Review of the HP PageWide Pro 750dw at Computer ShopperLet’s say that your organization (or your very, very busy home office) needs to churn out 20,000 or so high-quality prints each month, and some of them (perhaps all of them) must be tabloid-size (11×17 inches). You’re considering purchasing one of Brother’s Business Smart Plus all-in-one (AIO) printers—maybe our highly capable Editors’ Choice pick, MFC-J6935DW, or perhaps the HP Officejet Pro 7740 Wide-Format All-in-One. And why not? Both are logical choices: They print exceptional tabloid-size pages, and they both have maximum monthly duty cycles of 30,000 pages—10,000 pages more than what you need to print, right?

Well, not so fast.

Let’s start with that 30,000-page monthly duty cycle. The more important number—the one not printed on the box—is the recommended monthly page volume, which on the Brother machine we mentioned above is up to 2,000 pages monthly. The Officejet’s recommended volume is up to 1,500 pages per month. As well-built as these machines are, if you actually pushed them to their maximum monthly duty cycle rating each month, you’d likely be shortening their service life. But that’s not all.

Some rough napkin math: Printing 20,000 pages per month, excluding weekends and holidays, comes out to about 1,000 pages per workday. (30,000 pages per month equals about 1,500 pages per day.) If you used one of these midrange business printers to churn out these kinds of volumes, day in and day out, you’d have to fill their paper drawers several times a day, and—especially if you’re printing wide-format, which uses about twice the ink as a standard letter-size page, all else being equal—you’d be changing the ink cartridges twice a day, perhaps more. If you truly require this kind of volume, especially on tabloid-size pages, you need a machine designed to handle this much printing. And that is where a model like the $2,199 HP PageWide Pro 750dw we’re reviewing here today comes in.

HP PageWide Pro 750dw (USB)

Yes, that’s a lot of money for a printer, especially an inkjet printer. But as you read on, you’ll see that, first, HP PageWide printers are not ordinary inkjet printers, and the PageWide Pro 750dw is no ordinary PageWide machine.

In fact, given its size, volume, and some other specs, we think that it’s better suited to HP’s PageWide Enterprise line, like the HP PageWide Enterprise Color 556dn reviewed at our sister site, PCMag, a while back. The PageWide Pro 750dw is, for example, designed to support up to 40 networked users, rather than the five or so users recommended for the smaller inkjets we’ve been talking about.

In fact, the PageWide Pro 750dw is much more in line with a high-volume color laser printer, such as the Dell Color Smart Printer S5840Cdn we reviewed late last year. A primary difference between it and the 750dw is, of course, that the HP model can print at sizes up to tabloid, which is one reason the PageWide model costs so much. High-volume laser-class printers that can do wide-format, such as the OKI C831n ($1,699 MSRP) and OKI C831dn ($1,929), and wide-format laser alternatives (such as our 750dw), typically have high price tags. But the good news is, at least in the case of the HP model, is that its running costs are reasonable once you’ve bought the printer.

In addition, the PageWide Pro 750dw is highly expandable. You can boost the paper capacity, as we’ll discuss later on, over 4,000 sheets. Plus, according to HP, in the fall of 2017 numerous copier-like finishing options (among them a stapler and a collator) will come available.

The PageWide Pro 750dw is an immense, and immensely well-built, volume printer meant to endure blizzards of wide-format printing month after month. Our only real quibble with it is that it’s somewhat expensive. But then, if you plan to print upward of 10,000 pages each month, you need a Humvee, not a Chevy Silverado.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper


 

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Review of the Brother MFC-J6935DW at Computer ShopperIt wasn’t all that long ago that wide-format inkjet printers (models that handle paper larger than legal-size, or 8.5×14 inches) were not only rare, but also rather expensive. Even today, most of the major printer manufacturers—HP, Epson, Canon—offer only a few wide-format machines. But Brother has changed all that, offering most of its Business Smart and Business Smart Plus all-in-one (print/copy/scan/fax) models as tabloid-size-capable (11×17-inch) machines. Nowadays, you can choose from more than a handful of wide-format inkjet models, among them the Brother MFC-J5930DW we just reviewed, as well as today’s review unit, the $349.99-list Brother MFC-J6935DW.

Direct competitors with the HP Officejet Pro 7740 All-in-One, the difference between these two Brother models is that the MFC-J6935DW (like the Officejet model) not only prints tabloid-size pages, but can also scan, copy, and fax them. The MFC-J5930DW, on the other hand, can only print wide-format documents.

It stands to reason that some small and medium-size offices that need to print tabloid-size documents will need to process them in other ways, too. If your day-to-day work calls for scanning, copying, or faxing wide-format pages, the $50 upgrade from the MFC-J5930DW to the MFC-J6935DW is a bargain.

Brother MFC-J6935DW (Right Angled)

What really makes these Brother Business Smart Plus AIOs attractive is that, compared to their Officejet competitor (as well as Epson’s WorkForce WF-7620 All-in-One, a two-paper-drawer version of the WorkForce WF-7610 we reviewed a while back), the Brother AIOs are part of that company’s INKvestment line. INKvestment printers, similar in broad concept to Epson’s EcoTank and Canon’s MegaTank (in that you pay more up front for cheaper ink later), deliver low-per page costs, although Brother’s approach is somewhat different. Where EcoTank and MegaTank printers are “bulk-ink” models that take their ink from reservoirs you fill from bottles, INKvestment printers deploy ink cartridges with high yields and modest prices (on a per-page basis, that is).

To our knowledge, aside from Brother’s INKvestment products, the only other wide-format printer designed around this pay-more-now-to-pay-less-later concept is Epson’s $999-list WorkForce ET-16500 EcoTank Wide Format All-in-One Supertank. The advantage that the WorkForce ET-16500 holds over the Brother MFC-J6935DW is that the former prints wide-format pages up to 13×19 inches, and it has significantly lower running costs. But it’s also much slower. (We’ll look more closely at the difference in running costs between these two printers in the Cost Per Page section coming up.)

In any case, like the MFC-J5930DW, the MFC-J6935DW is an excellent multifunction business machine. It’s reasonably fast, loaded with features, prints well, and costs much less to use than its most direct competitors. As you read on, assuming you need the big inputs and outputs, you’ll see that there’s just not much to quibble about in this wide-format winner.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper


 

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Brother MFC-J5620DW Review and RatingsSeveral of the top printer makers—Canon, Epson, and HP—have come out with, taken together, a profusion of budget-minded wide-format printers here in 2014. But if the number of different wide-format models is any measure, Brother’s commitment to this trend is the biggest of all.

In one way or another, each of the machines in Brother’s Business Smart line, such as the ever-popular MFC-J4610DW, as well as the Business Smart Pro series, including the MFC-J6920DW, all print tabloid-size (11×17-inch) pages.

While most of the Brother Business Smart models support printing just one tabloid-size page at a time (through a rear override slot), most of the Business Smart Pro all-in-ones (AIOs), such as the MFC-J6920DW, ship with two paper drawers, and at least one of them holds wide-format paper.

In between these two product lines, though, is Brother’s Business Smart Plus family of printers, and the subject of this review, the $199.99-list MFC-J5620DW. This model, and the line, is an average of the ones above and below. In the case of the MFC-J5620DW, it comes with only one paper drawer, but as we’ll discuss in some detail later on, this AIO lets you print tabloid pages through both that main paper drawer and a rear input slot.

Brother MFC-J5620DW (Angle View)Aside from the tabloid-size printing, the MFC-J5620DW’s feature set is about what you’d expect from a $200 business printer. We appreciated the 35-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF), though we’d have liked it even more had it been an auto-duplexing mechanism, for scanning multipage, two-sided originals without our help. And, as we’ll get into in the last section of this review, occasionally the graphics output looked a little less than perfect, but the rest of the print quality was on the whole excellent.

The imperfections we saw were the kind you really have to really look for, though, and most people probably wouldn’t notice them. And balancing that out, this AIO stands out in another key area, besides tabloid printing: cost per page (CPP). The MFC-J5620DW delivers the very lowest CPPs we’ve seen from an under-$200 multifunction printer. We’re pretty sure it has the lowest CPPs we’ve seen from a wide-format-capable model, too. (If it isn’t, it’s very close, on both accounts.)

In fact, aside from Brother’s recent Business Smart Pro series models, we don’t often see high-volume inkjets with CPPs this low—not unless the AIO costs at least $300 to $400. (Epson’s recently released $299.99-MSRP WorkForce Pro WF-4630 All-in-One comes to mind, but, alas, it doesn’t support wide-format printing.)

Brother MFC-J5620DW (Left View)When you’re evaluating an inkjet meant for business, remember that it will probably have to churn out more pages than most home printers will. So a realistic ongoing operational cost weighs heavily in our overall assessment, and it should in yours, too. But a low CPP is not all that the MFC-J5620DW has going for it. For what it does (as you’ll see on the next page), it’s not a hulking, beastly printer—it’s relatively small and light.

On the whole, if high-volume inkjet output at a decent cost per page (with respectable speed, and in overall good quality) sounds good to you—well, here’s your AIO. Just proceed with caution if graphics-heavy output is what you’re after.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.

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Brother MFC-J5620DWIf you’ve poked around the Printers & Scanners section of About.com for any time at all, you don’t have to read much here to know that I’m fighting the good fight against exorbitant per-page consumables costs, or the high cost per page (CPP) of ink or toner. In other words, when a printer maker claims that a machine is “high volume,” inherent in that claim is the understanding that keeping the printer supplied with ink won’t take you to poor house. 

We all know that printer makers make the bulk of their money from selling consumables. However, it’s also safe to assume that while most of us feel that, yes, printer manufacturers deserve to earn a profit, the size of said profit should be reasonable. And that’s the case with the subject of today’s review, Brother’s $199.99-list MFC-J5620DW—a full featured all-in-one (AIO) inkjet printer with terrific CPPs—especially for an under-$200 machine.

Read the entire review at About.com

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Epson WorkForce WF-7610 All-in-One Printer Review and RatingsIt’s not often that we see big changes in printer imaging technology—at least not in the print mechanisms themselves. Both inkjet and laser printer technologies have been around for a while, and, for the most part, they have become predictable and stable. Over the past couple of years, though, a couple of printer makers, namely HP and Epson, have done some serious fiddling around with their printheads. Both companies have come up with more-efficient printhead technologies that are less expensive to use. And as a result, certain of their new printers are capable of competing successfully with laser-class printers on many fronts, notably speed, power consumption, and cost per page (CPP).

The first of these “alternative” printhead technologies, HP’s PageWide, debuted in a line of high-volume Officejets—the Officejet Pro X series—at the beginning of 2013. We were impressed enough with the two Officejet X models we reviewed (the Officejet Pro X576dw Multifunction Printer and the Officejet Pro X551dw Color Printer) that both received our Editors’ Choice Award. Their print speeds and quality were impressive, and the cost per page was low. Much of this was possible because PageWide employs a fixed array of print nozzles that spans the width of the page, rather than the printer relying on the usual moving printhead. In a nutshell, the way it works: The paper moves past the print nozzles, rather than the other way around, and your image or document gets printed a full row at a time.

Epson WorkForce WF-7610Both of the Officejet Pro X printers, however, were relatively high-end, high-volume, and high-priced machines meant for business use. Epson, on the other hand, has taken a different approach, as we’ll lay out in this, our first review of an Epson printer based on its recently debuted PrecisionCore printhead technology—the $249.99-list WorkForce WF-7610 All-in-One Printer. Similar to PageWide, in that the ink nozzles on the printheads are much denser, the PrecisionCore-based printers we’ve tested so far have outperformed several of their inkjet and laser counterparts, and some of them are cheaper to use, too. (We’ll get into more detail about PrecisionCore in a bit.)

The WF-7610 is one of 11 PrecisionCore models that Epson debuted last month. In a bold move, Epson just up and replaced its entire WorkForce line of small- and medium-business (SMB) AIOs with PrecisionCore-based models. The WF-7610 is one of two wide-format PrecisionCore machines in the initial lot, capable of printing on sheets up to 13×19 inches (also known as “supertabloid” stock). It can also copy, scan, and fax tabloid (11×17-inch) pages. The other wide-format model in the new line, the $299.99-MSRP WorkForce WF-7620 All-in-One Printer, is much the same machine, but with a second 250-sheet drawer.

In addition to being a wide-format machine, which increases the printer’s versatility in terms of the types of documents you can print, copy, scan, and fax, the WF-7610 is loaded with convenience and productivity features—just about everything you can think of for a business-ready AIO, and for not too much money, either. However, when it comes to the ongoing cost per page (CPP) of using this printer, it’s a bit high for our taste. The CPP is high enough, in fact, that it dampens our enthusiasm for recommending this AIO as the primary printer in an environment with a heavy day-to-day print load.

Epson claims that this AIO’s cost per page is “40 percent lower” than laser printers. We don’t know about that, but what we can say is that, as described in the Design, Features, & PrecisionCore section next, while some PrecisionCore models have exceptionally low CPPs, the WF-7610 is not one of them. Its CPPs are actually about average for an under-$300 inkjet printer, and perhaps just a little lower than several entry-level and midlevel laser-class printers.

Epson WorkForce WF-7610 (Printing)In Epson’s defense, you can’t find many high-volume printers with significantly low CPPs (say, under 2 cents per monochrome page) for much under $300. We should point out, though, that as of this writing, in July 2013, Epson was offering a $70 “Instant Rebate” on both the WF-7610 and WF-7620, dropping their list prices to $179.99 and $229.99, respectively. That softens the initial cost of this model, but it also brings us back to our only real complaint about this AIO: To match that lower price, its CPPs should be lower.

We also went back and looked over our recent reviews of some other wide-format AIO printers. We discovered that, for the most part, the WF-7610’s CPPs were comparable to those of most of them, but were not necessarily competitive with high-volume standard- or letter-size machines. On the whole, the wide-format models were more expensive to use than high-volume document printers in general.

Of course, if you’re using this in a home office with more modest page loads, the page cost is less of an issue. And the flexibility afforded by the wide-format support makes up for a lot of sins if you can own just one printer. So the appeal of this printer all hinges on how much you print. Looking beyond the CPP, this WorkForce model is a feature-rich and dependable machine—a nice printer used in moderation.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.

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Epson WorkForce WF-7610 All-in-One reviewEarlier this month (June 2014), printer giant Epson replaced its entire line of WorkForce multifunction (print/scan/copy/fax) inkjet business printers with machines based on the company’s newPrecisionCore fixed printhead technology. Much like PageWide, HP’s fixed printhead equivalent, which debuted in that company’s Officejet X multifunction inkjets in mid-2013, PrecisionCore printers are not only faster and cheaper to use than not only Epson’s previous WorkForce models, but also several entry-level laser-class printers. (For a description of fixed printhead printers and why they’re superior to standard inkjets and their laser counterparts, check out this About.com “Fixed Printhead Inkjet Printers” article.)

Read entire review at About.com.

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Brother MFC-J6920DW Wide Format MFPUntil recently, Brother made most of the wide-format, or tabloid (11×17 inches) printers on the market. Nowadays, though, most of the other major printer makers are offering several models that can print oversize pages. Still, when it comes to full-featured business-oriented multifunction (print/copy/scan/fax), Brother’s tabloid printers, like one I’m reviewing here, the $299.99-list MFC-J6920DW, provide exceptional value.

Read the entire review on About.com.

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Canon Pixma iP8720 Wireless Inkjet Photo PrinterA few years ago, tabloid (11×17-inch) printers were somewhat rare and expensive. Nowadays, though, nearly every major printer manufacturer—HP, Canon, Brother, and Epson—have recently released both single-function and multifunction (AIO) models capable of printing oversize pages in both tabloid and “supertabloid” formats. The $299.99 Pixma iP8720 Wireless Inkjet Photo Printer, the subject of this review, is Canon’s latest contribution. It uses the Japanese imaging giant’s six-ink print system, which prints some of the-best looking photos available from a consumer-grade photo printer.

Read the entire review at About.com.

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HP Officejet 7610 Wide Format e-All-in-One Printer Review and RatingsWe suspect that most small businesses and home offices might not realize the benefits of owning a wide-format, or ledger-size, all-in-one (AIO) printer. (Ledger paper measures 11×17 inches; it’s perhaps more commonly known as “tabloid.”) As we’ve said in previous reviews of wide-format printers, though, once you’ve owned one, you’ll probably find yourself wondering how you got along without it. The ability to print oversize pages provides a wealth of options, such as the ability to print multipage booklets and brochures, as well as large drawings, diagrams, and spreadsheets, that are simply unavailable on standard letter-size printers.

HP OfficeJet 7610 Wide-Format

Over the past few years, we’ve seen a few printer makers, notably Brother and Epson, debut consumer or home-office-grade wide-format printers. Some, such as the Brother MFC-J4610DW, allow you to print only one oversize page at a time, via a manual-feed slot; others, such as the Epson WorkForce WF-7520 and Brother MFC-J6920DW, not only let you print multiple 11×17-inch pages in succession (just as you would letter-size documents), but they also enable you to scan, copy, and fax these big documents.

That first option—printing tabloid pages manually, one at a time—is suitable for only very short print runs or occasional “convenience” printing, and therefore quite limiting. If you want to do some serious wide-format printing, though, a much wiser choice might be a machine like the one we’re reviewing here today: HP’s $249.99-list Officejet 7610 Wide Format e-All-in-One. It, like a few other wide-format inkjet AIOs we’ve reviewed, comes with a relatively large ledger-size input tray (in this case, 250 pages) that allows you to print multipage oversize documents, or lots of copies of the same big document, without having to babysit the printer or feed it a sheet at a time. It also prints really big 13×19 pages; more on that later.

While we found a bunch of reasons to like this printer, among them its great print quality and relatively economical cost per page (when using the right ink tanks), we were a bit perplexed that the Officejet 7610 comes with only one paper-input source. This, of course, means that you’ll have to empty and reconfigure the paper tray each time you change paper sizes. Its two closest competitors, the abovementioned Epson WorkForce WF-7520 and Brother MFC-J6920DW, on the other hand, each have two paper drawers, so you can keep one loaded with the ledger paper and the other with, presumably, letter-size. In addition, both the Epson and Brother models have multiple slots for flash-memory cards, allowing for printing from and scanning to camera media. This Officejet, in contrast, only has a port for USB flash drives. (We’ll discuss this and other types of PC-free printing in the Design section on the next page.)

HP OfficeJet 7610 Wide-Format

We should pause here to point out that, while this Officejet’s list price of $250 is about average for a consumer inkjet AIO (judging by the prices of the Epson and Brother ledger-size AIOs mentioned above), you may be able to find it much cheaper. When we wrote this in early March 2014, HP was offering the Officejet 7610 for sale directly via its Web site at a steep discount at various times, for $179.99 and even for a while at $149.99. Therefore, the question becomes, is the convenience provided by the second paper drawer—the ability to print to different media sizes with just a couple of mouse clicks, without taking the printer out of service to change the paper—worth an extra $70 to $100?

If dual paper drawers (and flash-memory-card support) were all you gave up, well, then yes, we’d say that at $150 to $180, HP’s Officejet 7610 is a good value, assuming you’d be using it mostly for its wide-format functionality. At that price, most homes or small businesses could justify purchasing it as a second, dedicated wide-format AIO, to supplement a letter-size inkjet or laser printer. However, compared to the Brother MFC-J6920DW, the Officejet 7610 has a few other—and somewhat glaring—shortcomings. For one, its automatic document feeder (ADF) can’t scan two-sided pages without you flipping them over manually. Also, its CPPs are significantly higher, especially when printing black-and-white pages. (We’ll look at this AIO’s ADF and per-page operational cost in the Setup & Paper Handling section, a little later in this review.)

Aside from the confining single input drawer and manual-duplexing ADF, we like this printer: It’s attractive and well-built, and it churns out great-looking prints, copies, and scans. It’s not nearly as nimble and versatile as the competition, though. We like it a lot more at its limited-time $150 HP-direct price, but we could really get behind it, with an enthusiastic “buy” recommendation, at, say, a $129 street price.

Read entire review at Computer Shopper.

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