One of the more recent trends among printer makers is to offer wide-format (11×17- and 13×19 inches) printers—both single-function and multifunction all-in-one (AIO) machines. If you’re not familiar with the benefits of tabloid (11×17) and supertabloid (13×19) printers and how they can help increase your productivity (not to mention your advertising options), check out this About.com “Wide Format Printers” article.
Until recently, Brother made most of the wide-format, or tabloid (11×17 inches) printers on the market. Nowadays, though, most of the other major printer makers are offering several models that can print oversize pages. Still, when it comes to full-featured business-oriented multifunction (print/copy/scan/fax), Brother’s tabloid printers, like one I’m reviewing here, the $299.99-list MFC-J6920DW, provide exceptional value.
Read the entire review on About.com.
If you’ve shopped online or read the hype on the displays in brick ‘n’ mortar stores, surely you’ve seen one of the latest buzz terms—“PC-free” operation. What this means, of course, is that you can perform functions on the printer without having to send data or commands to it from a computer. But what does that mean? Well, with today’s multifunction printers (MFPs), PC-free can mean everything from scanning to and printing from memory devices, to printing from mobile devices and the cloud, as well as printing and scanning with printer apps.
Read the entire article at About.com.
Printers that can print two-sided pages automatically—and nowadays most but the least expensive can—have been with us for a while. These printers are said to be auto-duplexing, which means they have a device near the end of the paper path that grabs the page and automatically flips it over, so that it can run back through the printing apparatus to print the other side of the page. Not everybody prints two-sided pages, but having the ability to make doing so automatic surely must ensure that a lot more people do, and using half the paper most of the time must be good for just about everybody.
Read entire article at About.com.
Business-oriented all-in-one inkjets range in features, capacity and price, from the $80-list Canon Pixma MX392 to HP’s $800-list Officejet Pro X576dw Multifunction Printer. Whether you’re small- or medium-size business (SMB) prints only a few pages per month, or thousands, the right printer is out there for you. Here are some good-value suggestions.
In keeping with the trend of covering high-volume inkjet all-in-one (AIO), or multifunction printers this month, here’s a review of the Epson WorkForce Pro WP-4590, a $500-list workhorse that delivers excellent print quality, print speeds, and a low cost per page, or CPP. While this AIO has been around a little while, and therefore not as resplendent with all the latest features as some competing models, it has one of the lowest per-page operational costs in the business. If you print thousands of pages each month, you can’t really go wrong with this printer.
Check out HP’s Officejet X, the Officejet Pro X576dw Multifunction Printer, based on the company’s relatively new PageWide technology. PageWide uses a fixed array of ink nozzles, rather than a print head that moves across the page. This makes this and other PageWide-based models as fast as or faster than all other inkjets and most other midrange lasers. It also has an exceptionally low cost per page, or CPP.
When it comes to computer technology, the traditional wisdom is often short-lived. Recent developments in printer technology, for example, have all but dashed the conventional belief that laser-class printers are necessarily the most economical and efficient all-in-one (AIO) machines. We’ve seen several high-volume inkjet AIOs, such as the Epson WorkForce Pro WP-4590 we looked at back in late 2012 and, more recently, HP’s Officejet Pro 276dw we reviewed in June 2013, that stand tall—in terms of print speeds, print quality, and cost per page (CPP)—compared to their laser-class counterparts.
Then, too, we mustn’t forget HP’s early-2013 debut of its PageWide-basedOfficejet Pro X576dw Multifunction Printer. Hands-down the fastest and least-expensive-to-use inkjet AIO we’ve seen, this workhorse kept pace with several midrange ($400-to-$700) laser-class multifunction machines we’ve tested, and its per-page operational cost was (and still is) one of the lowest in the printer industry—regardless of the imaging technology.
The PageWide technology is special, in that it uses a fixed array of inkjet printheads to spray the ink onto your pages. We liked the two Officejet Pro X models we tested very much, but the PageWide technology has only appeared in these relatively high-end inkjet models. And they should not overshadow a set of high-volume, low-ink-cost AIOs that HP makes with conventional carriages: the Officejet Pro 8600 series.
Beginning with our January 2012 Editors’ Choice recipient, the Officejet Pro 8600 Plus (which was replaced by the aforementioned Officejet Pro 276dw, also an Editors’ Choice winner), these printers have been both fine values and performers. Thus our excitement when we learned that in 2014, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based printer giant was poised to debut a series of high-volume workhorses aimed at small and medium businesses (SMBs). Consisting of three models—the Officejet Pro 8610, 8620, and 8630 e-All-in-Ones—they stair-step upward in list price at $199.99, $299.99, and $399.99, respectively.
Debuting on April 7, 2014, the stripped-down $199.99 Officejet Pro 8610 will, according to HP, print up to 19 monochrome pages per minute (ppm) and 14.5ppm in color. In addition to a wealth of mobile and Web-based print channels, this entry-level model will come with a 2.7-inch touch screen, a 35-page automatic document feeder (ADF), and a 250-sheet input drawer. Also due out on April 7, the $299.99 Officejet Pro 8620 is rated for 21ppm black-and-white and 16.5ppm color. In addition to all the features available on the Officejet Pro 8610, the Officejet Pro 8620 will sport a 4.3-inch touch screen, a 50-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF), and support for NFC “touch-to-print.” (We’ll discuss NFC and several other unusual functions in the Design & Features section on the next page.)
Then there’s the subject of our review here, the $399.99 Officejet Pro 8630, which, according to HP, won’t be released until May 5, 2014. The Officejet Pro 8630 comes with all of the 8620’s features, along with a second 250-sheet paper drawer (for a total of 500 sheets of paper capacity), OCR software, and an extra set of color (cyan, magenta, and yellow) ink cartridges. The additional ink tanks would run you about $60 on HP’s Web site, in effect reducing the price of the Officejet Pro 8630 to a mere $40 more than the 8620, which seems like a small price to pay for the additional input drawer.
Like with the Officejet Pro 8600 and Officejet Pro 276dw before it, we found very little to dislike about the Officejet Pro 8630. It’s fast, and its print, scan, and copy quality are top-notch—easily comparable to what we’ve come to expect from high-end HP printers. Our only real concern, in terms of overall value, is the challenge set forth by the HP Officejet Pro X576dw we spoke of earlier. Granted, its list price is a couple of hundred dollars more than the Officejet Pro 8630′s, but it’s also nearly twice as fast and rated for more than twice the recommended maximum monthly duty cycle. (“Duty cycle” is the maximum number of pages that HP estimates you can print without inflicting undue wear on the printer.)
The Officejet Pro X576dw also manages a lower per-page cost. We’ll compare the ongoing operational costs between these two models and others in the Setup & Paper Handling section a little later in this review. But up front, here’s our recommendation: If you’re looking for a high-volume workhorse, it’s hard to go wrong with this Officejet. Depending on the kind of monthly print volume you need, though, there does become a point when the faster, bigger, and more-expensive Officejet Pro X makes more sense. Figuring out which side of that tipping point you’re on is the key buying consideration, and we’ll get into that over the course of this review.
Read entire review at Computer Shopper.
We suspect that most small businesses and home offices might not realize the benefits of owning a wide-format, or ledger-size, all-in-one (AIO) printer. (Ledger paper measures 11×17 inches; it’s perhaps more commonly known as “tabloid.”) As we’ve said in previous reviews of wide-format printers, though, once you’ve owned one, you’ll probably find yourself wondering how you got along without it. The ability to print oversize pages provides a wealth of options, such as the ability to print multipage booklets and brochures, as well as large drawings, diagrams, and spreadsheets, that are simply unavailable on standard letter-size printers.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a few printer makers, notably Brother and Epson, debut consumer or home-office-grade wide-format printers. Some, such as the Brother MFC-J4610DW, allow you to print only one oversize page at a time, via a manual-feed slot; others, such as the Epson WorkForce WF-7520 and Brother MFC-J6920DW, not only let you print multiple 11×17-inch pages in succession (just as you would letter-size documents), but they also enable you to scan, copy, and fax these big documents.
That first option—printing tabloid pages manually, one at a time—is suitable for only very short print runs or occasional “convenience” printing, and therefore quite limiting. If you want to do some serious wide-format printing, though, a much wiser choice might be a machine like the one we’re reviewing here today: HP’s $249.99-list Officejet 7610 Wide Format e-All-in-One. It, like a few other wide-format inkjet AIOs we’ve reviewed, comes with a relatively large ledger-size input tray (in this case, 250 pages) that allows you to print multipage oversize documents, or lots of copies of the same big document, without having to babysit the printer or feed it a sheet at a time. It also prints really big 13×19 pages; more on that later.
While we found a bunch of reasons to like this printer, among them its great print quality and relatively economical cost per page (when using the right ink tanks), we were a bit perplexed that the Officejet 7610 comes with only one paper-input source. This, of course, means that you’ll have to empty and reconfigure the paper tray each time you change paper sizes. Its two closest competitors, the abovementioned Epson WorkForce WF-7520 and Brother MFC-J6920DW, on the other hand, each have two paper drawers, so you can keep one loaded with the ledger paper and the other with, presumably, letter-size. In addition, both the Epson and Brother models have multiple slots for flash-memory cards, allowing for printing from and scanning to camera media. This Officejet, in contrast, only has a port for USB flash drives. (We’ll discuss this and other types of PC-free printing in the Design section on the next page.)
We should pause here to point out that, while this Officejet’s list price of $250 is about average for a consumer inkjet AIO (judging by the prices of the Epson and Brother ledger-size AIOs mentioned above), you may be able to find it much cheaper. When we wrote this in early March 2014, HP was offering the Officejet 7610 for sale directly via its Web site at a steep discount at various times, for $179.99 and even for a while at $149.99. Therefore, the question becomes, is the convenience provided by the second paper drawer—the ability to print to different media sizes with just a couple of mouse clicks, without taking the printer out of service to change the paper—worth an extra $70 to $100?
If dual paper drawers (and flash-memory-card support) were all you gave up, well, then yes, we’d say that at $150 to $180, HP’s Officejet 7610 is a good value, assuming you’d be using it mostly for its wide-format functionality. At that price, most homes or small businesses could justify purchasing it as a second, dedicated wide-format AIO, to supplement a letter-size inkjet or laser printer. However, compared to the Brother MFC-J6920DW, the Officejet 7610 has a few other—and somewhat glaring—shortcomings. For one, its automatic document feeder (ADF) can’t scan two-sided pages without you flipping them over manually. Also, its CPPs are significantly higher, especially when printing black-and-white pages. (We’ll look at this AIO’s ADF and per-page operational cost in the Setup & Paper Handling section, a little later in this review.)
Aside from the confining single input drawer and manual-duplexing ADF, we like this printer: It’s attractive and well-built, and it churns out great-looking prints, copies, and scans. It’s not nearly as nimble and versatile as the competition, though. We like it a lot more at its limited-time $150 HP-direct price, but we could really get behind it, with an enthusiastic “buy” recommendation, at, say, a $129 street price.
Read entire review at Computer Shopper.
Camarillo, CA – March 2014: Communications Technology Watch (CommTechWatch.com) is pleased to announce that William Harrel has signed with New York Times-owned About.com to become one of the site’s “Experts”. As About.com’s new Printers & Scanners Expert, Harrel will (as he already does as Contributing Editor for Computer Shopper) cover all aspects of printer and scanner technologies, including product reviews, buying advice, new technologies, and how-tos.
With nearly 25 years as a technology journalist, Harrel has written 20 “computer” books and hundreds articles covering software and hardware for such publications as PC World, Computer Shopper, Compute!, Publish!, Windows Magazine, MacWorld, and several other computer technology sites and magazines.
Averaging over 40 million page views per month, About.com is rated as one of the top 50 visited sites in the United States, and one of the top 100 worldwide.
“The Printers & Scanners section has been neglected for a while and needs considerable updating,” Harrel commented. “I’ll hit the ground running, but it may take a few months to whip it back into shape with current and relevant content. Can’t wait to get started.”