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, support at least tabloid-size printing, and several, including the recent Editors’ Choice Brother MFC-J6935DW, come with scanners and automatic document feeders (ADFs) that can handle wide documents for scans, copies, and faxes.

While Brother makes many wide-format printers with a myriad of feature configurations, HP up until now offered only one, the Officejet Pro 7740, 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. 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, the WorkForce WF-7620 All-in-One, and the WorkForce ET-16500 EcoTank Wide-Format All-in-One Supertank. 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.

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Review of the HP LaserJet Enterprise M653x at PCMag

  • PROS

    Very fast. Good overall print quality. Strong paper-input capacity. Very-high-yield toner cartridges. Customizable control panel. Memory is upgradeable to 2GB. Optional hard drive.

  • CONS

    Expensive. Running costs can be high. Subpar photo output. Software and driver installation via the web is problematic.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    HP’s LaserJet Enterprise M653x prints terrific-looking text and graphics, and so-so photos, at an impressive clip, but its running costs are a bit high—especially for such a pricey color laser printer.

HP’s LaserJet Pro laser printers are designed primarily to support small-to-medium-size offices, workgroups, and businesses consisting of about five or so users. The company’s LaserJet Enterprise models, such as the LaserJet Enterprise M653x standalone color laser printer ($2,149), however, are aimed more toward larger offices, workgroups, and corporations with up to 40 or so networked users. In many ways—high print quality, high maximum-duty cycles, and expandability—these two LaserJet brands are often similar.The Enterprise machines, however, are typically faster; they come with significantly higher recommended monthly print volumes, access to higher-yield toner cartridges that deliver lower running costs, and, of course higher purchase prices. The M653x provides all that and more, but given its high price, slightly too-high cost per page, and subpar photo output, it comes up a bit short to make it a top pick mid-to-heavy volume color laser printer for larger workgroups, offices, and enterprises.Read the entire review at PCMag


 

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Review of the Canon imageClass LBP251dw at PCMag

  • PROS

    Outstanding print quality. Respectable print speed. Low price. Two paper-input sources. Expandable paper-input capacity. Relatively small and light. Department ID Manager feature lets you control access by user or group of users.

  • CONS

    Slightly high running costs. No memory-drive support.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    Canon’s imageClass LBP251dw monochrome laser prints terrific-looking text, graphics, and grayscale photos at a respectable speed for the price, but lower running costs would increase its overall value.

A direct competitor to the Dell Smart Printer S2830dn, our Editors’ Choice entry-level monochrome laser printer, the Canon imageClass LBP251dw ($209) comes close to the Dell model in print speed, print quality and features, and its list price is $70 less. But it falls a little short in one key area—the per-page cost of toner. This may seem insignificant, but if you print a few thousand pages or so each month, even a 1-cent difference in the cost per page (CPP) will cost you significantly over the life of the printer, far more than that $70 price difference. Otherwise, the LBP251dw is an outstanding low-priced monochrome laser printer, making it an excellent alternative to the Dell S2830dn for low-to-moderate volume output in a home-based or small office, or as a personal monochrome laser printer.
Read the entire review at PCMag

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Editors' Choice

  • PROS

    Fast output. Good print quality. Excellent label design, print software, and mobile apps. Prints two-color, black/red labels. Good selection of label types. Good value for the price.

  • CONS

    Per-label media cost is somewhat high. Ability to print in red limited to one label type.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    The Brother QL-800 prints several sizes of high-quality label types from your PC, Mac, or Android mobile device via USB, making it an excellent value for its relatively low price.

Like its higher-end QL-810W and QL-820NWB siblings, the Brother QL-800 ($99.99) is a reasonably fast label printer that churns out good-looking labels in several different types and sizes, ranging from small one-line barcodes, to address labels, and everything in between. It can print labels up to about 0.5 inch wide by 1 inch long to 2.4 inches wide by 36 inches long.
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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, 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.

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—memory 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 and the five-ink Epson Expression Photo XP-860 Small-in-One.

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—the ability to print good-looking photographs for literally a few pennies each—is 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.

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  • https://assets.pcmag.com/media/images/551745-brother-ql-810w.jpg?thumb=y&width=1659&height=1500PROS

    Respectable print quality. Prints in black and red. Prints labels fast. Terrific label design. Great print software and robust mobile app. Wide selection of label types.

  • CONS

    Per-label cost is high. Battery costs extra. Ability to print in red limited to one label type. QL-820NWB offers much more for not a lot more money.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    The Brother QL-810W label maker prints a wide variety of high-quality label types from your PC or mobile device, but its higher-end sibling provides significantly more features and versatility for just a little more money.

The Brother QL-810W ($149.99) label printer is a step down from the recent Editors’ Choice QL-820NWB. Although these two labelers essentially print the same types of labels at the same speeds over wireless networks or from mobile devices, what you give up feature-wise for the $50 list price difference between them is significant. With the QL-810W, for instance, you forgo a few different types of connectivity options, as well as the ability to use the label maker apart from a computing device. Overall, though, the Q-810W is a versatile and capable option, well worth considering for designing and printing many types of business labels via Wi-Fi, or from your team’s tablets and smartphones.
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Review of the HP DeskJet 2655 All-in-One at Computer ShopperThe other day we stated that, at $59.99, HP’s DeskJet 3755 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.

The DeskJet 2655 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.

HP DeskJet 2655 (Right Angled Blue)

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.

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, which, aside from the number of ink cartridges in the box, is identical to—but much less expensive than—the MFC-J985DW XL 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, 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.)

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  • Editors' ChoicePROS

    Fast print speeds. Good print quality. Multiple network and mobile connectivity options. Excellent label design. Great print software and mobile app. Prints in black and red. Operates as standalone label maker and printer with optional battery.

  • CONS

    Consumables somewhat costly on a per-label basis. Battery costs extra. Ability to print in red limited to one label type.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    The Brother QL-820NWB is a feature-rich label maker capable of churning out professional-looking output quickly and efficiently.

Recently, Brother announced the QL-800-series as new additions to its stable of professional label printers, which includes the flagship model, the QL-820NWB ($199.99), reviewed here. The QL-820NWB is similar in many ways to its QL-720NW predecessor in that it’s networkable and it comes with highly capable software. It’s also well-integrated with mobile devices, and it comes with a robust set of features and options, such as a broad assortment of printable media, the ability to print two-color labels, and an add-on rechargeable battery. Flexibility, a rich feature set, wide-ranging PC and mobile device integration, and a wide selection of label media elevates the QL-820NWB to our new top pick for a networkable professional label printer.

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Epson WorkForce Pro WF-3720 All-in-One Review and Ratings at Computer ShopperIntroduction

Epson’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.

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, which is one step up from today’s review subject, the entry-level ($149.99-MSRP) WorkForce Pro WF-3720 All-in-One Printer. 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 or one of Brother’s Business Smart Plus AIOs. One of our Editors’ Choice picks, the Brother MFC-J5930DW, 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

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Kodak Photo Printer Dock Review at Computer ShopperDedicated photo printers like the $149.90-MSRP Kodak Photo Printer Dock 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, part of the long-running Selphy line; the tiny HP Sprocket; and Epson’s 2015 PictureMate 400 Personal Photo Lab, for example) is undeniable.

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.

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