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 ($63.50 at Amazon), which we reviewed recently. It’s not surprising that these new models, like today’s review unit, the Lifeprint 3×4.5 ($149.99) ($92.87 at Amazon), 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 ($129.95 at Amazon), and the Lifeprint 3×4.5 and its sibling, the Lifeprint 2×3 ($108.99 at Amazon), 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 ($63.50 at Amazon)  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 ($139.99 at Amazon) 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) (Check on Amazon at Amazon) 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



 

  • PROSA review of the HP Envy Photo 6255 All-in-One Printer from PCMag

    Reasonable price. Attractive design. Low running costs with Instant Ink. Good overall print quality.

  • CONS

    Cost per page exceptionally high without Instant Ink. Banding in dark gradients and backgrounds. Wasteful two-cartridge ink system holds all four inks.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    The Envy Photo 6255 is a small, lightweight, and attractive consumer-grade AIO that prints good-looking photos and does so at highly competitive running costs, though only when you sign up for HP’s Instant Ink.

The lower-end model in a trio of entry-level consumer-grade all-in-one (AIO)inkjet photo printers that HP released recently, the Envy Photo 6255 All-in-One Printer ($129.99) (Check on Amazon at Amazon) competes directly with the Editors’ Choice Canon Pixma TS9120 Wireless Inkjet Printer,($99.99 at Amazon) as well as a few others in the Pixma TS-series line. The Envy 6255 is a bit slower, shorter on features, and its photo print quality falls a little behind that of the Canon TS9120; on the other hand, when you pair it with HP’s Instant Ink subscription service, you get some of the lowest per-page running costs from a consumer-grade photo printer available, making the Envy 6255 an excellent alternative for homes and families who want to print a few hundred photos inexpensively.
Read the entire review at PCMags



 

  • PROSReview of the Brother MFC-L2750DW XL at PCMag

    Near-typesetter text quality. Small and light. Single-pass auto-duplexing. Huge selection of connectivity options and workflow apps. Ships with large complement of toner.

  • CONS

    So-so graphics and image quality. High running costs after initial toner is used. Small paper capacity and duty cycle for price.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    The Brother MFC-L2750DW XL is a well-connected monochrome laser AIO printer that produces excellent text output, but its price is high thanks to the large amount of included toner.

The Brother MFC-L2750DW XL ($399.99) ($379.99 at Amazon) is one of the company’s first “XL” laser printers, which, to put it simply, means that the printer comes with a bunch of extra toner in the box. This results in a loftier price than we are used to seeing in an entry-level-to-midrange monochrome laser all-in-one (AIO), but it’s reasonably fast and prints well, making it a decent pick for home-based or small offices and workgroups with light print and copy loads, or perhaps even a personal monochrome laser AIO.The downside here is that, unlike Brother’s INKvestment inkjet counterparts—which not only come with extra ink but also incur very low ongoing running costs—the XL line simply provides the convenience of additional toner at the time of purchase. In other words, you won’t be ordering toner as soon, but when you do, you’ll pay essentially the same somewhat high per-page cost for it as you would to buy toner for several other Brother entry-level machines. Essentially, then, all you get for the additional expense (without the extra toner, the MFC-L2750DW XL would most likely sell for $200 to $300) is somewhat cheaper toner for the first several thousand pages, and, depending on usage, a long gap between when you buy the printer and when you must spring for more toner—a convenience to be sure, but perhaps not much of one.Read the entire review at PCMag                               


 


  • PROSReview of the Brother MFC-L2710DW at PCMag

    Exceptional text quality. Prints fast. Compact and lightweight. Ethernet support. Relatively low purchase price.

  • CONS

    Lacks support for USB thumb drives and memory cards. ADF not auto-duplexing. So-so business graphics and photos.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    The Brother MFC-L2710DW, a reasonably fast, low price, entry-level monochrome all-in-one laser printer, is an apt fit for low-volume print and copy environments.

The Brother ($199.99) is an entry-level all-in-one (print, copy, scan, and fax) printer designed for small and/or home-based offices or workgroups with modest printing needs, or perhaps as a personal monochrome laser AIO. For an entry-level AIO, it has a relatively strong feature set, and it’s fast. On the other hand, its running costs are a bit too high, and print quality (especially graphics and photos) leaves a little something to be desired. Even so, it’s space-saver small, well-built, and prints well enough overall, making it a suitable choice for low-volume monochrome print and copy environments.

Read the entire review at PCMag



 

  • PROSRead the review of the Brother HL-L2370DW XL at PCMag

    Small and light. Fast. Good text quality. Ships with large complement of toner.

  • CONS

    Graphics and photo quality could be better. Running costs should be lower, given purchase price. Small duty cycle and paper capacity for price.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    The vsts could be prohibitive for higher-volume environments.

The Brother HL-L2370DW XL ($279.99) ($229.99 at Amazon) is a member of the company’s recent line of bulk-toner laser printers. These new “XL” printers and all-in-ones are essentially entry-level machines that are, due to large a large complement of toner in the box, sold at midlevel monochrome laser printer prices. Whether it or a comparable, but less expensive, model like the Editors’ Choice Canon imageClass LBP251dw ($189.00 at Amazon) is right for you comes down to considering that your cost of ownership is going to go up once that first batch of toner is gone. If that’s not a deal-breaker, the HL-L2379DW is a highly capable single-function monochrome laser printer for home-based or small offices, and micro workgroups. It makes a good personal laser printer, too.

Read the entire review at PCMag



 

Epson Expression Premium ET-7700 Review and Ratings at Computer ShopperA while back, during a briefing on some new Epson EcoTank printers, we asked the company why there were no consumer-grade EcoTank photo printers. At the time, the answer seemed obvious to us: that offering a volume discount on consumables for these ink-guzzlers wouldn’t be profitable. But Epson’s answer surprised us. The company rep simply said, “Stay tuned.” And sure enough, a few months later Epson announced the topic of today’s review, the $449.99-street-priced, 28-syllable-named Epson Expression Premium ET-7700 EcoTank All-in-One Supertank Printer ($449.99 at Amazon), as well as its higher-end, tabloid-size sibling, the Epson Expression Premium ET-7750 Wide-Format Supertank All-In-One Printer. ($649.99 at Amazon)

Both of these Expression Premium AIOs are part of a larger, seven-product debut of new EcoTank machines, ranging from the lower-end ET-2700 ($279.99 at Amazon)to the impressive ET-7750. Among this sweeping upgrade are three Expression models, two WorkForce AIOs, and these two Expression Premium models.

While there are several ways in which Expression Premium AIOs distinguish themselves from non-Premium Expression models, in this case the primary distinction is that the ET-7700 and ET-7750 deploy five inks, rather than the more common four process colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, or CMYK) used in most standard color inkjet (and laser) printers. The fifth ink here, dubbed Photo Black or PB, is pigment-based rather than dye-based. Pigment-based inks tend to provide a wider color range and take longer to fade than their dye-based counterparts.

Epson Expression Premium ET-7700 (Right Angled)

The real news here, though, is that the ET-7700 can print borderless photos up to legal-size (8.5 by 14 inches) for not very much money (on a per-page cost-of-ink basis). Enough ink comes in the box for printing thousands of documents and hundreds of photos. When it comes time to buy more, as you’ll see later in the Cost Per Page section, refill bottles that hold literally thousands of document pages and photos are quite inexpensive, on both a per-page and by-the-bottle basis.

In other words, once you burn through the initial allotment for the machine (ten bottles of ink, or two sets of CMYK PB), the ET-7700 starts printing your document pages and photos for some of the lowest running costs in the inkjet printer market, especially for consumer-grade photo printers.

Otherwise, the ET-7700 is, for the price, not a very well-endowed all-in-one printer. As you’ll see in the Performance section later on, it’s slow, its paper input capacity is low, and it lacks an automatic document feeder (ADF) for copying or scanning multipage documents. And all of that is a lot to give up in a $450 machine.

If, on the other hand, what you need is primarily great-looking artwork and photos at a highly reasonable cost per page, with perhaps an occasional scan or copy thrown in, the only reason we can think of not to buy the ET-7700 is that you need wide-format artwork and photos. In that case, you can get the ET-7750 for about an additional $100.

Read entire review at Computer Shopper

Review of Epson WorkForce ET-3700 EcoTank All-in-One Supertank PrinterOf the four major inkjet printer makers—Brother, Canon, Epson, and HP—Epson, with its EcoTank onboard supertank containers you fill from bottles, has made by far the largest commitment to delivering its consumables in unconventional, presumably less expensive ways. With the Japanese imaging giant’s latest round of seven new EcoTank all-in-one (AIO) inkjets, including today’s review unit, the $399.99 WorkForce ET-3750 EcoTank All-in-One Supertank Printer, it now has more than three times as many bulk-ink AIOs than Canon’s similar (in concept, anyway) MegaTank machines.

While Brother’s and HP’s cartridge-based bulk-ink solutions (INKvestment and Instant Ink, respectively) are much easier for the manufacturers themselves to deploy, Epson now offers at least as many discounted-ink printers as its competitors. This latest round of EcoTank models (some we’ve reviewed already, and some are in the wings) consists of three Expression models (ET-2700, ($279.99 at AmazonET-2750, (Check on Amazon at Amazon) and ET-3700); ($329.99 at Amazon) two WorkForce models (WorkForce ET-3750 ($349.99 at Amazon)and WorkForce ET-4750); ($499.00 at Amazon) and two five-ink, photo-centric Expression Premium models (Expression Premium ET-7700 ($449.99 at Amazon) and Expression Premium ET-7750 ($649.99 at Amazon)).

That last one, the ET-7750, supports wide-format (tabloid-size, or 11×17-inch) pages, which significantly increases the types of documents you can design and print, such as borderless photos up to 11 by 17 inches, spreadsheets up to twice the standard letter size, small booklets, or perhaps borderless brochures up to letter size and beyond. You can print similar documents with the ET-3750, too, except that it stops at legal-size (8.5 by 14 inches) pages.

Epson WorkForce ET-3750 (Left Angled)

Otherwise, as a WorkForce (business-oriented) AIO, you get a few features unavailable on the Epson Expression models, such as a 35-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF) for sending multipage documents to the scanner, as well as Epson’s PrecisionCore printhead technology, which prints faster, better-looking text and graphics. We’ll look a little closer at both features in the Design & Features section, next.

Of course, the ET-3750 and its siblings distinguish themselves with EcoTank reservoirs, supertank plumbing, and bottles full of ink, which, as you’ll see in the Cost Per Page section later on, greatly affect the economics for purchasing and using this type of printer. Depending on what and how much you print, the ET-3750 and its ilk can be a terrific value. If, on the other hand, you (like many entry-level printer buyers) set it up in a corner and let it, aside from the occasional print or copy job, collect dust, the ET-3750 isn’t practical at all.

In the right setting, though—printing hundreds of pages month in and month out—the ET-3750 will deliver great-looking prints at very reasonable running costs, making it a sensible choice for small or home-based offices, micro workgroups, and even as a personal color inkjet AIO—as long as you use it enough to justify the additional up-front expense for the extra ink in the box.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper


Review of the Brother HL-L2350DW at PCMag

  • PROS

    Decent print quality overall. Fast for an entry-level device. Good price. Competitive running costs. Small footprint.

  • CONS

    Lacks Ethernet port. No support for external drives.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    The low-cost, entry-level Brother HL-L2350DW is a reasonably fast monochrome laser printer with competitive running costs.

When it comes to monochrome laser printers, the Brother HL-L2350DW ($119.99) ($89.99 at Amazon), which is close in price, features, and capacity to the Editors’ Choice Canon ImageClass LBP151dw (Check on Amazon at Amazon), is about as entry-level as you can get. Also similar to another top pick, the Dell Smart Printer S2830dn [[Amazon_Link_Text]], the HL-L2350DW is fast for its lean price, and it prints well overall, too. The Dell Smart Printer comes at a somewhat higher purchase price than the HL-L2350DW, but the former delivers significantly lower running costs, thereby making it a better value over time. If your print volume doesn’t exceed a few hundred pages each month, the Brother HL-L2350DW should serve your low-volume home-based or small office or workgroup quite well. It should also make a good personal monochrome laser printer.

Read the entire review at PCMag