OKI B512dn Monochrome Printer Review and Ratings“Lasers! We’re under attack!” That might be our headline here, were we writing a cheesy 1950s sci-fi epic, not a laser-printer review. But, nonetheless, that’s a pretty accurate summary of affairs in the laser-printer market nowadays.

We’ve been saying for some time that, on the value front, high-volume inkjet printers have been edging out entry-level and midrange laser models. That’s happened for a number of reasons. Among them? Better-than-ever text printing from the inkjets (and, as ever, superior photo printing), plus competitive per-page costs for consumables.

In short, recent business-class inkjets went and cut away two of the major reasons that companies opted for laser- or laser-class printers in the first place. And laser makers have been scrambling of late to catch up.

Every now and then, though, we come across a laser-class machine that upholds the old-school laser tradition of aggressively priced consumables and excellent print quality. One of them is the topic of this review, OKI Data’s $499-list B512dn Monochrome Printer.

OKI B512dnThis is a printer clearly meant for churning loads of plain document pages, given that OKI tags it with a healthy 100,000-page maximum monthly duty cycle. (That’s the recommendation for the most pages you should run through this printer in a given month. Of course, you’ll need a forklift for all that paper delivered at once.) That rating, paired with the excellent text-print quality and a cost per page (CPP) of under 1.5 cents, made a fine impression on us. It’s not all that often anymore that we run across laser-class output in a new printer at this competitive a CPP.

That said, this OKI printer’s only real flaw—its somewhat slow print speed—offsets its appealing qualities a bit. After all, if you mean to print thousands of pages a month, it’s going to take thatmuch more time. But it’s not a deal-killer unless you mean to max out this laser-class printer, all day, every day.

Notice that we refer to the OKI B512dn as a “laser-class” printer, rather than simply a laser printer. We do so because this is not a “true” laser printer, in a sense. A classic laser printer deploys an actual laser mechanism inside to draw the page image to be printed onto the printer’s drum. (The drum, charged by the laser in that pattern, then attracts toner and transfers it to the page.) OKI’s model is more accurately termed an LED-based printer. An LED printer works similarly to a laser, but it charges the page image onto the drum with a fixed array of light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

The reason for using an LED array instead of a scanning laser is simple: LEDs cost less. Substituting LEDs for lasers also allows printer manufacturers to make smaller and lighter printers with fewer moving parts. All else being equal, LED models tend to cost less to manufacture than their laser counterparts, too. Aside from the economics involved, LED-based printers look from the outside very much the same as laser devices do, and they function and act identically, too; hence, the “laser-class” name. Unless you dismantled the printer, you’d likely never know the difference.

We like the per-page economics on this OKI printer, but overall, as modern printers go, this one is a little thin on features. According to OKI, it’s really designed to sit there and churn out page after page of text at a rate of up to 45 pages per minute. (More on that later.) Out of the box, though, it has no wireless connectivity (that feature costs extra), and it supports only a smattering of mobile-printing features.

As we’ve pointed out in many recent reviews, fewer businesses today—especially smaller ones—rely as much as before on single-function, monochrome laser-class printers, one reason being that their now-more-economical inkjet counterparts print nicer graphics and images, and in color. However, there will always be those offices that, for one reason or another, require laser output and don’t care about image printing. Think about all those tire shops, doctors’ offices, and other places of business and points of sale that require short black-and-white documents and receipts in a jiffy.

The good news about the OKI B512dn is that it can serve these needs and more while keeping a light touch on your budget. And that’s a huge part of what we expect from a high-volume printer—and what can make one a success. A printer like the OKI B512dn may be light on frills, but you don’t fault a bulldozer for pushing through big jobs and delivering muscle where it is needed—and that’s what this printer does with monochrome documents.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.

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Panasonic KV-S1027C Document Scanner - Panasonic

Scan anything, even passports with Panasonic’s KV-S1027C Document Scanner.  Panasonic

The other day we looked at Panasonic’s screaming $1,295 (MSRP) KV-S1057C Document Scanner, one of the fastest and most accurate text digitizing and cataloging systems I’ve seen in its price range. At the same time Panasonic released the KV-S1057C, it debuted another cheaper, slightly slower model, the $995 (MSRP) KV-S1027C Document Scanner, which provides most of the features of the more-expensive model and about two-thirds of the performance.

Read the entire review at About.com.

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Printing from Your Mobile DeviceMobile devices have outsold PCs by a very lopsided margin of late, as more and more users become increasingly comfortable with the smaller screens, and the devices themselves perform better and are more capable than ever before. As the result, printer makers have developed and are beginning to embrace several new (and not-so-new) protocols for printing from and scanning to mobile devices—everything from simple cloud sites, to protocols that allow you to print without routers, or even print by simply touching the mobile device to a hotspot on the printer itself.

If you (or if you plan or would like to) do more with your mobile device (such as, say, that beautiful iPad you got for Christmas), or perhaps your team members need to print from their smartphones on the road, here are the latest mobile connectivity features and what they do. Chances are, your next printer will interact with mobile devices via at least one of the following options:

  • Apple AirPrint
  • Google Cloud Print
  • Print Apps
  • Printing Via Email
  • Near-Field Communication (NFC)
  • Wi-Fi Direct

Read the entire article at About.com.

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In late 2013, Lenovo released a couple of Android slates literally capable of standing on their own two feet. Well, strike that—they were capable of standing on their own one foot.

Literally and technically, it’s not a foot at all. As you can see below, it’s more like a kickstand…

 

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 (8-Inch, Android) (Feet)

 

That stand is what has set apart Lenovo’s Yoga Tablets—the first generation, and the newer Yoga Tablet 2 models we’ve been looking at here in early 2015—from the rest of the Android and Windows pack.

The tablet aisle has become quite the crowded place, and Lenovo realized it had to be bold in its design. In the first Yoga tablets, the kickstand allowed you to position Lenovo’s tablets in three distinct and often quite useful “modes,” standing free in several possible orientations. With the Yoga Tablet 2 models, Lenovo has added a new orientation called “Hang mode” (which we’ll discuss in the Design & Modes section later on). Now, you can use the Yoga Tablets in even more ways that other tablets just can’t pull off as elegantly.

Also with this round of Yoga Tablets, you have more choices in terms of screen size. Up from two screen-size options in Android—in the original Yoga Tablet 8 and the Yoga Tablet 10—now you have three to pick from: the $229.99-list Yoga Tablet 2 (8-Inch), the subject of this review, as well as a $249.99-list Yoga Tablet 2 (10.1-Inch), and the $469.99-list Yoga Tablet 2 Pro (13-Inch), all shown below…

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 (8-Inch, Android) (Sizes)

We should point out, though, that the 13-inch model, with its dazzling QHD (2,560×1,440) display, low-power built-in projector, and JBL speakers, is actually more of a high-end entertainment device—a sleek, premium slate not really in the same class as the 8- or 10-inch Yoga Tablet 2. Here seems a good place to point out that we classify tablets with 9-inch or larger screens as “full-size,” and slates with displays smaller than 9 inches as “compact.” With the emergence of 13-inch models, though, we’re considering calling models in that size range “oversize tablets”—far bigger to handle than the dominant 9- and 10-inch tablets that orbit the Apple iPad’s dimensions.

The Yoga Tablet 2 8-incher is quite on the other end of the spectrum from “oversize.” It has roughly the same screen size as an Apple iPad Mini 3, and in our opinion that’s the smallest truly acceptable screen size for Android tablets these days. Given prices in 2015, much of the gloss has come off of 7-inch models for us, and as high-res screens have crept into tablets this small, the difference between a 7-inch and an 8-inch tablet is that much more pronounced.

While physically this Yoga tablet looks much like its 8-inch predecessor, inside it’s a completely new animal, as you’ll see in the Performance section later on. An ARM-based MediaTek processor powered the previous Yoga Tablet 8. The Yoga Tablet 2 (8-Inch), as well as the other two Android Yoga Tablet 2s mentioned above, have gone Intel, running on Atom CPUs. (Many competing compact slates from first-tier makers also now use Atoms.) As we’ve seen with other recent tablets, the Atom chip greatly improves performance—especially compared to some of the midrange ARM processors found in the entry-level compact slates of late 2013 and early 2014.

Even so, despite its CPU, the Yoga Tablet 8 came within about $50 (given its $249 list price) of winning our Editors’ Choice nod back when we reviewed it in late 2013. We thought—and still do—that the Yoga Tablet 8 was a $199 slate, and we think the same about this newer model. So far, though, we haven’t found it anywhere online for less than its $229.99 list price, and in places for slightly more, suggesting that Lenovo’s not having any trouble selling it.

While the Intel Atom CPU certainly beefed up this tablet’s performance, most recent competing compact models have also stepped up to the same or similar Atoms. In other words, the Yoga Tablet 2 (8-Inch) is faster than its predecessor, but so are most of its competitors. And where the 2013 Yoga Tablet 8 was generally faster than many compact slates of that era, today’s model, performance-wise, is just average—even if average isn’t so bad, nowadays.

Battery longevity is a different dynamic. On the first Yoga Tablet 8, we saw a whopping 15-plus hours in our video-playback test. Comparatively, the 8-inch Android Yoga Tablet 2 came up short by nearly 3 hours. But it still lasted long enough this time around to deliver at least a couple of days of everyday work, such as browsing the Web and answering e-mails, before we had to recharge.

As we’ve pointed out in numerous Yoga Tablet reviews, the Yoga Tablet design is unique because of the cylindrical hinge and stand built into the bottom of the device (assuming the slate is in wide/landscape orientation). In addition to providing plenty of room for a capacious battery, it also makes for a great grip point for holding the tablet in one hand while operating it with the other, as shown here…

 

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 (8-Inch, Android) (Hold Mode)

We decided, even back with the first Yoga tablets, that we were fans of the overall design and its various modes, which we’ll get into on the next page. But the new innards and higher-resolution display of this latest 8-inch Yoga Tablet make this 2015 model much superior to the Yoga Tablet 8. Plenty has changed in the tablet market since we reviewed that tablet, but the improvements here outpace the field: Screen quality and performance have increased significantly, and the price went down by $20.

We’d still like the Yoga Tablet 2 (8-Inch) better at $199, but this new compact model is, nonetheless, a very nice tablet for the money.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.

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Epson’s WorkForce WF-2660 All-in-One PrinterOne of the things I hate about reviewing entry-level printers is that while they are often good little printers in their own rights, something about them—usually their operational costs—is wrong, or at least too high to make sense to all but small- and home-based businesses with very meager print and copy volume requirements. And that’s the (only serious) problem with the topic of this review, Epson’s $149.99 (MSRP) WorkForce WF-2660 All-in-One Printer; it costs a lot to use.

In other words, it prints very well and reasonably fast, and the scanner makes excellent scans and copies. But it’s daily operational cost of consumables (in this case, ink, of course) makes using it, compared to like-priced competitors, too expensive, to the point that if you print a lot, more than say a few hundred pages per month (and that might be pushing it), unless money is no object, this is probably not your printer.

Read the entire review at About.com.

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Canon’s imageFORMULA P-208II Scan-tini Personal Document ScannerJust as each major printer manufacturer typically offers at least one mobile printer at a time to market, each company also provides mobile, or portable, scanners that allow you to scan documents and photos to your PC, your mobile device, or the cloud from nearly anywhere. And, as is the case with most miniature printers, miniaturized scanners tend to cost more than some of their full-featured, full-size counterparts with comparable features. The question is, are they worth it?

The answer? As with most niche products like these, such as Epson’s $179.99 (MSRP) WorkForce DS-40 Color Portable Scanner, as well as the topic of this review, Canon’s $199.99 (MSRP) imageFORMULA P-208II Personal Document Scanner, it depends on your application—and, of course, whether you actually take it out of your bag and use it.

Read entire review at About.com.

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Epson WorkForce WF-100 Mobile Printer ReviewMobile inkjet printers have been around for some years now, and—like everything else tech—they have gotten better and better with the passage of time. However, unlike most other devices, their makers have only been able to miniaturize them so far. Case in point: If you want to print letter-size business documents, a mobile printer must be at least 8.5 inches wide. There’s just no getting around the basic physical size of paper!

Plus, printers require at least a modicum of moving parts to function. That precludes miniaturization beyond a certain point—but that hasn’t stopped printer makers from trying.

Take the topic of this review, Epson’s WorkForce WF-100 Mobile Printer. Epson claims it is “the world’s lightest and smallest mobile printer.” As we discuss in the next section of this review, that just may be the case—we couldn’t find a comparable model (apart from some snapshot-only models) to disprove that. But as we pointed out in our recent review of competitor Canon’s newest mobile inkjet, the Canon Pixma iP110 (a photo-centric model), miniature printers like this one are costly. Not only are the purchase prices for the printers high, but the operational costs are also off the chart, in terms of cost per page (CPP), compared with full-size printers.

Epson WorkForce WF-100 (Main)At a $349.99 MSRP, the WorkForce WF-100 costs about the same as the above-mentioned Pixma on a list-price basis—assuming you factor in the Pixma iP110’s optional $99.99 battery, a component that comes standard with the WF-100. (Also, note that while the list price on the WorkForce WF-100 may be $349.99, it was on sale on Epson’s Web site and several resellers for $100 off, or $249.99, when we wrote this in mid-March 2015.) That battery is a big deal: On the WF-100, it’s not an optional add-on, but built-in and included in the price. Furthermore, as the WorkForce WF-100’s name implies, it is part of Epson’s office-centric WorkForce line of printers; others of its kind are designed to print business documents. Canon’s Pixma iP110, on the other hand, is a photo printer with an emphasis on printing images first and business documents as a fallback position.

Whether you’re printing photos or documents, though, the WorkForce WF-100 is, like the Pixma iP110, undeniably expensive to print on. As you’ll see in the Setup & Paper Handling section later on, depending on what you print, the WorkForce WF-100 can be a little more expensive to use than the Pixma. But that’s somewhat hair-splitting: In either case, neither of these models, nor any other mobile printer we’ve tested, is economical to use for mass printing. (That includes HP’s offerings, the most recent of which is the $399.99-list Officejet 150 Mobile All-in-One, which also performs scans and makes copies.) While these miniature machines are very handy for certain applications, you pay dearly for not only the machines themselves but also the day-in, day-out upkeep.

As with full-size desktop printers, which type of mobile printer you should buy depends on what you intend to do with it. The distinction here brings to mind the differences between standard desktop photo printers and desktop office printers. What are you more likely to be printing on the road: Photos? Business documents? Unlike the Pixma iP110’s output, which would most likely consist of one page per print run (i.e., a photo), the WorkForce WF-100’s print jobs might often be longer, seeing as it’s meant as a document printer first. But even despite that document bearing, this is still an occasional-use printer no matter what you’re printing, unless money is no object. Everything you print on it is expensive, comparatively.

Our bottom line? The WorkForce WF-100 is all about convenience, and just as you pay more for a beverage at the corner store, the convenience of a mobile printer has its price—both when you buy it and when you refill it. If you’re willing to live with that, though, this is a great little printer.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.

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Panasonic KV-S1057C Document ScannerToday more than ever, banks, hospitals, car dealers, and so many others use dedicated document scanners to digitally preserve and file so many types of documents and data. To do so, of course, you need a scanner, and if you have many documents to scan, you’ll need a fast, high-volume scanner like the topic of this review, Panasonic’s KV-S1057C Document Scanner, to keep that blizzard of paper under control.

The fastest and most expensive in a pair of document scanners Panasonic released recently, the $1295 MSRP KV-S1057C is the fastest of the two. It’s less-expensive sibling, the KV-S1027C, is essentially the same scanner with an identical feature set—except that, as you’ll see in my review of the $895 MSRP KV-S1027C in a few days, it’s approximately two-thirds as fast as the $1300 KV-S1057C.

Read the entire review at About.com.

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OKI Data B512dn Monochrome PrinterAll some businesses need is a super-fast monochrome printer capable of churning out reams of pages economically. If you think about it, there are still plenty of applications out there—mortgage title companies, auto finance departments, medical offices, to name a few—that require printing stacks of monochrome documents. Traditionally, companies have relied on laser (or laser-class LED-array) machines

for these tasks, but recent advancements in inkjet technology, such as HP’s PageWide and Epson’s more recent (2014) PrecisionCore, as well as better performance and lower per-page ink costs in general, have begun to supplant laser technology.

To the point, in fact, that many high-volume inkjet machines easily out perform their like-and higher-priced laser-class counterparts in nearly every way, including print speed and cost per page, or CPP. Currently, inkjet technology appears to be winning this tug-of-war, but some applications require laser output. If yours is one of them, OKI Data’s relatively new $499 (MSRP) B512dn Monochrome Printer, with its 100,000-page maximum monthly duty (the number of pages OKI says you can print each month without undue wear on the printer) and relatively low cost per page, might be the machine you’re looking for.

Read entire article at About.com.

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Could DNA be the key to passing digital data to future generations? Perhaps in predicting “bio-neural” circuitry to store and transfer data throughout the starship, the writers of the mid-1990’s TV series Star Trek: Voyager were prophetic. Over the past few years, researchers at Harvard, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, ETH Zurich university, and other research facilities have been experimenting with storing data in DNA. Researchers are starting to find we may be able to store data for thousands of years by using techniques first perfected by Mother Nature.

The Voyager engineers have 400 years or so on today’s scientists. DNA storage is probably a little closer to today than the 25th Century, where Star Trek: Voyager was set. Still, this budding technology has a lot of obstacles, among them prohibitive costs. If that can be conquered, though, all of today’s existing digital data could be stored and preserved in about four grams of synthesized DNA.

Read the entire article at Digital Trends.

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