Until 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.
SATA Express, which theoretically supports bandwidth up to 2GBps, essentially doubles throughput of SATA III—after the hit caused by overhead and cabling, that is. Twice the bandwidth is, of course, the next logical increment, but we’ve pushed the SATA interface to its limit. Hence, the Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO) was hard pressed to come up with something faster. And that’s just what it has done.
Read the entire review at Digital Trends.
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.
For a few years now, we’ve praised the six-ink imaging system in some of Canon’s Pixma inkjets for its exceptional photo reproduction. However, we haven’t been quite as impressed with the company’s tendency to re-release essentially the same machines—with just a few modernizing updates—every 18 months or so.
Take, for example, the Pixma MG6320, which we reviewed in February 2013. Disregard the addition of a few cloud- and mobile-printing features, and it was fundamentally thePixma MG6220 we reviewed a year and a half earlier. We’ve seen the same trend across plenty of other Pixmas.
We’re happy to report, however, that this year the Japanese imaging giant has contributed something quite different to the market for photo-centric inkjets: the $299.99-list Canon Pixma iP8720 Wireless Inkjet Photo Printer, a mainstream-priced single-function model that can print wide—very wide.
In addition to the excellent print quality we’ve come to expect from Canon’s six-ink printers, the Pixma iP8720 prints wide-format to tabloid-size stock (11×17 inches), as well as to the next size up, 13×19 inches. That means you can print high-quality oversize images and posters on a consumer-grade photo printer.
The next step up from the Pixma iP8720 is a professional-grade dedicated photo printer, such as Epson’s $499.99-listStylus Photo R2000 or the $649.99-list Stylus Photo R3000, both of which are well more expensive. Also, unlike these Epson models, the Pixma iP8720 is much more adept at printing document pages. (That’s not to say, however, that this Pixma is a good choice for heavy document output, if a document printer is what you need first and foremost. Far from it.)
Furthermore, the Pixma iP8720 is capable of printing on appropriately surfaced recordable CDs and DVDs, increasing its overall utility. Still, like most Canon photo printers (and, in fairness, most other photo printers in general), this Pixma is expensive to use, in terms of the per-page cost of operation, compared to most machines built for business printing.
If you print a lot of documents, you should really only consider purchasing the Pixma iP8720 as a secondary printer for photos. This Pixma iP8720 is foremost a photo-centric model, and, from that perspective, it’s an excellent choice. It’s among the best-value high-end photo printers for consumers that we’ve tested in recent years. If you have the room for it (and the ongoing cashflow for the cartridges and über-size photo paper), you’ll love its flexibility for photo output at all sizes.
Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.
If you’ve shopped online or read the hype on the displays in brick ‘n’ mortar stores, surely you’ve seen one of the latest buzz terms—“PC-free” operation. What this means, of course, is that you can perform functions on the printer without having to send data or commands to it from a computer. But what does that mean? Well, with today’s multifunction printers (MFPs), PC-free can mean everything from scanning to and printing from memory devices, to printing from mobile devices and the cloud, as well as printing and scanning with printer apps.
Read the entire article at About.com.
Printers that can print two-sided pages automatically—and nowadays most but the least expensive can—have been with us for a while. These printers are said to be auto-duplexing, which means they have a device near the end of the paper path that grabs the page and automatically flips it over, so that it can run back through the printing apparatus to print the other side of the page. Not everybody prints two-sided pages, but having the ability to make doing so automatic surely must ensure that a lot more people do, and using half the paper most of the time must be good for just about everybody.
Read entire article at About.com.
Before Windows 8, Windows tablets were uncommon, clunky, and frustrating to use without a stylus. But here in 2014, well into the second round of Windows 8.x slates, the field has become much healthier, ranging from compact 8-inch models (such as Lenovo’s Miix 2 8) up to 11 inchers (such as Dell’s Venue 11 Pro), with even bigger screens available in detachable Windows laptop/tablet hybrids like HP’s Spectre 13 x2.
To be sure, Samsung is today’s most prolific—and creative—maker of Android tablets. Each year, the South Korean electronics giant loans us for review its latest Galaxy Notes and Galaxy Tabs in multiple screen sizes and price ranges, with each new version delivering a wealth of updated features and—sometimes—improved performance. And over the years, each new model has usually impressed us. The major exception was last year’s Galaxy Tab 3 series tablets, which were undistinguished performers, among them the full-size Galaxy Tab 3 10.1. (We consider slates with screens from 9 to 11 inches “full-size.”)
Here in 2014, though, Samsung has hit the reboot button, with its early-year release of the Galaxy Tab Pro and Galaxy Note Pro series, which includes the giant Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2 (a stylus-free version of the company’s Galaxy Note Pro 12.2, which we reviewed recently), the Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 (a review’s forthcoming from us soon on that one), and the subject of this review, the $499-MSRP Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1. (Samsung announced a new-for-2014 Galaxy Tab 4 series just before we posted this review, as well.)
Unlike most of the company’s other recent Android slates, notably the Galaxy Tab 3 and the 2012 Galaxy Tab 2 series, which were positioned more as midrange products, the tablets in the Galaxy Tab Pro lineup are sleeker and premium-priced. They come with the Multi Window and multitasking features we’ve liked so well on Samsung’s latest stylus-enabled Galaxy Note slates. (To clarify: Samsung’s Galaxy Note slates make use of the company’s S Pen stylus; with the Galaxy Tabs and Tab Pros, it’s all finger input.) And the new “Pro” branding is reflected not just in the new tablets’ coolly minimalist chassis designs, but in the productivity-centric selection of apps and features.
In addition, our Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 review unit was slightly thinner than its closest existing Galaxy Tab kinsman in Samsung’s line, the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1. Thinner and lighter is always a plus, so long as the tablet doesn’t become too pliable as a result. We’re happy to report that this new Galaxy Tab Pro felt hard-bodied and durable enough.
In fact, aside from lacking Samsung’s slick S Pen stylus, the Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 shares a lot of traits with the company’s Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition). It has the same leather-esque coating on the back, with the same faux stitching around the edges, and its buttons, ports, and speaker locations are similar. And, like the Galaxy Note 10.1, the Tab Pro 10.1 comes in either white or black…
You’re also looking at similar screens between these two prime-time tabs. The Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 comes with a gorgeous 2,560×1,600-pixel (WQXGA) display panel, the same higher-than-1080p native resolution as on the Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition). Also, its relatively new Samsung Exynos 5 Octa processor performs well, right up there with the snappy Nvidia Tegra 4 and Qualcomm Snapdragon CPUs we’ve tested in some other recent slates. (We’ve got more on that Exynos chip in the Performance section later on.)
Then there’s the battery life. High performance often comes hand-in-hand with a battery-life penalty, but not so much here: We were especially impressed with the Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1’s 12-hour-plus battery runtime in our video-rundown test. That was about an hour longer than the Galaxy Note 10.1’s unplugged runtime, and well over four hours more than what we got from the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1.
Pricing is the only key concern we had about this slate. The Tab Pro 10.1, which comes in just one storage-capacity flavor (16GB), lists for $100 more than last year’s 16GB version of the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1, and about $50 less than the 32GB Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition). Without question, the Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 is an elegant, well-performing tablet with very little to dislike. But we think that the Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition), with twice the onboard storage capacity and the impressive S Pen stylus for sketching and taking notes, is a better buy at just $50 more.
Of course, price adjustments happen, which could change the relative lay of the land. For instance, we saw the 16GB Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 selling from some resellers for $429.99 at this writing, although how long that lower pricing will hold is uncertain. We really like this slate, but, given the pricing of the 2014 version of the Galaxy Note 10.1, the Tab Pro 10.1 is a wee bit overpriced at its list price. Other than that concern, though, we’re confident that buyers of this classy tablet won’t be disappointed.
Read entire review at Computer Shopper.
Few computing programs require more system resources than games. Game developers consistently push graphics hardware to their limits. Because of this, the results are frequently less than desirable.
Sometimes, when your GPU/graphics card and monitor are out of sync, and the GPU sends a frame in the middle of a monitor’s refresh rate, the monitor ends up drawing parts of multiple frames on the display at the same time.
This can result in visually discernable artifacts known as “tears,” or tearing; a form of distortion where objects on the screen appear to be out of alignment.
You can keep your GPU and monitor in sync by enabling vsync, which causes the GPU to send frames to the screen in sync with the monitor’s refresh rate (usually at 60Hz, or 60 times per second). However, while maintaining sync via vsync eliminates tearing, it can introduce yet another artifact called “stuttering,” as well as input lag.
The good news is that Nvidia’s G-Sync monitor technology eliminates the tear, stutter, and input lag phenomena that plagues many PCs.
Read the entire review at Digital Trends.
Here we are smack dab in the middle of the second round of Windows 8 hybrid devices. Lenovo’s Yoga convertible laptops, with their 360-degree hinges that allow them to double as tablets (with a couple of useful positions in between), continue to be some of the most sensibly designed and versatile hybrids we’ve seen.
Last year, in addition to the original 13-inch Yoga, we looked at two 11.6-inch models, the IdeaPad Yoga 11 and Yoga 11S. The former, while it was the most affordable Yoga, was a Windows RT system, which means that it couldn’t run standard Windows applications. The latter was built around Intel’s Core i5 processor, making it a lot more powerful and capable than its RT sibling.
Today, except for Microsoft’s Surface and Surface 2 tablets, Windows RT has virtually vanished in favor of low-priced tablets and convertibles that run “real” Windows, such as the Asus Transformer Book T100. Lenovo has boarded this bandwagon with the Yoga 2 11 we’re reviewing today—a full-fledged member of the versatile Yoga family that, with a “Bay Trail” Pentium CPU, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive, is just $499 at Best Buy.
Like the first-generation Yoga 11 and 11S, the Yoga 2 11 has 360-degree keyboard hinges that let it flip all the way back from laptop to tablet mode, with inverted-V “tent” and easel-like “stand” modes in between. We’ve discussed these articulating hinges and the modes they enable in several previous Yoga reviews, so we won’t go into detail here except to say the modes, illustrated here, are genuinely handy options to have…
An interesting feature Lenovo added this time around is that, when you place the Yoga in specific modes, the device’s Yoga Picks software suggests apps that benefit from that position. When you flip the system into tent mode, for example, a small notice appears in the upper right corner of the screen telling you that there are apps available conducive to that mode. Clicking the notice brings up a page listing the titles available at the Windows Store.
While we’ve liked the flexibility of Yogas we’ve tested, we haven’t liked the way their keyboards remain exposed, hanging out in the breeze, when we flip the convertibles into tablet mode. When you fold the keyboard back until the bottom of the laptop meets the back of the screen, the keyboard essentially becomes the back of the tablet. Not only do you feel the keys when you hold a Yoga laptop in tablet mode, but the keys themselves (though deactivated) give way beneath your fingers, making the entire arrangement doubly distracting.
Lenovo addressed this issue with its high-end, business-optimized ThinkPad Yoga. As you fold that device into tablet mode, the keys lock into place and the keyboard deck rises until it’s flush with the keys, all but eliminating the awkward sensation caused by the protruding keys giving way beneath your fingers as you hold the tablet.
Alas, the budget-friendly Yoga 2 11 doesn’t include the rising “lift ‘n’ lock” keyboard of the ThinkPad Yoga. Due to a keyboard redesign, however, the protruding keyboard is not quite as pronounced—although that, as you’ll see on the next page, has caused another productivity-related issue. Otherwise, the Yoga 2 11 is well-built and attractive, with a good-looking display. It provides good value for the price.
Read entire review at Computer Shopper.