Brother’s MFC-J650DW Compact Inkjet All-in-One PrinterOne of the realities for printer makers is that there’s a large group of computer users out there—businesses andconsumers—that just don’t print very often. They need to print occasionally, often enough that they feel justified in buying a printer, but they can’t rationalize spending a lot for it. And, similarly, they want their inexpensive little all-in-one (print/scan/copy/fax) to print well, be reasonably fast, and strong on features—just the kind of AIO Brother specializes in.

Enter Brother’s $129.99-list MFC-J650DW, which was discounted on Brother’s Web site to $109.99 while I wrote this.

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Canon Pixma Pro-1 Professional Photo PrinterThe other day I introduced you to Canon’s entry-level professional photo printer, the Pixma Pro-100. The Pro-100 is so entry-level, in fact, that at about $500 MSRP, it costs around half as much as the topic of this review, the Pixma Pro-1. Think of the Pixma Pro-100 as a bridge between consumer-grade photo printers, such as Canon’s own $199.99 (MSRP) Pixma MG7520 Photo All-in-One Inkjet Printer or Epson’s $349.99-list Expression Photo XP-860 Small-in-One, and the Pro-1 as a full-blown professional photo printer.

With a list price of $1,000, make no mistake, the Pixma Pro-1 is no toy, nor is it by any means a desktop or mainstream printer. Instead, it’s big, heavy, and relatively expensive to use—although not as expensive as the Pro-100. Since it’s been around since 2011, the Pro-1 is well-tested and popular among professional photographers, but it still leans more toward the entry-level professional.

There are plenty of much-more-expensive and more capable heavy-duty image printers out there, but not in terms of pure print quality. Upwards from here, photo printers and plotters tend to provide wider paper paths and cheaper inks, measured in price-per milliliter.

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Canon imageFORMULA DR-F120 Document ScannerWhether you’re tasked with cataloging your company’s documents or digitizing you’re family’s finances and history, you’ll need a scanner. The good news is that Canon’s relatively new $399 (MSRP) is up to either task without breaking the bank. Not only does this scanner do a great job of scanning physically, but it comes with software and other features that streamline much of the scanning, processing, and saving process.

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HP Officejet Pro 8620 (Main)During the past few years, we’ve seen a surge of laser-busting, inkjet-based multifunction printers that can print, copy, scan, and fax. Many of them not only outperform their like-priced laser counterparts, they do so while maintaining a significantly lower per-page operational cost—in some cases, by more than half.

This wave only began to build, almost imperceptibly, a handful of years ago. One of the first of these high-volume, low-cost-per-page multifunction printers (MFPs) to catch our eye was the $299-MSRP HP Officejet Pro 8600 Plus. We looked at that model back in early 2012, and it was the grandaddy of the subject of this review: HP’s Officejet Pro 8620 e-All-in-One Printer, which comes in at the same list price. (We’ve already seen this model, however, selling for $199.99 from a variety of major e-tailers.)

The Officejet Pro 8620 is the middle model in a trio of high-volume Officejet Pro 86xx-series multifunction printers (MFPs) that HP has released since the groundbreaking Officejet 8600 Plus. The others are the $199.99-MSRP Officejet Pro 8610 e-All-in-One Printer (reviewed, at the link, by our sister site, as well as a flagship model, the $399.99-MSRP (and Editors’ Choice recipient) Officejet Pro 8630 e-All-in-One Printer we reviewed in early 2014.

As the prices stair-step upward, so do the printers’ productivity and convenience features. The Officejet Pro 8610 may list for $199, but we’ve seen it down around $129 from a few e-tailers. What you get for the additional money between the Officejet Pro 8610 and the Pro 8620 is significant, though. The cheaper Officejet Pro 8610 model is rated at up to 19 monochrome pages per minute (ppm) and 14.5ppm in color, slower than the Pro 8620 by about 2ppm for both black-and-white and color documents. Also, while it comes with a similar wealth of mobile and Web-based print channels, the Officejet Pro 8610 looks decidedly entry-level on the hardware front, coming with a smallish (2.7-inch) touch screen, a 35-page automatic document feeder (ADF), and a 250-sheet input drawer. Compare that to the Officejet Pro 8620’s 4.3-inch touch screen, 50-sheet ADF, and support for Near-Field Communication (NFC), which allows for “touch-to-print” functionality from certain mobile devices. (We’ll discuss NFC and several other mobile-device options in the Features section on the next page.)

The next model up the Officejet Pro line, the Pro 8630, on the other hand, comes with everything that the Pro 8620 does, as well as a second 250-sheet paper drawer (for a total of 500 sheets of paper capacity), OCR software, and a second set of color ink cartridges (the cyan, magenta, and yellow only—no black). The additional ink tanks, were you to buy them separately, would run you about $60 on HP’s Web site. Given that the Officejet Pro 8630 actually retails for about $280, the ink tanks in effect reduce the real price of the Officejet Pro 8630 to a sawbuck or two more than the Officejet Pro 8620, which seems like a pretty good deal to us given the other stuff you get.

HP Officejet Pro 8620 (Angled)As we said about the Officejet 8600 Plus and the Officejet Pro 8630, the Officejet Pro 8620 is an excellent printer that approaches the state of the art in its price range. It’s fast, and the print, scan, and copy quality are top-notch—easily comparable to what we’ve come to expect from high-end HP printers. However, HP’s competition in the high-volume inkjet market—primarily Brother and Epson, but with Canon, too, suddenly coming on strong—have not been lying down, sheepishly waiting for HP to dominate this segment of the printer market.

Since the release of HP’s first Officejet 8600 workhorse, all three competitors have rolled out high-volume, strong-performing models with very competitive cost-per-page (CPP) figures. Several of them, such as Epson’s 2014 PrecisionCore-powered WorkForce Pro models and Canon’s business-optimized Maxify MFPs (the first generation of which debuted in late 2014), perform well and meet most or all of our criteria for high-volume office-centric MFPs. They’re highly competent machines, and indeed, as a whole they are rewriting expectations of what a small-business MFP—inkjet or laser—really is nowadays.

In other words, here we are in early 2015, and the choices among small-business and workgroup MFPs are not so easy to make, though in a positive way for shoppers. That’s because many of today’s high-volume inkjets are fine printers with operating costs that are quite reasonable compared with years past. What we like most about the Officejet Pro 8620, though, is that it and its siblings have been on the market for a while—and so far, nobody is complaining.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.


Epson SureColor P600 Wide Format Inkjet PrinterUnless you’re a graphics artist or photographer, there’s a group of printers out there that print exceptional high-resolution output on wide-format specialty paper that you may know nothing about. Typically, these are big, wide-format machines that specialize in the highest quality oversize prints. This genre entails a wide range of single-function printers with ink arrays ranging from 8 to 12 (and beyond) distinct colors and print paths as much as 13 to 17 inches wide (and beyond). Many of these models, however, cost thousands of dollars, are huge, and designed primarily for professionals and service bureaus, such as the local Kinkos.

Here, we’re looking at the entry-level models to this exciting group of printers—single function machines that typically use 12 inks or under and 13-inch-wide print paths. Some, such as Epson’s R3000 and SureColor P600, provide a wealth paper handling options, such as up to supertabloid (13×16-inches) cut pages, and a few (also the R3000 and P600) also use rolls that allow them to print panoramas and banners several feet long.

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Top Mobile Inkjet PrintersAs class of printer that doesn’t get as much attention as is it deserves is the mobile inkjet. Each of the major printer manufacturers—Brother, Canon, Epson, and HP—offers at least one. (Although Brother’s $479 PocketJet 6 Wireless Mobile Thermal Printer for iOS Devices is different from the others in several ways, including its use of expensive thermal paper, its expensive purchase price, and that it works only with Apple devices.)

And, while mobile printers have many things in common, such as high print quality, small ink tanks, and extraordinarily high per-page operational costs, a.k.a. cost per page, or CPP, as you’ll read in the following reviews, they’re different (and expensive) enough to warrant careful comparisons. (Keep in mind as you read these that the order in which they’re listed here is not an endorsement of one model over another.)

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Brother MFC-J6520DW Multifunction PrinterPerhaps few small- and home-based-offices (SOHOs) require high-speed, high-volume, wide-format multifunction printers, but once you or your company has owned one, you’ll wonder how you got along without it—and you surely won’t want to go back to a midsize letter-size printer again. While nowadays, the major printer makers are all offering wide-format printers (in this case, 11×17 inches, a.k.a. tabloid), none of them manufacture as many as Brother.

In one way or another, the company’s Business Smart, Business Smart Plus, or Business Smart Pro models all at least print 11×17-inch pages. Some, such as the Pro models, like the $249.99-list MFC-J5620DW Multifunction Printer reviewed here, can also copy, scan, and fax tabloid-size pages—features that for certain applications can be immensely beneficial.


Epson WorkForce WF-100 Mobile PrinterThousands of professionals run into situations where, just as smartphones and tablets are useful, having a printer in their pocket would be beneficial. How many times have you closed a deal, needed to print a contract or perhaps an invoice (or a check) on the road? Maybe you’re a real estate professional who needs to print photos or sales proposals—you get the idea. What you need in these situations is a mobile printer, such as Epson’s $349.99 (MSRP) WorkForce WF-100 Mobile Printer.

The WF-100 certainly isn’t unique—all of the major printer manufacturers offer a mobile printer or two. For example, I looked at Canon’s Pixma iP110 Photo Inkjet Printer a little while back, and HP’s mobile all-in-one, the Officejet 150 Mobile All-in-One Printer, a few months ago. In any case, while all three are small, light, and convenient, something else they all have in common is high sales prices, for what they do anyway. We’ll take a look at the price differences between these three models at the end of this review.

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Epson SureColor P600 Wide Format Inkjet Printer Review and RatingsIt’s not often that we see a printer go as long as four years without an upgrade, a relaunch, or a name change. It’s a short life, being a printer: Most of today’s mainstream all-in-one (AIO) or single-function models get updated (or discontinued) within a year or two. But some printers, meant for specialized uses or audiences, roll on and on.

Take the topic of this review, Epson’s $799.99-list SureColor P600 Wide Format Inkjet Printer, and the machine it replaces, the Epson Stylus Photo R3000, which we reviewed way back in 2011. These are not mainstream printers. An Editors’ Choice winner back then, the highly versatile R3000 was a wide-format, near-dedicated photo printer. It stuck around on the market almost twice as long as most of its kind, thanks to some excellent execution on Epson’s part. The SureColor P600 won’t be nearly as lonely in its dotage as the R3000 was, though: According to Epson, the SureColor P600 is one of 10 “Sure”-branded professional-grade printers that Epson plans to release by 2016.

Despite the long dry spell between upgrades, the SureColor P600 looks, performs, and prints much like its predecessor did. In other words, the SureColor P600 starts out with an excellent lineage, which includes not only the venerable R3000 but also 2009’sStylus Pro 3880 (the Stylus Photo R3000’s predecessor), which is still on the market today.

Epson SureColor P600 Wide Format Inkjet PrinterInterestingly, if you look back over the six-year span of these Stylus machines, you’ll see that while they have changed considerably in terms of ease of use and other features, the one constant has been their excellent print quality.

Aimed primarily at semi-professional photographers, fine artists, and hobbyists, the SureColor P600 features both an elaborate, many-hued ink-delivery system and support for an exotic array of paper and card stock large and small. We’ll get into that in more detail in the Setup & Paper Handling section later on. In short, though, the P600 uses nine of Epson’s UltraChrome HD Inks, and it prints on premium paper from 3.5×5-inch snapshot stock to 13×19-inch photo paper, as well as banners and panoramas up to almost 11 feet long.

If this sounds like a lot of printer, make no mistake: It is. If it sounds expensive to use: Yep, it’s that, too. As we’ll also cover in detail later on, to get the best results from the SureColor P600, you’ll have to use good paper, and don’t evendream of opting for generic ink-cartridge refills in this printer. Neither the ink nor the specialty paper (the latter, especially, at its biggest sizes) is cheap.

Know what this printer is not. It’s not a snapshot printer first and foremost (though it can certainly churn out some good ones). And even though it’s perfectly capable of being a document printer, that completely misses the point. Oh, it can print Word docs and Excel spreadsheets (big ones), and the like, but take our word for it, this isn’t the printer for that, except perhaps in a pinch.

Epson SureColor P600 Wide Format Inkjet Printer (Paper)Why? A number of reasons, but mostly because printing anything on the P600, especially compared to on an actual document printer, is rather expensive. Trying to estimate just how much each document page would cost over the long haul, if you’re using this printer for a mix of documents and big photo images, probably wouldn’t yield any kind of accurate numbers. That’s because, typically, high-end photo printers like this one are not rated for printing costs in cost per page (CPP), but instead in price per milliliter of ink. (Again, we’ll talk more about the S600’s ink and operational costs later on.) And given how pricey its ink is on a cost-per-milliliter basis even versus other competing photo printers, document printing can’t possibly be cost-effective here.

In any case, whether you are upgrading from an older wide-format photo printer, or you’re making the transition from a consumer-grade photo printer (perhaps Canon’s Pixma MG7520 Photo All-in-One Inkjet Printer or Epson’s own Expression Photo XP-860 Small-in-One Printer, both six-ink all-in-one models), you’ll enjoy this machine if big, bold, accurate image prints are what you are after.

Read entire review at Computer Shopper.


Does the death of Windows RT cast a shadow on Windows 10?   Read more:  Follow us: @digitaltrends on Twitter | digitaltrendsftw on FacebookThe recent introduction of Windows 10 Technical Preview has made many pundits wonder about the future of Microsoft’s Windows RT, an inexpensive, low-power version of Windows 8 designed to run on the ARM processors often used to power tablets and smartphones. Much of the speculation is that Windows RT is dead. Then again, was it ever really alive?

Nobody was ever enthusiastic about Windows RT. Microsoft promised, negotiated, bribed, and cajoled, but still the response to RT was poor, at best. The financial loses, especially Microsoft’s, were immense (and still climbing). Within a year or so of its 2012 release a list of PC manufactures including Asus, Dell, Samsung, and Lenovo gave up trying to sell RT devices.

Read the entire article at Digital Trends.