Review of the HP PageWide Pro 750dw at Computer ShopperLet’s say that your organization (or your very, very busy home office) needs to churn out 20,000 or so high-quality prints each month, and some of them (perhaps all of them) must be tabloid-size (11×17 inches). You’re considering purchasing one of Brother’s Business Smart Plus all-in-one (AIO) printers—maybe our highly capable Editors’ Choice pick, MFC-J6935DW, or perhaps the HP Officejet Pro 7740 Wide-Format All-in-One. And why not? Both are logical choices: They print exceptional tabloid-size pages, and they both have maximum monthly duty cycles of 30,000 pages—10,000 pages more than what you need to print, right?

Well, not so fast.

Let’s start with that 30,000-page monthly duty cycle. The more important number—the one not printed on the box—is the recommended monthly page volume, which on the Brother machine we mentioned above is up to 2,000 pages monthly. The Officejet’s recommended volume is up to 1,500 pages per month. As well-built as these machines are, if you actually pushed them to their maximum monthly duty cycle rating each month, you’d likely be shortening their service life. But that’s not all.

Some rough napkin math: Printing 20,000 pages per month, excluding weekends and holidays, comes out to about 1,000 pages per workday. (30,000 pages per month equals about 1,500 pages per day.) If you used one of these midrange business printers to churn out these kinds of volumes, day in and day out, you’d have to fill their paper drawers several times a day, and—especially if you’re printing wide-format, which uses about twice the ink as a standard letter-size page, all else being equal—you’d be changing the ink cartridges twice a day, perhaps more. If you truly require this kind of volume, especially on tabloid-size pages, you need a machine designed to handle this much printing. And that is where a model like the $2,199 HP PageWide Pro 750dw we’re reviewing here today comes in.

HP PageWide Pro 750dw (USB)

Yes, that’s a lot of money for a printer, especially an inkjet printer. But as you read on, you’ll see that, first, HP PageWide printers are not ordinary inkjet printers, and the PageWide Pro 750dw is no ordinary PageWide machine.

In fact, given its size, volume, and some other specs, we think that it’s better suited to HP’s PageWide Enterprise line, like the HP PageWide Enterprise Color 556dn reviewed at our sister site, PCMag, a while back. The PageWide Pro 750dw is, for example, designed to support up to 40 networked users, rather than the five or so users recommended for the smaller inkjets we’ve been talking about.

In fact, the PageWide Pro 750dw is much more in line with a high-volume color laser printer, such as the Dell Color Smart Printer S5840Cdn we reviewed late last year. A primary difference between it and the 750dw is, of course, that the HP model can print at sizes up to tabloid, which is one reason the PageWide model costs so much. High-volume laser-class printers that can do wide-format, such as the OKI C831n ($1,699 MSRP) and OKI C831dn ($1,929), and wide-format laser alternatives (such as our 750dw), typically have high price tags. But the good news is, at least in the case of the HP model, is that its running costs are reasonable once you’ve bought the printer.

In addition, the PageWide Pro 750dw is highly expandable. You can boost the paper capacity, as we’ll discuss later on, over 4,000 sheets. Plus, according to HP, in the fall of 2017 numerous copier-like finishing options (among them a stapler and a collator) will come available.

The PageWide Pro 750dw is an immense, and immensely well-built, volume printer meant to endure blizzards of wide-format printing month after month. Our only real quibble with it is that it’s somewhat expensive. But then, if you plan to print upward of 10,000 pages each month, you need a Humvee, not a Chevy Silverado.

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Review of the Brother HL-L8360CDW at PCMagThe Brother HL-L8360CDW ($399.99), a color laser printer, is essentially the recent Editors’ Choice Brother HL-L8260CDW on steroids. The HL-L8360CDW gives you greater expandability, twice the memory, a higher duty cycle, access to higher-yield toner cartridges, lower running costs, greater security, and a few additional functions, such as near-field communication (NFC) and a color touch screen. Like the HL-L8260CDW, it prints well and at a fast clip. All of this for just $70 more makes the HL-L8360CDW a better value, and therefore our latest top choice for a moderate-to-heavy volume color laser printer for a micro or small office or workgroup.

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Review of the Canon Color imageClass MF634Cdw at PCMagA $399 list price places the Canon Color imageClass MF634Cdw neck and neck with the Editors’ Choice HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M277dw among low-volume personal color laser all-in-one (AIO) printers. It’s also suitable for light-duty use in a micro or small office or workgroup. Unlike the HP model, though, the MF634Cdw comes with a duplexing automatic document feeder (ADF) that supports single-pass two-sided scanning. Like other printers in this class, though, its running costs are high, although competitive for what it is. A low purchase price, a robust feature set, better-than-average print quality, and competitive printing costs make the MF634Cdw our new top choice as an entry-level color laser AIO printer.


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Review of the HP OfficeJet Pro 8216 at PCMagEssentially a two-drawer version of the HP OfficeJet Pro 8210, the OfficeJet Pro 8216 ($179.99) is notably slower than its less expensive sibling, but overall print quality is markedly better. A single-function color inkjet business printer, it’s comparable in features and capacity to the Editors’ Choice Canon Maxify iB4120 Wireless Small Office Inkjet Printer, but it costs a little more. The 8216 and Canon iB4120 deliver similar running costs, but the former is eligible for HP’s Instant Ink subscription service, which can save you a bunch on ink. While it doesn’t quite live up to the Canon model’s superior print quality, the OfficeJet Pro 8216 has many assets that make it an excellent alternative to a color laser.

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Review of the Brother MFC-L8900CDW at Computer ShopperThe Brother MFC-L8900CDW ($599.99) is a midrange color laser all-in-one printer (AIO) designed for low-to-medium use in a micro or small office or workgroup. Comparable to the Editors’ Choice Samsung Multifunction Printer ProXpress C3060FW, the MFC-L8900CDW is loaded with features, it’s expandable, and its running costs are competitive. It’s relatively fast and prints text very well, but its graphics and photos are not quite up to snuff, compared with some competitors. That’s not to say that its output isn’t good enough for most business applications, though. The MFC-L8900CDW is a decent choice for offices that require light-to-moderate print and copy volume.

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Review of the Canon Color imageClass MF731Cdw at PCMagThe Canon imageClass MF731Cdw ($489) is a color laser multifunction printer (MFP), designed for use in a small office or workgroup. Like the Editors’ Choice Samsung Multifunction Printer ProXpress C3060FW, the MF731Cdn prints well at decent running costs, but unlike the Samsung, its automatic document feeder (ADF) is not auto-duplexing, nor does it support near-field communication (NFC). Even so, expandable input capacity and built-in Wi-Fi make the Canon MF731Cdw a viable, slightly less expensive alternative to the C3060FW for low-to-moderate volume printing and copying in a small, micro, or home-based office.

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Review of the Brother MFC-J6935DW at Computer ShopperIt wasn’t all that long ago that wide-format inkjet printers (models that handle paper larger than legal-size, or 8.5×14 inches) were not only rare, but also rather expensive. Even today, most of the major printer manufacturers—HP, Epson, Canon—offer only a few wide-format machines. But Brother has changed all that, offering most of its Business Smart and Business Smart Plus all-in-one (print/copy/scan/fax) models as tabloid-size-capable (11×17-inch) machines. Nowadays, you can choose from more than a handful of wide-format inkjet models, among them the Brother MFC-J5930DW we just reviewed, as well as today’s review unit, the $349.99-list Brother MFC-J6935DW.

Direct competitors with the HP Officejet Pro 7740 All-in-One, the difference between these two Brother models is that the MFC-J6935DW (like the Officejet model) not only prints tabloid-size pages, but can also scan, copy, and fax them. The MFC-J5930DW, on the other hand, can only print wide-format documents.

It stands to reason that some small and medium-size offices that need to print tabloid-size documents will need to process them in other ways, too. If your day-to-day work calls for scanning, copying, or faxing wide-format pages, the $50 upgrade from the MFC-J5930DW to the MFC-J6935DW is a bargain.

Brother MFC-J6935DW (Right Angled)

What really makes these Brother Business Smart Plus AIOs attractive is that, compared to their Officejet competitor (as well as Epson’s WorkForce WF-7620 All-in-One, a two-paper-drawer version of the WorkForce WF-7610 we reviewed a while back), the Brother AIOs are part of that company’s INKvestment line. INKvestment printers, similar in broad concept to Epson’s EcoTank and Canon’s MegaTank (in that you pay more up front for cheaper ink later), deliver low-per page costs, although Brother’s approach is somewhat different. Where EcoTank and MegaTank printers are “bulk-ink” models that take their ink from reservoirs you fill from bottles, INKvestment printers deploy ink cartridges with high yields and modest prices (on a per-page basis, that is).

To our knowledge, aside from Brother’s INKvestment products, the only other wide-format printer designed around this pay-more-now-to-pay-less-later concept is Epson’s $999-list WorkForce ET-16500 EcoTank Wide Format All-in-One Supertank. The advantage that the WorkForce ET-16500 holds over the Brother MFC-J6935DW is that the former prints wide-format pages up to 13×19 inches, and it has significantly lower running costs. But it’s also much slower. (We’ll look more closely at the difference in running costs between these two printers in the Cost Per Page section coming up.)

In any case, like the MFC-J5930DW, the MFC-J6935DW is an excellent multifunction business machine. It’s reasonably fast, loaded with features, prints well, and costs much less to use than its most direct competitors. As you read on, assuming you need the big inputs and outputs, you’ll see that there’s just not much to quibble about in this wide-format winner.

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Review of the Brother MFC-J5930DW at Computer ShopperBrother’s inkjet multifunction printers just keep getting better and better, as demonstrated by today’s review unit, the $299.99-list MFC-J5930DW, and the Brother MFC-J6935DW we reviewed alongside it. As one of the company’s INKvestment models, the MFC-J5930DW is one of the least expensive business-oriented all-in-ones (AIOs) on ink costs—especially for the price. It is loaded with features, has a high paper-input capacity from three separate sources, and is capable of printing tabloid-size (11×17-inch) documents, posters, and flyers.

Over the years, a common quibble across our reviews of Brother’s Business Smart and Business Smart Plus series machines has been with their photo quality. While they print great-looking text and graphics, their photo output has typically been, compared to their HP and Epson competitors, just so-so—more than passable, but slightly lesser than the others. For example, the HP Officejet Pro 7740 Wide-Format All-in-One, as well as the wide-format Epson WorkForce WF-7620, cost more to use than Brother’s Business Smart Plus models, but their print quality was somewhat better. We’re pleased to report (as we’ll get into in more detail near the end of this review), that that was not our experience with the MFC-J5930DW.

Brother MFC-J5930DW (Front)

A primary difference between the Officejet model and the MFC-J5930DW is that in addition to printing tabloid-size documents, the HP model can also scan and copy documents of that size. To get those features from a Brother INKvestment model, you’ll have to step up to the $350-list MFC-J6935DW. This is a key distinction. Not all small businesses and home offices need to scan and copy tabloid-size documents, but it is best to know what you are getting (or not) when weighing closely related models like these.

The MFC-J5930DW is an update of the Brother MFC-J5920DW we reviewed a while back. Aside from a new body style and a color change (from black to off-white, to conform with Brother’s latest design motif), and the improved print quality we mentioned earlier, this new model isn’t all that different, feature-wise, from its predecessor. That said, given the MFC-J5930DW’s strong feature set, ink-cost efficiencies, and excellent print quality, it’s our new first choice for tabloid-size multifunction inkjet printers, as its MFC-J5920DW predecessor was.

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Review of the OKI C332dn at PCMagNot long ago, the conventional wisdom was that high-volume printing was cheaper on laser and laser-class (LED-array) printers, as opposed to inkjets. For a similar spec of printer, laser-class machines cost more but were less expensive to use, while inkjets cost less but had higher running costs.

Those days of such absolutes are over.

Nowadays, laser-class printers, especially color ones, not only often cost more than their comparable inkjet counterparts, such as the HP PageWide Pro 452dw, but their ongoing per-page operational costs are higher—sometimes, by a lot. (We’ll get into that in more detail later on in this review.) Where today’s review unit, the $349-list OKI C332dn, differs is that it’s aggressively priced for a color laser-class printer. In fact, as we were writing this, we found it all over the Internet for less than $250.

Unlike most of its contemporary counterparts, the C332dn does not deploy a laser emitter for etching page images onto the imaging drum. It’s classed as a laser-style printer, but it instead uses an array of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in place of the laser. The reason that some printer makers use LED arrays is that they’re smaller, lighter, and less expensive than lasers. As we pointed out in our review of the OKI C612dn a while back, OKI Data is one of the few printer makers left that still deploys LED arrays in most of its printers.

OKI C332dn (Left Angle)

Why are LED arrays not in as wide use today as they once were? We’re not entirely sure. Some might conjecture that it’s because laser printers print better than LED-based models, but we won’t go that far. We’ve seen LED-array machines, such as the OKI C831n we reviewed a few years back, that churn out exceptionally good-looking pages. And, conversely, we’ve seen “real” laser printers that don’t print as well as some LED-based machines do. The answer, then, to which type of machine prints best? It depends on the implementation. Even so, most other makers of toner-based printers—notably HP, Canon, Brother, and Samsung—rely predominantly on laser imaging mechanisms these days.

Which brings us back to the OKI C332dn. Overall, it is a highly capable, mid-volume stand-alone printer that churns out respectable-looking content at a good clip for the money. Compared to its competitors, though (and that includes several inkjets), its running costs are a little high, and we’re a big proponent of low running costs. But then, in some scenarios, laser-class output (toner versus ink) is required, and the page cost is secondary.

For those cases, the C332dn is an able warrior. It’s compact, as color laser-class machines go, and its output is acceptable for all but the most exacting business scenarios. But, between its toner cartridges and imaging drums, be prepared to dig deep to pay for the supplies to keep it going for heavy use. For that reason, we like it best for small businesses and workgroups that require laser-class output in light volumes—say, under 1,000 pages or so a month.

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Review of the HP OfficeJet Pro 6978 All-in-One Printer at PCMagThe HP OfficeJet Pro 6978 All-in-One Printer ($179.99) offers a wealth of features, including an auto-duplexing automatic document feeder (ADF), which many of its competitors lack. Should you opt for HP’s Instant Ink ink subscription service, it delivers competitive running costs. These perks, along with good output quality for text, graphics, and photos, elevate the OfficeJet Pro 6978 to our new Editors’ Choice midrange all-in-one printer (AIO) for low- to medium-volume printing in small or micro offices and workgroups.

Read the entire review at PCMag slick PCMag


 

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