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


 

William Harrel's writing at PCMagCamarillo, July 13, 2016 — Part of the Ziff-Davis, one of the leaders in online technology media empire,  PC Magazine, or PCMag, as it is known online, is one of the oldest and most respected and trusted technology news outlets on the Internet.

Currently, my beat at PCMag is printers, labeling systems, and scanners, both document and photo scanners, all of which coincides with my background in desktop publishing.

As we move from mid- to late-2017, after just over a year of writing for PCMag, my number of published reviews will surpass 100 within the next month or so. (This post was updated in early September, 2017

A list of my reviews at www.pcmag.com.


 

  • My review of the Xerox VersaLink B400/DN at PCMagPROS

    Fast. Excellent print quality. Strong paper capacity that’s expandable. Has 110,000-page maximum duty cycle. Very high-yield toner cartridges available. Strong security features. Much lighter than competitors.

  • CONS

    Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, and NFC capabilities are extra. Somewhat high running costs.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    The Xerox VersaLink B400/DN is a trim, high-volume single-function monochrome laser printer that prints well and quickly, and it’s highly expandable, but lower running costs would make it a better value.

Priced between the Brother HL-L6300DW ($329.00 at Amazon) and the Dell Smart Printer S5830dn ($512.42 at Amazon), both top picks, the Xerox VersaLink B400/DN ($699) is a mid-to-high-volume single-function monochrome laser printer designed for small-to-medium-size offices and workgroups. Like its competitors, it has a high maximum monthly duty cycle; it prints well—and fast—and it’s highly expandable. The B400/DN supports many connectivity and security features, but—as on the Dell S5830dn—many are available only as add-ons. In most ways, though, the B400/DN holds up to its Brother and Dell competitors, except that a slightly high cost per page (CPP) leaves it just shy of receiving our Editors’ Choice nod.

Review of the HP LaserJet Enterprise M653x at PCMag

  • PROS

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

  • CONS

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

  • BOTTOM LINE

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

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


 

Review of the Canon imageClass LBP251dw at PCMag

  • PROS

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

  • CONS

    Slightly high running costs. No memory-drive support.

  • BOTTOM LINE

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

A direct competitor to the Dell Smart Printer S2830dn ($136.05 at Amazon), our Editors’ Choice entry-level monochrome laser printer, the Canon imageClass LBP251dw ($209) ($199.99 at Amazon) comes close to the Dell model in print speed, print quality and features, and its list price is $70 less. But it falls a little short in one key area—the per-page cost of toner. This may seem insignificant, but if you print a few thousand pages or so each month, even a 1-cent difference in the cost per page (CPP) will cost you significantly over the life of the printer, far more than that $70 price difference. Otherwise, the LBP251dw is an outstanding low-priced monochrome laser printer, making it an excellent alternative to the Dell S2830dn for low-to-moderate volume output in a home-based or small office, or as a personal monochrome laser printer.
Read the entire review at PCMag


  • Review of the Canon ImageClass D570 monochrome laser AIO at PCMagPROS

    Good overall print quality. Respectable print speed. Relatively low price. Two paper input sources.

  • CONS

    High running costs. Lacks automatic document feeder. No memory drive support.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    Canon’s ImageClass D570 mono laser all-in-one printer produces good-looking text and passable graphics at a respectable speed for the price, but an ADF is sorely missing.

A step down from the Editors’ Choice ImageClass MF249dw ($214.00 at Amazon), the ImageClass D570 ($229.99)  ($139.99 at Amazon) is an entry-level monochrome all-in-one (AIO) laser printer designed for use in a home-based or micro office, a small workgroup, or as a personal AIO. A significant difference between the D570 and its $299 sibling is that the latter comes with an automatic document feeder (ADF) for sending multipage documents to the scanner, whereas the former does not. In testing, the MF249dw and the D570 produced similar print quality. These two small laser AIOs have much in common, making the ImageClass D570 a decent less-expensive alternative to the MF249dw as a light-duty monochrome laser AIO.
Read the entire review on PCMag



 

  • REview of Xerox's VersaLink C405/DN at PC MagPROS

    Excellent print quality. Reasonably fast. High-yield toner cartridges available. Strong set of security features. Single-pass auto-duplexing automatic document feeder (ADF). Lots of mobile connectivity features including NFC.

  • CONS

    Somewhat expensive. High running costs. Big and heavy. Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct are extra.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    A behemoth of a color laser all-in-one, the Xerox VersaLink C405/DN prints well, is respectably fast, and comes with a ton of features, but lower running costs would make it a better value.

Comparable in price with the Editors’ Choice Dell Color Smart Multifunction Printer S3845cdn ,($697.77 at Amazon) the Xerox VersaLink C405/DN ($979) all-in-one(AIO) ($679.99 at Amazon) prints well and reasonably fast. It comes with a wealth of features, including a single-pass, auto-duplexing automatic document feeder (ADF) for unassisted, two-sided scanning, as well as paper input expandability, high-yield toner cartridges, and near-field communication (NFC) for printing from smartphones and tablets. With print, scan, copy, and fax functionality, the C405/DN is a capable AIO printer overall, but it’s a little slower than the Dell S3845cdn, and its running costs are higher (especially for color prints). Even so, it’s a good fit for low-to-moderate-volume printing and copying in small- to medium-size offices and workgroups.
Read the entire article at PCMag


 

Brother MFC-L8610CDWWhat We Liked…
  • Respectable print speeds
  • Good print quality overall
  • Strong cloud, mobile-device support
  • Sturdy build
  • Competitive cost per page
  • Highly expandable
What We Didn’t…
  • Running costs a bit high versus some competing AIOs, with graphics and photo quality a slight step down
  • ADF cannot auto-duplex
  • Much more robust sibling costs little more

Brother’s $529.99-list MFC-L8610CDW ($469.99 at Amazon) is a less-expensive iteration (by about $50) of the MFC-L8900CDW ($519.00 at Amazon) reviewed some time ago at our sister site, PCMag.com. While both machines print reasonably well and at a good clip, with the MFC-L8610CDW you give up a lot for that $50. Depending on what and how you print, that may matter a little, or a whole bunch.

But first, let’s look at what these two Brother AIOs have in common. Both are loaded with features, including identical networking options and several ways to print from and scan to your mobile devices, as well as more than a handful of cloud-service access choices. They both come with state-of-the-art document-management software, and each delivers competitive running costs for its class. Nowadays, though, running costs for entry-level and midrange laser printers are high compared to most other competing product types. That includes higher-end, higher-volume color laser AIOs, such as the Dell Color Smart Multifunction Printer S3845cdn ($697.77 at Amazon), or business inkjets made to compete with color lasers, such as the HP PageWide Pro 477dw ($534.18 at Amazon). (We’ll look at how these AIOs’ cost-per-page figures compare to those of today’s Brother model later on.)

Brother MFC-L8610CDW (Front View)

In a lot of ways—print speed, connectivity features, software bundle, and security—the MFC-L8610CDW and the MFC-L8900CDW are alike. The primary difference between them is that the higher-end model’s ADF is larger and it supports auto-duplexing (automatic feeding of two-sided documents for scanning and copying), but the MFC-L8610CDW’s ADF does not. This may not seem like much, but if you copy, scan, or fax stacks of two-sided documents often, the feature is well worth the additional $50. Add to that a higher paper-input capacity, access to larger toner cartridges, and the lower running costs you gain with the MFC-L8900CDW, and it seems to us that spending the additional $50 is a no-brainer.

Normally, we’d add here that if you don’t think you’ll be using the auto-duplexer, then by all means, take the $50 savings. However, given the price and capacity of this AIO, we’re not sure, in this case, that this is good advice. If you’ve ever scanned, copied, or faxed a bunch of two-sided documents, you know how tedious and time-consuming it can be. Hence, while this is a highly capable midrange color laser AIO, we must include the caveat that, unless you’re absolutely sure that you don’t (and won’t) need auto-duplexing, you should be looking at the higher-end model.



 

Review of the Canon Color imageClass MF634Cdw at PCMag

A $399 list price places the Canon Color imageClass MF634Cdw ($339.91 at Amazon) neck and neck with the Editors’ Choice HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M277dw ($559.90 at Amazonamong 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.



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.

Price: $818.00
Was: $899.00
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 ($248.46 at Amazon) and OKI C612dn ($768.64 at Amazon), that we reviewed recently. Today, we’;re looking at the $899-MSRP OKI MC573dn ($818.00 at Amazon), 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 (Check on Amazon at Amazon), the Samsung Multifunction Printer ProXpress C3060FW (Check on Amazon at Amazon), and the Xerox WorkCentre 6515 ($349.00 at Amazon), 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