable and look upscale, even elegant, in appearance. Dell’s $629 mid-2015 Venue 10 7000 (Model 7040), with a detachable keyboard and touch pad) is an excellent example, as is Lenovo’s solidly built, $499.99-MSRP Yoga Tab 3 Pro. As you’ll see in the section coming up next, the Huawei MediaPad M2 10.0 comes with not only an excellent 1,920×1,200-pixel screen, but also an excellent Harman/Kardon sound system with four loud, clear-sounding speakers.
But this MediaPad isn’t a one-trick tablet; media playback isn’t all it can do. It also supports 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity that, when coupled with Huawei’s active stylus (in the box with our review tablet), lets you annotate, draw, and take notes with Huawei’s bundled pen-enabled apps. Unfortunately, not all of the MediaPad M2 configuration options include the stylus, which we’ll address in some detail in a moment. Suffice it to say here that the differences in what you get for $349 and $419 are significant.
In either case, whether you buy the least expensive version of the MediaPad M2, the most expensive, or one in between, you’ll get a tablet that’s impressive in appearance (a dead ringer for the iPad Air 2) and build quality for a reasonable price.
Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.
Inkjet printers are amazing technology—microscopic nozzles spraying tiny droplets of ink in precisely manipulated patterns. That R&D isn’t cheap, though, and a whole other set of elaborate endeavors on the side have sought to maintain the sky-high cost of that ink. It’s printer manufacturers’ main path to profit. In some ways (and much less conspicuously), it’s akin to the pricing shenanigans of the gasoline market.
Today’s EcoTank all-in-one (AIO) review unit, the $1,199.99-MSRP WorkForce Pro WF-R4640 All-in-One Printer, is a bit different, and a bit bigger. It has compartments for holding huge bags of ink on both sides…
The flagship model of the EcoTank series to date, the WorkForce WF-R4640 is, like the other printers in this series, essentially an existing AIO retrofitted with the EcoTank ink storage and plumbing. In this case, rather than refilling reservoirs from relatively large bottles of ink, here you simply swap out an empty ink bag for a full one. We’ll look closely at this configuration, how well it works, and the economics a little later.
In this case, the WorkForce Pro WF-R4640 is at the core Epson’s $399.99-MSRP WorkForce Pro WF-4640 All-in-One, the two-input-drawer version of one of our Editors’ Choice recipients, theWorkForce Pro WF-4630 All-in-One. (We should point out that at the time of this writing in late April 2016, we found the WorkForce WF-4640 for as low as $270 and the WF-4630 for as low as $200.)
In our analysis, the WorkForce WF-4640 was a good choice for upgrading to an EcoTank model. Keep in mind, though, that what Epson has essentially done is retrofit the WF-4640 to use the EcoTank system and then multiply the price by a factor of three or four, from a $399.99 list price (or $270 typical street price) to $1,199 (which was both the MSRP and street price when we wrote this).
When viewed from the perspective of the past couple paragraphs, the WorkForce WF-R4640 mightsound like an economic enigma—who would pay four times the price for essentially the same printer? Our analysis so far has said nothing about the huge, 20,000-page ink bags that come with the printer—enough ink, according to Epson, to last for two years.
Two years? Really? Well, that all depends on where and how you might be using this printer. One office’s first two years’ worth of ink is another’s first two weeks’ appetizer.
If you printed 20,000 pages over the course of two years (730 days), that comes out to about 27 pages per day. If you back out weekends, holidays, and any number of other reasons you might not print on certain days, let’s be generous and say the ink bags will print 50 pages per day.
The printer can certainly handle that. A 50-page-per-day load, even on every day of a 30-day month, is far, far below the WF-R4640’s 45,000-page monthly duty cycle (Epson’s rating for the most pages the printer ought to handle in a given month). In other words, if you actually pushed it to or close to its monthly rating, you would run out of ink in the first few weeks.
The good news in all this is that when it comes time to buy new ink bags, as you’ll see a bit later in this review, the per-page cost of ink is quite low. Even color pages come in well under what we consider competitive cost-per-page (CPP) figures. But then the CPPs, while certainly impressive, aren’t the only reason to buy this high-volume workhorse. Remember that the WorkForce model from which it has been adapted is a fine office-centric AIO in its own right. It had plenty of reasons—good print speed and print quality, mobile connectivity options, not to mention a strong set of productivity and convenience features—to make it a Computer Shopper Editors’ Choice recipient, too.
It just comes down to the price, and how soon you think you might burn through 20,000 pages of printing. We liked this printer, but we recognize that $1,200 is a lot to pay for an inkjet printer of this caliber, in essence, a printer that at the core has the features of a $300-to-$400 model. If you use your printer—and we mean churn out thousands of prints and copies each month—when it comes time to buy new ink, and every time after that, you will save big. The cost per page is far more economical after you’ve exhausted that first set.
The more and the longer you use the WF-R4640, the better a value it is compared to some other competing models capable of the same print volume. But if it’ll take you years and years to drain the first set of tanks, this is not the right printer for you.
Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.
Even though they’re often more expensive to purchase and use, all else being equal, HP’s LaserJet printers earn it. The technology inside is field-leading, and they tend to be more modern- and stylish-looking than most of their competitors. And that’s saying something when you’re talking about most single-function laser printers, which favor the “plain cube” look. Most wind up box-shaped and bland-looking.
The topic of today’s review, HP’s $799.99-MSRP Color LaserJet Enterprise M553dn, can’t quite escape that, though the company does add a few curves to give it a distinct look. It’s a single-function color laser printer meant, as the name suggests, for businesses with large workgroups to serve and a need for managed print resources. We’re catching up with this model in April 2016, but it’s been on the market for a while. And it hasn’t followed the usual price trends for a midlife product.
We should point out that as we wrote this in early April 2016, that everywhere we looked on the Internet, this specific LaserJet model sold for its full manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), or more. Indeed, at Amazon, it sold for $200 higher than the MSRP, or $999.99, which is something that we don’t often see. That this LaserJet has been on the market for nearly an entire year and still commands such pricing suggests that it has been well-received so far.
In fact, everywhere we’ve looked, the M553dn has received high ratings. Like most of the HP laser printers we’ve reviewed recently, such as the Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdw, the M553dn comes with the company’s latest JetIntelligence toner cartridges and reformulated ColorSphere 3 toner, which (according to HP), delivers a bunch of advantages compared to earlier LaserJets and other, competing laser printers.
As we noted in our reviews of some other recent LaserJets, the claims about the new JetIntelligence cartridges and ColorSphere 3 toner include the ability for the toner particles themselves to melt at a lower temperature. (In a laser printer, the toner dust that gets arranged on the page is melted in place by a hot roller.) This, along with a few other enhancements, allows LaserJets to burn—again, according to HP—53 percent less energy, take up to 40 percent less space, and wake up and print two-sided (duplex) pages faster than previous LaserJet models could. (The wake-up speed is tied in with the need for the fuser to hit a lower relative temperature to do its job.)
HP also says that the enhancements done to toner and cartridge alike deliver many more prints from a cartridge, compared to previous LaserJets. As we pointed out in our review of the Color LaserJet Pro M477fdw (and other LaserJets), while this also allows for smaller cartridges and, therefore, smaller printers, it does nothing to reduce the per-page cost of the toner. We’ll get into that issue in some detail in the Setup & Paper Handling section later on.
Even though the Color LaserJet Enterprise M553dn has an 80,000-page monthly duty cycle (the maximum number of prints HP says the printer can handle each month), if you actually pushed it that hard—even by as much as, say, a third of the rating—this MFP, compared to many other laser and laser-class (LED-based) printers we’ve looked at, would cost a bit too much to use in terms of toner.
That factor—the somewhat high cost per page—plus a purchase price that seems impervious to discounting and a lack of built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, are our only real complaints about this printer. Other than that, it did what we expected it to, and well.
Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.
For a while, it was looking like high-volume, business-grade inkjet printers were going to outpace their laser counterparts in nearly every way—especially in speed and per-page cost of operation. Some of today’s top-value inkjets for offices—notably, models in HP’s PageWide and Epson’s WorkForce families—have made a convincing case that there’s a new print-tech sheriff in town for those who don’t necessarily need true laser-quality text output, but need their pages quickly and cheaply. And it’s inkjet.
However, if today’s review unit, Brother’s $249-list HL-L6200DW Business Laser Printer, and a few other laser machines we’ve looked at of late are any indication, some laser-printer makers are fighting back.
The HL-L6200DW is one of a handful of economical single-function (i.e., printer-only) monochrome models that Brother has rolled out recently. Most of these models have been smaller and not as fast nor as economical, apart from the $349.99-list HL-L6200DWT. That unit is essentially the same printer as the HL-L6200DW here, except for the addition of a second, 520-sheet paper drawer. A $100 premium for the second drawer, considering its $209 price tag bought separately at Brother’s online store, isn’t bad at all if you need that kind of paper capacity. But, then again, as you’ll see in the Setup & Paper Handling section later on, with this model you have a few expansion options that perhaps even outstrip the other aspects of this printer.
Single-function monochrome laser printers tend to be humdrum models, and while we are impressed with the HL-L6200DW’s cost per page (also discussed in the Setup & Paper Handling section), it’s the intangibles rather than the physical traits of this printer that set it apart. Aside from the cost per page, decent print speeds and print quality also formed our more-than-favorable impression of this little workhorse.
Granted, other single-function laser printers in the same price range are as fast or faster. But the difference is not enough to skew our assessment of this printer by much. With this laser’s 100,000-page-per-month duty cycle (the number of pages Brother says the printer should be limited to in any given month to forestall premature wear) and aggressively low cost per page (CPP), it’s worthy of our Editors’ Choice award.
Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.
Among the most successful multifunction printers (MFPs) in recent years has been HP’s 2014 Officejet Pro 8630 All-in-One Printer—also, not coincidentally, one of our highest-rated Editors’ Choice recipients (4.5 out of 5 stars) over the past few years. An all-in-one (AIO) printer must hold up well under our scrutiny and impress us to receive so high a score.
Alas, all good things must eventually get refreshed and replaced.
Now, it’s time to talk about not only the Officejet Pro 8630’s replacement, but also the retirement of the entire Officejet Pro 8600 series, which includes the 8600, 8610, 8620, and the 8630 flagship model. The 8630 is much like the 8620, minus the former model’s second drawer. In the same way, aside from dropping a few features, such as an auto-duplexing ADF (and, of course, that second drawer), the 8610 is much like the 8620.
HP’s new generation was unveiled in early March 2016. The Palo Alto printer giant introduced, along with 15 to 20 other printer models, the Officejet Pro 8700 series, which included the flagship, today’s review unit. The $399.99-MSRP Officejet Pro 8740 All-in-One Printer, as you’ll see over the course of this review, is no incremental update to the Officejet Pro 8630. Apart from some similar specs, these two printers don’t have a lot in common—especially, as shown in the image below, in appearance…
In fact, this series, including our Officejet Pro 8740 review unit, which we’ll discuss in some detail in the Design & Features section next, looks quite different from any inkjet AIO we’ve seen, now or in the past.
In addition to the Officejet Pro 8740, on March 8 HP also unveiled the Officejet Pro 8710, which is a bit of an outlier. In addition to having, as you’d expect, features reduced versus the Officejet Pro 8740, it’s dark gray (unlike the 8720, 8730, and 8740) and looks more like the previous-gen 8610 than the other three new releases do. The Officejet Pro 8720, 8730, and 8740 are more of a kind, with several features in common, including legal-size (8.5×14-inch) duplex printing, scanning, copying, and faxing, plus single-pass duplex scanning.
We expect all of these features, as well as a respectable per-page cost of operation (what we call the “cost per page,” or CPP) for both black-and-white and color pages, from any business-centric inkjet that lists for $400. That’s not the upper limit for business inkjets these days, but it’s a premium machine. We’ll look at the CPP, as well as this AIO’s versatile paper-handling options, in the Setup & Paper Handling section later on. But a teaser: If you plan to print and/or copy at levels close to this machine’s actual 30,000-page monthly duty cycle, the CPP here is probably a bit too high. That’s compared to some other relatively high-volume models, including HP’s own significantly more expensive PageWide Pro 577dw Multifunction Printer we reviewed a few weeks ago.
Of course, seldom is it a good idea to push any printer to its absolute maximum suggested limit, month in and month out. If you have printing needs that heavy, you need to buy a printer with a bit more overhead. That said, this AIO’s CPP is about right for what it is, if you use it for well under HP’s recommended monthly printing limit, or “duty cycle”—even though $399 is a bit pricey for a printer in this class. Printer pricing is an ever-moving target, though, and if the Officejet Pro 8740 behaves on the open market as its predecessor did, it will spend much of the time on sale at around $299, which we think is a much more appropriate price given the competition. (At this writing, that remained to be seen, though.)
All that said, as usual with HP, you’re paying for style and innovation, as well as dependability and quality. For many users, those assets are worth a premium price. And we think that most folks would be happy with this printer whether they paid an additional $50 or $100 for it, or not. Pricing quibbles aside, the Officejet Pro 8740 is a very fine—and refined—small business and micro-office printer.
Read the entire review at Computer Shopper
It has been just over three years since HP’s release of its Officejet Pro X line of printers based on the company’s fixed PageWide inkjet printhead technology, as described in our February 2013 review of the Officejet Pro X576dw Multifunction Printer. Many things about this new line impressed us at the time, including its exceptional print speed, great print quality, and extraordinarily competitive cost per page. In fact, this was the cheapest-to-use multifunction printer (MFP) we had tested at the time, be it a laser or an inkjet. (It still holds that distinction.)
However, HP never really filtered the PageWide technology way down its product stack. Unlike its competitor Epson, which offered a new printhead in mid-2014, dubbed “PrecisionCore,” in models all the way down to its entry-level, low-volume WorkForce multifunction printers (MFPs), the Palo Alto printer giant kept PageWide out of its lower-volume (and lower-priced) office-centric products.
That remains the case. On the date of this review, March 8, HP is rolling out a new, second-gen line of HP PageWide printers—and indeed, PageWide joins LaserJet and Officejet as a discrete HP product family—with more levels than before. Today’s review unit, HP’s $899.99-MSRP PageWide 577dw, for example, sits near the top of the PageWide product line, while the cheapest PageWide model, the PageWide Pro 452dw sfp, a single-function machine, lists for $499.99.
That’s a far cry from the average consumer- or small-office-grade $199 and $299 high-volume inkjets designed to churn out a few thousand pages per month. Our PageWide Pro 577dw review unit, for example, has an 80,000-page monthly duty cycle, which is the number of pages HP says the printer should be able to handle each month without undue wear. Since PageWide is a “fixed” printhead spanning the width of the page, more akin to a laser printer mechanism than a conventional inkjet, it can churn out pages mighty fast, without the limitations of a moving printhead carriage.
What we really liked about the first round of PageWide printers, though, was that unprecedented low cost per page (CPP) of operation. At the time, only very expensive enterprise-grade laser machines could touch it in that regard.
This time around, you can buy black cartridges with page yields up to 17,000 pages (and color tanks with yields up to 13,000), as opposed to 9,200 and 6,600, respectively, in the previous generation. The CPP figures, for both monochrome and color, have stayed about the same, which we’ll get into in greater detail in the Setup & Paper Handling section later on. Like any self-respecting high-volume printer, this one delivers a CPP low enough to make printing out multiple reams of paper each month reasonably economical compared with other like-priced printers.
Now, while a high duty cycle and a low CPP are important, so too are print speed, print quality, and, of course, mobile connectivity and cloud features. The 577dw delivers that, not to mention a wealth of security and network-administration options, along with some design features that make this, like its X576dw predecessor, a top pick for businesses that need bulk output, color, and not necessarily laser-quality text.
As we alluded to earlier, the PageWide Pro models are part of a much larger collection of products that all debuted on March 8. In addition to the PageWide additions to HP’s product stable (a total of seven printers, there, in PageWide Pro 500, PageWide Pro 400, and PageWide 300 lines), the company is also pushing out new and replacement models in the Officejet Pro, PageWide Enterprise, and Officejet Mobile product families. We’ll be getting down to reviews of many of these in the coming weeks.
All considered, we found little to quibble about in this high-volume workhorse, other than what seemed to us a lofty price, versus competing models such as Epson’s $549.99-list WorkForce Pro WF-6590 Network Multifunction Color Printer. The good news for HP here, though, is that this new PageWide model provides significantly lower CPPs than the highest-volume Epson WorkForce Pro models that are available at the moment, which is very important for high-volume printers like these. And the good news for businesses that need that kind of mass output: The PageWide Pro 577dw maintains most of the high points of its illustrious predecessor.
Read the entire review at Computer Shopper