Cleaning Your Printer’s PrintheadsEverything needs to be maintained, including all those electronic devices deployed in your home-based office or workplace. And few devices require more attention than your inkjet printer. Whether you use your printer a lot, or hardly at all, you have to change ink cartridge, and/or clean the printhead now and then.

Believe it or don’t, an inkjet printer that sits, especially for long periods, idle will require printhead cleaning more often than one that gets used frequently. If a cartridge doesn’t have ink passing through it now and then, the ink in them dries out, clogging the print nozzles, where the ink is actually applied to the paper. If a set of cartridges sits idle for too long, the nozzles may clog to the point of no return, and no amount of cleaning will unclog them.

Read the entire review at About.com.

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Brother MFC-J5620DW Review and RatingsSeveral of the top printer makers—Canon, Epson, and HP—have come out with, taken together, a profusion of budget-minded wide-format printers here in 2014. But if the number of different wide-format models is any measure, Brother’s commitment to this trend is the biggest of all.

In one way or another, each of the machines in Brother’s Business Smart line, such as the ever-popular MFC-J4610DW, as well as the Business Smart Pro series, including the MFC-J6920DW, all print tabloid-size (11×17-inch) pages.

While most of the Brother Business Smart models support printing just one tabloid-size page at a time (through a rear override slot), most of the Business Smart Pro all-in-ones (AIOs), such as the MFC-J6920DW, ship with two paper drawers, and at least one of them holds wide-format paper.

In between these two product lines, though, is Brother’s Business Smart Plus family of printers, and the subject of this review, the $199.99-list MFC-J5620DW. This model, and the line, is an average of the ones above and below. In the case of the MFC-J5620DW, it comes with only one paper drawer, but as we’ll discuss in some detail later on, this AIO lets you print tabloid pages through both that main paper drawer and a rear input slot.

Brother MFC-J5620DW (Angle View)Aside from the tabloid-size printing, the MFC-J5620DW’s feature set is about what you’d expect from a $200 business printer. We appreciated the 35-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF), though we’d have liked it even more had it been an auto-duplexing mechanism, for scanning multipage, two-sided originals without our help. And, as we’ll get into in the last section of this review, occasionally the graphics output looked a little less than perfect, but the rest of the print quality was on the whole excellent.

The imperfections we saw were the kind you really have to really look for, though, and most people probably wouldn’t notice them. And balancing that out, this AIO stands out in another key area, besides tabloid printing: cost per page (CPP). The MFC-J5620DW delivers the very lowest CPPs we’ve seen from an under-$200 multifunction printer. We’re pretty sure it has the lowest CPPs we’ve seen from a wide-format-capable model, too. (If it isn’t, it’s very close, on both accounts.)

In fact, aside from Brother’s recent Business Smart Pro series models, we don’t often see high-volume inkjets with CPPs this low—not unless the AIO costs at least $300 to $400. (Epson’s recently released $299.99-MSRP WorkForce Pro WF-4630 All-in-One comes to mind, but, alas, it doesn’t support wide-format printing.)

Brother MFC-J5620DW (Left View)When you’re evaluating an inkjet meant for business, remember that it will probably have to churn out more pages than most home printers will. So a realistic ongoing operational cost weighs heavily in our overall assessment, and it should in yours, too. But a low CPP is not all that the MFC-J5620DW has going for it. For what it does (as you’ll see on the next page), it’s not a hulking, beastly printer—it’s relatively small and light.

On the whole, if high-volume inkjet output at a decent cost per page (with respectable speed, and in overall good quality) sounds good to you—well, here’s your AIO. Just proceed with caution if graphics-heavy output is what you’re after.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.

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Canon Pixma MG6620 Photo All-in-One Inkjet PrinterWasn’t it just the other day, when talking about Canon’s top-of-the-line consumer-grade photo printer, the $199.99 (MSRP) Canon Pixma MG7520 Photo All-in-One Inkjet Printer, I said that the Tokyo imaging giant’s 6-ink printers were among the best. Also great printers, although a little bit cheaper and not quite as vibrant as their 6-ink siblings, are Canon’s 5-ink Pixmas, like the topic of this review, Canon’s $149.99 (MSRP) Pixma MG6620 Photo All-in-One Inkjet Printer.

Part of a trio of photo printers Canon released recently, at $150, the MG6620 is in the middle, with the abovementioned MG7120 above it, and the $99.99 MG5620 (which I’ll be reviewing in a few days) bringing up the rear. What you give up for the $50 between the MG7120 and MG6620 is primarily the former’s sixth ink tank, and a slightly smaller LCD (3.5 inches versus 3.0 inches).

Read the entire review at About.com.

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Epson WorkForce WF-3640 All-in-One Printer Review and RatingsWhen we see a fast printer that has three input sources, and two of those are big, roomy paper drawers, we assume: Business Printer. Our first impression is that we’re dealing with a high-volume machine designed to churn out hundreds, even thousands, of pages each month. However, you can’t forget the big intangible when talking about printers for small or medium businesses: CPP.

“CPP” stands for cost per page. And one of our biggest criteria for high-volume printers, in addition to being fast and having a lot of paper capacity, is that they deliver excellent-looking documents at a decent CPP.

In fact, to our eyes, a high-volume printer’s CPP is usually the most important figure to focus on. Depending on the printer itself (and sometimes a few other factors), a difference in CPPs of a few pennies between printers can cost you plenty if you print a lot. And printing a lot is, after all, the reason you purchase a high-volume model to begin with.

It was that shortcoming—an exorbitant ongoing cost of operation—that pained us most about last year’s WorkForce WF-3540 All-in-One Printer. Alas, as you’ll see a little later on in this review, the successor model we’re reviewing here, Epson’s WorkForce WF-3640 All-in-One Printer, also costs a bit too much, in terms of CPP, to use. (As for the printer itself, it lists for $199.99, though you may be able to find it $50 cheaper when you read this; more on that later.)

Epson WorkForce WF-3640Alongside the WorkForce WF-3640, Epson also introduced a broadly similar model, the WorkForce WF-3630. The WF-3630 doesn’t merit a separate review; the main differences are that it has only one drawer-style paper tray (in addition to the same single-sheet override tray on the back), and, unlike the WF-3640, it can’t fax.

Often, with inkjet all-in-one (AIO) printers, not much changes from generation to generation. And at first blush, it might look like the WorkForce WF-3640 is merely an incremental upgrade over last year’s WorkForce WF-3540. They do look much alike, so just tack on a couple of features, and call it “new and improved,” yes? But that wasn’t the case here at all.

The WorkForce Pro WF-3640 is one of 11 models in Epson’s dramatically refreshed WorkForce line of business printers, released in a big surge in June 2014. The reason for the major rollout? All 11 models were built around Epson’s new, speed-enhancing PrecisonCore printhead technology. The first of these PrecisionCore-based models we reviewed, the wide-format WorkForce WF-7610, won an Editors’ Choice award, as did the next one, a WorkForce Pro model, the WorkForce Pro WF-4630, we looked at back in mid-August. (That Pro-model printer was, incidentally, the first 5-star printer we’ve tested in quite some years.)

The WorkForce WF-3640 is also quite a good printer, but it falls into the same CPP habits that some of its predecessors did. Despite its superior speed and feature set, it’s too expensive to use for much output beyond light-to-medium-duty printing and copying. That’s too bad, because the output of all kinds is very good. In addition to turning out decent-looking document prints in our hands-on testing, it produced great-looking, highly accurate scans. (At least the scans don’t cost you ink.) Copies looked good, too, as did the test photos we printed.

Epson WorkForce WF-3640 (Three Quarters)As we said about the WorkForce WF-3540 model before it, the per-page cost of ink nicks this AIO’s overall value, relegating it to an occasional-use machine—to the point where we couldn’t justify an Editors’ Choice nod for this model, despite all else that it can do so well. Still, this is a fine printer that gave us plenty of reasons to recommend it, among them exceptional print speeds and output quality.

If you need to print a lot, you should consider a more-expensive model with a consumables scheme that’s truly built for high-volume output. You don’t have to look far from this model, either, just up: Epson’s own WorkForce Pro WF-4630. That PrecisionCore model has a more efficient and much cheaper-to-use imaging and inking system, and that put it over the top. It lists for $299.99. For light to moderate use, though, the cheaper WorkForce WF-3640 is a fine printer, if you can manage the cost of upkeep.

Read the entire article at Computer Shopper.

 

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Canon Pixma MG7520 Photo All-in-One Inkjet PrinterAbout.com Rating: 4 – I’ve said time and time again that few, if any, photo printers turn out images with the aplomb of Canon’s higher-end, six-ink Pixma “MG” photo printers (MG is the company’s all-in-one photo printer designation, where MX signifies an office-, or business-ready AIO). As has been the case for a while now, every year or so, the Japanese imaging giant releases at least one “new” printer based on this ink system, but what they really come down to are essentially the same printer—or at least the same print engine inside. So, what you get is essentially the same machine with some feature add-ons.

To read the entire review, go to About.com.

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Brother MFC-J5620DWIf you’ve poked around the Printers & Scanners section of About.com for any time at all, you don’t have to read much here to know that I’m fighting the good fight against exorbitant per-page consumables costs, or the high cost per page (CPP) of ink or toner. In other words, when a printer maker claims that a machine is “high volume,” inherent in that claim is the understanding that keeping the printer supplied with ink won’t take you to poor house. 

We all know that printer makers make the bulk of their money from selling consumables. However, it’s also safe to assume that while most of us feel that, yes, printer manufacturers deserve to earn a profit, the size of said profit should be reasonable. And that’s the case with the subject of today’s review, Brother’s $199.99-list MFC-J5620DW—a full featured all-in-one (AIO) inkjet printer with terrific CPPs—especially for an under-$200 machine.

Read the entire review at About.com

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About Printer ResolutionNowadays, there are several ways to “render,” or image and display, output— printers, monitors, tablets, and smartphones (and I’m sure I’ve left a few out). In one way or another, they all gauge output density with some sort of resolution measurement, such as dots per inch(dpi) or pixels per inch (ppi). Typically, though, we use dpi when referring toprinted resolution, and when we use ppi, we’re talking about image, or display, resolution.

It’s also important to point out that laser-class printers turn out entirely different size and shaped dots than do their inkjet counterparts. For example, a good, appropriately configured laser printer’s output is so clean, in terms of screen frequency and halftones, that you can (theoretically) use it as camera-ready art, i.e.color separations, for reproduction on a printing press. (However, most designers would use the laser output for proofing, and then go one step further and output the color separations to film for printing on a high-end, high-resolution imaging, or typesetting, machine.)

Read the entire article at About.com.

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Laser-Class LED PrintersIn case you’re wondering why I refer to certain types of laser-like printers as “laser-class” devices, rather than simply laser printers, there’s a sound technical reason, I assure you. “True” laser printers use a laser mechanism inside to draw the page image to be printed onto the printer’s drum (which then picks up and transfers toner to the page). This is quite similar to what LED printers do, but they don’t do it with lasers.

Light-Emitting Diodes

LED-based machines, on the other hand, charge the page image onto the print drum with an array of light-emitting diodes. (Mind you, this isn’t a ploy by manufacturers to make knock-off laser printers; substituting LEDs for lasers simply allows printer manufacturers to make smaller and lighter printers with fewer moving parts.) All else being equal, LED models tend to cost less to manufacture than do their laser counterparts. Aside from the economics involved, though, LED-based printers function much the same as laser devices do, and they act identically from the outside; hence, I call them “laser-class” printers—though there is nothing laser about them.

Read the entire article at About.com.

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About Printer ResolutionNowadays, there are several ways to “render,” or image and display, output— printers, monitors, tablets, and smartphones (and I’m sure I’ve left a few out). In one way or another, they all gauge output density with some sort of resolution measurement, such as dots per inch (dpi) or pixels per inch (ppi). Typically, though, we use dpi when referring to printed resolution, and when we use ppi, we’re talking about image, or display, resolution.

It’s also important to point out that laser-class printers turn out entirely different size and shaped dots than do their inkjet counterparts. For example, a good, appropriately configured laser printer’s output is so clean, in terms of screen frequency and halftones, that you can (theoretically) use it as camera-ready art, i.e.color separations, for reproduction on a printing press. (However, most designers would use the laser output for proofing, and then go one step further and output the color separations to film for printing on a high-end, high-resolution imaging, or typesetting, machine.)

Read the entire article at About.com.

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WhatWeDo1In network parlance, to make another piece of equipment, such as a printer or sever, or even a file, available to other users on the network is to “share” that resource. If you’ve visited many social networking sites, such as Facebook or Twitter, you may have noticed that making images and other files available is often referred to as “sharing” on the Internet, too, which is, of course, essentially just one big network.

Due primarily to the latest Windows’ “metro” style touch overlay, sharing a printer in Windows 8.1 is somewhat different from in previous versions. That said, this procedure assumes that the printer has already been installed on the network and that the drivers and other software utilities have been installed on at least one Windows machine on that network.

The following procedure works with Windows 8.1 and Windows RT. If you don’t know how to install a printer in Windows, check out this About.com “Installing a Printer in Windows 8.1” article.

Setting up the Share

Once the printer has been installed on the network, and the drivers and utilities have been installed on one of your networked PCs, you’re ready to begin. Begin at the computer on which you installed the printer drivers.

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