Several 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.
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.)
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.
Wasn’t it just the other day, when talking about Canon’s top-of-the-line consumer-grade photo printer, the $199.99 (MSRP) Canon Pixma MG7520 Photo All-in-One Inkjet Printer, I said that the Tokyo imaging giant’s 6-ink printers were among the best. Also great printers, although a little bit cheaper and not quite as vibrant as their 6-ink siblings, are Canon’s 5-ink Pixmas, like the topic of this review, Canon’s $149.99 (MSRP) Pixma MG6620 Photo All-in-One Inkjet Printer.
Part of a trio of photo printers Canon released recently, at $150, the MG6620 is in the middle, with the abovementioned MG7120 above it, and the $99.99 MG5620 (which I’ll be reviewing in a few days) bringing up the rear. What you give up for the $50 between the MG7120 and MG6620 is primarily the former’s sixth ink tank, and a slightly smaller LCD (3.5 inches versus 3.0 inches).
Read the entire review at About.com.
Nowadays, in addition to standard wireless and wired networks, there are several ways to connect your computing devices to your printer, including Wi-Fi Direct (not to be confused with standard Wi-Fi) andBluetooth. Still, actual datanetworks, called LANs, or local area networks, provide the most reliable, and by far the fastest, connections available. Often, when printing (especially when printing a lot of graphics and photos), your PC, tablet, or smartphone sends copious amounts of data to the printer—the faster the connection the better.
Read the entire review at About.com
By now, we all know what a Wi-Fi, or wireless, network is, and it’s probably safe to assume that most of us have one in either our home or office—or both. Plus, you’ll also find Wi-Fi networks all around your town, such as the local coffee shop, motel, and library. But did you know that many of today’s wireless devices, including wireless all-in-ones (AIOs) and single-function printers, as well as many smartphones, tablets, and laptops, come with a service—Wi-Fi Direct—that allows you to connect your mobile device to your printer without either device initially becoming part of a local area network (LAN), wireless or otherwise.
In other words, through Wi-Fi Direct, many of today’s mobile devices can print directly to many of today’s wireless printers, without the need for an intermediary network.
Read the entire review at About.com.
Wireless networks, or Wi-Fi, have been around long enough that just about everybody knows what they are. A Wi-Fi network is a wireless local area network, or LAN, over which computers and, yes, printers communicate with each other. Essentially, wired and wireless networks work the same, except that, of course, the data is broadcast through the air on wireless networks, rather than sent over Ethernet cable.
Lately, though, due primarily to the mobile device explosion over the past few years, we’ve begun seeing all kinds non-Wi-Fi wireless services and protocols for passing data between your PC, tablet, or smartphone and your printer. Unlike the Wi-Fi protocol, though, some of the new wireless connectivity options, such as Wi-Fi Direct and near-field communications (NFC), don’t require networks, and a few others don’t even require routers.
Read the entire review at About.com
Near-field communication? NFC? You’ve seen those commercials: Two young people exchange a song by tapping the back of their Samsung smartphones together. Or, perhaps two office workers exchange a spreadsheet the same way. Have you seen the one where a lady pays for her purchases in a department store by waving her phone over a device on or near the register?
All of these are forms of near-field communication (NFC), a protocol found on many of today’s mobile devices that enables wireless two-way communication between two devices within close proximity to one another. The question here is, where does this relatively new technology come in when it comes to printers?
Read the entire article at About.com.
It wasn’t all that long before we wrote this—about six or seven months ago—that we looked at Dell’s first entry-level Android slate with an 8-inch screen, the Venue 8. (That’s not to be confused with the company’s Venue 8 Pro, which is a Windows 8 tablet.) We found it competent but, as compact Android slates go, rather ordinary. In most ways, it reminded us of umpteen other compact (7-to-9-inch) Android tablets we had looked at around the same time. But what that Venue 8 model did have going for it was a relatively low price, given the screen size and when the tablet debuted: $179.99 MSRP, with the street price ringing up a little lower on occasion.
So, here we are just a few months down the road, and Dell has revamped that same 8-inch Android, keeping the name but hiking the list price to…$199.99. What gives?
Surprising in a market where Android-tablet prices are driving down, down, down, this price rise is a justifiable one. Sure, the Venue 8 is named the same, and the exterior is nearly indistinguishable from its predecessor’s. But this version, thanks primarily to its 1,920×1,200-pixel, high-resolution screen, is an overall better value. (At the same time as the new Venue 8, Dell rolled out a Bay Trail-enhanced Venue 7, as well.)
Not only does this new Venue 8 outshine the last one, but the higher screen resolution also brings this newer Venue into direct competition with certain higher-end compact tabs, such as Google’s2013 Nexus 7 (a 7-incher) and 2014’s LG G Pad 8.3 (an 8.3-incher). The G Pad comes in three flavors: a G Pad 8.3 LTE/Verizon version, the G Pad 8.3 Google Play Edition, and a standard G Pad 8.3. Each version of the G Pad 8.3, as well as the Nexus 7, has a 1,920×1,200-pixel display, like our Dell Venue 8 review unit’s.
This 1,920×1,200 resolution generates a very tight pixel depth on a screen this size (283 pixels per inch, or ppi, versus 180ppi on a standard 1,200×800 display). This pixel depth makes images, videos, some games, and certain other content more detailed and attractive than on the standard 1,200×800-pixel displays found on most of today’s compact tablets. (We’ll look more closely at the Venue 8’s display panel in the Features & Apps section later in this review.)
In fact, this Venue 8’s high-resolution screen puts it on par with the 8.3-inch G Pad. The various versions of the LG G Pad 8.3 may have slightly larger screens, but they also sell for at least $50 more than this Dell, depending on the promotions of the day. Furthermore, while the G Pad 8.3 deploys Qualcomm’s speedy Snapdragon 600 CPU, the Intel “Bay Trail” Atom processor in this Dell slate helped the Venue 8 perform better on many of our tests. (We’ll look more closely at how this Venue 8 did on our benchmark tests in the Performance section later on.)
On the outside of this tablet, things are just as strong. This Venue 8 is slim, solid-feeling, and light—a pleasure to use in almost every sense. It’s thinner and lighter than its predecessor, too.
As you read on, you’ll note a couple of things, such as its sole audio speaker, that we thought could use improvement. But our bottom line? The Atom-based Dell Venue 8 is one nice compact tablet for the money, even if it’s a little more money than before. We’re just surprised that Dell hid this tablet’s backlight under a bushel by not naming it the “Venue 8 HD” or the “Venue 8 Premium.”
Read the entire article at Computer Shopper.
When we see a fast printer that has three input sources, and two of those are big, roomy paper drawers, we assume: Business Printer. Our first impression is that we’re dealing with a high-volume machine designed to churn out hundreds, even thousands, of pages each month. However, you can’t forget the big intangible when talking about printers for small or medium businesses: CPP.
“CPP” stands for cost per page. And one of our biggest criteria for high-volume printers, in addition to being fast and having a lot of paper capacity, is that they deliver excellent-looking documents at a decent CPP.
In fact, to our eyes, a high-volume printer’s CPP is usually the most important figure to focus on. Depending on the printer itself (and sometimes a few other factors), a difference in CPPs of a few pennies between printers can cost you plenty if you print a lot. And printing a lot is, after all, the reason you purchase a high-volume model to begin with.
It was that shortcoming—an exorbitant ongoing cost of operation—that pained us most about last year’s WorkForce WF-3540 All-in-One Printer. Alas, as you’ll see a little later on in this review, the successor model we’re reviewing here, Epson’s WorkForce WF-3640 All-in-One Printer, also costs a bit too much, in terms of CPP, to use. (As for the printer itself, it lists for $199.99, though you may be able to find it $50 cheaper when you read this; more on that later.)
Alongside the WorkForce WF-3640, Epson also introduced a broadly similar model, the WorkForce WF-3630. The WF-3630 doesn’t merit a separate review; the main differences are that it has only one drawer-style paper tray (in addition to the same single-sheet override tray on the back), and, unlike the WF-3640, it can’t fax.
Often, with inkjet all-in-one (AIO) printers, not much changes from generation to generation. And at first blush, it might look like the WorkForce WF-3640 is merely an incremental upgrade over last year’s WorkForce WF-3540. They do look much alike, so just tack on a couple of features, and call it “new and improved,” yes? But that wasn’t the case here at all.
The WorkForce Pro WF-3640 is one of 11 models in Epson’s dramatically refreshed WorkForce line of business printers, released in a big surge in June 2014. The reason for the major rollout? All 11 models were built around Epson’s new, speed-enhancing PrecisonCore printhead technology. The first of these PrecisionCore-based models we reviewed, the wide-format WorkForce WF-7610, won an Editors’ Choice award, as did the next one, a WorkForce Pro model, the WorkForce Pro WF-4630, we looked at back in mid-August. (That Pro-model printer was, incidentally, the first 5-star printer we’ve tested in quite some years.)
The WorkForce WF-3640 is also quite a good printer, but it falls into the same CPP habits that some of its predecessors did. Despite its superior speed and feature set, it’s too expensive to use for much output beyond light-to-medium-duty printing and copying. That’s too bad, because the output of all kinds is very good. In addition to turning out decent-looking document prints in our hands-on testing, it produced great-looking, highly accurate scans. (At least the scans don’t cost you ink.) Copies looked good, too, as did the test photos we printed.
As we said about the WorkForce WF-3540 model before it, the per-page cost of ink nicks this AIO’s overall value, relegating it to an occasional-use machine—to the point where we couldn’t justify an Editors’ Choice nod for this model, despite all else that it can do so well. Still, this is a fine printer that gave us plenty of reasons to recommend it, among them exceptional print speeds and output quality.
If you need to print a lot, you should consider a more-expensive model with a consumables scheme that’s truly built for high-volume output. You don’t have to look far from this model, either, just up: Epson’s own WorkForce Pro WF-4630. That PrecisionCore model has a more efficient and much cheaper-to-use imaging and inking system, and that put it over the top. It lists for $299.99. For light to moderate use, though, the cheaper WorkForce WF-3640 is a fine printer, if you can manage the cost of upkeep.
Read the entire article at Computer Shopper.
On September 30, Microsoft is expected to show off Windows 9 to the world for the first time — yet another sign of the beginning of the end for Windows 8.
Though Windows 8 was an attempt to unify the Windows experience across PCs, tablets, and smartphones, it turned out to be polarizing. Due to its mobile-ish Start screen, the lack of anything resembling the traditional Start menu, and other factors, PC users turned away from Windows 8 in huge numbers.