It has been over 30 years since HP introduced the first LaserJet—a huge, cumbersome, slow, and expensive beast. My first laser printer, a single-function black-and-white model, cost upwards of $2,000. At that time, primarily only prepress service bureaus purchased color laser printers, where you then paid as much as $10 or more for color prints.
Today, of course, you can buy color inkjet all-in-ones (AIOs) for well under $100, as well as full-featured multi-function color laser-class machines for well under $400 (perhaps even $300).
Take the topic of this review, HP’s snazzy new $429.99 MSRP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M277dw, for example. For just over $400, you get a full-featured, completely modernized multifunction printer (MFP) with, much like several of its competitors, a too-high cost per page.
Read the entire review at About.com
For the longest time, we called the non-operating system executables running on our Windows desktops “programs” or “applications.” Since the inception of Windows, 8, though, a new breed of program, one that runs only in the Windows 8 environment (or the Win 8 UI overlay), has emerged. In just a few short years, this new program type has gone by many names, including: Metro apps, Metro-style apps, Windows 8-style apps, Modern apps, Windows Store apps, Universal apps, and now, according to a recent announcement from Microsoft, “Windows apps.”
Obviously short for “application,” the abbreviation apps originated, or at least became prevalent, with the original iPhone (and a little later the iPad) and Apple’s App Store. From there, the term “app” spread from the mobile world to include programs, or applications, that run on all platforms. Somewhere along the line Microsoft Office suite programs, such as Word or Excel, became “apps,” and the distinction between those big, expansive Windows desktop programs and small smartphone apps was lost, or at least blurred.
Microsoft to the rescue! Just as we were getting used to “Universal apps,” Redmond up and announces yet another name change. If you’re paying attention to all this, it probably all seems confusing, maybe even silly. Even so, let’s see if we can make sense of it.
Read the entire article at Digital Trends
We seldom review printers that have already been on the market for well over three years, primarily because—well, most printers don’tstay on the market that long. By then, most have long since been discontinued, renamed, or replaced. Four years is an eternity in the evolution of printer technology. Here in 2015, we can look back on 2011 and see a very different landscape. For example, HP PageWide technology was still a gleam in an engineer’s eye; cheap wide-format printers were nowhere to be found; and the idea of a “high-volume” business inkjet was a borderline oxymoron.
Even so, now and then, we run across the rare machine that does what it does so well that it seems impervious to advances in convenience, connectivity features, and printhead technology. One of these is the subject of our review today: Canon’s $1,000-MSRP Pixma Pro-1 Professional Photo Inkjet Printer.
A little while back, we reviewed the company’s $500-MSRP Pixma Pro-100, a fine printer for photo pros. This one, though, is a notch or three up the food chain, both in print quality and features. What makes this printer doubly impressive is that it has held up well enough over time to maintain its premium price. When we wrote this in late April 2015, we were unable to find it anywhere online for less than $999.99, a whopping penny less than its list price. That’s especially surprising in a business that uses the discount-off-MSRP as the favorite implement in its marketing toolbox. In fact, as we wrote this in late-April 2015, some outlets sold the Pro-1 for $100 to 200 overlist price—a phenomenon that suggests excellent quality and value (or a unique product, which is not the case here), or a dedicated following.
Why has the Pixma Pro-1 been such a hit? Put simply, its superb print quality has made it a favorite among photographers (professional ones, and would-be professionals), artists, and dedicated hobbyists alike. It’s capable of printing impeccably detailed, vibrant, and accurately colored images and artwork. And it can handle any reasonable paper size, with stock ranging from 4×6-inch snapshots up to 13×19-inch “supertabloid” (otherwise known as A3+) photos, flyers, and posters.
In other words, it serves its target market exceptionally well for the price. That said, were this a standard business-centric or consumer-grade machine, aside from its ability to churn out superb oversize photos and artwork, nearly everything about it would be wrong.
It’s not price-competitive, it’s heavy, and it’s huge. It uses 12—that’s not a typo, 12—relatively costly ink tanks. And, to get the best results, you’ll want to feed it pricey, premium-grade photo and display-art paper—especially when you get into the larger tabloid (11×17-inch) and supertabloid sizes.
Yes, the Pixma Pro-1 can use standard copy paper, and yes, itcan turn out excellent-looking business documents, but that’s like feeding your Lamborghini Aventador a steady diet of ethanol and making it your train-station car. It completely misses the point of this type of printer. You buy it because you want it specifically to do what it does best.
Still, as mentioned, it’s not your only choice for this kind of printing. Canon’s Pixma Pro line of professional photo printers, which includes the Pixma Pro-1, the $699.99-MSRP and the $499.99 MSRP Pro-100, is an A-list family in this market, but it’s not the only one. Epson’s popular Stylus and more-recent SureColor professional photo printers are comparably priced and, as discussed in the Setup & Paper Handling section later on, provide in some cases much more versatile paper handling. Many of Epson’s and HP’s professional photo printers, for instance, have the ability to print on rolls of high-quality photo paper. In the case of Epson’s SureColor P600 Wide Format Inkjet Printer we reviewed a few weeks back, you can print borderless banners nearly 11 feet long. (Whether you have a use for that is another matter!) There are things the Pixma Pro-1, as versatile as it is, cannot do.
Usually, we evaluate printers from the point of view of speed, cost of use, and productivity/convenience features, with print quality being just one of many important factors. While price and cost of use are not irrelevant, they don’t matter as much here as do print-quality and paper-handling prowess. Compared to some other professional photo printers, this one lacks some important paper-handling features, but as you’ll see in our discussion on the last page of this review, the Pixma Pro-1 has some unique options of its own.
Obviously, the Pixma Pro-1 isn’t for everybody. In fact, it’s hard to imagine a printer sold to consumers whose appeal might be more niche-ified than this one. Whether it’s right for you depends flat-out on the nature of your photography or artwork: How serious are you about it, and how big do you need it? And, just as important, can you afford to feed the Pixma Pro-1 what it needs?
If it’s a fit, however, you can rest assured that few, if any, wide-format professional photo printers turn out better-looking prints than this one does. Be prepared to be dazzled.
Read entire review at Computer Shopper
The Printers / Scanners section of About.com hasn’t historically reviewed label printers, or labelling machines, for a number of good reasons. Most label makers, for instance, are battery-operated standalone thermal devices, slow, with little to know interaction with computers. In other words, you type your labels on a small built-in keyboard, and then print them on a monotonously thin adhesive strips.
Not so with Leitz’s new $149.99 MSRP Icon Smart Labelling System, a wireless mobile solution for printing labels designed on your PC, Mac, iOS devices ( such as iPhone and iPad), and Windows tablets and smartphones.
Read entire review at About. com
Normally, when we talk about printers, we’re talking about machines that transfer consumables, usually ink or toner, to paper. Today, though, we’re talking about a much different type of printer—machines that don’t use ink, toner, or any other type of consumable, such as dye sublimation, foil, or 3-D. We’re talking thermal printers.
The only consumable a thermal printer needs is paper—special “thermosensitive” paper, to be sure, but all you need is paper just the same.
While this is convenient, and as you’ll soon see, there are many applications; it also has its drawbacks, making it suitable for only specific types of printing. Even so, as demonstrated in this About.com “Leitz Icon Smart Labelling System” article, the breadth of possible applications is extensive.
Read the entire article at About.com
If you’re in the market for a photo scanner and you’ve already done some looking around, than you probably already know that the market is vast. Take Epson, for instance. You can buy a decent Epson-made flatbed photo scanner, such as the $70-MSRP Perfection V19 Color Scanner, for well under $100, as well as super-fast, highly accurate photo scanners, like the Japanese imaging giant’s $950-MSRPEpson Perfection V850 Pro Photo Scanner.
Then, too, there are several midrange photo scanners in between, including the topic of this review, Epson’s $199.99-list Perfection V550 Photo Color Scanner—which, as you’ll see as you read on, is a fine little scanner in its own right, even if Epson neglected to include image-editing software.
Read entire review at About.com
Inkjet printers that only print have become a rare breed. While single-function laser-class printers still abound, we can’t say the same about single-function inkjets. Shop around for a consumer or small-business inkjet, even at the very low end, and you’ll quickly realize that the market has been taken over by cost-efficient all-in-one (AIO) models.
Over the past year or two, though, we’ve seen a few single-function inkjets slip out from the major printer makers. This kind of printer has become uncommon enough that those models made us sit up and take notice. They include Canon’s Maxify iB4020, HP’s higher-end Officejet Pro X551dw Color Printer (based on its innovative PageWide technology), and the topic of this review, Epson’s PrecisionCore-based $199.99 WorkForce WF-7110 Inkjet Printer.
The first two printers are all about the high-volume output of letter-size pages. The WF-7110 is a different beast altogether, though: Of these three single-function printers, only this WorkForce model prints wide-format pages up to 13×19 inches, a size also known as supertabloid. Unfortunately, like most other wide-format printers priced for consumers and small businesses, the WorkForce WF-7110 also has a relatively high operational cost—what we call the cost per page, or CPP—especially when you compare it to a bunch of other like-priced, high-volume inkjets on the market. (We’ll look more closely at the nuances of this printer’s CPP in the Setup & Paper Handling section later on.)
Like the midrange laser-class printers that this model and its competitors are designed to compete with, this WorkForce model is built to sit there and churn out copious bunches of pages. That’s clear from two things: its paper handling, and its maximum duty cycle. (The maximum duty cycle is the number of pages the manufacturer says you can print each month without wearing out the machine prematurely.) The maximum duty cycle on the WF-7110 is a surprising 20,000 pages per month. Also, as you’ll see in some detail later on, the WorkForce WF-7110 has two good-size input sources, with paper drawers configurable to hold sheets ranging from 3.5×5-inch photo paper to supertabloid copy stock for documents and photo paper for borderless prints up to 13×19 inches. Often, the borderless treatment on an image, a flyer, or a brochure can mean the difference between a professional- and an amateur-looking job.
In short, the WorkForce WF-7110 appears to be designed for versatility and volume—but the volume part of the equation is going to sail onto the rocks of the cost per page. As we’ve pointed out in previous reviews of wide-format inkjets, such as HP’s Officejet 7610 Wide Format e-All-in-One, most wide-format printers have a higher cost per page than their like-priced letter-size counterparts. For the most part, though, most wide-format printers have similar CPPs to each other. HP’s similarly priced Officejet 7610, for instance, delivers about the same CPPs as this one, especially when you’re talking about black-and-white pages.
Furthermore, several of Brother’s numerous office-oriented wide-format printers, such as the MFC-J6920DW, have significantly lower CPPs. But, then, they can’t print 13×19-inch pages, only “plain” tabloid-size ones at 11×17 inches. (In the printer world, the termwide-format encompasses both sizes.) As is often the case with midrange printers, even though they’re capable of printing great-looking pages at highly competitive speeds, their per-page cost of operation makes them money pits for all but limited duty—beyond, say, a couple hundred pages per month.
As a result, the WorkForce WF-7110 is a role-filler, not the one-size-fits-all printer it might appear to be. Under the right circumstances, this model can be a great fit. But if your office requires high-volume output and wide-format output, there are better choices—perhaps an alternate 11×17-inch-capable model, or possibly a printer like the WorkForce WF-7110 paired with a second printer for the volume work.
Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.
I want to say something like, “It’s utterly amazing how clear and vibrant of scans you can get with today’s under-$100 photo scanners.” But I’ve been using desktop scanners and writing about imaging technology for nearly 30 years, and I’m here to tell you that scanning technology has been perfected for quite some time now; there would be no excuse for a company with a reputation like Epson’s to produce a scanner incapable of turning out good-looking scans, right?
That would be news!
Perhaps not as earth-shaking as a scanner by Epson that didn’t scan well would be (but interesting just the same), is Epson’s small, highly convenient, $69.99 (MSRP) Perfection V19 Color Scanner. Light and portable, inexpensive and convenient, this is not a professional photo scanner, but it should serve the average household or individual well.
Read the entire review at About.com.
Nowadays, document scanners and the software included with them can do many things with the bits and scraps of paper in your life, or business life. Between scanners that detect document types and software that knows what data, i.e. company name, email address, and so on, to put in what fields in databases, the whole process of digitizing data from hard copy has become quite automated.
Even so, much depends on the imaging capabilities of the scanner itself and the accuracy of the optical character recognition (OCR) and other software utilities included in the product bundle.
“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.
This 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.