Computer Shopper : William Harrel – Journalist

My article on How to Recycle or Donate Your Old Printer at PCMag

Whether your trusty inkjet or laser has spit out its last page, or you’re just looking to upgrade, here’s how not to land your old printer in a landfill.

ByWilliam Harrel

Donate, Recycle, or Sell Your Old Printer?

Whether your printer is a lightweight budget inkjet or a bulky workhorse laser, a single-function printer or a versatile all-in-one (AIO), the time will come when you’ll need to find a responsible way to dispose of it. Maybe it broke down for good; maybe you’ve simply replaced it with a better model. Whatever the reason why you don’t need your printer any longer, getting rid of it responsibly means making sure it gets refurbished and put back into service, or that its materials get into the right recycling streams. Here’s how to make that happen.

Read the entire article at PCMag



 

Review of the Epson DS-320 Portable Duplex Document Scanner With ADF at PCMa

  • PROS

    Highly accurate OCR. Fast scanning and saving to both image and searchable PDF. Comprehensive software bundle. 20-page single-pass ADF.

  • CONS

    Lacks battery. No wireless connectivity.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    The Epson DS-320 is a fast and accurate portable document scanner, but its slightly more expensive sibling offers more road-ready features.

The Epson DS-320 Portable Duplex Document Scanner With ADF ($249) is fast and accurate, much like its higher-end sibling, the Editors’ Choiced Epson WorkForce ES-300W. This smaller, less-expensive iteration mimics the ES-300W in appearance, volume, and functionality in most ways, but the $50 list-price difference means giving up wireless networking and a built-in battery. If you don’t need these features, though, you can save the 50 bucks and still get a highly capable portable sheet-feed document scanner for the road.

Read the entire review at PCMag

Review of Lifeprint 2x3 Hyperphoto Printer at PCMag

  • PROS

    Innovative “hyperphoto” technology for turning stills to videos. Prints well. Small and light. Easy to set up and use.

  • CONS

    No way to print from PC. Relatively high running costs.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    With its innovative photo-to-video technology, the Lifeprint Photo and Video Printer 2×3 proves itself an intriguing novelty snapshot printer.

Pocket photo printers such as the HP Sprocket and the Kodak Photo Printer Mini offer the convenience of printing on the go from your phone or tablet. The Lifeprint 2×3 Hyperphoto Printer ($129.99) takes this a step further: It comes with its own social media site for sharing photos, and using an augmented reality (AR) technology, it allows you to turn stills into movie clips, or what Lifeprint calls “hyperphotos.” Overall, Lifeprint 2×3 prints well, and it’s an appealing option if you’re open to a unique twist on photo sharing.
Read the entire article at PCMag


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



 

  • 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.

[amazon_link asins=’B0763TXM5Q’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’2bc163a9-0845-11e8-a181-7f43bd59e072′]The Brother HL-L2370DW XL ($279.99) [amazon_link asins=’B0763TXM5Q’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’3581e154-0845-11e8-8cee-d373755d5243′] 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 [amazon_link asins=’B0188WLLVI’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’a54e2eb4-0845-11e8-a797-25f7092ff1e2′] 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



 

A 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, as well as its higher-end, tabloid-size sibling, the Epson Expression Premium ET-7750 Wide-Format Supertank All-In-One Printer.

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 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.

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 the entire review at Computer Shopper

Brother MFC-J775DW Review and Ratings at Computer ShopperTis the season of the low-cost, entry-level all-in-one (AIO) printer. Recently, we’ve reviewed models from Canon (the Pixma TS3120 Wireless All-in-One) [amazon_link asins=’B074VD1GGT’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’0fd14204-f0ad-11e7-8384-43025b845dd7′], HP (the DeskJet 2655 All-in-One [amazon_link asins=’B06XHXWB7B’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’27a20f2d-f0ad-11e7-ab5b-95bda7d75de2′] and DeskJet 3755 All-in-One) [amazon_link asins=’B01GAIU7HG’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’4d6d33a2-f0ad-11e7-9ef8-31d3904d7179′], and now Brother’s $149-street MFC-J775DW, today’s review model. While the Canon and HP machines cost under $100, and the MFC-J775DW [amazon_link asins=’B01D8O2VKQ’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’5b5cdbdd-f0ad-11e7-b9cc-4bfa9a11afb5′] costs more for the same speed ratings and capacities, the Brother costs significantly less to use.

[amazon_link asins=’B01D8O2VKQ’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’6e0bb99e-f0ad-11e7-8b46-99bcfa06c15f’]And that’s the primary reason the MFC-J775DW lists for more than $100. (Aside, perhaps, from its automatic document feeder, or ADF, for scanning multipage documents without assistance; most sub-$100 models lack one.) It is one of Brother’s INKvestment line of AIOs, the company’s response to Epson’s EcoTank and Canon’s MegaTank bulk-ink models, which ask you to pay more for the machine up front to save on the ongoing per-page price of ink. Hence, in our Cost Per Page section later on, we’ll show you how (in this printer’s case, anyway) paying an additional $50 or so for the printer itself could—if you use it enough—save you significantly in consumables over the life of the machine.

How do Brother’s INKvestment machines differ from MegaTank and EcoTank AIOs? The INKvestment models use typical ink cartridges, whereas the Canon and Epson machines get their ink from bottles. You use them to fill reservoirs built into the printers themselves. In addition, the Canon and Epson models come with enough ink in the box to churn out thousands of pages, compared to the MFC-J775DW’s initial 2,400 monochrome and 1,200 color pages.

Brother MFC-J775DW (Printer and Ink)

You can, by the way, buy an “XL” iteration of the MFC-J775DW that comes with three sets of cartridges, for three times the prints, for an additional $100. This puts the XL version in direct competition with Epson’s Expression ET-2600 EcoTank All-in-One [amazon_link asins=’B01N0GJFUH’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’9915a347-f0ad-11e7-ae47-552018496668′] and Canon’s Pixma G3200 Wireless MegaTank All-in-One.[amazon_link asins=’B07214SQW3′ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’abb2802a-f0ad-11e7-a3b4-dfd45b7e2736′] (Neither of these has an ADF, whereas the MFC-J775DW does.)

Whether, by the way, you should buy the XL version or the non-XL model depends on how much you print. If you can afford the additional C-note, our calculations indicate that for the $100 more that you’d pay for the MFC-J775DW XL, you get about $138 worth of extra ink in the box. So it depends on how quickly you’ll use that ink; saving $38 over the course of a year or two isn’t as attractive as saving that amount over a two- or three-month period.

Brother specializes in serious business printers, and while the MFC-J775DW is technically an office printer, as opposed to a photo-centric family-oriented machine, it’s not anywhere near a heavy-duty workhorse. Despite its lower running costs, this is a low-volume machine, as measured by its 12-page-per-minute (ppm) print speed rating. Even so, it prints, copies, and scans well, and its ADF makes it much more suitable to office-minded tasks, such as copying and scanning multipage documents, than several competing models. Reasonable print speeds, good print quality, relatively low running costs, dependable operation, an automatic document feeder, and a two-year warranty make this AIO a good value.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper



 

With all of the innovation going on in information technology these days, printers may not be the sexiest set of gear, but they remain one of the bedrocks. An absolute in the printer market nowadays is that, no matter what you pay for it—from $50 to $1,000 or more—your single-function or multifunction machine should print at least passably well, and it should perform like a champ—in terms of mechanical functionality, if not necessarily speed. Those are 2017’s printer table stakes.

Computer Shopper's Top 100 Tech Products of 2017: Printers

From small or home-based offices to huge enterprises and workgroups, an ongoing trend in printer technology over the past several years has been mobile connectivity—printing from and scanning to your smartphone, tablet, or laptop from virtually anywhere and everywhere. The year 2017 continues that trend, as well as the ongoing ink wars, in which printer makers promote various technologies and programs for providing lower-cost ink (or at least the illusion of it), especially among lower-end consumer and small-office all-in-ones (AIOs). The reality is that ink’s not really any cheaper, but these products do provide a lot more transparency into what it actually costs to keep your printer inked up.

Read the entire article at PCMag



 

Review of the Canon Pixma TR7520 Wireless Home Office Inkjet All-in-One at Computer ShopperHere’s another of those situations when a printer maker (in this case, Canon) offers two all-in-one (AIO) printers close in price, but diverse enough in features that the higher-end iteration dwarfs its slightly less expensive sibling. In this case, we’re talking about the Canon Pixma TR8520 Wireless Home Office All-in-One [amazon_link asins=’B074VFW3VX’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’dd386c4f-daa9-11e7-af58-e5ef4ac38939′] and its $20-cheaper sibling, the $179.99-list ($129.99-street) Pixma TR7520 Wireless Home Office All-in-One [amazon_link asins=’B074V5CMYK’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’3362d5a2-daaa-11e7-a840-2591473b8703′]  reviewed here today. The cost/value ratio between them is so far out of whack that choosing the TR7520 only makes sense in some very specific, rarely encountered situations.

[amazon_link asins=’B074V5CMYK’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’3f1b5284-daaa-11e7-ad92-7b701dab8545′]In other words, for $20, you give up too much. As you can tell by their names, both the Pixma TR7520 and TR8520 are home office all-in-ones (AIOs), and, as you can probably tell by their prices, we’re not talking a corporation’s home office. Both the TR7520 and the TR8520, the TR-series flagship model, are relatively low-volume home and family appliances that provide your domestic office the ability to print, scan, copy, and fax.

If you go with the TS7520, you give up Ethernet (wired networking); the ability to print from SD cards from your digital camera, smartphone, or tablet; and a larger 4.3-inch touch screen, settling for a 3.0-inch control panel. Any one of those features on its own is well worth an additional Jackson, although we suspect that most home office and family environments could get by without any or all of them.

Canon Pixma TR7520 (Angled Output)

Similar in many ways to Canon’s Pixma TS6120 [amazon_link asins=’B074VD4WZS’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’8e6fb378-daaa-11e7-b818-65777a7f07d2′], the TR7520 is more of a business-oriented machine, whereas the TS6120 leans more toward family and photo-printing use. The primary differences between them, while significant, aren’t many. The TR7520, for instance, comes with an automatic document feeder (ADF) for hands-off multipage scanning and the ability to send and receive faxes. The TS6120, while it comes with a scanner, lacks ADF and fax capabilities.

The TR7520 also lists for about $30 more than the TS6120. These two machines are similar in that both use five-ink imaging systems. In fact, at their core—namely, their print engines, as far as we can tell—they’re pretty much the same; their print speeds, output quality, and running costs are close enough that for our purposes here, they’re identical.

The TR7520 is, then, essentially an entry-level home office AIO. Not only is that reflected in its relatively low purchase price, like many of its competitors, including Epson’s Expression Photo XP-8500 Small-in-One [amazon_link asins=’B074V4MQ3L’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’e6b47110-daaa-11e7-a881-73b87ed76396′] and Expression Premium XP-640 Small-in-One [amazon_link asins=’B01J7H8HP6′ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’0a1b6694-daab-11e7-8022-819690a560fb’], the TS7520 is slow and its per-page price for ink is high, especially compared to similarly priced business-oriented AIOs—such as Epson’s WorkForce Pro WF-4720 All-in-One [amazon_link asins=’B01MT8VSLU’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’2924315a-daab-11e7-97a6-95b62c127ee4′], to keep the comparisons focused on that manufacturer.

Where the TR-series Pixmas excel, though, is in their terrific output, especially with graphics and photos. They’re also very easy to use, as they come with software geared more toward home users. The bottom line on the TR7520 (and its TR8520 sibling) is that, though Canon doesn’t market it as such, it is essentially a five-ink consumer-grade photo printer with an ADF and fax capabilities, with a well-under-$200 street price, and that is somewhat unusual. Even so, its high cost per page (CPP) and relative sluggishness relegate it to home-office AIO duty. If that’s what you’re looking for, this is a terrific little printer—though, as we said, the TR8520 is just a bit more terrific.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper



 

As we’ve noted before, there are a lot of single-function and multifunction, or all-in-one (AIO), monochrome laser printers in the world. Over the past year or so, we’ve looked at several from Brother, Canon, HP, Dell, Oki Data, Samsung, and Xerox, and haven’t come close to reviewing them all. And there are still more models from other manufacturers not listed above, one of them being a long-established maker of laser printers and other office equipment worldwide—Ricoh. Today’s review model, the $455-list Ricoh SP 377SFNwX Black and White Laser Multifunction Printer [amazon_link asins=’B01MR5BCHP’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’dbb0994b-c5d1-11e7-b2dc-7d1626f631b7′] at Amazon), is the first of a few Ricoh machines that we’ll be reviewing soon.

[amazon_link asins=’B072XNR3NG’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’767391e7-c31e-11e7-b00d-c5ff2f89715e’]Paying just under $500 usually gets you a midrange, medium-volume monochrome laser AIO. The 377SFNwX’s price positions it between Brother’s MFC-L5700DW  [amazon_link asins=’B01BI0ONC6′ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’f737b82b-c5d1-11e7-aa3b-8bf7ad85e004′] and Canon’s ImageClass D1550 [amazon_link asins=’B01CXJ7X7S’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’0c451fe4-c5d2-11e7-b701-9b2a5fce3d93′]; however, the Ricoh’s 30,000-page maximum monthly duty cycle suggests that it’s less capable by several thousand pages than these and other closely priced monochrome laser AIOs, including the Brother MFC-L6800DW [amazon_link asins=’B01BHSLKV6′ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’1c9f37a9-c5d2-11e7-bc78-051ca9a9c582′] and Canon ImageClass D1520.[amazon_link asins=’B01CXJ7X5K’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’2b0aedb5-c5d2-11e7-8e74-eb2e80817e8c’] Unless, that is, you evaluate them from a different number, the recommended monthly volume, which in most cases is a much more relevant figure. The Ricoh model’s 5,800-page recommended volume is more than a couple of thousand pages higher than most of the other monochrome AIOs mentioned here.

Despite its lower duty cycle, as you’ll see in the Cost Per Page section later, the 377SFNwX delivers lower running costs than most other midrange monochrome laser AIOs, which, if you’re printing thousands of pages each month, is a very important consideration. Also important is how well the AIO prints. Although during our tests our Ricoh review unit churned out graphics and photos slightly darker than we like, its overall print quality is quite good, especially when printing text.

Ricoh SP 377SFNwX (Left Angled)

As you’ll see in the Design & Features section coming up next, the 377SFNwX is also significantly smaller and lighter than most of the AIOs mentioned here so far. In fact, its size is closer to that of an entry-level model, such as, say, Canon’s $300-list ImageClass MF249dw.[amazon_link asins=’B01K9OM9NW’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’38b80f1a-c5d2-11e7-8e28-01fdeb5f8d76′] Even so, it comes with just about every production and convenience feature you can get on a laser AIO in this class, including an auto-duplexing automatic document feeder (ADF) and a plethora of standard and mobile connectivity methods.

Not as stylish as Canon’s latest round of monochrome lasers, nor as volume-capable and expandable as Brother’s current midrange black-and-white laser AIOs, the Ricoh 377SFNwX nevertheless has its charms, to the extent that if its overall print quality were just a wee bit better, it would have easily walked away with our Editors’ Choice nod. Otherwise, it is an ideal mid-volume workhorse for your small office’s or workgroup’s internal communications, as well as frontline situations, such as the front desks at doctors’ and dentists’ offices, auto repair shops, and anywhere else quick, short text documents are required.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper