Review of the Canon Maxify MB2120 Wireless Home Office Inkjet PrinterThe Canon Maxify MB2120 Wireless Home Office Inkjet Printer ($179.99) is a one-drawer version of the Editors’ Choice Maxify MB2720 Wireless Home Office Inkjet Printer we reviewed a few months ago. In both performance and output quality, the MB2120, the MB2720, and the Canon Maxify MB5420 reviewed here recently, behaved much the same—fast enough for use as an entry-level home or home-based office all-in-one printer, with above-average print, scan, and copy quality. The MB2120’s paper capacity, only half that of those two printers, ensures that the MB5420 remains our Editors’ Choice. The Canon Maxify MB5120 is best as a low-cost alternative meant for lighter-duty use.

Read the entire review at PCMag

Review of the Epson WorkForce ET-16500 EcoTank Wide-Format All-in-One Supertank Printer at PCMagThe Epson WorkForce Pro ET-16500 EcoTank Wide-Format All-in-One Supertank Printer ($999.99) is the first wide-format inkjet printer we’ve looked at in Epson’s EcoTank line, which uses ink tanks or bottles in place of cartridges. As such, it can print pages up to supertabloid size (13 by 19), as well as scan, copy, and fax tabloid (11-by-17) pages. Overall, the ET-16500 is a fine printer, but it performed slowly during some of our benchmark tests, and, at $1,000, it’s expensive to purchase. Its running costs, though, are low enough to take the sting out of the purchase price—as long as you use it frequently, that is.

Read the entire review at PCMag

Review of the Epson Expression ET-3600 EcoTank All-in-One Supertank Printer at PCMagEpson’s EcoTank printers promise very low running costs over time, at the expense of a higher purchase price, and the Epson Expression ET-3600 EcoTank All-in-One Supertank Printer ($399.99) is no exception. In terms of price, capacity, and features, it fits between two of the previous EcoTank inkjets we’ve reviewed, the Epson Expression ET-2550 EcoTank All-in-One Printer and the Epson WorkForce ET-4550 EcoTank All-in-One Printer. These printers makes sense only if you print enough to justify paying a significant additional up-front cost for the initial bottles of ink that come in the box—in this case, what Epson claims is two years’ worth, or enough to print 11,000 black-and-white and/or 8,500 color pages. But if you do print enough, the ET-3600 can be a terrific deal.

Read the entire review at PCMag

Review of Brother MFC-J6535DW at Computer ShopperBrother’s contribution to the inkjet ink-pricing wars that we’ve been reporting on for the past few years is its line of INKvestment all-in-one printers. The INKvestment idea is simple but effective.

Unlike Epson’s EcoTank models, which come with large ink reservoirs or saddlebags coupled to the sides of the chassis, or HP’s Instant Ink subscription service (or Canon’s soon-to-be-reviewed MegaTank Pixmas, also with built-in ink tanks of their own), INKvestment printers simply supply you with bundles of relatively high-capacity ink cartridges at low prices. Like Epson EcoTank and Canon MegaTank printers, though, to compensate for the manufacturers’ loss of income from ink sales, you pay more for the printer itself up front.

With INKvestment, how much more you pay for the printer depends on which version of the specific printer you choose. Take today’s review machine, the Brother MFC-J6535DW. It’s a small-business-minded inkjet that can handle tabloid-size (11×17-inch) paper and scan media. You can buy an MFC-J6535DW “XL” version of the product for a list price of $549.99, or the non-XL version (the model we’re reviewing here) for a $279.99 MSRP. Why that $270 difference?

With the MFC-J6535DW XL, you get five sets of relatively high-volume ink cartridges (that’s 20 total cartridges) that Brother claims should last you two years, while with the non-XL version you get only one set (four cartridges). Note that we say “relatively high-volume” because nowadays some printers, such as the HP PageWide Pro MFP 577dw, support cartridges that yield up to 17,000 pages. Brother’s ink tanks are only a fraction of that size.

Brother MFC-J6535DW (Front and Left)

As we’ll discuss later on, which version of this printer you should choose depends on your print and copy volume. In most cases, if you can afford the initial $550 outlay, the MFC-J6535DW XL will save you money in the long run, compared to non-INKvestment Brother inkjets and several other competing printers. With either version, you’ll realize some of the lowest per-page running costs in the business.

That said, while they’re certainly important, per-page ink costs are not the only consideration when buying a printer. Output quality matters, too, and the MFC-J6535DW prints well enough for most business applications. But its so-so graphics and image output could limit those possibilities for pickier home-office and small-office users. Also, the MFC-J6535DW’s automatic document feeder doesn’t support auto-duplexing—that is, automatic two-sided scanning for making copies or digital files.

One special perk of this printer, though, does involve duplexing of a different kind. The MFC-J6535DW does support not just printing but duplex printing of tabloid-size pages, and it can scan pages up to that size, too. And, as with most printers these days, you get a bushel of mobile- and cloud-connectivity options.

Also in the bundle is a two-year limited warranty. Brother printers are traditionally pretty hardy when it comes to build quality and longevity. That, combined with its highly competitive cost per page (CPP), makes the MFC-J6535DW and the ink-stacked MFC-J6535DW XL both good values. Which one you should choose, again, depends on how much you mean to print and copy, and what you can afford.

See entire article at Computer Shopper


 

Review of the HP Officejet Pro 7740 Wide-Format All-in-One Printer at Computer ShopperJust a few years ago, wide-format printers—which print to tabloid-size (11×17-inch) or larger paper—were seldom seen, and usually expensive. Nowadays, though, all of the major makers of inkjet printers (Brother, Canon, Epson, and HP) offer at least one in their consumer- and small-business-priced lines. Brother has gone in the biggest on wide-format, in that nearly all of its Business Smart models can print pages up to tabloid-size. And several such models, such as the Brother MFC-J6535DW, also scan and copy 11×17-inch pages.

So can the machine at the center of today’s review, HP’s $249.99-MSRP Officejet Pro 7740 Wide Format All-in-One. The ability to handle tabloid-size pages greatly increases your design options across a host of scenarios. It allows you, for example, to create spreadsheets twice the width of standard letter-size (8.5×11-inch) paper, as well as four-page (and larger) letter-size booklets, by simply printing two pages on each side and folding the sheet in the middle.

However, as we’ll get into later on, unlike some Brother models, the Officejet Pro 7740’s cost per page (CPP) is high—too high, in fact, for any kind of real printing in volume. On the other hand, the Epson WorkForce WF-7620 (a two-drawer version of the WorkForce WF-7610 that we reviewed a while back) has even higher running costs than the Officejet Pro 7740. The printer’s maximum monthly duty cycle (the number of pages HP says you can print safely each month) is 30,000 pages, but the recommended monthly page limit is a mere 250 to 1,500 pages. That said, that’s less a cause for concern than it might seem at first. Given this Officejet model’s CPP figures, printing a few hundred pages (say, up to 500) each month is the only practical use for it in terms of value for money.HP Officejet Pro 7740 Wide-Format (Front and Right)

A major difference between the Officejet Pro 7740 and competing Brother tabloid-capable models is that the former churns out better-looking business graphics and photos. Epson’s wide-format models, on the other hand, have comparable output to the Officejet Pro 7740, and they support pages up to 13×19 inches (also known as Super B or Super A3), making those machines’ output all the more versatile. (That also applies to the company’s much more expensive—$999.99 list—WorkForce Pro ET-16500 EcoTank Wide-Format All-in-One Supertank Printer.) The 13×19-inch format makes a decent-size poster, for instance.

Nowadays, finding a wide-format printer isn’t the issue; it’s finding the one that suits your needs, such as whether quality output supersedes the cost of use. In addition to superb print quality, the Officejet Pro 7740 has a wide range of mobile- and cloud-connectivity features, as well as a single-pass automatic document feeder (ADF) for faster, more efficient two-sided (duplex) scans.

We like this Officejet as a relatively low-volume tabloid printer, but you’ll get much more value from it if you can make use of some of its other features, too, such as scanning oversize media, employing the optical character recognition (OCR), and using the printer from your smartphone and the cloud.

See the entire review at Computer Shopper


 

Review of the Canon ImageClass MF249dw at Computer ShopperFor those of us who have been watching the printer industry for decades (and we have), it’s amazing how much office machine you can buy for less than $300 nowadays.

That’s demonstrated by the monochrome-laser multifunction printer (MFP) that we’re reviewing here today, Canon’s $299-MSRP ImageClass MF249dw. Not that long ago, monochrome printers, copiers, and scanners (as well as fax machines) were all separate devices, and depending on how far back in office-machine history we look, all of them were expensive. We can remember when quality monochrome laser printers and black-and-white scanners cost $2,000 or more each.

That’s all changed, of course. Today, almost any home-based office or small office can afford its own monochrome-laser MFP, and machines like these make good personal printers, if your typical applications require laser output (or, for whatever reason, you prefer it). Otherwise, compared to their inkjet counterparts (as we’ll dig into later on in this review), inexpensive laser printers tend to be costly to use, especially when you use them to their full capacity. And in this case, that full potential is a 15,000-page maximum monthly duty cycle and a recommended monthly volume of up to 3,000 pages. (A printer’s monthly duty cycle is the number of pages that the manufacturer suggests you can print each month without premature wear on the printer; consistently going over this amount could void your warranty.)

The ImageClass MF249dw replaces the Canon ImageClass MF227dw we reviewed in 2016. With the update comes support for the mobile peer-to-peer protocol Wi-Fi Direct, as well as a larger automatic document feeder (ADF), and the ability to scan two-sided originals without you having to turn them over manually. As you’ll see in the section coming up next, that last feature (the auto-duplexing ADF) can make a huge difference when you are scanning two-sided documents.

Canon ImageClass MF249dw (Front and Right)

Of course, all of these features are moot without good output quality. And while yes, everything you print or copy will come out black-and-white, the ImageClass MF249dw certainly steps up here, with above-par output quality across the board—whether that’s text, graphics, or gray-scale photos you’re printing.

Our bottom line on the MF249dw is the same as our stance on most entry-level printers, inkjet or laser. If your print and copy volume is relatively low (say, a few hundred pages each month), this compact monochrome laser will provide good value. The more you print, though, the more you should consider a costlier midrange or high-volume machine with lower running costs, such as the OKI Data MB492 (a monochrome laser MFP), or perhaps a midrange-to-high-volume inkjet MFP, such as the Brother MFC-J5920DW.

If, however, occasional monochrome laser output is all you need, we suggest the Canon ImageClass MF249dw, our new Editors’ Choice for entry-level monochrome laser MFPs for home-based and micro offices. (To make the value even sweeter, while writing this review, we found it on Canon’s site and elsewhere for $209.99.)

See the entire review at Computer Shopper


Review of the Dell Smart Printer S5830dn at Computer ShopperWith HP’s forthcoming acquisition of Samsung’s printer business (Samsung makes laser printers and multifunction laser printers for Dell), Dell’s place in the laser-printer market a year or so from now may be a bit up in the air. (The HP/Samsung deal is expected to close in September 2017.) At the moment, though, Dell is providing some of the most economical to use laser printers available. And that includes today’s review focus, the $999.99-MSRP Dell Smart Printer S5830dn, a very high-volume single-function monochrome laser printer.

A thousand bucks may seem like a lot to pay in 2017 for a print-only, black-and-white-only laser machine. (And unlike many Dell printers, it’s not been discounted by all that much, at least yet. At this mid-January 2017 writing, we saw it around the e-tailer circuit for $900 to $950.) But then, given its 300,000-page maximum monthly duty cycle (with a 50,000-page workload recommended), highly competitive running costs, and multiple expansion options, this is no ordinary beast. If, as we’ll elaborate on later, you use it to anywhere near its ultra-high-capacity potential, you’ll quickly regain (and surpass) in toner savings the few hundred dollars more that it costs, compared to most other laser printers we’ve reviewed.

Dell Smart Printer S5830dn (Front)

But that doesn’t mean that the Smart Printer S5830dn is perfect, by any means. Wireless connectivity, for example, is optional; we get the reasoning for that, because this kind of printer is meant to live on a wired network. But more concerning: Unlike most Dell printers we’ve looked at lately, the output quality is merely so-so, especially when printing business graphics. Photos and text came out fine for a monochrome printer, making this an ideal machine for printing reams upon reams of all-text pages and black-and-white renditions of Web pages. But, say, presentations that begin as color documents? We ran into some issues there.

We’ve reviewed many business-minded laser printers in recent months, but none with the potential output volume of this one. Only its sibling, the like-priced Dell Color Smart Printer S5840Cdn (and its 150,000-page monthly duty cycle) comes close, but even that model, not really. And then there’s the consumables cost. Apart from several high-volume inkjet multifunction printers (MFPs), such as the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-R4640 EcoTank All-in-One and Brother MFC-J5920DW, we don’t know of any laser machines with monochrome running costs lower than these two Dell single-function machines. So this machine does have some key strengths.

Of course, those Epson and Brother color inkjet MFPs don’t come close in capacity to today’s Dell; both have much lower maximum monthly duty cycles, of well under 100,000 pages. (Also, the Epson machine actually costs $200 more than our S5830dn review unit, on a list-price basis.) Our bottom line for this machine is that, as we’ll get into in more detail near the end of this review, we can’t suggest it for printing Excel bar charts and PowerPoint handouts, if that’s your main aim. But if, on the other hand, you print tens of thousands of plain-text and/or text-document pages containing photos each month, the Smart Printer S5830dn was built for just that. We don’t know of a more economical-to-use, focused solution for mass monochrome laser printing, month in and month out, of up to 50,000 pages or so, and even as much as 250,000 pages, on occasion.

See the entire review at Computer Shopper

Canon Pixma G1200 MegaTank Printer review at PCMagThe Canon Pixma G1200 MegaTank Inkjet Printer ($249.99) is a low-volume standalone inkjet printer designed for small or home-based offices. A direct response to the Epson EcoTank and the Brother INKvestment products designed to deliver low per-page ink costs, the G1200 is one of Canon’s new MegaTank G-series printers. But as a single-function printer it’s not really in direct competition with any of them. (All of the EcoTank and INKvestment products, as well as the other three Canon G-series models, are all-in-one machines.) A closer competitor is the Editors’ Choice HP OfficeJet Pro 6230, another standalone printer. The G1200 is a lot slower than the HP model, but print quality is excellent and running costs are some of the best in the business. Even so, the G1200 does not support networking, whether Wi-Fi or direct mobile connectivity—a feature every $250 printer should have.

See the entire review at PCMag.

Review of Brother MFC-L5700DW at PCMagThe Brother MFC-L5700DW ($349.99) is a capable midrange monochrome laser all-in-one printer designed for micro offices and small workgroups. It has a generous standard paper capacity that’s highly expandable, and text print quality is above average (though grayscale graphics and photos are not as good). Like the Editors’ Choice HP LaserJet Pro MFP M426fdw, it’s inexpensive and small enough to serve as a relatively high-volume personal machine. Unlike the M426fdw, though, the MFC-L5700DW’s automatic document feeder (ADF) is not auto-duplexing. Because of that, and a comparatively low monthly duty cycle, its $100 lower list price is not quite enough to help it replace the LaserJet as our top choice for heavy-duty use in a micro office.

See the full review at PCMag


 

Brother HL-L6300DW at PCMag

The Brother HL-L6300DW ($399.99) is a standalone mono laser printer designed for small or medium-size offices with high-volume print needs. It’s fast, and it has a strong feature set and a high standard paper capacity, with the ability to expand if necessary. Its running costs are among the lowest for a monochrome laser printer in its class, and its security features include an integrated near-field communications (NFC) card reader. It churns out terrific-looking text, too, though it doesn’t print graphics and photos as good as what you’ll get from the Dell Smart Printer S2830dn or the HP LaserJet Pro M501dn (both Editors’ Choice models). Otherwise, the HL-L6300DW is a good fit for offices and workgroups with heavy-duty print volumes, making it our new Editors’ Choice for a moderate- to high-volume monochrome laser printer for small offices and workgroups.

Read full review at PCMag