OKI Data MB492 Multifunction PrinterIt’s not often that I recommend a laser-class multifunction printer over the most recent fast and inexpensive-to-use high-volume inkjet, but that’s because finding one that’s faster and cheaper-to-use than many of today’s business-centric inkjets has become increasingly difficult. Meanwhile, high-volume inkjet MFPs from Canon, Epson, HP, and Brother, and alternative inkjet printhead technologies from both HP and Epson, increasingly get better and better, while laser-class technology stays pretty much the same.

Before we get started, though, let me point out that the topic of this review, OKI’s $599 MSRP MB492 Multifunction Printer, is an LED laser-class machine that uses light-emitting diodes (LEDs) arrays, rather than lasers, to burn the page image onto the print drum, so that it can transfer toner to the paper. LED arrays are smaller, lighter, have fewer moving parts, use less power, and cost less to manufacture than standard laser printers. Otherwise, they look and operate much the same.

Read the entire review at About.com

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Epson’s WorkForce WF-2660 All-in-One PrinterOne of the things I hate about reviewing entry-level printers is that while they are often good little printers in their own rights, something about them—usually their operational costs—is wrong, or at least too high to make sense to all but small- and home-based businesses with very meager print and copy volume requirements. And that’s the (only serious) problem with the topic of this review, Epson’s $149.99 (MSRP) WorkForce WF-2660 All-in-One Printer; it costs a lot to use.

In other words, it prints very well and reasonably fast, and the scanner makes excellent scans and copies. But it’s daily operational cost of consumables (in this case, ink, of course) makes using it, compared to like-priced competitors, too expensive, to the point that if you print a lot, more than say a few hundred pages per month (and that might be pushing it), unless money is no object, this is probably not your printer.

Read the entire review at About.com.

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Brother’s MFC-J650DW Compact Inkjet All-in-One PrinterOne of the realities for printer makers is that there’s a large group of computer users out there—businesses andconsumers—that just don’t print very often. They need to print occasionally, often enough that they feel justified in buying a printer, but they can’t rationalize spending a lot for it. And, similarly, they want their inexpensive little all-in-one (print/scan/copy/fax) to print well, be reasonably fast, and strong on features—just the kind of AIO Brother specializes in.

Enter Brother’s $129.99-list MFC-J650DW, which was discounted on Brother’s Web site to $109.99 while I wrote this.

Read entire review at About.com.

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HP Officejet Pro 8620 (Main)During the past few years, we’ve seen a surge of laser-busting, inkjet-based multifunction printers that can print, copy, scan, and fax. Many of them not only outperform their like-priced laser counterparts, they do so while maintaining a significantly lower per-page operational cost—in some cases, by more than half.

This wave only began to build, almost imperceptibly, a handful of years ago. One of the first of these high-volume, low-cost-per-page multifunction printers (MFPs) to catch our eye was the $299-MSRP HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus. We looked at that model back in early 2012, and it was the grandaddy of the subject of this review: HP’s Officejet Pro 8620 e-All-in-One Printer, which comes in at the same list price. (We’ve already seen this model, however, selling for $199.99 from a variety of major e-tailers.)

The Officejet Pro 8620 is the middle model in a trio of high-volume Officejet Pro 86xx-series multifunction printers (MFPs) that HP has released since the groundbreaking Officejet 8600 Plus. The others are the $199.99-MSRP Officejet Pro 8610 e-All-in-One Printer (reviewed, at the link, by our sister site PCMag.com), as well as a flagship model, the $399.99-MSRP (and Editors’ Choice recipient) Officejet Pro 8630 e-All-in-One Printer we reviewed in early 2014.

As the prices stair-step upward, so do the printers’ productivity and convenience features. The Officejet Pro 8610 may list for $199, but we’ve seen it down around $129 from a few e-tailers. What you get for the additional money between the Officejet Pro 8610 and the Pro 8620 is significant, though. The cheaper Officejet Pro 8610 model is rated at up to 19 monochrome pages per minute (ppm) and 14.5ppm in color, slower than the Pro 8620 by about 2ppm for both black-and-white and color documents. Also, while it comes with a similar wealth of mobile and Web-based print channels, the Officejet Pro 8610 looks decidedly entry-level on the hardware front, coming with a smallish (2.7-inch) touch screen, a 35-page automatic document feeder (ADF), and a 250-sheet input drawer. Compare that to the Officejet Pro 8620’s 4.3-inch touch screen, 50-sheet ADF, and support for Near-Field Communication (NFC), which allows for “touch-to-print” functionality from certain mobile devices. (We’ll discuss NFC and several other mobile-device options in the Features section on the next page.)

The next model up the Officejet Pro line, the Pro 8630, on the other hand, comes with everything that the Pro 8620 does, as well as a second 250-sheet paper drawer (for a total of 500 sheets of paper capacity), OCR software, and a second set of color ink cartridges (the cyan, magenta, and yellow only—no black). The additional ink tanks, were you to buy them separately, would run you about $60 on HP’s Web site. Given that the Officejet Pro 8630 actually retails for about $280, the ink tanks in effect reduce the real price of the Officejet Pro 8630 to a sawbuck or two more than the Officejet Pro 8620, which seems like a pretty good deal to us given the other stuff you get.

HP Officejet Pro 8620 (Angled)As we said about the Officejet 8600 Plus and the Officejet Pro 8630, the Officejet Pro 8620 is an excellent printer that approaches the state of the art in its price range. It’s fast, and the print, scan, and copy quality are top-notch—easily comparable to what we’ve come to expect from high-end HP printers. However, HP’s competition in the high-volume inkjet market—primarily Brother and Epson, but with Canon, too, suddenly coming on strong—have not been lying down, sheepishly waiting for HP to dominate this segment of the printer market.

Since the release of HP’s first Officejet 8600 workhorse, all three competitors have rolled out high-volume, strong-performing models with very competitive cost-per-page (CPP) figures. Several of them, such as Epson’s 2014 PrecisionCore-powered WorkForce Pro models and Canon’s business-optimized Maxify MFPs (the first generation of which debuted in late 2014), perform well and meet most or all of our criteria for high-volume office-centric MFPs. They’re highly competent machines, and indeed, as a whole they are rewriting expectations of what a small-business MFP—inkjet or laser—really is nowadays.

In other words, here we are in early 2015, and the choices among small-business and workgroup MFPs are not so easy to make, though in a positive way for shoppers. That’s because many of today’s high-volume inkjets are fine printers with operating costs that are quite reasonable compared with years past. What we like most about the Officejet Pro 8620, though, is that it and its siblings have been on the market for a while—and so far, nobody is complaining.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.

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Top Mobile Inkjet PrintersAs class of printer that doesn’t get as much attention as is it deserves is the mobile inkjet. Each of the major printer manufacturers—Brother, Canon, Epson, and HP—offers at least one. (Although Brother’s $479 PocketJet 6 Wireless Mobile Thermal Printer for iOS Devices is different from the others in several ways, including its use of expensive thermal paper, its expensive purchase price, and that it works only with Apple devices.)

And, while mobile printers have many things in common, such as high print quality, small ink tanks, and extraordinarily high per-page operational costs, a.k.a. cost per page, or CPP, as you’ll read in the following reviews, they’re different (and expensive) enough to warrant careful comparisons. (Keep in mind as you read these that the order in which they’re listed here is not an endorsement of one model over another.)

Read entire article at About.com.

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Brother MFC-J6520DW Multifunction PrinterPerhaps few small- and home-based-offices (SOHOs) require high-speed, high-volume, wide-format multifunction printers, but once you or your company has owned one, you’ll wonder how you got along without it—and you surely won’t want to go back to a midsize letter-size printer again. While nowadays, the major printer makers are all offering wide-format printers (in this case, 11×17 inches, a.k.a. tabloid), none of them manufacture as many as Brother.

In one way or another, the company’s Business Smart, Business Smart Plus, or Business Smart Pro models all at least print 11×17-inch pages. Some, such as the Pro models, like the $249.99-list MFC-J5620DW Multifunction Printer reviewed here, can also copy, scan, and fax tabloid-size pages—features that for certain applications can be immensely beneficial.

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Brother MFC-J5720DW Business Smart Plus Inkjet All-in-OneThe time of the inexpensive, low-cost-per-page, high-volume multifunction printer (MFP) appears to be upon us. As we leap into 2015, by now, all of the major printer makers have come up with several relatively easy- and inexpensive-to-use, laser-busting, business-optimized multifunction (print, scan, copy, and fax) inkjet printers. Perhaps one of the more prolific MFP manufacturers, with many models in both its Business Smart and Business Smart Plus lines, is Brother.

The higher-end Business Smart Plus models, such as the topic of this review, Brother’s $249.99-list MFC-J5720DW Business Smart Plus Inkjet All-in-One, typically come ready to print hundreds, even thousands, of pages, quickly and relatively (in terms of overall cost per page) inexpensively—and that’s just the beginning.

Read the entire review at About.com.

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Epson WorkForce Pro WF-5690 Network Multifunction Color Printer With PCL/Adobe PS Review and RatingsOn the whole, we’ve been impressed with Epson’s recent run of WorkForce Pro high-volume inkjet workhorses, starting with the $499-MSRP Workforce Pro WP-4590 All-in-One Printer back in 2012, up to the $299.99-MSRP WorkForce Pro WF-4630 a couple of years later in 2014. The WF-4630 was, by the way, the first printer to achieve a perfect 5-star score from Computer Shopper in recent memory.

Epson’s WorkForce Pro models are excellent machines for small and medium-size businesses, and the flagship model here at the start of 2015 (and the subject of this review) is no exception. This $399.99-MSRP printer has a bit of an unwieldy name: the WorkForce Pro WF-5690 Network Multifunction Color Printer with PCL/Adobe PS. (Now there’s a mouthful!) Like the WP-4590 of a few years ago, the WF-5690 is a fast, feature-rich multifunction printer (MFP) that’s efficient to use in terms of cost per page.

Epson WorkForce Pro WF-5690Both the WF-4630 and the WF-5690 were part of Epson’s PrecisionCore printhead technology rollout in June 2014. As we’ll discuss on the next page, PrecisionCore printheads allow for faster, cheaper-to-use printers. Pair them with ultra-high-capacity ink cartridges and mechanisms with laser-printer-like duty cycles, and business inkjets saw a shake-up of the kind that hadn’t happened since HP introduced its PageWide technology the year before. (“Duty cycle” is the maximum number of prints the manufacturer says the machine is capable of in a given time without subjecting it to undue wear. For more on that and other crucial printer terms, see our primer, Buying a Printer: 20 Terms You Need to Know.)

Of the 11 PrecisionCore-based machines that debuted last year, we’ve reviewed four of them; of those four, three—the WorkForce Pro WF-7610 (a wide-format model), the WorkForce Pro WF-4630 (our 5-star winner), and now the WF-5690—have been Editors’ Choice award recipients. Only the WF-3640, a non-“Pro” WorkForce model, failed to wow us enough to win, and that only by a sliver. In light of competing machines, such as some of Canon’s new Maxify printers, the WorkForce WF-3640 cost a bit too much too use.

Now, let’s stop here for a moment and talk about the “With PCL/Adobe PS” at the end of this printer’s name. Both are laser-printer languages: HP’s Printer Command Language (PCL) and Adobe’s PostScript. Certain applications benefit from these language emulations, but they’re relatively few and far between. They are used primarily in connection with high-end prepress and printing-press runs, as well as computer aided drafting (CAD) programs, and several other applications that require high-end imaging. In short, if you need support for these languages on your new printer, it’s almost certain that you already know it from long experience.

YEpson WorkForce Pro WF-5690 (Straight On)ou don’t want to opt for it just to have it, though. The PCL and PostScript support costs you an additional $100 versus the next WorkForce Pro model down the line (the WorkForce Pro WF-5620, which is otherwise the same machine, but without the laser-lingo support). Then, too, there’s the $299.99-list WF-4630 we reviewed a few months ago, which was discounted on Epson’s site to $199.99 as of mid-January 2015. It, too, is quite similar to the WF-5690, except that it’s rated by Epson for a lower monthly capacity (30,000 pages, versus the WF-5690’s 45,000 prints).

Our point? While the WorkForce Pro WF-5690 is an excellent high-volume MFP, so are the other WorkForce models listed in the previous paragraphs. The good news is that whichever model you choose, they all deliver very low per-page operational costs, making each of them fine values assuming you need the volume. Granted, the support for the additional printer languages may seem expensive, but if you need it, having the ability to emulate either is well worth $100.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.

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Canon Pixma Pro-100 Wireless Inkjet PrinterWhen you think of photography and imaging (printing), probably only a few companies come to mind. Undoubtedly, Canon is one of them. Not only do they make great cameras, but also some of the best photo printers available—whether it’s one of the Japanese imaging giant’s consumer-grade Pixmas, such as the $199.99-list Pixma MG7520 (a six-ink machine), or one of Canon’s professional-grade Pixmas, like the topic of this review, the $499.99-list, eight-ink, Pixma Pro-100.

As Pixma Pro models go, the Pro-100 is the entry-level, or the beginner, in Canon’s line of professional photo printers, followed by the next model up, the 10-ink Pixma Pro 10($699.99-list), and then there’s the flagship of the Pixma Pro models, the $999.99-list Pro-1, which deploys 12 inks.

Read the entire article at About.com.

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Brother MFC-J4420DW Multifunction InkjetLeave it to Brother to bring us a line of no-nonsense, no-frills multifunction printers that print fast, provide reasonably good output, and a reasonable cost per page, or CPP—Brother’s Business Smart Inkjet All-in-Ones, and more specifically, the topic of this review, the $169.99-list  MFC-J4420DW Multifunction Inkjet. What these little workhorses deliver in abundance is decent performance, with a load of useful convenience and productivity features, at a price (both up front and ongoing operational) that your small- or home-based-business can afford.

Before I go on, though, I should point out that as I wrote this (nearing the end of January 2015), Brother was offering the MFC-J4420DW on its site at a $40 discount, or $129.99—making it great deal and a better value.

Read the full review at About.com.

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