Review of the HP Officejet Pro 7720 Wide-Format All-in-One on Computer ShopperEach year, due primarily to Brother (and to a lesser degree, to HP), the stable of available tabloid-capable (11×17-inch) all-in-one (AIO) printers widens. Many of them can print, copy, scan, and fax, and the AIOs themselves get less expensive to buy and to use.

Nearly all of Brother’s Business Smart Plus AIOs, among them the Brother MFC-J5830DW ($199.99 at Amazon), support at least tabloid-size printing, and several, including the recent Editors’ Choice Brother MFC-J6935DW ($318.00 at Amazon), come with scanners and automatic document feeders (ADFs) that can handle wide documents for scans, copies, and faxes.

While Brother makes many wide-format printers with a myriad of feature configurations, HP up until now offered only one, the Officejet Pro 7740 (Check on Amazon at Amazon), that had the ability to print, copy, scan, and fax in tabloid. Now, though, the Palo Alto printer giant is offering a pared-down version of the 7740, the $199.99-list Officejet Pro 7720.($199.99 at Amazon) It’s different from the 7740 in several key ways. The newer model, for instance, comes with only one 250-sheet paper-input tray, versus the 7740’s two 250-sheet cassettes.

The biggest difference between these two Officejets, though, is that the newer one has a smaller scanner and ADF, rendering it capable of copying, scanning, and faxing only legal-size (8.5×14-inch) pages. Aside from the smaller paper-input capacity and the inability to run tabloid-size pages through the ADF and scanner, though, these two Officejets are the spitting image of each other. But as you’ll see as you read on, what you give up for the $50 list price difference between them is significant.

We should pause here to add that Epson, too, makes a few wide-format printers meant for small businesses or workgroups, including the WorkForce WF-7610 All-in-One ($232.08 at Amazon), the WorkForce WF-7620 All-in-One (Check on Amazon at Amazon), and the WorkForce ET-16500 EcoTank Wide-Format All-in-One Supertank ($799.99 at Amazon). The difference between the first two is that the latter comes with two 250-sheet paper drawers, while the former has only one. The ET-16500 is one of Epson’s “bulk ink” AIOs that comes with tens of thousands of pages’ worth of ink in the box, and, as a result, it lists for about $1,000.

HP OfficeJet Pro 7720 (Introduction)

Another significant distinction between the Epson models, compared to the HP and Brother AIOs, is that all three of them print wide-format pages up to 13×19 inches, instead of 11×17. All three are simply WorkForce models rather than WorkForce Pro AIOs, meaning that their printheads contain fewer ink-nozzle chips (two chips, as opposed to the four on the WorkForce Pro models’ printheads). In addition, the WF-7610 and WF-7620 have been around since 2014; they lack a few recent mobile-connectivity and other features, and, as we’ll discuss later, they have substantially higher running costs.

In any case, back to the Officejet Pro 7720, the newest of the bunch. As mentioned, you give up a fair bit versus the Officejet Pro 7740, including the features listed earlier, as well as an ADF capable of scanning and copying two-sided pages automatically. On the other hand, the footprint and price are both smaller, and you get the same exceptional print and copy quality. The 7740 is a highly capable wide-format inkjet with many desirable attributes, and so goes the 7720. Nowadays, though, the competition among tabloid-size inkjet AIOs is brisker than ever.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper



 

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

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.


 

Have you noticed the barrage of wide-format printers to hit the market lately? Four of the world’s big printer makers, Brother, Cannon, Epson, and HP, have released at least one oversize model, with some of them, such as, well, Brother, Cannon, Epson, and HP, debuting several over the past year or so. It’s a relatively new phenomenon, but nowadays you can buy a wide-format printer (i.e. tabloid, or 11×17 inches, and supertabloid, or 13×19 inches) in all sorts of configurations—everything from single-function photo-centric machines, such asCanon’s Pixma iP8720 Wireless Inkjet Photo Printer, to full-blown, high-volume, business-oriented workhorses, such as Brother’s MFC-J5620DW.

Read the entire review at About.com.


 

If 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


 

Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4630 All-in-One Printer Review and RatingsOne of the best multifunction inkjets we looked at in its time (back in 2012) was Epson’s high-volume WorkForce Pro WP-4590 All-in-One Printer, a flexible $499.99-list workhorse machine. If you weren’t wedded by function, or by law, to laser-printed output, it was practically everything you’d want in a printer designed for a workgroup in a small or medium business (SMB). The WP-4590 served up exceptional print speeds and overall print quality, plus just about every convenience and productivity feature you could think of. Most crucially, it did all of that at an exceptionally low cost per page (CPP).

At the time, we considered the WP-4590 one of the best business-printer values available, and we still hold it in high regard. But now, we feel much the same way about 2014’s $299.99-list WorkForce Pro WF-4630 All-in-One Printer, the topic of this review. It hits that same rare balance that the WP-4590 did among SMB printers, of sheer feature depth, performance, and output quality, paired with a very fair CPP.

The WorkForce Pro WF-4630 is one of 11 models in the company’s dramatically refreshed WorkForce line of business printers, released in June 2014. All 11 models were built around Epson’s new, speed-enhancing PrecisonCore printhead technology. The first one we reviewed, the wide-format WorkForce WF-7610, won an Editors’ Choice award. And this one makes Epson’s PrecisionCore-based printers 2-for-2 so far.

Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4630 (Main)

In the case of this “Pro”-level model, it’s as fast as most entry-level and midlevel laser-class machines. Also, as we discuss in the Setup & Paper Handling section a little later in this review, certain PrecisionCore models, this “Pro” version included, deliver very aggressive CPP figures. That tends to be the missing piece in a moderate-price SMB inkjet, but Epson nails it here while keeping the fundamentals strong.

Also know that you have some paper-handling flexibility here. In addition to the WorkForce Pro WF-4630, Epson offers the $399.99 WorkForce Pro WF-4640. The difference is that it comes with a second 250-sheet paper drawer, for a maximum potential capacity of 580 sheets from three different input sources. (More detail later on that, too.) Both models also have auto-duplexing automatic document feeders (ADFs), for streamlined handling of two-sided multipage originals, and both have a quite-healthy 30,000-page maximum monthly duty cycle. (“Duty cycle” is the highest number of prints the manufacturer recommends in a given time period without inflicting undue wear and tear on the printer.)

In fact, the WorkForce Pro WF-4630 is one of those rare machines about which we found very, very little to grumble. It prints well; it’s fast; it’s loaded with features; and it’s inexpensive to use, not to mention highly attractive and durable. If you’re looking for a high-volume, high-quality multifunction inkjet with a terrific CPP, this is it.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.


 

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.


 

Earlier 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 new PrecisionCore 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.


 

Unlike single-function wide-format inkjet printers, such as HP’s $249.99-list Officejet 7610 Wide Format e-All-in-One Printer, single-function wide-format laser-class machines are fairly expensive. Take, for example, the topic of this review, OKI Data’s $1,699-list C831n. This tabloid-size laser costs almost six times more than today’s average-priced (about $300) wide-format device, and most of them are multifunction machines capable of not only printing 11×17-inch pages, but also scanning, copying, and often faxing them. In addition, several of these wide-format inkjets can handle pages up to 13×19 inches.

You can read the entire review at About.com.


 

A 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.