Do you remember when single-function inkjet printers—yes, once all printers did was print—sold for about $80? We do…and it wasn’t all that long ago. In those days, multifunction printers (machines that could print, copy, scan, and fax) started at about $300; they were slow, and, generally speaking, their print quality wasn’t all that great. All that has changed now. Despite the state of the economy here in 2012, good old-fashioned competition in the printer industry continues to bring us remarkable deals.
Take, for example, Canon’s $79.99 Pixma MX372, the least expensive in a set of three under-$150 all-in-one (AIO) business-centric inkjets the company has rolled out here in the first half of 2012. Like the other two in the bunch (the $99.99 Pixma MX432 and the $149.99 Pixma MX512, both of which we reviewed earlier this year), the MX372 not only prints, but it also copies, scans, and faxes. On paper—no pun intended—that’s a great deal for $80.
Because the Pixma MX372 is the least expensive in this pack of three, it naturally has the fewest features. For instance, for the $20 you’d save between it and the Pixma MX432, the next model up, you give up the ability to print over Wi-Fi networks, as well as support for printing directly from PictBridge-enabled USB devices and USB memory sticks. And for the $70 difference between the MX372 and the MX512, Canon works in automatic duplexing (that is, support for printing two-sided pages without user intervention), a 2.5-inch color LCD, and support for most popular memory devices.
Of these three models, the MX372 is, relatively speaking, the basic, bare-bones machine. Then again, it’s pretty tough to call a device that provides so many office functions—as well as an automatic document feeder (ADF) for scanning, copying, and faxing multipage documents—bare-bones. But that’s what it is—a stripped-down version of the other two higher-priced models. It has the same innards, or print engine, uses the same ink cartridges, and it prints, copies, and scans at similar speeds.
Being the same on the inside, of course, also means that it prints and reproduces documents and photographs at the same exceptional level of quality as its higher-priced siblings—though, along with that, it also shares the same high per-page cost of ink. In every sense, the Pixma MX372 is a personal AIO, designed primarily for use by one user who needs hassle-free, high-quality prints, copies, and scans. It’s not a high-volume workhorse designed to churn out hundreds of pages every day. Considering its exceptionally low price and wide range of functions, as well as its print, copy, and scan quality, this is one instance where we won’t squawk—too loudly, that is—about per-page printing costs. Still, this model makes sense only if your print and copy volume is low.
Read the review at Computer Shopper.
You have to love it when a manufacturer releases a great printer/copier/fax/scanner—a model that prints well, prints fast, and has all the productivity and convenience options a small or home-based business needs—for $100 less than the model it replaces. And it’s even better when the price reduction is the only significant change: All the original features and quality are still there, but the printer costs a third less!
We’re talking about Epson’s $199.99 WorkForce 845, which replaces 2011′s $299.99 WorkForce 840. As far as we can tell (and we looked long and hard), the WorkForce 845 is essentially the same all-in-one (AIO) inkjet we saw last year, right down to the print engine and ink cartridges it uses. Better yet, to sweeten the pot, Epson has thrown in support for Google Cloud Print, iPrint.com, and the company’s own Epson Connect Email Print service.
The WorkForce 845 is a high-volume all-in-one (AIO) inkjet along the same lines as HP’s $299.99 OfficeJet Pro 8600 Plus and Lexmark’s $249 OfficeEdge Pro4000 laser-busters. Like those more expensive models, it prints near-laser-quality documents at laser-like speeds, and it goes the HP and Lexmark AIOs one better by providing dual 250-sheet input drawers, which offers a wider range of volume and paper-handling options. (A second drawer on the OfficeJet Pro 8600 Plus will cost you an additional $79.99, and you can purchase a second 500-sheet drawer for the Lexmark for $179.99.)
Unfortunately, the 845 also has its predecessor’s warts—or wart, we should say. Since it uses the same ink cartridges, which Epson still sells at a premium price, this AIO is a bit expensive to use. Other inkjet manufacturers have made significant cost-per-page (CPP) reductions, not only on high-volume printers but across the board. (See the “Setup & Paper Handling” section of this review for more.)
Aside from the WorkForce 845′s inflated CPP, we really liked this all-in-one. During our tests, it printed great-looking business documents and photos at respectable speeds. Its reproduction quality on our copy and scan tests was exceptional. And as you’ll see in the next section, feature-wise, it wants for nothing. One of the advantages of high-volume AIOs, however, should be that they provide day-to-day value—hundreds, even thousands of pages each month without exorbitant per-page ink costs.
Read the review at Computer Shopper.
Compared with even just a year or so ago, the all-in-one (AIO) inkjet printers available today are nothing short of incredible bargains. Lately, we’ve seen under-$200 models, such as Brother’s $199.99 MFC-J5910DW and Epson’s $199.99 WorkForce 845, come packed silly with productivity and convenience features. Options that would have easily bumped up the price to $300 or more last year are now standard fare.
Case in point is HP’s $169.99 OfficeJet 6700 Premium e-All-in-One, an entry-level, business-centric multifunction machine that, feature-wise, comes close to rivaling HP’s higher-end $299.99 OfficeJet Pro 8600 Plus. (This model can print, copy, scan, and fax.) At this price, it is, of course, a lower-volume machine, and it makes you give up a few features, notably the ability to print from a variety of memory cards. It also lacks any duplexing hardware, for unassisted scanning, copying, and faxing of two-sided, multipage documents. But then, not all small and home offices need these features.
The OfficeJet 6700 Premium is a little slower than its high-volume sibling, but not significantly so. It’s also smaller, making it more attractive to home businesses where space is an issue. Unlike the OfficeJet Pro 8600 Plus, this model will fit comfortably on most desktops. Individuals who need a full-featured AIO might also find it a suitable personal printer.
Unlike the OfficeJet Pro 8600 Plus, though, this model, as you’ll see in the Setup & Paper Handling section of this review, is somewhat expensive to use. Its per-page cost of ink is not only higher than the OfficeJet 8600 Plus’, but also some other HP models, as well as several competitors’ machines, such as Brother’s MFC-J5910DW and Kodak’s $199.99 Office Hero 6.1.
The trend of late among inkjet AIO makers, including HP, has been to offer models with relatively low—at least, compared with this time last year—per-page printing costs. Alas, the cost per page (CPP) makes this model a bit of disappointment. If it didn’t perform so well, we’d have trouble recommending it. This OfficeJet churned out great-looking business documents and respectable photographs throughout our benchmark tests, and its copies and scans looked good. Overall, it’s a great little printer, but today’s competition is stiff. Businesses that care more about exceptional output and performance than economical operational costs will like this printer, but mind those printing costs if you’ll print a lot.
Read the review at Computer Shopper.
Looking for an inexpensive printer? With this review, you’re in the right neighborhood, because few, if any, computer manufacturers offer more entry-level all-in-one (AIO) printers than Canon does. Case in point is the company’s 2012 rollout of not just one but three business-centric Pixma MX models under $150. (The “MX” designates Canon’s business-centric printers.)
We have on hand all three: the $79.99 Pixma MX372 (our review’s in the works), the $99.99 Pixma MX432 (reviewed here), and the $149.99 Pixma MX512 (reviewed at the link). While these three budget-priced printers vary widely in features, each one supports the basic functions you’d expect from any AIO: printing, copying, scanning, and faxing.
Canon’s typical approach, when releasing a bunch of similarly priced models like this, is to apply a graduated set of features across them, according to price. For example, the difference between our $99.99 Pixma MX432 and the $149.99 MX512 is that, for the additional $50, you get a 2.5-inch color LCD, support for printing from most popular memory devices, automatic duplexing (that is, the ability to print two-sided pages without user intervention), and a few other productivity and convenience features. In short, as the price goes up, the feature list expands.
Were you to step down to the $79.99 Pixma MX372, for the $20 savings you’d give up wireless (Wi-Fi) connectivity and support for printing from PictBridge-compliant USB 2.0 devices. (As you might guess from the price, it’s a pretty basic printer.) Aside from these feature disparities, though, these three models are essentially the same inside their shells, with identical print engines and other internal mechanisms. The print quality and print speeds on all three are about the same.
As for that print quality and speed, the MX432, like the MX512 we tested recently, prints excellent-looking business documents and photos, mostly a little slower than average for a printer in this price range. Also like with the higher-priced MX512, the MX432′s ink costs a lot, if you measure the per-page cost. (These two Pixmas use the same ink cartridges.)
If you use your printer often, this model’s cost per page (CPP) will make doing so expensive. With that in mind, this AIO is a good choice only if your small or home office has low-volume copy and print requirements. If you can live with the high cost per page, though, the prints and copies you do get from this model will make you happy. In our tests, they were generally of exceptional quality.
See the full review at Computer Shopper.
Not long ago, small offices and businesses had very clear reasons for choosing entry-level color-laser-family printers, such as Brother’s new $449.99 MFC-9325CW, over inkjet all-in-one (AIO) machines. Generally speaking, lasers and laser-class devices printed faster, were rated to print more pages per month (in printer lingo, had higher “duty cycles”), and, in terms of consumables (that is, toner versus ink), cost less to use. They also usually printed text and business graphics, such as charts and graphs, better.
Nowadays, though, high-volume inkjet AIOs, such as the $399.99 Epson WorkForce Pro WP-4540 and the $299.99 HP OfficeJet Pro 8600 Plus, print at comparable speeds, have similar duty cycles, and are—relatively speaking—inexpensive to use. In addition, inkjet AIOs do some things, such as print near-lab-quality photographs and borderless pages, that laser-class devices just can’t. This raises the question, then, why your small office or business should choose a laser multifunction machine over a less-expensive inkjet one with a similar feature set and capabilities.
That brings us back to the MFC-9325CW. First, we should point out that technically this Brother printer is not a “laser” device, but a light-emitting diode (LED) printer. The difference between LED and laser printers is that, instead of using lasers to charge the page image onto the print drum (the part of the printer that attracts the toner and transfers it to your paper), LED-based machines achieve basically the same results with an LED array. (See our feature story “How It Works: Laser Printers.”) Printer makers use LEDs instead of lasers because they cost less to manufacture, are smaller and lighter, and have fewer moving parts. These differences aside, LED-based machines are otherwise similar to laser printers, right down to their reliance on toner, rather than ink.
Compared with competing laser and LED multifunction printers in its price range, the MFC-9325CW is a capable business machine. It prints, copies, and scans nice-looking business documents at respectable speeds. It’s well-outfitted, too, with nearly every productivity and convenience feature most small businesses want. And it’s well-built, as well as easy to set up and use.
Overall, we liked this machine, but it has one hard-to-forgive caveat: Its printing cost per page (as discussed in the “Design & Features” section of this review, following) is prohibitively high, especially compared with several high-volume inkjet AIOs we’ve looked at lately. That’s hard to ignore unless you have very modest print-volume needs.
While most printer manufacturers released better, faster, and cheaper inkjets models in fast succession through 2011, it’s been more than a year since we’ve seen a new multifunction inkjet printer from Lexmark. (Multifunction models, by definition, are capable of printing, copying, scanning, and faxing.) Hence, we were excited to get our hands on the company’s newest offering, the $249 OfficeEdge Pro4000, the smaller and less expensive of two small- and home-office models that Lexmark introduced recently.
The other model, the $499 OfficeEdge Pro5500, offers a wider range of features, such as a duplexing automatic document feeder (ADF), a touch screen, a second high-capacity paper tray, and several other convenience and productivity features. However, its feature list and print-speed ratings aren’t much different from a few other competitors at lower prices, such as the $399.99 Epson WorkForce Pro WP-4540 and the $199.99 HP OfficeJet Pro 8600 Plus. (You can get the latter with a second paper tray for under $300.)
The OfficeEdge Pro4000 prints nice-looking business documents at exceptional speeds, and (if you buy Lexmark’s extra-large ink cartridges) it prints them at a competitive per-page cost. However, it struggles a little when printing photographs, but not so much as to make the output unusable.
Read the review at Computer Shopper.
Every now and then, an all-in-one (AIO) inkjet printer arrives at our labs that makes us scratch our head shortly after unboxing it. No, it’s not a hygiene thing; it’s because the printer blurs the line between a color laser and an inkjet.
The $299 HP OfficeJet Pro 8600 we looked at in early 2012, a Editors’ Choice winner, is a classic example. Like any multifunction color laser worth its salt (or rather, toner), the OfficeJet Pro 8600 is fast, it’s designed for high-volume printing, and its per-page ink cost is low. But…it’s an inkjet. And furthermore, since, like most of today’s inkjets, the OfficeJet Pro 8600 prints excellent photos, you get the best traits of the inkjet- and laser-printing worlds for a relatively low price.
We consider this trend—that is, high-volume inkjet AIOs with low ink costs and tons of productivity features—an excellent one, providing great value for one-person and small offices alike. Hence, we were excited to receive Epson’s $399.99 WorkForce Pro WP-4540 and put it through its paces. It promised to be another category-bending multifunction printer.
Like the OfficeJet Pro 8600, the WorkForce Pro WP-4540 is serviced by two huge paper trays (though the second tray on the HP model is an added-cost option), and it uses inexpensive, high-volume ink cartridges. Both models have just about every feature any color-printing small office would need, and each of them churns out excellent prints at impressive speeds.
Read the review at Computer Shopper.
Maybe we’ve been watching too much Food Network, or we’re just working too hard, but this latest printer review kept reminding us to go to lunch. (It’s the name.)
In mid-2011, Kodak replaced its well-established ESP line of inkjet printers with its new “Hero” brand of single-function and multifunction models. Feature for feature, we haven’t seen a huge difference between the Heroes and the printers they’ve replaced. What we have seen, though, from our review of the $199.99 Office Hero 6.1 and this look at the Hero 9.1: These printers are not gourmet models. Instead, these Heroes would be Subway’s practical, do-the-job $5 foot-longs.
The Heroes provide a nice array of convenience and productivity features that most small businesses look for in an all-in-one (AIO) printer. Still, as with last year’s ESP models, we noted nothing ground-breaking in the Hero 9.1. But for small offices looking for “reliable” over “remarkable,” this printer is a contender.
See review at ComputerShopper.com
You may not work in a big corporate tower, but when it comes to printing around the office, that doesn’t mean you can settle for a cheap consumer printer. Some small-to-medium-size offices and workgroups need a printer that consistently churns out thousands of pages a month without breaking a sweat. For environments like these, fast, no-frills, high-volume color laser printers with a low per-page operational cost are not a luxury—they’re a necessity.
You know the kind of printer we mean—a workhorse that sits there, day-in and day-out, pounding out hundreds of quality color and monochrome prints with minimal maintenance and attention to swapping out print media. Samsung’s $749 CLP-775ND color laser printer matches this profile, and then some. Equipped with a fast processor, lots of memory, and high-capacity paper trays and toner cartridges, it’s ready for high-volume use on a local network.
In addition, this heavy-duty laser churner has excellent output quality. We were consistently impressed with how well (and how fast) it printed our test business documents and photographs. (We’ve got more on the print quality in the Performance section.)
Overall, we found very little to dislike about this printer. It was a shoo-in Editors’ Choice pick.
See the review at Computer Shopper.
I’m noticing a pleasing trend in the market for color-inkjet all-in-one (AIO) printers—pleasing for buyers, anyway. These machines that do everything (print, copy, scan, and fax) keep on getting smaller and cheaper, all the while packing in the productivity and convenience features. Brother’s $149.99 MFC-J825DW is a good example. The price of this machine is an eye-opener, by any measure, but the feature list is even more surprising in light of it. You get an automatic document feeder (or ADF, for unassisted scanning, copying, and faxing of multiple-page documents), as well as an automatic duplexer (for printing two-sided pages unassisted). A smart-looking color touch-screen LCD on the front lets you scan and print straight from the control panel. And you even get the ability to print on CDs and DVDs that have printable surfaces… Want to learn more? See the review at Computer Shopper.