Unless you’ve been watching the printer market awfully closely, you’ll find it difficult to trace the lineage of today’s review unit through the evolution of Canon’s photo printers. We’re looking at Canon’s current flagship model among consumer-grade, photo-ready all-in-ones (AIOs), the Pixma MG7720 Photo All-in-One Inkjet Printer. (Its list price is $199.99, but while writing this, we found it on sale at shop.usa.canon.com for $50 off, or $149.99.) Canon’s MG line emphasizes photo printing; its MX line of Pixmas is geared more toward balanced general printing and document handling.
An upgrade to the $149.99-list Pixma MG6820 we reviewed not long before it, this six-ink Pixma prints some of the brightest, most vibrant photos you’ll get from a consumer-grade photo printer. To get better output than this, you’ll have to turn to a professional-grade photo printer, such as Canon’s own $499.99-MSRP Pixma Pro-100 or Epson’s $799.99 SureColor P600—elaborate, large nine-ink printers, both.
Aside from printing better photos, the professional-grade models mentioned here and their numerous counterparts aren’t really designed for printing document pages consisting of text and graphics. Nor is it economically feasible to do much of that on them. It’s not that they’re notcapable of printing all kinds of output; they surely are. But using them to do so is wasteful. It’s too expensive to use your nine-ink photo printer to print business reports or presentations.
In any case, back to the history of this particular AIO. Prior to the MG7000-series Pixma printers, Canon, in 2010, offered a higher-end six-ink Pixma, the Pixma MG8120, which not only was an excellent photo and document printer, but could also scan slides and negatives—a well-rounded photo-centric AIO. But Canon eventually ditched the somewhat expensive MG8000 series (which topped out, in their time, at $299.99) for a less-expensive six-ink MG7000 series (now cresting at $199.99).
If you shop around, you’ll inevitably find these printers for less. (That’s always been the case with these consumer Pixmas.) Unfortunately, the same does not apply to the ink. Unless you’re feeding the Pixma MG7720 third-party ink, this model’s per-page cost using genuine Canon ink relegates it, where documents are concerned, to being a low-volume printer.
It’s expensive to operate as a photo printer, too, simply by the nature of photo printing, as we’ll get into more later on. But if top-notch “keeper” photographs are what you’re after, you may find the outlay worth the price. Granted, HP’s Instant Ink allows certain of that company’s photo-ready Envy models to print images dirt-cheap. But those are four-ink, two-cartridge machines that, while they print decent-enough photos, are not equal to what the Pixma MG7720 gives you in vibrancy and color depth.
Our bottom line on this printer, its siblings, and its predecessors? If you’re looking for the least-expensive way to print the best-looking photos, the Pixma MG7720 is arguably it. Beyond it, you’re looking at a much costlier proposition to buy and operate one of those professional-grade photo printers we mentioned earlier. But as a general-purpose printer, the Pixma MG7720 is not as strong a choice. The output is unimpeachable, but it will be dear.
Read the entire article at Computer Shopper.
It took a while (it was released in 2014), but we finally got our hands on HP’s flagship Envy all-in-one (AIO), the $199.99-list Envy 7640 e-All-in-One Printer. One benefit of reviewing a printer after it’s been out for a year or so is that, by that time, the machine has settled into its place in the market, which usually means a price point somewhat lower than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. As we wrote this in mid-November 2015, Amazon.com was selling the Envy 7640 for $85.99, less than half the original MSRP.
Even though it’s at the top of the Envy product line, the Envy 7640 (whose AIO functions comprise printing, copying, scanning, and faxing) is nonetheless a low-volume, entry-level machine. It’s designed to print and/or copy about 300 to 400 pages each month. A primary difference between this Envy and its siblings, though, is that this one has an automatic document feeder (ADF) to help you scan multipage documents. As we’ll get into in the next section, this is a huge advantage for this particular Envy model.
Over the years, the Envy line has changed considerably. At one time, HP offered only one model at a time, such as the Envy 100, Envy 110, or Envy 120. Now, HP offers a bunch of concurrent ones. In addition, at one time HP’s Envy brand—be it printers, desktop PCs, or laptops—was given only to the company’s top-of-the-line, highest-quality machines. Now, the Envy-name criteria is much more relaxed and mainstream, with an emphasis in printers on mobile connectivity features, as well as a decent mix of productivity and convenience options.
Even though this Envy is the sturdiest branch on the Envy tree, it’s by no means a high-volume multifunction printer. As you’ll see in our Setup & Paper Handling section later on, its input and output paper trays are quite small. And, while the print quality isn’t bad overall, it’s by no means perfect. HP promotes the Envy line as photo printers, and most of the Envy models we’ve reviewed have printed respectable photos, or ones as good you’d expect, at least, from four-ink printers. This one was a step behind.
If a photo printer is what you’re after, you’ll generally get brighter, more accurately colored images from machines that deploy five or six inks—even HP’s own five-ink Photosmart 6520 e-All-in-One Printer or six-ink Photosmart 7520 e-All-in-One Printer we covered back in 2012. Since then, we haven’t seen any five- or six-ink consumer-grade photo AIOs from HP.
As with other Envy models, as well as the latest round of Officejet models, if you stay within HP’s suggested page-volume guidelines and subscribe to the Instant Ink consumables delivery service to save on ink, the Envy 7640 will satisfy. It isn’t a bad little low-volume printer for homes or home-based offices, especially as cheap as it is now. But you can find much better photo printers, if that’s what you are after, for not much more money. (Even a couple of recent Envy models we’ve tested printed better images than this one.) If, however, all you need is an occasional-use printer with the ability to scan and make usable copies now and then, this Envy works for that.
Keep in mind, though, that this printer makes much more budgetary sense if you enroll in HP’s Instant Ink program, described in the Setup & Paper Handling section a bit later—especially if you’ll use it for mostly photo prints.
Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.
We first encountered Epson’s Small-in-One printers in the Expression Premium XP-800, the first in a series that debuted back in November 2012. On sight, not much has changed in Small-in-One land since then.
In fact, as you can see in the image below, aside from the model number, from the outside the 2012 XP-800 and 2015 Expression Premium XP-830—today’s unit up for review, which lists for $99.99—are nearly identical…
That’s the XP-830 there on the right. Just like today’s review unit, changes to interim models in this series, such as the Expression Premium XP-810 and XP-820, were internal—that is, the updates consisted primarily of feature add-ins and performance tweaks.
When these Small-in-One units debuted a few years ago (especially the higher-end models like this one; Epson also offers Small-in-One models in its XP-400 and XP-600 series), we applauded them as impressive feats of engineering. They did (and do) so much given their diminutive sizes. And for all three previous XP-800-series models, our assessment was about the same: excellent little printer, but costs too much to use.
Unfortunately, while Epson has piled on the features over the years, it hasn’t done anything to bring down the per-page cost of ink. The XP-830 and all of its predecessors are, first and foremost, photo printers, and photo-oriented all-in-ones (AIOs) historically have a higher cost per page than equally priced and equipped office-centric AIOs.
That hasn’t changed here. New features have been added with each of the updates, for the most part the underlying XP-800-series machines haven’t changed all that much, nor their cost per page. As we pointed out in 2014’s review of the Expression Premium XP-820, however, the pricing on these units has gotten more aggressive.
The original XP-800 started out at a $279 list price. After that, the XP-810’s MSRP was $50 lower, or $229; then came the $30-cheaper ($199 list) XP-820. This year’s XP-830 also comes in at an MSRP of $199, but as we wrote this in mid-November 2015, it was discounted on Epson’s own Web site by $70, for a total price of $129. This price brings it close to parity with Canon’s five- and six-ink photo-centric Pixma AIO models, such as the five-ink Pixma MG6820 we reviewed recently.
When it comes to print quality and features, the Pixma MG6820 and the Expression Premium XP-830 are reasonably close. However, our Epson review unit has an automatic document feeder (ADF) for feeding multipage documents to the scanner—a feature that many users find very handy, and that the photo-centric Pixma MG models just don’t have.
Alas, few users need or have the space for a printer for each task, say, one for printing documents and another for photographs. When it comes to printing business documents, both black-and-white and color, the XP-830’s output quality, as discussed near the end of this review, is quite good. And when it comes to keeping up with the competition, this little Small-in-One held its ground in our speed tests, too.
Each year since 2012, we have given the latest XP-800-series models in this series 4 out of 5 stars; they have just missed our Editors’ Choice nod due to their too-high cost-per-page figures. Granted, many of Canon’s and HP’s budget photo printers have high per-page ink costs, too, but just because they all do doesn’t mean it’s justified—we haven’t given the competitions’ consumer-grade photo printers the award either. But with changes afoot in the inkjet-printing market, notably HP’s Instant Ink subscription program, which can rewrite the book on color printing costs if you print just a few hundred color pages a month, we have to dock an extra half a star here for the lack of progress on that front from Epson in its Small-in-Ones. Were it not so expensive to use, the XP-830 would surely have been an Editors’ Choice winner.
Read the entire review at Computer Shopper
For a brief description of how to network your printer or scanner, check out:
As we reported a few weeks ago in our review of the budget-model-inkjet HP Envy 5540 All-in-One Printer, HP has lately more fully embraced its Instant Ink delivery service, releasing six new Instant Ink-ready all-in-one (AIO) printers. That debut comprised two Envy models, the Envy 5540 and a lower-end Envy 4520 All-in-One Printer, both of which we’ve reviewed over the past few weeks. The other four are Officejets, and the first, the $99.99-MSRP Officejet 4650 All-in-One Printer, is the topic of this review.
In many ways, these new Officejets are simply Envy models with several added office-centric features (or perhaps, vice versa, the Envy printers are Officejets with the office features removed). Most Envy printers, except for the top-of-the line Envy 7640, don’t, for example, come with automatic document feeders (ADFs) for scanning, copying, and faxing multipage documents automatically, without you, the user, having to feed them page by page or flip them over manually.
They’re not otherwise terribly far apart, though. Here’s a visual comparison. The Officejet 4650 is the one on the left, the Envy 4520 on the right…
Imagine the Officejet on the left without the ADF (which we’ll talk more about in a bit), and you wind up with the Envy 4520 on the right, plus or minus some productivity and convenience features we’ll cover throughout the course of this review.
Given the Officejet 4650’s $99.99 suggested retail price, its feature list isn’t bad at all, nor is the cost per page (CPP), at least when you use HP’s Instant Ink ink-delivery service. We’ll look at the Instant Ink product, which is essentially an add-on, later, in the Setup & Paper Handling section. Meanwhile, this Officejet is priced and behaves very similar to its Envy siblings.
It wasn’t long ago, prior to some of today’s new ink-delivery initiatives—i.e. HP’s Instant Ink, Epson’s EcoTank, and Brother’s INKvestment—that using this kind of entry-level printer was, on a cost per page basis, an expensive proposition if you used your printer often. Nowadays, though, these vendor-specific services are making it cheaper to use some of these models. (We should add that so far we haven’t had much hands-on time with Brother printers relative to its INKvestment initiative, but will be doing so in the near future.)
Without question, if you plan to scan a lot of multipage documents, this Officejet model is more practical than one of the Envy units. If you’ve ever scanned a multipage document one page at a time, it doesn’t take long to realize that it’s tedious and time-consuming work.
Bottom line? As you’ll see in our Performance section later on, like the recent Envy models we’ve reviewed, this Officejet model is, well, pretty slow. Aside from that, it does everything that it’s supposed to—print, copy, scan, and fax—in fine fashion, in the same quality and with the same agility as its Envy counterparts.
In the case of both those Envy units and this particular Officejet, we should not lose sight of the fact that they are low-volume printers with relatively low monthly volume ratings. From that perspective—an occasional-use machine with a low ongoing per-page cost—we think the Officejet 4650 is a good value.
Read the entire review at Computer Shopper
Only one other Envy model, the Envy 4500 e-All-in-One Printer, is shorter on features and less expensive than the unit we’re reviewing here today: the $99.99-list Envy 4520 All-in-One Printer. In fact, as we wrote this in late October 2015, HP was selling the Envy 4500 for a mere $49.99—mind-bogglingly low for a full-blown multifunction printer. The Envy 4520, on the other hand (most likely because it’s so new), sold everywhere we checked for its full $99.99 MSRP. Still, that’s very inexpensive for a photo and document printer that can do all it does.
Like the HP Envy 5540 we reviewed a week or so before this model, the HP Envy 4520 was part of a new six-printer lineup HP released midyear. Ranging in list price from $79 to $299, the six new models comprise two Envy personal or family all-in-ones (AIOs) and four home- or small-office OfficeJet AIOs. (As we noted in our review of the Envy 5540, over the course of the next month or two we’ll look at most or all of them.) They all have one thing in common, though: support for a program HP calls “Instant Ink,” in which you pay a flat subscription fee to print a certain number of pages per month. To make that possible, HP sends you the necessary ink cartridges in the mail as you run low, automatically.
Instant Ink-compatible printers like these six new ones come ready to take part in the program right out of the box. Even so, most of HP’s recent, Internet-connectible consumer- and business-grade printers support or are eligible for, Instant Ink. (That includes some high-volume models, such as the popular OfficeJet Pro 8630 e-All-in-One Printer we looked at back in early 2014.)
The real-world distinction here is that signing up for Instant Ink is much easier with the printers that come Instant Ink-ready, as opposed to those that require you to register the machine with the service on your own. In fact, we found registering an Instant Ink-supported OfficeJet Pro 8620 a much more involved process that eventually led to a short session with HP’s Instant Ink support team. The good news is that the technician was knowledgeable and knew exactly how to help us.
Like its similarly priced sibling, the Envy 5540, the Envy 4520 is small, prints somewhat sluggishly versus competitors, and lacks an automatic document feeder (ADF) for copying and scanning multipage documents. (You have to flip them over manually to copy or scan the other side.)
In other words, this isn’t a workhorse AIO by a long shot, and it’s missing some important convenience and productivity features you might expect on a slightly more expensive AIO. At the same time, unless you need multipage scanning and high-speed volume printing and copying on a semi-regular basis, the Envy 4520 isn’t a bad little entry-level printer.
Read the entire review at Computer Shopper