It’s not every day that a printer comes to our labs on the back of an 18-wheeler, strapped to a pallet and requiring at least two people to lift the machine out of the box. Typically, packages are shipped in this manner, via “freight,” to make them easier to move around—say, from plane to truck, or from one truck to another. Today’s review unit was hard enough to move from door to den—never mind across the country
The Canon ImageClass MF810Cdn is the less-expensive sibling of another high-volume laser, Canon’s $1,299-MSRP ImageClass MF820Cdn Color Laser Printer, a formidable multifunction color laser we reviewed (and dragged to and fro) back in April 2015. The MFC820Cdn weighed in at just over 99 pounds. The MFC810Cdn isn’t exactly the slim twin; this $999-MSRP beast weighs just over 95 pounds. That said, aside from noting a lower maximum Canon-rated monthly duty cycle (67,000 pages per month, versus 88,000), we didn’t find many significant differences between these two models. They’re both big and bulky, and they both print quite well.
Granted, Canon has a host of enormous ImageClass printers in its product-line past. But in addition to being reasonably fast, this one (as you’ll see in the section coming up) brings several firsts to the ImageClass series. These include large (3.5-inch) touch-enabled displays and a few new mobile-connectivity features. (These too, we’ll get to in a moment.)
The biggest bottom-line checkmark in the MF810Cdn’s Pros column, though, is that delivers a decent black-and-white cost per page (CPP), which we’ll look at in some depth in the Setup & Paper Handling section later on. We’ll also talk some there about this model’s expansion options, which include combinations of paper cassettes that can take paper capacity upward of 2,000 sheets.
Then, too, the MF810Cdn comes with a wealth of security, productivity, and convenience features that you’d expect from a $1,000 workgroup printer, among them device and document-management software, and a host of mobile connectivity options, including Canon’s Mobile Printing app—again, all of which we’ll cover over the next few pages.
Granted, the ImageClass MF810Cdn Color Laser Printer isn’t for everybody; you’d need a rather busy team or office to justify this much printer and this much horsepower. But, as mentioned, if you realize you need to start pushing this printer to its limits down the road, it can expand with you. Canon provides expansions to give your printer more—a lot more—capacity. As full-featured, color-laser MFPs go, the ImageClass MF810Cdn is a pretty good one.
Read entire review at Computer Shopper
Read my review of Epson’s Expression Premium XP-830 at About.com
With apologies to the philosopher Heraclitus (assuming he even said the original in the first place), the one thing that’s constant in tech is change? Somebody tell Dell.
In all the years we’ve been looking at laser-class printers, Dell’s machines have been the ones that have changed the least, and the most slowly, on the outside. Take, for example, 2011’s Dell 1355cnw, a multifunction color-laser-class printer that looks almost identical to the new Dell machine we’re reviewing here in 2015, Dell’s $329.99-list E525w Color Multifunction Printer. And, when we looked even further back, we found other Dell multifunction printers (MFPs) that looked an awful lot like that E525w.
Points for consistency, at least: The family resemblance in Dell’s line over the years has stayed clear and constant. In fact, as we’ll discuss in some detail, from an appearance and interface perspective, the E525w isn’t just long in the tooth. Compared to some of today’s more modern competitors, such as HP’s snappy-looking Color LaserJet Pro MFP M277dw, it’s like stepping back a decade or two in time in printer design.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. And the Dell E525w comes with two offsetting positives: (1) Despite its aging and somewhat ungainly design, the E525w delivers exceptionally good prints, for the kind of printer it is. And (2) a comparable machine 20 years ago would have cost four or five times as much. This model, with a $329 list price, is modestly priced enough, but at this writing Dell was selling it for $199.99 with free shipping, and some other sellers had it as low as $179.99.
Now that’s cheap. And yes, the E525w delivers excellent-looking output, including photos that are better looking than you might expect from a laser-class machine. The only problem? The cartridges…oh, those toner cartridges. The E525w prints at an exceptionally high cost per page (CPP), especially for the color output. It’s the same old printer story of charging a low price up front for the printer itself, only to make it up on the back end with a relatively high per-page price for consumables (in this case, toner).
This, of course, isn’t an unusual practice. It’s certainly common among printer makers in their entry-level and midrange machines. Aside from that all-too-frequent tactic, though, Dell did a whole bunch right in this printer. Besides printing top-notch output for a budget-level laser-class machine, the E525w comes with a decent mix of features. That includes, in a forward-looking fashion you wouldn’t expect from this printer’s backward-looking design, several ways to connect to most mobile devices, which we’ll cover in more detail momentarily.
Before moving on to the next section, though, we should point out that as a “laser-class” printer, the E525w isn’t technically a laser printer at all. Instead it’s a LED-array printer, in which a fixed strip of LEDs does the same (or similar) work that the laser apparatus does in a “true” laser printer, in that it charges the image drum appropriately to transfer toner to paper.
While LED-based machines operate inside somewhat differently from true laser-based ones (the former are often smaller and have fewer moving parts, for example), the machines themselves appear to operate identically from the outside. The print quality between LED and laser is about the same in most cases, too, and LED-based models tend to use less power—a win-win for all involved.
In any case, aside from a too-high CPP, as well as a few other, more minor grumbles, the E525w is a fine laser-class printer, with better-than-average print quality for the price. You won’t want to print loads of output on it—the consumables are just too pricey for that—but used in moderation, it should be good enough for many would-be MFP owners who have never owned a color laser before and will use it just for occasional output.
Read the entire review at Computer Shopper
Read the entire review at About.com
The first question is, of course, what makes the S2810dn smart—compared to other single-function laser-class machines, that is? (First question or not, the answer is not so ground-shaking as to warrant disruption of the natural flow of this review.) Suffice it to say here that “smart” simply refers to an overall business-centric printer design consisting of several complimentary features, not some ground-breaking approach to entry-level laser design.
Read the entire review at About.com
Epson offers a range of Expression Small-in-One models, but the $99.99-list Expression Home XP-420 Small-in-One Printer is one of the smallest. It’s the direct descendant of the XP-410 Small-in-One, itself one of the most compact entry-level inkjet all-in-one (AIO) printers you could buy in its time. The thing is, despite the Small-in-One name, both of them are, for the most part, full-featured AIOs.
In this case, the XP-420 AIO can print, copy, and scan, but not fax; some much bigger AIO models don’t fax either, so that feature is not really a victim of this printer’s size. But perhaps the best news is that the XP-420 Small-in-One has been on the market a few months now, enough time for e-tailers to get their discounting hooks into it. When we wrote this at the tail end of August 2015, you could buy the Expression Home XP-420 from Epson (and many other online sellers) for $59.99, a full $40 less than the list price.
The Expression Home XP-420 is not the smallest Expression XP model Epson makes, but it’s close. The XP-300 series, which includes the XP-310 and its more recent replacement, the XP-320, are smaller still, but less capable in terms of volume and features than our XP-420 review unit.
As we’ve said about several other Small-in-Ones in previous reviews, you need to know these printers’ limitations. While these are capable compact printers, they have the same core issue as most competing models in this price range: a high per-page cost of operation, what we call the cost per page (CPP). And that relegates them to low-volume, occasional-use machines, which is fine if that’s what you’re looking for. If that’s the type of printer you need—one that sits around most of the time, waiting for you to use it—this one will fit the profile, and on the upside, $60 isn’t a lot to spend on it.
However, as you’ll see in the next section, the CPP is not the only thing about the XP-420 that makes it a low-volume model. The input and output trays are small and therefore hold only modest amounts of paper stock, and the scanner has no automatic document feeder (ADF) for processing multiple-page documents. You’ll have to place them onto the scanner’s platen glass manually, one at a time, and one side at a time.
As we said about the Expression Home XP-420’s predecessor, the XP-410, what this little AIO has going for it is excellent print quality and decent performance for the money. It’s hard to find much beyond that at so low a price. Granted, compared to the competition of its day, the Expression Home XP-410 was a little faster than the XP-420 is, but not by much.
What’s more interesting is how well the newer model holds up to its competitors, compared to the older one. It’s clear that Epson’s competitors haven’t been idle; two years after the introduction of the XP-410, the competition seems to have gotten stiffer. So while this is a surprisingly able printer for its price, the landscape has changed, which is likely also the reason we’ve seen the XP-420 discounted so far, so soon.
In any case, as we also said about the Expression Home XP-410, if a few hundred pages a month, at most, is all you need to print or copy, and you don’t do much multiple-page scanning, Epson’s XP-420 Small-in-One should get the job done.
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After working with a group of professionals recently who swore that laser-class output is superior to that of an inkjet printer, I’m reminded how uninformed much of the printer-buying public is about the current state of printer technology. The truth is that when it comes to overall vibrancy, brightness, and detail, most laser-class machines can’t come close to a good inkjet printer’s output.
Yet another myth that needs busting every now and then is that laser-class machines are faster and cheaper to use than inkjet models.
Read entire review at About.com
Even so, both kinds of printers have their admirers and adherents. Many, many offices and businesses, such as auto-repair shops, insurance agencies, and title companies, don’t need to print in color—and indeed, will garner real savings by opting for old-school, strictly mono lasers. At the same time, many of these types of businesses, small or large, often need to make copies, scan documents and images, and at times even send or receive a fax or two. That’s where the multifunction angle comes in, and it’s where these kind of printers deliver their value.
Granted, many businesses purchase single-function print-only laser models because either (1) the printer is too busy to stop for scanning or making copies, or (2) when it does need to print, what it’s printing is too critical to wait for a long copy or fax job to complete. (After all, you don’t want to keep your customers waiting.) But for those users whodo need all of an MFP’s functionality—print, scan, copy, and perhaps the occasional fax—and can wait for the various operations, Dell has recently released a revised cadre of laser-class machines, including the topic of this review, the $219-MSRP E515dw Multifunction Monochrome Printer. (We call these “laser-class” printers because, technically, these printers don’t use lasers inside to draw your page image onto a print drum; they use an array of non-moving LEDs. From the outside, though, they’re mostly indistinguishable from lasers.)
For those home-based and small-office users who need their MFP to print and copy in color, Dell has also put out an entry-level, color-laser-class machine, the $329-MSRP E525w Color Multifunction Printer, which we have on hand and will be reviewing shortly. Overall, these multifunction machines are part of a group of five printers the company offered up in mid-2015 to refresh its line. The other three are another MFP, the E514dw Monochrome Laser Printer (essentially, the same as our review unit, but rated for slower speeds and with no fax function, for about $50 less), and two single-function models, the Smart Printer S2810dn and the E310dw, both of which we have reviewed. (Hit the links for the skinny on those.)
While all five printers in this group have relatively low out-of-pocket prices, their comparatively high per-page printing costs (which we’ll cover in some detail later on) relegates them to low-volume, occasional-use machines. That’s downright fine, so long as you know that going into the purchase, and that is indeed the kind of printer that you’re looking for.
The E515dw has a maximum monthly duty cycle of 10,000 pages, which is low for a laser-class machine in general. (“Duty cycle?” “LED printer?” See our primer, Buying a Printer: 20 Terms You Need to Know.) But if you plan on printing anywhere close to that amount, as we’ll get into in the Setup & Paper Handling section, this is not the right printer for that. In fact, because of the relatively high cost per page (CPP), we suggest you don’t opt for the E515dw if you plan to print more than a few hundred pages each month—say, 300 to 400. The more you print, the more you should consider a higher-volume model.
But if your print volume fits that 400-pages-max profile, and all you need is the occasional black-and-white document copied (or you don’t mind if your copies are converted to gray scale), this printer isn’t a bad deal at all. The list price may be $220, but we saw the E515dw selling as low as $179.99 at a few non-Dell outlets when we wrote this in mid-August 2015. And, as mentioned, if you don’t need the fax functionality (many people and small businesses don’t, nowadays), there’s always the E514dw. We spotted that slightly stripped-down model as low as $129.99, down from an MSRP of $179.99.
In any case, on the whole, we liked this little MFP LED printer—especially as a low-volume, occasional-use machine for a small office or workgroup, or perhaps a personal-laser companion on your desk. It delivers good value so long as you set your page-output volume expectations appropriately.
Read the entire review at Computer Shopper
Epson recently announced a new line of printers (new to North America, anyway) known as EcoTank. In most ways, these all-in-one (AIO) printers are much like their Epson Expression and WorkForce counterparts. For example, the topic of this review, the $499.99 MSRP WorkForce ET-4550 EcoTank All-in-One Printer, is essentially the entry-level $129.99 MSRP WorkForce WF-2650, which strongly resembles the WF-2660 reviewed here a few months ago, with the EcoTank ink tanks attached to the right side.
The ET-4550 is one of five initial EcoTank offerings announced today. (For a description of the five models and a more detailed discussion of EcoTank in general,check out this About.com article.)
Read entire review at About.com
The Printer / Scanner section of About.com has recognized Brother’s Business Smart series of multifunction printers for a number of reasons, often including relatively fast print speeds, overall print quality, a relatively low cost per page, or CPP, and support for wide-format (tabloid, or 11×17-inch) paper. However, the level of support each machine has for tabloid paper varies from model to model.