In 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.
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.
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Nowadays, 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.)
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In 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.
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.
OK. You’ve brought your printer home from the store and you want to install it. Typically, everything (or, depending on how you install the printer, almosteverything) you need is in the box. Usually, since most folks these days connect their printer wirelessly, all you really need are decent instructions for unpacking and setting up the printer itself, and the necessary software drivers and supporting utilities.
In fact, these materials are reliable enough and easy enough to use that they’re nearly foolproof; you probably don’t need a page from me describing how to use the installation materials, right?. Still, over the 30 years or so I’ve been involved with computers, I can think of several instances when I’ve had to start from scratch—without instructions or the installation CD.
Read the entire review at About.com.
One of the best multifunction inkjets we looked at in its time (back in 2012) was Epson’s high-volume WorkForce Pro WP-4590 All-in-One Printer, a flexible $499.99-list workhorse machine. If you weren’t wedded by function, or by law, to laser-printed output, it was practically everything you’d want in a printer designed for a workgroup in a small or medium business (SMB). The WP-4590 served up exceptional print speeds and overall print quality, plus just about every convenience and productivity feature you could think of. Most crucially, it did all of that at an exceptionally low cost per page (CPP).
At the time, we considered the WP-4590 one of the best business-printer values available, and we still hold it in high regard. But now, we feel much the same way about 2014’s $299.99-list WorkForce Pro WF-4630 All-in-One Printer, the topic of this review. It hits that same rare balance that the WP-4590 did among SMB printers, of sheer feature depth, performance, and output quality, paired with a very fair CPP.
The WorkForce Pro WF-4630 is one of 11 models in the company’s dramatically refreshed WorkForce line of business printers, released in June 2014. All 11 models were built around Epson’s new, speed-enhancing PrecisonCore printhead technology. The first one we reviewed, the wide-format WorkForce WF-7610, won an Editors’ Choice award. And this one makes Epson’s PrecisionCore-based printers 2-for-2 so far.
In the case of this “Pro”-level model, it’s as fast as most entry-level and midlevel laser-class machines. Also, as we discuss in the Setup & Paper Handling section a little later in this review, certain PrecisionCore models, this “Pro” version included, deliver very aggressive CPP figures. That tends to be the missing piece in a moderate-price SMB inkjet, but Epson nails it here while keeping the fundamentals strong.
Also know that you have some paper-handling flexibility here. In addition to the WorkForce Pro WF-4630, Epson offers the $399.99 WorkForce Pro WF-4640. The difference is that it comes with a second 250-sheet paper drawer, for a maximum potential capacity of 580 sheets from three different input sources. (More detail later on that, too.) Both models also have auto-duplexing automatic document feeders (ADFs), for streamlined handling of two-sided multipage originals, and both have a quite-healthy 30,000-page maximum monthly duty cycle. (“Duty cycle” is the highest number of prints the manufacturer recommends in a given time period without inflicting undue wear and tear on the printer.)
In fact, the WorkForce Pro WF-4630 is one of those rare machines about which we found very, very little to grumble. It prints well; it’s fast; it’s loaded with features; and it’s inexpensive to use, not to mention highly attractive and durable. If you’re looking for a high-volume, high-quality multifunction inkjet with a terrific CPP, this is it.
Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.
Whether it’s a small personal all-in-one printer for churning out 20 or 30 pages each week, or a high-volume model designed to turn out thousands of pages monthly, Epson’s engineers design highly attractive, capable printers. Case in point is the topic of this review, the $299.99 (MSRP) Expression Photo XP-950 Small-in-One Printer.
Epson’s consumer-grade Small-in-One line of AIOs are aimed primarily at families and home-based offices. A photo printer, the XP-950 can print tabloid-size (11×17 inches), pages one at a time via the override tray on the back. Three-hundred dollars is a premium price for just about any consumer-grade printer, suggesting a strong feature set or perhaps something else exceptional. Above all else, this AIO’s claim to fame is its 6-ink print system that prints great-looking photos.
Read entire review at About.com.
When you spend $500 or $600 on a multifunction color laser-class printer (I say “laser-class” because some models use LEDs in place of lasers, which are cheaper to manufacture) with a high monthly duty cycle, you expect to use it, right? The reason for buying such a high-volume machine is, among other things, to take advantage of its higher-end features, such as high print speed, high capacity, high print quality, and a low cost per page (CPP).
For a number of reasons, small- and medium-size businesses (SMBs) often choose midlevel multifunction laser-class printers, like the topic of this review, OKI Data’s $549-list MC362w. Overall, the MC362w is a nice printer. It delivers good print quality at competitive speeds, but compared to some other high-volume models, such as HP’s Officejet Pro X576dw Multifunction Printer, Epson’s Workforce Pro WF-4630 All-in-One Printer, and some other high-volume inkjets, it comes up wanting—especially in terms of print quality and CPP.
Read the entire review at About.com.
By the time the subject of this review, Epson’s $229.99-list Expression Premium XP-810 Small-in-One Printer, came around, the company’s “Small-in-One” line had become ensconced and we were getting used to these little, but well-built and handy little multifunction printers. And I say multifunction because I mean it—right down to the bundled caddy for labeling appropriately surfaced CDs and DVDs. Overall, the XP-810 is an impressive little machine, even if the cost per page is too high.
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For some folks, printing photographs at home on their inkjet photo printer is more than a mere hobby; for them, it’s a passion—only the best photo printer will do. When somebody asks me what the best consumer-grade photo printer is, I tell them to look at Canon’s six-ink photo printers, such as the Pixma MG6320 Wireless Inkjet Photo All-in-One printer. While there’s a lot of mighty nice photo printers out there, few, if any, print photographs as well as these six-ink Pixmas, including the topic of this review, the $199.99-list Pixma MG7120 Photo All-in-One Printer.
At one time, quite a while back, inkjet printers were homely, noisy machines that often required a lot of patience to put up with their overall poor print quality and lack of dependability. After that, they evolved into decent, fairly dependable machines capable of printing quality documents and photographs, but they were still, when compared to their laser counterparts, a bit too expensive to use, in terms of their per-page cost of consumables—in this case, ink.
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