The Canon ImageClass LBP612Cdw review at Computer ShopperCanon’s ImageClass laser printers, such as the $279-MSRP Color ImageClass LBP612Cdw we’re reviewing here today, typically print well, at a reasonably fast clip, and with little fuss. That all holds for this little stand-alone (print-only) model. As you may be able to tell from the price, the LBP612Cdw is an entry-level machine, in this case designed for small offices and workgroups, or perhaps as a personal color laser printer. ($279 is very little money for a color laser printer, and we’ve seen this one, at this writing, marked down under $200 from some e-tailers.)

In fact, we found only two things to question on this little printer: a too-small paper-input tray and a too-high cost per page. We’ll talk more about input capacity later on, as well as get into the specifics concerning running costs. In general, though, it’s not unusual for small laser printers like this one to have a relatively high per-page cost of toner; high enough that, we think, they may be pricing themselves out of the market. Why? Because, if the color-fast printing and precision on small fonts isn’t exactly what you need (the usual strengths of lasers), you can find several lower-priced inkjet models out there that print as well as (and sometimes better than) these entry-level laser-based machines, at lower costs per page.

Canon Color ImageClass LBP612Cdw (Front)

But if laser is what you’re focused on archival or permanency issues, this budget ImageClass model is a nice sample in its price range. The ImageClass LBP612Cdw is light, small, and easy to manage, and it prints very well, too. The big sticking point is what you’ll pay for the toner to feed it versus certain inkjets. Canon’s own $149.99-list Maxify iB4120, for instance, is a small-business-minded inkjet that provides many of the same qualities (it’s a stand-alone printer, not an all-in-one), with running costs about a third of those of its laser cousin. Another such example is the HP Officejet Pro 8210, another highly capable inkjet-based “laser alternative.” As we’ll calculate out later in this review, if you use your printer often, the difference in running costs alone could save you plenty of money over the life of the printer.

Now, of course, some applications, such as HIPAA-regulated medical offices and facilities, as well as some government offices, require laser-printed output (using toner, rather than ink), and in those cases, sometimes all you can do is bite the toner bullet—or, if you print more than a few hundred pages per month, opt for a higher-volume laser model. You may pay more for the printer, but a (sometimes much) lower cost per page will not only make up for that expenditure, but also start saving you a bundle before long.

Which brings us back to Canon’s ImageClass LBP612Cdw. The bottom line is that this is a nice little printer for environments where you need high-quality laser output in scaled-down fashion (say, no more than a couple of hundred pages per month). From that perspective—in which you don’t print enough for the money spent on consumables matters much—we have no problem recommending the ImageClass LBP612Cdw as a low-volume color laser for home or small offices, or as an entry-level personal machine.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper

Review of the Brother HL-L8260CDW standalone laser printer at Computer ShopperOften, printer makers release incremental versions of a product with different feature sets (sometimes very different), but with small differences in price. In those cases, you have the potential to get a great bargain if you spend just a little more—or, conversely, you can give up a lot in trying to save just a little bit of cash.

Such is the conundrum presented by today’s review subject, the $349.99-list Brother HL-L8260CDW (and its $399.99-list sibling, the Brother HL-L8360CDW). The printers have MSRPs/list prices that are $50 apart, and depending on the online seller, real-world selling prices that were between $50 and $75 apart at this writing.

Now, $50 to $75 is a fair bit of money, in a relative sense, when you are talking about a $350 product. But what you give up for that money, in this specific equation, is substantial. (In addition, the more a printer costs, the less relevant $50 or $75 is.)

It’s situations like these, where, by dissipating the marketing smokescreen, as analysts we can help you in your role as IT decision-maker for your home office or small business—or in your everyday life. If, that is, we do our job correctly. And here, with confidence we think the extra money for the HL-L8360CDW, for most buyers, will be money well-spent.

Brother HL-L8260CDW (Right Angled)

The HL-L8260CDW is part of a multi-product launch of Brother laser printers in mid-2017, with this model being the lowest-end of the bunch. One step up from an actual entry-level color laser, such as the Canon ImageClass LBP612Cdw we reviewed recently, the HL-L8260CDW is roughly comparable in HP’s line to the HP Color LaserJet Pro M452dw. Both models come with higher input capacities, higher monthly duty cycles (the number of pages that the manufacturer says you can print each month without overtaxing the printer), and input-tray expansion options that the entry-level models don’t offer.

The next model up from the HL-L8260CDW, the HL-L8360CDW, has a higher-still duty cycle (60,000 pages, versus 40,000), greater input-capacity expansion (1,300 versus 1,050 sheets), and access to higher-yield toner cartridges. The last, in turn, deliver lower running costs. In fact, the HL-L8360CDW has one of the lowest costs per page for a color laser in this price range that we know of. In contrast, the HL-L8260CDW’s running costs are, as we’ll detail later, closer to average for this class.

Even so, the HL-L8260CDW is a fine printer on all fronts, including print speed and output quality. You could choose it over its higher-capacity, more expensive sibling, of course, if you know for certain that you’d never need its expanded input capacity, higher duty cycle, and access to higher-yield toner cartridges. That said, it’s tough to get past the higher-yield model’s lower running costs—especially if you’ll be printing thousands of pages each month. (And if you’re not, either of these printers is overkill.)

Read the entire Review at Computer Shopper


Review of the HP LaserJet Enterprise M653x at PCMag

  • PROS

    Very fast. Good overall print quality. Strong paper-input capacity. Very-high-yield toner cartridges. Customizable control panel. Memory is upgradeable to 2GB. Optional hard drive.

  • CONS

    Expensive. Running costs can be high. Subpar photo output. Software and driver installation via the web is problematic.


    HP’s LaserJet Enterprise M653x prints terrific-looking text and graphics, and so-so photos, at an impressive clip, but its running costs are a bit high—especially for such a pricey color laser printer.

HP’s LaserJet Pro laser printers are designed primarily to support small-to-medium-size offices, workgroups, and businesses consisting of about five or so users. The company’s LaserJet Enterprise models, such as the LaserJet Enterprise M653x standalone color laser printer ($2,149), however, are aimed more toward larger offices, workgroups, and corporations with up to 40 or so networked users. In many ways—high print quality, high maximum-duty cycles, and expandability—these two LaserJet brands are often similar.The Enterprise machines, however, are typically faster; they come with significantly higher recommended monthly print volumes, access to higher-yield toner cartridges that deliver lower running costs, and, of course higher purchase prices. The M653x provides all that and more, but given its high price, slightly too-high cost per page, and subpar photo output, it comes up a bit short to make it a top pick mid-to-heavy volume color laser printer for larger workgroups, offices, and enterprises.
Read the entire review at PCMag