• 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) ($239.99 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 ($179.00 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

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) ($49.00 at Amazon), HP (the DeskJet 2655 All-in-One ($49.99 at Amazon) and DeskJet 3755 All-in-One) ($60.40 at Amazon), 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 ($149.99 at Amazon) costs more for the same speed ratings and capacities, the Brother costs significantly less to use.

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 ($219.99 at Amazon) and Canon’s Pixma G3200 Wireless MegaTank All-in-One.($249.99 at Amazon) (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 ($129.93 at Amazon) and its $20-cheaper sibling, the $179.99-list ($129.99-street) Pixma TR7520 Wireless Home Office All-in-One ($119.99 at Amazon)  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.

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 ($99.99 at Amazon), 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 ($199.99 at Amazon) and Expression Premium XP-640 Small-in-One ($77.00 at Amazon), 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 (Check on Amazon at Amazon), 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 ($315.00 at Amazon) at Amazon), is the first of a few Ricoh machines that we’ll be reviewing soon.

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  ($301.03 at Amazon) and Canon’s ImageClass D1550 ($454.00 at Amazon); 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 ($589.00 at Amazon) and Canon ImageClass D1520.($377.94 at Amazon) 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.($214.00 at Amazon) 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



 

Review of the Canon Pixma TS8120 Wireless Inkjet All-in-One at Computer ShopperIt’s been less than a year since we reviewed Canon’s last round of TS-series Pixma printers, which included the Pixma TS8020 Wireless Inkjet All-In-One.($69.99 at Amazon) That model is the precursor to the machine we’re reviewing here, the $179.99-MSRP Pixma TS8120 ($106.61 at Amazon).

It’s unusual for a printer maker to refresh its line so soon. Speculating why Canon did so here would be, well, speculation. All we know for sure? Earlier in 2017, the Pixma TS series replaced the company’s MG-series Pixmas, a line of long-in-the-tooth photo-centric all-in-ones (AIOs) that we’ve reviewed year after year throughout the ’10s. Perhaps Canon felt that the first round of the new TS series wasn’t quite right. Or perhaps evolving market trends tipped the imaging giant’s hand.

In any case, the Pixma TS8120 is second from the top dog in Canon’s recent TS-line upgrade. This new line of five printers comprises the Pixma TS9120  ($199 MSRP, discounted to $149.99 as we wrote this in mid-October 2017) ($129.99 at Amazon), today’s Pixma TS8120 (discounted at many e-tailers to $149.99) ($99.99 at Amazon), the Pixma TS6120 ($149.99 MSRP, discounted to $99.99) ($99.99 at Amazon), the Pixma TS5120 ($99.99 MSRP, discounted to $89.99) ($49.99 at Amazon), and an all-new entry-level iteration, the Pixma TS3120 ($89.99 MSRP, discounted to $59.99).($49.00 at Amazon) We’ll be reviewing four of the five; this is the first in our Canon review wave.

All but that last one are updates to existing models. And, as usual, from top to bottom, as the prices shrink, so do the feature sets. For a $20 higher list price than the Pixma TS8120, for example, the Pixma TS9120 adds Ethernet connectivity and has a 5-inch display, whereas the Pixma TS8120 does not support wired networking and comes with a 4.3-inch screen.

Canon Pixma TS8120 (SD Card Front)

Because these models are positioned as photo printers, how well they print photos is paramount to everything else. As we’ve seen over the years, five- and six-ink printers tend to do a better job of printing across a wider variety of photos than standard four-ink (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, or CMYK) machines. With that in mind, the two top TS Pixmas, the TS9120 and TS8120, use six inks; the next two down the chain (the TS6120 and TS5120) use five inks; and the TS3120 uses the standard four inks.

A change this time around is that instead of the “photo gray” ink that six-ink Pixmas have been using for the past several years, the sixth ink is now a “photo blue.” Where the photo gray ink was claimed to increase the color gamut (or color range) somewhat and help print superior gray-scale images, the new photo blue, according to Canon, reduces graininess. (We assume that the photo blue ink should increase the color range, too.)

The TS8120 comes in three colors: black, red, and white, as shown below. Canon sent us the red one…

Canon Pixma TS8120 (Colors)

A standing difference between consumer-grade photo AIOs and their office-oriented counterparts is that the former generally cost more to use: The per-page ink cost is higher. Canon’s photo-centric Pixmas traditionally have had slightly higher running costs than their competitors, and printed some of the best-looking images among consumer-grade photo printers. Nothing has really changed on those fronts.

Whether the Pixma TS8120 is right for you depends on several factors. Positioned as a photo printer foremost, not only does it cost more to use than some other inkjet AIOs, but it also lacks an automatic document feeder (ADF) for sending multi-page documents to the scanner. ADF AWOL is not unusual with this class of printer, especially those under $200. That trend has begun to change of late, though, with newer models such as the HP Envy Photo 7855 All-in-One (Check on Amazon at Amazon); we’ll look a little closer at this important development in the next section.

Canon Pixma TS8120 (Mobile)

The bottom line on the Pixma TS8120? If you’re looking for a machine mainly for printing photos, it’s hard to beat this little AIO (aside from getting the stepped-up Pixma TS9120, which we’re also reviewing, or one of a few Epson photo-centric models to be discussed later). If, on the other hand, you also need your photo printer to be nimble at making copies, printing lots of documents, and scanning pages with regularity, the Pixma TS8120 has a few shortcomings in those areas.

How much should they affect your buying decision? That depends on just how much printing, copying, and scanning you need to do. Let’s dig in and judge.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper



 

The Canon ImageClass LBP612Cdw review at Computer ShopperCanon’s ImageClass laser printers, such as the $279-MSRP Color ImageClass LBP612Cdw ($204.52 at Amazon) we’re reviewing here today, typically print well, at a reasonably fast clip, and with little fuss. That all holds for this little stand-alone (print-only) model. As you may be able to tell from the price, the LBP612Cdw is an entry-level machine, in this case designed for small offices and workgroups, or perhaps as a personal color laser printer. ($279 is very little money for a color laser printer, and we’ve seen this one, at this writing, marked down under $200 from some e-tailers.)

In fact, we found only two things to question on this little printer: a too-small paper-input tray and a too-high cost per page. We’ll talk more about input capacity later on, as well as get into the specifics concerning running costs. In general, though, it’s not unusual for small laser printers like this one to have a relatively high per-page cost of toner; high enough that, we think, they may be pricing themselves out of the market. Why? Because, if the color-fast printing and precision on small fonts isn’t exactly what you need (the usual strengths of lasers), you can find several lower-priced inkjet models out there that print as well as (and sometimes better than) these entry-level laser-based machines, at lower costs per page.

But if laser is what you’re focused on archival or permanency issues, this budget ImageClass model is a nice sample in its price range. The ImageClass LBP612Cdw is light, small, and easy to manage, and it prints very well, too. The big sticking point is what you’ll pay for the toner to feed it versus certain inkjets. Canon’s own $149.99-list Maxify iB4120, ($129.99 at Amazon) for instance, is a small-business-minded inkjet that provides many of the same qualities (it’s a stand-alone printer, not an all-in-one), with running costs about a third of those of its laser cousin. Another such example is the HP Officejet Pro 8210,  (Check on Amazon at Amazon) another highly capable inkjet-based “laser alternative.” As we’ll calculate out later in this review, if you use your printer often, the difference in running costs alone could save you plenty of money over the life of the printer.

Now, of course, some applications, such as HIPAA-regulated medical offices and facilities, as well as some government offices, require laser-printed output (using toner, rather than ink), and in those cases, sometimes all you can do is bite the toner bullet—or, if you print more than a few hundred pages per month, opt for a higher-volume laser model. You may pay more for the printer, but a (sometimes much) lower cost per page will not only make up for that expenditure, but also start saving you a bundle before long.

Which brings us back to Canon’s ImageClass LBP612Cdw. The bottom line is that this is a nice little printer for environments where you need high-quality laser output in scaled-down fashion (say, no more than a couple of hundred pages per month). From that perspective—in which you don’t print enough for the money spent on consumables matters much—we have no problem recommending the ImageClass LBP612Cdw as a low-volume color laser for home or small offices, or as an entry-level personal machine.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper



 

Review of the Brother HL-L8260CDW standalone laser printer at Computer ShopperOften, printer makers release incremental versions of a product with different feature sets (sometimes very different), but with small differences in price. In those cases, you have the potential to get a great bargain if you spend just a little more—or, conversely, you can give up a lot in trying to save just a little bit of cash.

Such is the conundrum presented by today’s review subject, the $349.99-list Brother HL-L8260CDW ($294.00 at Amazon) (and its $399.99-list sibling, the Brother HL-L8360CDW).($369.00 at Amazon) The printers have MSRPs/list prices that are $50 apart, and depending on the online seller, real-world selling prices that were between $50 and $75 apart at this writing.

Now, $50 to $75 is a fair bit of money, in a relative sense, when you are talking about a $350 product. But what you give up for that money, in this specific equation, is substantial. (In addition, the more a printer costs, the less relevant $50 or $75 is.)

It’s situations like these, where, by dissipating the marketing smokescreen, as analysts we can help you in your role as IT decision-maker for your home office or small business—or in your everyday life. If, that is, we do our job correctly. And here, with confidence we think the extra money for the HL-L8360CDW, for most buyers, will be money well-spent.

Brother HL-L8260CDW (Right Angled)

The HL-L8260CDW is part of a multi-product launch of Brother laser printers in mid-2017, with this model being the lowest-end of the bunch. One step up from an actual entry-level color laser, such as the Canon ImageClass LBP612Cdw ($204.52 at Amazon) we reviewed recently, the HL-L8260CDW is roughly comparable in HP’s line to the HP Color LaserJet Pro M452dw. Both models come with higher input capacities, higher monthly duty cycles (the number of pages that the manufacturer says you can print each month without overtaxing the printer), and input-tray expansion options that the entry-level models don’t offer.

The next model up from the HL-L8260CDW, the HL-L8360CDW, has a higher-still duty cycle (60,000 pages, versus 40,000), greater input-capacity expansion (1,300 versus 1,050 sheets), and access to higher-yield toner cartridges. The last, in turn, deliver lower running costs. In fact, the HL-L8360CDW has one of the lowest costs per page for a color laser in this price range that we know of. In contrast, the HL-L8260CDW’s running costs are, as we’ll detail later, closer to average for this class.

Even so, the HL-L8260CDW is a fine printer on all fronts, including print speed and output quality. You could choose it over its higher-capacity, more expensive sibling, of course, if you know for certain that you’d never need its expanded input capacity, higher duty cycle, and access to higher-yield toner cartridges. That said, it’s tough to get past the higher-yield model’s lower running costs—especially if you’ll be printing thousands of pages each month. (And if you’re not, either of these printers is overkill.)

Read the entire Review at Computer Shopper



 

IWilliam Harrel's reviews on Computer Shoppert’s hard to believe, but I have been writing for the legendary Computer Shopper for over eight years (as of October 2017), and have been a contributing editor there for about seven years. My beat has covered everything from desktop systems and laptops, to tablets and 2-in-1s in several flavors (operating systems) and size, printers and all-in-one printers in all shapes and sizes, video cards, SSD and other types of disk drives—you name it. It’s been a wild ride.

More so than ever, competition in the tech markets is cutthroat and fierce. It’s been my pleasure to do what I can to keep you all informed.

For a list and links to my articles on Computer Shopper, click here