Review of the Canon Color imageClass MF634Cdw at PCMagA $399 list price places the Canon Color imageClass MF634Cdw neck and neck with the Editors’ Choice HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M277dw among low-volume personal color laser all-in-one (AIO) printers. It’s also suitable for light-duty use in a micro or small office or workgroup. Unlike the HP model, though, the MF634Cdw comes with a duplexing automatic document feeder (ADF) that supports single-pass two-sided scanning. Like other printers in this class, though, its running costs are high, although competitive for what it is. A low purchase price, a robust feature set, better-than-average print quality, and competitive printing costs make the MF634Cdw our new top choice as an entry-level color laser AIO printer.


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Review of the OKI MC573dn color laser MFP at Computer ShopperEvery so often, when some of the major makers of laser and laser-class printers (Brother, Canon, and OKI, for instance) update their stables of small-business and workgroup printers, they all seem to land at the same time. Like here in mid-2017.

We’ve got reviews of laser-class stand-alone (printer-only) and multifunction (print/copy/scan/fax) models in the hopper for all but HP, and that company said to be on the lookout for soon-to-come announcements.

Tokyo-based OKI Data has been more active than behemoth HP early in 2017 on the laser front. The veteran printer maker released several new laser-class models, including two stand-alones, the OKI C332dn and OKI C612dn, that we reviewed recently. Today, we’re looking at the $899-MSRP OKI MC573dn, a midrange color-laser-class multifunction printer (MFP) along the same lines as several other laser-class MFPs we’ve reviewed within the past year or so, such as the HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdw, the Samsung Multifunction Printer ProXpress C3060FW, and the Xerox WorkCentre 6515, to name a few.

All three of these, as well as the Brother, Canon, and soon-to-come HP machines, are actual laser printers, in that the light source inside them that etches page images on the print drum is a laser-driven mechanism. The OKI MC573dn, as well as the two stand-alone OKI models mentioned above, on the other hand, are LED-based printers. Their light source in each case is a light-emitting-diode (LED) array, rather than an actual laser; hence, we call them laser-class or laser-style printers. Aside from this distinction, though, from the outside LED-based printers function and look identical to their laser counterparts.

OKI MC573dn (Front)

At one time, several printer manufacturers offered LED printers alongside laser-based siblings. Why? Well, because LED-array hardware is typically smaller and lighter, with fewer moving parts than what’s in laser equivalents, and the arrays use less power. They cost less to manufacture, too, thereby allowing for printers that are smaller, lighter, less costly to make, and more energy-efficient.

Even so, OKI is the only printer maker left that deploys LED arrays in most of its laser-class machines. Why? We can only speculate as to that. It’s true that, because lasers deploy only one light source and LED arrays use several, laser imaging heads are often more precise. But that is not an absolute; we’ve seen LED-based machines over the years that produce output as good as, and sometimes better than, many of their laser competitors. And, again, LED arrays draw notably less power, making them less expensive to run day in and day out.

Which brings us back to the OKI MC573dn. Overall, OKI has done a terrific job with this update. This model comes with a snazzy 7-inch touch screen, a decent feature set, and the option for expandable paper capacity. And its print quality is about average for its class, which may sound like faint praise but really means: It’s very good.

We aren’t thrilled with its per-page toner cost, though. This printer would be a much better value if it saved you money on both power and consumables. Even so, the OKI MC573dn is a highly capable laser-class MFP that’s more than suitable for low to moderate volume in a micro or small office or workgroup. For the most part, it runs neck and neck with its laser-based competitors, except that its $899 list price (and roughly $699 street price) is a little steep compared to competing models mentioned here so far.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper


 

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Review of the Brother MFC-L8900CDW at Computer ShopperThe Brother MFC-L8900CDW ($599.99) is a midrange color laser all-in-one printer (AIO) designed for low-to-medium use in a micro or small office or workgroup. Comparable to the Editors’ Choice Samsung Multifunction Printer ProXpress C3060FW, the MFC-L8900CDW is loaded with features, it’s expandable, and its running costs are competitive. It’s relatively fast and prints text very well, but its graphics and photos are not quite up to snuff, compared with some competitors. That’s not to say that its output isn’t good enough for most business applications, though. The MFC-L8900CDW is a decent choice for offices that require light-to-moderate print and copy volume.

Read entire review at PCMag


 

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Review of the Canon Color imageClass MF731Cdw at PCMagThe Canon imageClass MF731Cdw ($489) is a color laser multifunction printer (MFP), designed for use in a small office or workgroup. Like the Editors’ Choice Samsung Multifunction Printer ProXpress C3060FW, the MF731Cdn prints well at decent running costs, but unlike the Samsung, its automatic document feeder (ADF) is not auto-duplexing, nor does it support near-field communication (NFC). Even so, expandable input capacity and built-in Wi-Fi make the Canon MF731Cdw a viable, slightly less expensive alternative to the C3060FW for low-to-moderate volume printing and copying in a small, micro, or home-based office.

Read the entire review at PCMag


 

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Review of the OKI C332dn at PCMagNot long ago, the conventional wisdom was that high-volume printing was cheaper on laser and laser-class (LED-array) printers, as opposed to inkjets. For a similar spec of printer, laser-class machines cost more but were less expensive to use, while inkjets cost less but had higher running costs.

Those days of such absolutes are over.

Nowadays, laser-class printers, especially color ones, not only often cost more than their comparable inkjet counterparts, such as the HP PageWide Pro 452dw, but their ongoing per-page operational costs are higher—sometimes, by a lot. (We’ll get into that in more detail later on in this review.) Where today’s review unit, the $349-list OKI C332dn, differs is that it’s aggressively priced for a color laser-class printer. In fact, as we were writing this, we found it all over the Internet for less than $250.

Unlike most of its contemporary counterparts, the C332dn does not deploy a laser emitter for etching page images onto the imaging drum. It’s classed as a laser-style printer, but it instead uses an array of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in place of the laser. The reason that some printer makers use LED arrays is that they’re smaller, lighter, and less expensive than lasers. As we pointed out in our review of the OKI C612dn a while back, OKI Data is one of the few printer makers left that still deploys LED arrays in most of its printers.

OKI C332dn (Left Angle)

Why are LED arrays not in as wide use today as they once were? We’re not entirely sure. Some might conjecture that it’s because laser printers print better than LED-based models, but we won’t go that far. We’ve seen LED-array machines, such as the OKI C831n we reviewed a few years back, that churn out exceptionally good-looking pages. And, conversely, we’ve seen “real” laser printers that don’t print as well as some LED-based machines do. The answer, then, to which type of machine prints best? It depends on the implementation. Even so, most other makers of toner-based printers—notably HP, Canon, Brother, and Samsung—rely predominantly on laser imaging mechanisms these days.

Which brings us back to the OKI C332dn. Overall, it is a highly capable, mid-volume stand-alone printer that churns out respectable-looking content at a good clip for the money. Compared to its competitors, though (and that includes several inkjets), its running costs are a little high, and we’re a big proponent of low running costs. But then, in some scenarios, laser-class output (toner versus ink) is required, and the page cost is secondary.

For those cases, the C332dn is an able warrior. It’s compact, as color laser-class machines go, and its output is acceptable for all but the most exacting business scenarios. But, between its toner cartridges and imaging drums, be prepared to dig deep to pay for the supplies to keep it going for heavy use. For that reason, we like it best for small businesses and workgroups that require laser-class output in light volumes—say, under 1,000 pages or so a month.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper


 

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Review of the OKI C612dn at Computer ShopperIt’s been a while since we’ve reviewed an OKI Data stand-alone (that is, print-only) color printer. The most recent was the wide-format-capable OKI C831n back in March of 2014. Like the subject of our review here today, this was also a laser-class printer.

We call these machines “laser-class” because, though they look and act like laser printers, they use light-emitting-diode (LED) arrays, rather than actual lasers, to etch page images onto the printer drum, which the toner in turn adheres to. It’s a small technical distinction, but we make it because in places, printers like these are referred to by their proper name: LED printers. Today’s review subject, the $789-list OKI C612n, is indeed an LED-based machine.

For a while there, most of the major laser-printer manufacturers—Dell (really Samsung, behind the scenes), HP, OKI, Canon, Brother—deployed LEDs in some of their laser-class machines. Why? Because LED arrays are cheaper to manufacture, and they’re smaller, allowing printer makers to make less-expensive, smaller, and lighter machines. Nowadays, we don’t see as many LED-based printers as we once did, but OKI still deploys them in a significant portion of its product line.

In addition to being less costly and smaller (since they have fewer moving parts), LED arrays can also be more reliable than their laser counterparts. On the other hand, laser-based mechanisms are typically more precise; they have only one light source, so every pixel gets the same amount of illumination, making for a higher degree of consistency. LED arrays have thousands of LEDs, and, as a result, illumination can and does vary among them. In addition, the number of LEDs in an array determines the printer’s resolution, where most laser printers support more than one dots-per-inch setting.

OKI C612dn (Front)

Does this mean that laser output is inherently superior to LED prints? It’s not that simple. Let’s say that it can be, depending on the consistency of the LEDs across the array, and to an extent that can depend on how well it’s built. What we will say is that we’ve seen some LED-array-based printers, such as the OKI C831n mentioned above, that churn out some darn good-looking prints. So, like in so many things in life, the answer to our question is: It depends.

Which brings us back to the OKI C612dn. Currently, OKI offers two C612-series machines: the model we’re reviewing, the OKI C612dn, and the $649-list OKI C612n. The “d” stands for “duplex,” or automatic two-sided printing. In other words, to get auto-duplexing from a C612 model, you’ll have to fork out an additional $140 (or thereabouts, depending on the street prices of the printers that day). Apart from the duplexing distinction, these two printers are essentially the same.

Compared to some laser printers reviewed recently, such as the $999-list Dell Color Smart Printer S5840Cdn and the $800-MSRP HP LaserJet Enterprise M553dn, the OKI C612dn’s output is slightly subpar. And compared to that pricier Dell competitor, the running costs (the per-page cost of toner) is a little high. (For a detailed description of print quality, see the Output Quality section near the end of this review; for running costs, refer to the Cost Per Page section.) On the other hand, another benefit (aside from smaller machines) of LED-based printers is that they use significantly less power than their laser-based counterparts.

That said, whether the OKI C612dn is right for you really depends on what you’re looking for. The truth is that we’d feel much better about recommending this OKI model were its running costs a little lower. If you print thousands of pages each month, a fraction of a cent for each page can make a big difference in the ongoing cost of ownership. Other than that issue, though, the OKI C612dn is a highly capable laser printer with better-than-passable output for most business scenarios.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper


 

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HP LaserJet Pro MFP M130fw review at PCMagThe HP LaserJet Pro MFP M130fw ($259.99) is an inexpensive monochrome laser all-in-one printer (AIO) designed for micro- and home-office use. Given its compact size and feature set, it should perform well as a personal AIO, too. It’s significantly smaller and lighter than the Editors’ Choice Canon imageClass MF227dw, but even though both machines are similarly priced, the M130fw comes up short in a few key areas. It supports only manual duplexing, for instance, and has higher-than-average running costs. Even so, the LaserJet Pro M130fw is a solid choice overall for low-volume small and home-based office monochrome output, as well as moderate personal printing, copying, scanning, and faxing.

Read the entire review at PCMag


 

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Review of the Canon imageClass D1520 at PCMagThe Canon imageClass D1520 ($324) is a monochrome laser all-in-one printer designed for medium-volume use in a small office or workgroup. It has high standard and optional paper capacities, but it doesn’t print photos and graphics as well as some competing models, including the Editors’ Choice HP LaserJet Pro MFP M426fdw. Unlike its more expensive sibling, the Canon imageClass D1550 , it lacks Wi-Fi Direct and near-field communication (NFC), and both imageClass models’ running costs are too high. Otherwise, its strong feature set makes it a decent choice for environments that print primarily text and require high paper input capacity.

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Review of the Canon ImageClass MF249dw at Computer ShopperFor those of us who have been watching the printer industry for decades (and we have), it’s amazing how much office machine you can buy for less than $300 nowadays.

That’s demonstrated by the monochrome-laser multifunction printer (MFP) that we’re reviewing here today, Canon’s $299-MSRP ImageClass MF249dw. Not that long ago, monochrome printers, copiers, and scanners (as well as fax machines) were all separate devices, and depending on how far back in office-machine history we look, all of them were expensive. We can remember when quality monochrome laser printers and black-and-white scanners cost $2,000 or more each.

That’s all changed, of course. Today, almost any home-based office or small office can afford its own monochrome-laser MFP, and machines like these make good personal printers, if your typical applications require laser output (or, for whatever reason, you prefer it). Otherwise, compared to their inkjet counterparts (as we’ll dig into later on in this review), inexpensive laser printers tend to be costly to use, especially when you use them to their full capacity. And in this case, that full potential is a 15,000-page maximum monthly duty cycle and a recommended monthly volume of up to 3,000 pages. (A printer’s monthly duty cycle is the number of pages that the manufacturer suggests you can print each month without premature wear on the printer; consistently going over this amount could void your warranty.)

The ImageClass MF249dw replaces the Canon ImageClass MF227dw we reviewed in 2016. With the update comes support for the mobile peer-to-peer protocol Wi-Fi Direct, as well as a larger automatic document feeder (ADF), and the ability to scan two-sided originals without you having to turn them over manually. As you’ll see in the section coming up next, that last feature (the auto-duplexing ADF) can make a huge difference when you are scanning two-sided documents.

Canon ImageClass MF249dw (Front and Right)

Of course, all of these features are moot without good output quality. And while yes, everything you print or copy will come out black-and-white, the ImageClass MF249dw certainly steps up here, with above-par output quality across the board—whether that’s text, graphics, or gray-scale photos you’re printing.

Our bottom line on the MF249dw is the same as our stance on most entry-level printers, inkjet or laser. If your print and copy volume is relatively low (say, a few hundred pages each month), this compact monochrome laser will provide good value. The more you print, though, the more you should consider a costlier midrange or high-volume machine with lower running costs, such as the OKI Data MB492 (a monochrome laser MFP), or perhaps a midrange-to-high-volume inkjet MFP, such as the Brother MFC-J5920DW.

If, however, occasional monochrome laser output is all you need, we suggest the Canon ImageClass MF249dw, our new Editors’ Choice for entry-level monochrome laser MFPs for home-based and micro offices. (To make the value even sweeter, while writing this review, we found it on Canon’s site and elsewhere for $209.99.)

See the entire review at Computer Shopper

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Review of the Dell Smart Printer S5830dn at Computer ShopperWith HP’s forthcoming acquisition of Samsung’s printer business (Samsung makes laser printers and multifunction laser printers for Dell), Dell’s place in the laser-printer market a year or so from now may be a bit up in the air. (The HP/Samsung deal is expected to close in September 2017.) At the moment, though, Dell is providing some of the most economical to use laser printers available. And that includes today’s review focus, the $999.99-MSRP Dell Smart Printer S5830dn, a very high-volume single-function monochrome laser printer.

A thousand bucks may seem like a lot to pay in 2017 for a print-only, black-and-white-only laser machine. (And unlike many Dell printers, it’s not been discounted by all that much, at least yet. At this mid-January 2017 writing, we saw it around the e-tailer circuit for $900 to $950.) But then, given its 300,000-page maximum monthly duty cycle (with a 50,000-page workload recommended), highly competitive running costs, and multiple expansion options, this is no ordinary beast. If, as we’ll elaborate on later, you use it to anywhere near its ultra-high-capacity potential, you’ll quickly regain (and surpass) in toner savings the few hundred dollars more that it costs, compared to most other laser printers we’ve reviewed.

Dell Smart Printer S5830dn (Front)

But that doesn’t mean that the Smart Printer S5830dn is perfect, by any means. Wireless connectivity, for example, is optional; we get the reasoning for that, because this kind of printer is meant to live on a wired network. But more concerning: Unlike most Dell printers we’ve looked at lately, the output quality is merely so-so, especially when printing business graphics. Photos and text came out fine for a monochrome printer, making this an ideal machine for printing reams upon reams of all-text pages and black-and-white renditions of Web pages. But, say, presentations that begin as color documents? We ran into some issues there.

We’ve reviewed many business-minded laser printers in recent months, but none with the potential output volume of this one. Only its sibling, the like-priced Dell Color Smart Printer S5840Cdn (and its 150,000-page monthly duty cycle) comes close, but even that model, not really. And then there’s the consumables cost. Apart from several high-volume inkjet multifunction printers (MFPs), such as the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-R4640 EcoTank All-in-One and Brother MFC-J5920DW, we don’t know of any laser machines with monochrome running costs lower than these two Dell single-function machines. So this machine does have some key strengths.

Of course, those Epson and Brother color inkjet MFPs don’t come close in capacity to today’s Dell; both have much lower maximum monthly duty cycles, of well under 100,000 pages. (Also, the Epson machine actually costs $200 more than our S5830dn review unit, on a list-price basis.) Our bottom line for this machine is that, as we’ll get into in more detail near the end of this review, we can’t suggest it for printing Excel bar charts and PowerPoint handouts, if that’s your main aim. But if, on the other hand, you print tens of thousands of plain-text and/or text-document pages containing photos each month, the Smart Printer S5830dn was built for just that. We don’t know of a more economical-to-use, focused solution for mass monochrome laser printing, month in and month out, of up to 50,000 pages or so, and even as much as 250,000 pages, on occasion.

See the entire review at Computer Shopper

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