Communications Technology Watch : William Harrel – Journalist

My review of the Panasonic KV-N1028X Desktop Document Scanner at PCMag

  • PROS

    Superb OCR accuracy. Customizable touch screen. Comprehensive software. Competitive speed when scanning to image files and searchable PDF. Wired and wireless networking. Three-year warranty.

  • CONS

    Individual workstation licenses sold separately. A bit pricey.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    The Panasonic KV-N1028X is a snappy and exceptionally accurate networkable document scanner, designed primarily for enterprise environments.

A direct competitor to our Editors’ Choice Kodak Alaris S2060w, the Panasonic KV-N1028X Document Scanner ($1,495) is a strong effort for a networkable sheet-feed scanner. It’s designed for light to moderate scanning in a small or midsize office, or as one of several data-collection stations in a larger enterprise. Like the Alaris S2060w$1,056.85 at Jet.com, it has a touch screen on the front panel for operating the scanner without a PC or mobile device, as well as both wired and wireless networking. While it’s a little slow at converting scanned text to editable text, it managed some of the highest optical character recognition (OCR) accuracy scores to date. We found little to fault in the KV-N1028X, but nothing about it quite topples the Alaris from its top-choice spot. That said, the KV-N1028X is a fine network-ready scanner and a strong alternative to our current Editors’ Choice model.

My review of the Panasonic KV-N1028X Sheet-Feed Desktop Document Scanner at PCMag



My review of the Panasonic KV-S1037X document scanner at PCMag

  • PROS

    Wired and wireless networking. Three-year warranty. Excellent scanning software. Good OCR accuracy. Fast scanning and saving to image files or searchable PDFs.

  • CONS

    Software bundle could use bulking up. Short on mobile connectivity options.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    The Panasonic KV-S1037X is a fast, accurate network document scanner, but a more comprehensive software bundle would make it a better data-collection solution.

Panasonic’s KV-S1037X ($795) is essentially an updated version of the company’s KV-S1026C-MKII document scanner we reviewed a few months ago. The enhancements here include network connectivity, support for USB 3.1, and a few other notable upgrades. One of the KV-S1037X’s most direct competitors, though, is an Editors’ Choice pick, Brother’s formidable ADS-2700W Wireless High-Speed Desktop Document Scanner, which is slightly less expensive and a bit faster and more accurate—emphasis, though, on the slightly. Still, on the whole, the entry-level KV-S1037X is speedy, good at OCR, and reliable as document scanners go, making it suitable for light-duty scanning in small offices, home offices, and workgroups. We’d just like to see some tweaks to its software bundle.

Read the entire review at PCMag



My review of the Brother MFC-J995DW INKvestment Tank All-in-One Printer at PCMag

  • PROS

    Good output quality. Tight, easy-to-use color display and control panel. SD card and USB thumb drive support. Ethernet connectivity. 20-sheet ADF.

  • CONS

    Input and output capacities are low. ADF not auto-duplexing. A bit sluggish.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    The Brother MFC-J995DW is an entry-level office-oriented AIO with admirable output quality and, as a bulk-ink model, it costs a lot less to use than many of its competitors.

The entry-level Brother MFC-J995DW INKvestment Tank All-in-One Printer ($199.99) offers a good mix of convenience and productivity features that small offices will like. It comes with auto-two-sided printing and can print from and scan to various memory devices, two perks we don’t see in many of its competitors. Although its running costs aren’t the lowest out there, they are still very competitive, making the MFC-J995DW an excellent all-in-one printer for small and home-based offices with moderate print and copy volume.Read the entire review at PCMag



 

My review of the Canon Pixma G4210 MegaTank Wireless All-in-One Printer at PCMag

  • PROS

    Excellent running costs. Great print quality, especially photos. Prints Instagram’s 5-by-5-inch images. Ethernet networking. Strong mobile device support.

  • CONS

    No Wi-Fi Direct or auto-duplexing. Slow document printing.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    The Canon Pixma G4210 is a small-office bulk-ink AIO printer that produces quality output at a super-low price.

The Canon Pixma G4210 Wireless MegaTank All-in-One ($399.99) is designed for home-based and small offices and workgroups. Like its predecessor, the Pixma G4200, it sits at the top of the company’s MegaTank brand bulk-ink printers. Except for a few new features, such as Ethernet connectivity and a slew of updated utilities, this new Pixma is a lot like the old one. This all-in-one doesn’t have the speed or wealth of features that the Editors’ Choice Pixma TS9120 offers, but its exceptional output and low running costs make it a strong contender for offices where quality and cost is key.

Read the entire review at PCMag



  • My review of Brother's QL-1100 wide-format label printer at PCMagPROS

    Reasonably snappy print speeds. Good print quality, for a label printer. Excellent label-design and -printing software.

  • CONS

    Consumables somewhat costly on a per-label basis. No internal battery.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    A winning wide-body label maker, the Brother QL-1100 prints to a variety of label stock from your PC, Mac, or mobile device, and it comes with nifty label-design software and mobile apps.

The Brother QL-1100 label printer ($179.99) is, at heart, a wide-format version of the Brother QL-800 we reviewed this time last year. Like its smaller sibling, the QL-1100 churns out labels in several sizes—in this case, up to 4 inches wide, both die-cut and continuous-length labels—snappily and in good quality. It uses rolls of direct-printed thermal paper, and like most such printers, the per-label cost varies a lot according to your source for the stock. That said, aside from its QL-1110NWB sibling (a network-connectable version with otherwise identical specs), this is the first wide-format label printer of its kind that we’ve seen at this low a price. It’s a fine value for small-office and home-office shipping, barcoding, and other types of wide-format labeling.

Read the entire review at PCMag



My review of the Brother QL-1110NWB Wide-Format Label Printer at PCMag

  • PROS

    Prints wide-format labels up to 4 inches. Copious connectivity. Fast enough for moderate-size label jobs. Good print quality for a label printer. Handy design, printing, and database software. Easy to use.

  • CONS

    Consumables somewhat costly on a per-label basis. No battery for untethered use. Can’t print pre-designed labels from the unit itself.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    Brother’s QL-1110NWB supports network and mobile protocols galore and prints to wide labels from PCs, Macs, or mobile devices. Handy software and a nifty mobile app make this a strong pick among pro label printers.

The flagship model of Brother’s QL series of portable, pro-grade label printers, the QL-1110NWB ($279.99) is a step up from the Editors’ Choice QL-820NWB. These two label printers have very similar feature lists and capacities, except that the QL-1110NWB can print to wider labels (4 inches wide, versus 2.4 inches). However, the smaller version offers the option for an internal battery (making it truly portable) and a few other features missing on the QL-1110NWB—enough to keep this latest QL model from taking the place of the QL-820NWB as a PCMag top choice. That said, if your work routine calls for wider labels than the QL-820NWB can produce, the QL-1110NWB will serve as an excellent, networkable label printer for your home office, small office, or warehouse.

Read the entire review at PCMag



My review of the Epson WorkForce Pro ET-8700 EcoTank All-in-One Supertank Printer at PCMag

  • PROS

    Excellent output quality. Very low running costs after initial investment. Strong mobile connectivity. Ultra-high-yield ink bags. Support for USB memory sticks.

  • CONS

    High price. No SD card support. Recommended monthly page limit is low, considering cost, paper handling, and ink capacity.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    With long-lasting ink bags, Epson’s snappy, high-capacity WorkForce Pro ET-8700 EcoTank All-in-One inkjet can churn thousands of pages at a fraction of the running costs of most competitors.

Save for the earlier WorkForce Pro WF-R4640 EcoTank, it’s difficult to find a proper head-to-head competitor for the WorkForce Pro ET-8700 EcoTank All-in-One Supertank Printer ($999.99). This big inkjet is different from most other Epson EcoTank printers in that it uses large ink bags, rather than reservoirs you refill from bottles. It’s a higher-end, higher-volume all-in-one (AIO) designed for midsize to large offices and workgroups. It’s a snappy-enough printer for an office inkjet, the output quality is quite good, and you can’t beat its ultra-low running costs, making it a top-notch machine within its class. It comes up just short on the oomph, in terms of speed and rated monthly volume, though, needed to nudge it into an Editors’ Choice slot as a midsize business AIO.

Read the entire review at PCMag



      • My review of Brother's entry-level MFC-J690DW All-in-One Printer at PCMagPROS

        Handsome and well-built. Easy-to-use color display and control panel. Borderless printing. 20-sheet ADF. Good text output quality.

      • CONS

        High running costs. Low input and output capacities. No USB drive support. Backgrounds and fills not always spot-on in business graphics. Some holes in software bundle and connection options, versus barely pricier Brother models.

BOTTOM LINE

  • The Brother MFC-J690DW is a low-volume AIO that prints well enough for homes, home offices, and small offices. It’s a capable little machine, but its high running costs limit its monthly tour of duty.

The Brother MFC-J690DW ($119.99) is an entry-level all-in-one (AIO) printer designed for home offices, small offices, and workgroups. As a business-centric inkjet that prints, copies, scans, and faxes, it’s similar in features and close in price to our Editors’ Choice, the Canon Pixma TR8520 Wireless Home Office All-in-One. Though the MFC-J690DW prints at a relatively snappy pace for the price, it costs too much (in terms of ink) for frequent use, like most other so-called budget AIOs in this class. Given its high running costs and pared-down paper capacity, it fits best for offices that have light print and copy needs.Read the entire review at PCMag



My review of the Brother MFC-J895DW All-in-One inkjet printer at PCMag

  • PROS

    Good overall output quality. Easy-to-use display, control panel. SD card and USB thumb drive support. 20-sheet ADF.

      • CONS

        Running costs are high. Paper input and output capacities are low. Graphics backgrounds and fills not always spot-on.

B

OTTOM LINE

  • An entry-level, office-oriented AIO printer, Brother’s MFC-J895DW prints well, churns competitively quickly, and packs some higher-end features for the price. Its running costs, though, relegate it to low-volume duties.

It sure is hard to be an inkjet all-in-one (AIO) printer these days! Compared with our top pick for low-volume home printers, the Canon Pixma TR8520 Wireless Home Office All-in-One, the Brother MFC-J895DW ($129.99) is somewhat leaner in speed and capacity, and its color graphics output is a slight step down. But both printers churn out excellent-looking text and photos, and pack Ethernet ports for connecting to home and small-office networks. The MFC-J895DW is capable for light duty in homes and small offices, but (as we’ve noted about a few others of its kind), the competition in this class is stiff. A printer of this kind must practically run the board to take home our top nod.

Read the entire review at PCMag



William Harrel's review of the Brother MFC-J497DW at PCMag

  • PROS

    Strong output quality overall. 20-sheet ADF. Supports borderless printing. Solid feature set for price.

  • CONS

    Cost per page is high. No flash-drive support. Input and output capacities are low.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    The Brother MFC-J497DW is an inexpensive home or small-office AIO that prints well in low volumes for those environments. Like some recent siblings, though, its running costs need tweaking.

Let’s give Brother some credit up front: This printer packs a bunch of value and functionality into a small space. The MFC-J497DW ($79.99) is a compact, low-volume inkjet all-in-one printer, along the lines of the 4-star/Excellent-rated HP OfficeJet 3830 All-in-One. Like the HP model, the MFC-J497DW prints well, delivering smart-looking photos on premium-grade glossy or matte photo paper. But, even for an entry-level printer, the MFC-J497DW’s running costs are exceptionally high, especially when compared to the OfficeJet 3830 (and other HP models) paired with that company’s Instant Ink subscription service. The Brother MFC-J497DW does support two-sided printing, faxing, and a few other amenities that the HP OfficeJet 3830 does not, however, making it a good fit for many homes, home offices, and small workgroups with modest print and copy needs.

Read the entire review at PCMag