Brother DCP-L2550DW Review and Ratings at Computer ShopperA laser printer by any other name…

When is a monochrome laser multifunction or all-in-one (AIO) printer not a laser all-in-one printer? Well, when, according to Brother, it’s a multifunction copier. And what’s a multifunction copier? Is it a new product genre, perhaps? For the longest time now, all-in-ones that lack a specific function, such as fax functionality or an automatic document feeder (ADF), have nevertheless been called AIOs—until Brother’s recent round of monochrome laser products, that is.

The company’s latest monochrome laser printer/copier/scanner (sans fax), the $159.99-list DCP-L2550DW seen here, and its DCP-L2540DW sibling have been dubbed multifunction copiers, which does little more than muddy the product-naming waters this late in the game. But hey, we’re too concerned with more important things, such as price, performance, print quality, running costs, and overall value, to worry about nomenclature. What type of users does the product serve and how well does it serve them, right?

To answer that question generally, the Brother DCP-L2550DW is an entry-level monochrome laser printer designed for use in a home-based or small office or workgroup. It’s fast for its price, and it prints well enough, as long as your application doesn’t call for a lot of nice-looking grayscale graphics and photos; in other words, it’s best suited for printing text. That isn’t a restriction for all monochrome laser printers; some of Canon’s monochrome AIOs, even entry-level models like the Canon imageClass MF249dw, produce impressive grayscale output. (Although if good-looking photos are what you’re after, you should be reading an inkjet printer review.)

In any case, the DCP-L2550DW is a great text printer, and we can think of plenty of settings where a reasonably fast low-volume text printer fits well, especially environments where quick delivery of one- and two-page documents is just the ticket.

That includes just about every front office or front desk setting—doctors’ offices, pharmacies, auto repair shops, tire shops—and anywhere else that needs to print quotes, receipts, and so on. Not only will they benefit from the fast, good-looking text documents, but few of these offices print more than 100 to 200 pages each month, which sort of minimizes the DCP-L2550DW’s steep running costs. The latter are our biggest complaint about this printer (and the entry-level laser market in general).

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper



 

Review of the Epson WorkForce WF-7720 Wide-Format All-in-One Printer at PCMag

    • PROS

      Prints up to 13-by-19-inch pages. Scans and copies multipage, two-sided originals up to 11 by 17 inches. Auto-duplexing ADF and scanner. Diverse connectivity. Great-looking, easy-to-use control panel.

CONS

    • High cost per page. Graphics printing could be better.

BOTTOM LINE

  • The Epson WorkForce WF-7720 prints, copies, and scans wide-format pages and is backed by a robust feature set, but its comparatively high cost per page relegates it to being a low-volume business printer.

The Epson WorkForce WF-7720 Wide-Format All-in-One Printer ($299.99) prints oversize pages up to super-tabloid size (13 by 19 inches), and it scans, copies, and faxes documents up to tabloid size (11 by 17 inches). Like its close competitor, the Editors’ Choice Brother MFC-J6935DW, it prints well and relatively fast, and it’s loaded with top-drawer productivity and convenience features, such as a single-pass auto-duplexing automatic document feeder (ADF). The Brother’s lower running costs and better business graphics keep this model from usurping the Editors’ Choice, but the WF-7720 has plenty of features that make it a suitable low-volume wide-format AIO for small offices and workgroups.
Read the entire review at PCMag


The Alaris S2080w Scanner by Kodak Alaris at PCMag

    • PROS

      Fast scanning. Saves to both image and searchable PDF reasonably quickly. Above-average OCR accuracy. Comprehensive, innovative software.

    • CONS

      Pricey. Accessories are expensive.

BOTTOM LINE

  • The top-of-the-line Alaris S2080w Scanner is fast, accurate, and feature-packed, but its high price makes it tough to recommend over its less-expensive, also-capable sibling.

The Alaris S2080w Scanner ($1,795) is the flagship model in Kodak Alaris’s line of S2000-series desktop document scanners. It’s essentially the same as the Editors’ Choice Alaris S2060w, which is just a bit slower and has a reduced daily duty cycle, but lists for $500 less. If you’re looking for a fast, accurate, networkable desktop document scanner designed as a mid- to high-volume data-capture point for large enterprises, the Alaris S2080w will do the job well. But if your business can sacrifice a bit on speed and duty cycle, the S2060w is a better value.
See the entire review at PCMag


Review of the Alaris S2060w Scanner by Kodak Alaris at PCMagAs networkable desktop document scanners increase in prevalence, their features become more slick, which is certainly the case with the Alaris S2060w Scanner ($1,295). It’s not only loaded with connectivity features, but it’s also slightly faster and more accurate than the Editors’ Choice Brother ImageCenter ADS-3600W. In addition, the Alaris S2060w comes with a powerful, highly productive scanner interface utility, Kodak’s own homegrown document-managing and indexing software, and a slew of other attractive amenities. These perks give the S2060w a solid push into our top position for medium- to heavy-volume document scanners for midsize to large organizations.

Read the entire review at PCMag

  • PROSEditors' Choice

    Excellent photo quality. Prints borderless images from 4 by 6 inches to 13 by 19 inches. Uses new Claria Photo HD inks. Small and light for an oversize printer.

  • CONS   

    Running costs a bit high. Prints speeds are slower than the competition.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    The consumer-grade Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 Wide-Format Inkjet Printer produces output quality that’s comparable with much more expensive professional models.

When it comes to consumer-grade supertabloid (13-by-19-inch) inkjet photo printers, the only one I knew of before the Epson Photo HD XP-15000 Wide-Format Printer ($349.99) is the Editors’ Choice  Canon Pixma iP8720 Wireless Inkjet Photo Printer. Both are single-function (print only) models. Both six-ink machines print exceptionally well, especially photos, and they’re priced similarly, but the XP-15000 has better paper-handling options and connectivity features, as well as a more modern and easier-to-use control panel on the rear of the machine just enough to ease into our top choice slot for wide-format consumer-grade photo printers.
Read the entire review at PCMag
  • PROSReview of Epson WorkForce DS-575W Wireless Color Document Scanner at PCMag

    Fast scanning and saving to PDF. Comes with document and business card management software. Wi-Fi networking. Strong software bundle.

  • CONS

    Could be more accurate when scanning serif fonts. Ethernet is extra and expensive.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    The Epson scans reasonably quickly and accurately, making it a good choice for small offices that need a document scanner with a simple feature set.

 The Epson WorkForce DS-575W ($399.99) is a low- to mid-volume document scanner designed for micro and small offices and workgroups. It’s comparable in price and speed to the Editors’ Choice Brother ADS-2700W Wireless High-Speed Desktop Document Scanner. The DS-575W is a fine desktop scanner, but the Brother model supports Ethernet networking and is considerably more accurate. That said, there are plenty of small-office and home-based-office scenarios where Ethernet isn’t required, and where the DS-575W would make a good personal scanner. It’s not robust enough to dislodge the Brother ADS-2700W from its top slot, but it’s still a fine little entry- to mid-level desktop scanner.Read the entire review at PCMag.



 

Review of the Lifeprint 3x4.5 HyperPhoto Printer at PCMagThe times they are a-changin’: We’re currently seeing a proliferation of consumer-grade standalone photo printers, such as the Kodak Photo Printer Mini , which we reviewed recently. It’s not surprising that these new models, like today’s review unit, the Lifeprint 3×4.5 ($149.99) , are getting smaller and more compact. However, what’s somewhat unexpected is that these new printers aren’t compatible with the devices they’ve traditionally been associated with, namely computers. In fact, the Kodak Mini, HP Sprocket , and the Lifeprint 3×4.5 and its sibling, the Lifeprint 2×3 , all can print from mobile devices, but lack support for, or connections to desktop PCs.

These snapshot printers produce photos that range in size from about 2 by 3 inches up to, in the case of the Kodak Dock, 4 by 6 inches. The Lifeprint 3×4.5 is actually an update to the Lifeprint 2×3, which the company says was an answer to requests for a larger photo size. In any case, the Lifeprint now comes in two sizes.

It also has a few interesting features you won’t find on competing models, such as the ability to publish stills as short videos, a feature that the company calls “augmented reality.” As you’ll see in the Design, Features, & Software section, this feature actually lets you publish your photos as brief videos—sort of.

The Lifeprint device is also, as mentioned, a dedicated mobile snapshot printer that, when paired with your mobile device, allows you to post photos on media sites and make rudimentary edits (such as brightness, contrast, and color corrections) or enhancements (like cropping, scaling, and rotating, as well as adding text, borders, and filters).

Whether it’s the Lifeprint or any dedicated snapshot printer, you’ll have to ask yourself several questions to determine whether it’s right for you: Is it competitively priced? How well does it perform in print quality, photo editing, and other areas? What are its ongoing running costs? And, in this case, do you want or need the augmented reality features?

We’ll do our best to answer all of these questions, but suffice it to say, we found the augmented reality, print quality, and cost per photo (CPP) compelling enough to give the Lifeprint 3×4.5 our Editors’ Choice nod.

Read entire review at Computer Shopper



 

Revoke pf the Kodak Photo Printer Mini at Computer ShopperApparently, dedicated photo printers like the $99.99 Kodak Photo Printer Mini   we’re reviewing here today are quite popular. Three of the four major inkjet printer makers—Canon, Epson, and HP—offer at least one standalone snapshot printer, and Kodak, which was once a major inkjet printer vendor itself (back when there were five), offers several, including the Kodak Photo Printer Dock  we reviewed a few months ago.

Over the years, as the Information Age has transitioned increasingly from desktop computing devices to handhelds, standalone snapshot printers like these two Kodak machines, HP’s SprocketCanon’s Selphy CP1200, and a few others have evolved with them. Nowadays, several snapshot printers, including the Sprocket, Kodak Photo Printer Dock, and now the Kodak Photo Mini, work exclusively with smartphones and tablets, forgoing desktop and laptop PC compatibility altogether.

As with the HP Sprocket, the only way to print to, configure, or gain access to the Kodak Mini at all is via your mobile device and the company’s Kodak Photo Printer app. And, as with the Kodak Dock and the Sprocket, you can print only one size photo; in this case 2.1 by 3.4 inches, which is about the same as the average business card. HP’s Sprocket output size, at 2 by 3 inches, is similar, and the Kodak Dock, at 4 by 6 inches, is designed to churn out snapshots about twice the size.

We don’t, of course, evaluate these little printers on the same terms as their full-size document printer counterparts. Here, the primary focus is four-fold: price, convenience, print quality, and ongoing running costs. Aside from a somewhat high per-print cost of operation, we found the Kodak Mini’s price reasonable. The printer itself was very easy to set up and use and the software made preparing and printing photographs a snap.

Read the entire article at Computer Shopper



 

  • Review of the Zebra GK420d Direct Thermal Printer at PCMagPROS 

    Exceptionally low running costs. Prints fast. Open programming platform for custom applications. Wide selection of label media. Dual simultaneous connectivity through serial and parallel ports.

  • CONS

    Complicated software installation. Ethernet costs extra. Lacks wireless and mobile support.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    The Zebra GK420d, the next step up from a consumer-grade label printer, provides wide-ranging expansion options and a very low cost of operation.

At the lower end of Zebra Technologies’ somewhat extensive stable of label/barcode printers, the Zebra GK420d Direct Thermal Printer ($595)  is small and relatively low-priced as industrial-strength label printers go. Though the GK420d is big and beefy, compared with the combination consumer-grade/small business professional label makers we’ve reviewed recently, such as the Editors’ Choice Brother QL-820NWB,($174.99 at Amazon) it’s more than capable of printing a wide range of label types from your team’s PCs, as well as some tablets and smartphones. It’s a great choice for mid-volume, industrial-strength labeling in near-limitless settings, from warehouses to medical facilities and beyond.Read the entire review at PCMag



 

  • PROSReview of the HP Envy Photo 7155 All-in-One Printer at PC Mag

    Reasonable purchase price. Good overall print quality. Low running costs with Instant Ink. Attractive design. Supports SD card flash memory.

  • CONS

    Cost per page is high sans Instant Ink. Potentially wasteful two-cartridge ink cartridge set holds all four inks. Noticeable banding when printing dark gradients and backgrounds.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    A well-designed and attractive consumer-grade photo AIO, the HP Envy Photo 7155 All-in-One Printer is capable of churning out good-looking photographs at highly competitive running costs, but only with HP’s Instant Ink subscription.

A step below the HP Envy Photo 7855 —the flagship model in the photo-centric HP Envy all-in-one (AIO) line—the HP Envy Photo 7155 All-in-One Printer ($149.99)  prints well overall, and it’s fast enough to keep up in this relatively slow genre of home-based and small office printers. In direct competition with the Editors’ Choice Canon Pixma TS9120 Wireless Inkjet All-in-One,($99.99 at Amazon) the Envy 7155 lacks a few features, and it doesn’t print quite as well, especially photos. With a subscription to HP’s Instant Ink program, however, the Envy 7155 is cheaper to use than the Canon TS9120, making it a sensible alternative for families and home-based offices on budgets.