The HP OfficeJet Pro 6978 All-in-One Printer ($179.99) offers a wealth of features, including an auto-duplexing automatic document feeder (ADF), which many of its competitors lack. Should you opt for HP’s Instant Ink ink subscription service, it delivers competitive running costs. These perks, along with good output quality for text, graphics, and photos, elevate the OfficeJet Pro 6978 to our new Editors’ Choice midrange all-in-one printer (AIO) for low- to medium-volume printing in small or micro offices and workgroups.
The HP ScanJet Pro 3000 s3 Sheet-Feed Scanner ($429.99) is a good value as a moderately priced desktop document scanner. An upgrade in capacity and features from the entry-level HP ScanJet Pro 2000 we reviewed recently, it is faster than the Editors’ Choice Canon imageFormula DR-C225 and the Brother ImageCenter ADS-2000e. The ScanJet 3000 includes a well-rounded software bundle, and, in testing, the hardware performed well. Optical character recognition (OCR) accuracy is about average, and speed is excellent. All this makes the ScanJet 3000 our new Editors’ Choice personal desktop document scanner, though it’s also good for a small or micro office or workgroup.
We’re seeing an increasing number of network-capable sheet-feed document scanners lately, including the $399.99 Epson WorkForce ES-500W Wireless Duplex Document Scanner we’re reviewing here. But the ES-500W is somewhat different in that it’s not often that we see network functionality on an entry-level scanner like this one. (Epson does offer a non-Wi-Fi version of the ES-500W, the ES-400, for $50 less.) The ES-500W is fast for its class, and it saves to image and searchable PDF at a good clip for the price. Optical character recognition (OCR) accuracy is a bit below average, though, but it comes with a well-rounded software bundle that includes document and business card archiving software.
Overall, we found the ES-500W impressive, but its mediocre OCR accuracy dinged it just enough to cause it to come up short in dethroning the Editor’s Choice Canon imageFormula DR-C225 as our go-to low-to mid-volume document scanner for a small or micro office. We also like it as a personal document scanner, though in that capacity its OCR accuracy falls short of the Editors’ Choice HP ScanJet Pro 3000 s3 Sheet-Feed Scanner.
Here we are a year and a half (or so) after Epson first released its consumer- and small-office-grade EcoTank “supertank” printers in the United States, It’s a product introduction that, if you believe what the Japanese electronics giant tells us, has met with huge success.
While we complained for years about inkjet-printer makers selling ink for exorbitant per-page prices (and like to think that we did our bit to spur change), when EcoTank printers came out, we wondered whether U.S. consumers would recognize the benefit of paying more for the printer up front to save on the ongoing cost of ink. EcoTank printers, like the Expression ET-2550 EcoTank All-in-One, after all, are priced at four or five times more than their non-“supertanker” counterparts.
If what Epson told us about EcoTank printer sales is accurate (and we have no reason to believe that it’s not), consumers indeed have embraced this new way to buy printers. The release of the $279.99 Expression ET-2600 EcoTank All-in-One (today’s review model) and its $20-more-expensive ET-2650 EcoTank sibling marks round two in what we have recently dubbed the “big ink” wars. (Both are upgrades to the Expression ET-2550.) Epson, by expanding the EcoTank product line, has co-signed this pay-more-now-to-pay-less-later approach to selling printers, while Brother, with its INKvestment product line, came onboard a while back. And Canon recently joined the fray with its new MegaTank Pixma G-series machines. It’s clear: This battle of the ink bottle is on.
Instead of using standard ink cartridges, Epson’s EcoTank printers, like Canon’s MegaTank machines, deploy relatively large reservoirs that you fill with ink from bottles. (Brother’s INKvestment products continue to use cartridges.) In either case, the idea is the same: lower running costs, higher initial purchase prices.
Which brings us back to the Expression ET-2600. As mentioned, Epson offers two Expression ET-2600-series models. The difference between them: The Expression ET-2650 comes with a slot for printing from SD cards, and it supports Wi-Fi Direct (a peer-to-peer protocol that allows you to print from and scan to mobile devices without a network). If you need either of these features, spending the additional $20 for the Expression ET-2650 seems like a no-brainer to us.
Aside from rock-bottom running costs, what the Expression ET-2600 and ET-2650 have going for them is excellent print quality; we’ll discuss that in more detail in the Output Quality section later on. In fact, graphics and photo quality are exceptional, with only one caveat: The Expression ET-2600, like its predecessor, can’t print borderless documents or photos. We’ll look at why that’s important, also, later on.
As we’ve said about other EcoTank (and Canon MegaTank) models, don’t let the price fool you. This is above all else a low-volume, entry-level printer priced to save you money on the ongoing per-page price of ink. And from that perspective, it works. It prints well and costs very little to use, and it provides the ability to scan and copy, also on a low-volume basis. If that’s all you need, the Expression ET-2600 should serve you well.
Essentially a faster version of the Brother PDS-5000 we reviewed recently, the $1,399.99 Brother PDS-6000 High-Speed Color Desktop Scanner is a fast and accurate sheet-feed document scanner for high-volume use in small and medium-size offices and workgroups. Speed-wise, it’s rated slightly higher than its less expensive sibling and that model’s comparably priced competitor, the Editors’ Choice HP ScanJet Enterprise Flow 7000. In testing, it did manage to scan faster and save to image PDF a little quicker than both the PDS-5000 and ScanJet 7000, but not enough to warrant the PDS-6000’s $500 price difference. Besides, when saving to the more useful searchable PDF format, it fell well behind the ScanJet 7000 and other competitors. Even so, if raw imaging speed is what you’re looking for, the PDS-6000 hardware is among the fastest we’ve recently seen in this class.
A high-volume sheet-fed document scanner designed for heavy workloads in medium-to-large offices and workgroups, the $899.99 Brother PDS-5000 High-Speed Color Desktop Scanner is fast and accurate. But compared with the similarly priced Editors’ Choice HP ScanJet Enterprise 7000 s3 Sheet-Feed Scanner, it comes up somewhat short in performance and features. In testing, the PDS-5000 wasn’t quite as fast at saving to searchable PDF, nor as accurate, as the ScanJet, and the Brother model’s software bundle isn’t as well-rounded. The PDS-5000 does have a higher capacity automatic document feeder (ADF), though, and it’s more than quick and accurate enough to make it a serious contender for use in medium-to-heavy scanning environments.
A recent addition to the ScanJet family, the ScanJet Pro 2000 s1 Sheet-feed Scanner ($299.99) is a capable low-volume document scanner comparable in capacity and features to the Editors’ Choice Canon imageFormula DR-C225, as well as the adept Brother ADS-2000e. The ScanJet 2000 is fast for the price, and its optical character recognition (OCR) accuracy is about average. It comes with a comprehensive software bundle consisting of top-drawer OCR and document and business card management programs, making it an exceptional value. In testing, it fell behind some competitors when saving to searchable PDF, but not enough to keep us from recommending it as a strong, inexpensive choice for small and micro offices and workgroups, or as a personal document scanner.
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.