There’s portable, and then there’s portable. With the $149 IRIScan Anywhere 5 WiFi manual sheet-feed document scanner, all you need to take with you is the scanner itself. No cables, laptop, tablet, or smartphone are required. The difference between it and its competitors, the Editors’ Choice Visioneer RoadWarrior X3 and Canon imageFormula P-215II Scan-tini Personal Document Scanner, is that the Anywhere 5 runs on a rechargeable battery and scans to a MiniSD card. In scans quickly and accurately, but short battery life and the inability to scan directly to its bundled software mean it falls just short of an Editors’ Choice nod.
A sheet-feed, network document scanner, the Brother ImageCenter ADS-3600W ($799.99) offers excellent value, with a solid feature set and strong performance. It’s not as elegant, nor is its software as network-friendly, as the Editors’ Choice Canon imageFormula ScanFront 400. The ScanFront 400, however, sells for more than twice as much and is limited to Ethernet connectivity, while the ADS-3600W connects via USB, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, and NFC in addition to Ethernet. It’s an easy pick as Editors’ Choice for midrange to heavy-duty network scanning in small and midsize offices and workgroups.
A remake of the Expression ET-2550, the Epson Expression ET-2650 EcoTank All-in-One Printer ($299.99) is a low-volume inkjet all-in-one printer (AIO) with a feature set that relegates it to light-duty home use. Like Epson’s other “supertank” EcoTank models (and now Canon’s G-series MegaTank printers, including the similarly priced Canon Pixma G3200 Wireless MegaTank All-in-One Printer), the basic principle behind the ET-2650 is that you pay more for the product upfront and much less for the ink to keep it running. The ET-2650 performs better than its predecessor, and like all EcoTank models, running costs are quite low. But like the ET-2550 before it, it lacks an automatic document feeder (ADF), an auto-duplexer, and a few other notable features. You give up a lot to print inexpensively, but if basic is all you need, this upgrade is more attractive than the model it replaces.
The HP LaserJet Pro MFP M130fw ($259.99) is an inexpensive monochrome laser all-in-one printer (AIO) designed for micro- and home-office use. Given its compact size and feature set, it should perform well as a personal AIO, too. It’s significantly smaller and lighter than the Editors’ Choice Canon imageClass MF227dw, but even though both machines are similarly priced, the M130fw comes up short in a few key areas. It supports only manual duplexing, for instance, and has higher-than-average running costs. Even so, the LaserJet Pro M130fw is a solid choice overall for low-volume small and home-based office monochrome output, as well as moderate personal printing, copying, scanning, and faxing.
With its Business Smart series of multifunction printers (MFPs), Brother continues its tradition of offering highly useful business machines that are competitive values, as demonstrated with the wide-format-capable Brother MFC-J6535DW we reviewed recently. (We define “wide-format” here as tabloid printing, to 11×17-inch stock.) That Brother is fast, prints well overall, and, as one of the company’s INKvestment machines, delivers reasonable running costs, especially compared to some tabloid-capable competitors, such as the HP Officejet Pro 7740 Wide-Format All-in-One. (INKvestment models feature high-yield, low-cost ink tanks.) In addition, the MFC-J6535DW not only prints tabloid-size pages, but it can also scan and copy them, as can the Officejet Pro 7740.
Today’s review unit, the $249.99-list Brother MFC-J5830DW, though, cannot do that. It prints tabloid-size pages, but it can only scan, copy, and fax pages up to legal-size, or 8.5×14 inches. Also an INKvestment model, it lists for a little less (about $30) than the larger Brother MFC-J6535DW, but a little more (about $50) than the Officejet Pro 7740. INKvestment printers, along the same rough lines as Epson’s EcoTank and Canon’s MegaTank families of printer, sell for more on the front end, when you purchase them, but keeping them fed with ink costs significantly less, both by the cartridge (in Brother’s case, anyway; the others we mentioned use refillable reservoirs) and on a per-page basis. As we’ll discuss later on, both the MFC-J6535DW and the MFC-J5830DW cost significantly less to use than HP’s Officejet Pro 7740.
On the other hand, the HP model prints better overall, which, depending on what you print, may or may not matter much. Also, if you don’t need a printer that can scan and copy wide-format pages, an advantage of the MFC-J5830DW over the MFC-J6535DW (in addition to price) is that the former is smaller and lighter. That can be important in small offices and workgroups short on space.
A key disadvantage of the MFC-J5830DW, though, is that its automatic document feeder (ADF) can’t scan or copy both sides of two-sided originals without your having to turn them over manually, nor can it print two-sided wide-format documents. The step-up MFC-J6535DW doesn’t have an auto-duplexing scanner, either, but HP’s Officejet Pro 7740 does. We’ll look a little closer at why this feature is important in the section coming up next.
Our bottom line is that the HP Officejet 7740 is more versatile, and it prints graphics and images a little better, but the MFC-J5830DW is much cheaper to use. You should choose the latter (or the MFC-J6535DW, should you need to scan and copy wide-format pages) if you need to print more than a few hundred pages each month, and if you don’t need pristine graphics and images. This is not to say that this Brother model doesn’t print well enough for business applications. It’s really a matter of what features you need and whether running costs outweigh overall print quality. Wherever you land on that spectrum, the Brother MFC-J5830DW is more than adequate for most small-business environments, but we caution you to consider your needs carefully, as the MFC-J6535DW provides better scanning and copying options.
The Canon imageClass D1520 ($324) is a monochrome laser all-in-one printer designed for medium-volume use in a small office or workgroup. It has high standard and optional paper capacities, but it doesn’t print photos and graphics as well as some competing models, including the Editors’ Choice HP LaserJet Pro MFP M426fdw. Unlike its more expensive sibling, the Canon imageClass D1550 , it lacks Wi-Fi Direct and near-field communication (NFC), and both imageClass models’ running costs are too high. Otherwise, its strong feature set makes it a decent choice for environments that print primarily text and require high paper input capacity.
The Canon Pixma TS6020 Wireless Inkjet All-in-One Printer ($149.99) is a relatively low-cost and low-volume photo-centric model designed for home use. Compared with the Editors’ Choice Canon Pixma TS8020, which costs only $30 more, you don’t get SD card and near-field communication (NFC) support, and the TS6020 uses five inks rather than six, which can affect print quality. And the absence of an automatic document feeder (ADF) makes it less attractive for home-based business use. Otherwise, the TS6020 is a decent all-in-one printer for low-volume printing of photos and documents for home, family, and student use.
HP started the present-day ink wars a few years back with its Instant Ink subscription service, which was designed to provide users of specific HP printers with a way to buy modest monthly allotments of ink without going into hock. Epson fired back in a big way with its EcoTank family of all-in-one (AIO) machines (a very different approach, but also a new way of looking at ink), to which Brother, in turn, responded with its INKvestment products. It was just a question of time before inkjet biggie Canon joined the battle, too.
Canon’s MegaTank G-series printers are the first fruits of its own new approach to delivering ink. What started as a simple concept—lower running costs on inkjet printers—has evolved into a whole new way to buy printers. Today’s review unit, Canon’s $269.99-list Pixma G2200 MegaTank All-in-One, is one of the latest to join the race, along with three other G-series models, including the Canon Pixma G4200 Wireless All-in-One we reviewed recently. HP may have started all this, but that company’s Instant Ink service is nothing like what the other three inkjet makers we mentioned above have done. The Brother, Canon, and Epson approaches aren’t subscription-based, but their idea is to sell inkjet printers with much of the profit front-loaded into the price of the printer, rather than selling the machine at a loss and then charging an ongoing premium for the ink.
While their concept is the same, all three companies haven’t approached it in quite the same way. Epson’s EcoTank and Canon’s MegaTank products, for instance, draw their ink from reservoirs that you fill from high-yield bottles, while Brother’s INKvestment machines continue to deploy conventional ink cartridges—high-yield cartridges with low per-page costs, but cartridges just the same—with multiple sets of them bundled with certain models of their printers. In any case, the core idea is consistent: You pay more (sometimes a lot more) for the printers themselves, and less for the ink to keep them running.
Canon’s first round of G-series machines comprises a stand-alone (printer-only, non-AIO) model, the Pixma G1200 MegaTank, and three AIOs: today’s review unit, the Pixma G2200; the Pixma G3200 Wireless MegaTank All-in-One; and the flagship model, the Pixma G4200 Wireless All-in-One…
As we pointed out in our review of the Pixma G4200, even though the G series all use the same print engines and come with the same amount of ink, there’s a huge difference in the feature sets among these four printers. The first two (notice that their names don’t include “Wireless”) don’t have Wi-Fi or support for mobile devices, and the Pixma G4200 is the only one with an automatic document feeder (ADF) for passing multiple-page documents to the scanner. And, of course, the least-expensive, print-only Pixma G1200 doesn’t even have a scanner. Even so, as we’ll dig into in the Output Quality section near the end of this review, text and print quality is exceptional. In addition, the Pixma G2200 and its siblings deliver some of the lowest running costs in not only the inkjet-printer market, but among all consumer and small-business printers we know of. (Only Epson’s comparable EcoTank models are in the same class, in that aspect.)
The Pixma G2200 model, looking past the ink costs, is an interesting model, given how it is fitted out. At a $270 list price, the G2200 is the least-expensive “supertanker”-style AIO we know of (the Epson Expression ET-2550 EcoTank All-in-One lists for $10 more), but it and its stand-alone sibling, the Pixma G1200, are two of the very few inkjet printers available these days that don’t support networking and printing from mobile devices. The only way to use them is via a single PC over a direct-wired USB connection.
But hey, if that’s all you need, what this and other G-series models have going for them (other than their exceptionally low running costs) is superb print quality on all fronts: text, graphics, and especially photos. In fact, if you print a lot of images, MegaTank (and perhaps Epson EcoTank) printers might be your best choice. That’s not to say that there aren’t any advantages to five- and six-ink photo-centric machines (the Canon Pixma TS9020’s gray ink tank helps churn out superior gray-scale images, for example), but the Pixma G2200’s photo quality for most scenarios is well beyond acceptable. Given the cost of ink between G-series and TS-series Pixmas (Canon’s consumer-grade photo AIO printers), for frequent photo jobs the Pixma G2200 can save you some serious ink bucks.
It may seem pedestrian in these days of smartphones and VR, but having the ability to print photographs from your desktop—on demand—without spending a fortune on the equipment is truly one of the many marvels of the 21st century. Granted, it’s usually cheaper to take your files to Costco or the nearest drug store, but that’s not nearly as convenient, nor is the quality as good as you can get from home—as long as you use the right equipment. That factor brings us to the topic of today’s review, Canon’s $179.99-MSRP Pixma TS8020 Wireless all-in-one photo printer.
Part of a four-model rollout of the imaging giant’s new Pixma TS series (which replaces the photo-centric Pixma “MG” line), the Pixma TS8020 is a six-ink all-in-one (AIO) photo printer. (We also just looked at the one-step-up Pixma TS9020; hit the link for a review.) As we’ve said in many an MG Pixma review, including that of the Canon Pixma MG7720, few consumer-grade photo printers churn out photos and artwork as well as a six-ink Pixma, and the Pixma TS8020 is no exception. But, as we’ll get into later on, like most photo printers (especially those that deploy six inks), few printers cost as much to use on a per-page ink basis. The Pixma TS8020’s cost of ink is high for an AIO in this price range, but that’s also the case with competing photo-centric models, such as the $299.99-list Epson Expression Photo XP-860 Small-in-One, another six-ink model.
At $20 less than the flagship Pixma TS9020, with the step down the Pixma TS8020 makes you give up very little in terms of print quality, capacity, and features. The more expensive model, for instance, has a slightly larger touch-screen control panel, and it supports Ethernet networking, which the Pixma TS8020 does not. By comparison, the two lower-price TS Pixmas, the Pixma TS6020 and TS5020 ($149.99 MSRP and $99.99 MSRP, respectively), use only five inks, and the Pixma TS6020 has no SD memory-card slot, while the other three do. In addition, the TS5020 comes sans the second paper tray at the rear of the chassis that the other three models have. The line is a mix-and-match of features you may or may not need; you just have to shop it carefully.
Pricing complicates matters, as well. As we were writing this, all but the Pixma TS8020 were discounted on Canon’s site off their list prices, as follows: The Pixma TS9020 was at $179.99 (the same price as the TS8020), the TS6020 was at $99.99, and the TS5020, $79.99. This could change day to day, but at the moment there was little reason to opt for the TS8020 over the TS9020 unless you were to find it cheaper elsewhere. So shop around.
You’ll see some other differences among the four new TS Pixmas (we’ll have most or all of them reviewed in the coming weeks), but one of the biggest is the deployment of six inks versus five, which, as you’d imagine, affects print quality. The missing ink tank in question is “photo gray,” which helps primarily when printing gray-scale images. (We’ll talk more about ink cartridges in the Cost Per Page section later on.)
Normally, we’d say that if you don’t need Ethernet, save yourself $20 by choosing the Pixma TS8020, but as long as Canon is charging the same amount for both the TS9020 and the TS8020, that’s a moot point. Besides, the higher-end model’s larger touch screen (5 inches versus 4.3 inches) is a little nicer and a little easier to use. Otherwise, the differences between the two are minor.
As we said about the Pixma TS9020 and its Pixma MG7720 predecessor, for the price, it’s hard to beat the TS8020’s output, with both photos and documents. That said, the high cost per page and lack of an automatic document feeder (ADF) for sending the scanner multipage documents mean you should not mistake it for an office machine or even a volume-minded workhorse for home. But if an under-$200 photo printer with the convenience of now-and-then document printing and a scanner are what you need (and you don’t need that Ethernet jack), the Pixma TS8020 is a fine, able choice.
For years now, we’ve been reviewing slightly different iterations of the same “MG”-family Pixmas from Canon. (The MG family is, or was, Canon’s consumer line of photo-centric Pixma printers.) Like most printer makers, each year Canon simply added a feature or two, up-ticked the number in the printer’s name (say, from Pixma MG7620 to Pixma MG7720), and then offered it as a new, or more precisely, an “updated” product.
Even though this is common practice among the printer set, reviewing more or less the same printer over and over can get monotonous. We’re happy to report that those days are, at least temporarily, over, where Canon’s Pixma MG-series photo printers are concerned.
Enter the imaging giant’s new Pixma TS series, the MG series’ replacement. The first round of TS Pixmas consists of four all-in-one (AIO) print/scan/copy models. From the least expensive, with the shortest list of features, to the most expensive and feature-rich, the new TS series AIOs are the Pixma TS5020 Wireless ($99.99 MSRP), the Pixma TS6020 Wireless ($149.99 MSRP), the Pixma TS8020 Wireless ($179.99), and the topic of this review, the flagship Pixma TS9020 Wireless. (Computer Shopper will be reviewing most or all of these models in the coming weeks.) The Pixma TS9020 lists for $199.99, though as we were writing this, we found it at Canon U.S.A. and various Canon resellers for $179.99.
The differences in features among the new models include smaller LCDs and paper capacities as you slide down the list. Today’s test unit, the top-dog Pixma TS9020, for example, has a 5-inch touch screen, while the Pixma TS8020’s display is 4.3 inches. This top-of-the-line model supports Ethernet and Near-Field Communication (NFC), but some of the less-expensive AIOs in the series do not. (Of the lot, only the Pixma TS9020 has Ethernet, and both the Pixma TS9020 and TS8020 support NFC.) The three top models have two paper trays, while the Pixma TS5020 has just one—you get the idea. The bottom line in all this is that the Pixma TS9020 is the best-equipped of the four.
While the MG series Pixmas had their issues (no printer is perfect, to be sure), they printed some of the best-looking photos among consumer photo printers. That was especially true of the six-ink Canon Pixma MG7720, the model that the Pixma TS9020 replaces. The Pixma TS9020, like that earlier model, uses six ink cartridges—the same six cartridges, in fact, which unfortunately translates to the same high per-page running costs. As we’ll get into later on, it’s not unusual for consumer-grade photo printers (or any grade of photo printer, for that matter) to have a high cost per page (CPP). Even so, this Pixma’s per-page ink cost carries over and diminishes its value as a document printer, especially if you print more than a couple of hundred document pages per month and are hoping to use this printer as a dual-purpose photo/text workhorse.
Even though the Pixma TS9020 is somewhat expensive to use with all kinds of output, it does offer the best of both worlds from a quality perspective, in that it prints high-quality documents and photos. In keeping with the light-use concept, though, like the MG-series Pixmas none of the models in this new series comes with an automatic document feeder (ADF). Not being able to send multipage documents to the scanner without user intervention will make this a key omission for some home and small offices.
In the end, we have to make the same general statement about this printer that we have about more than a few MG Pixmas in the past. We like the Pixma TS9020 as a photo printer, but the ability to print documents and perform limited scanning and copying should be considered add-ons, conveniences. If you need these features regularly, you’ll want to consider another photo-centric AIO, such as the Epson Expression Photo XP-860 Small-in-One or one of Epson’s other consumer photo AIOs. If printing photos is your primary concern, though, and you need quality prints, you can’t go wrong with the Pixma TS9020, so long as you can stomach the cost of its ink.