Canon Pixma iP7220 Wireless Photo Printer

Canon Pixma iP7220 Wireless Photo Printer. Photograph courtesy of Canon

Read the entire review at About.com

Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro Review and RatingsBig-screen Android tablets are starting to look like bison on the Great Plains once the West was settled: thin on the ground. In 2015, we’re seeing fewer and fewer new full-size Android slates (models with screens around 10 inches) than ever. Part of the reason? The bar for these tabs is already pretty high.

The 2015 models we have seen, such as Dell’s Venue 10 7000 and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S2 9.7, are elegant, high-performing devices for media consumption. Also, some of them, such as the Venue 10 7000 and the topic of today’s review, Lenovo’s $499.99-MSRP Yoga Tab 3 Pro, are constructed quitewell, with a balanced, polished solidity to them.

Similar to the Venue 10 7000, many of the Yoga Tab 3 Pro 10.1’s most impressive features center around a tube-like appendage, or in the case of the Yoga, what’s called a “barrel hinge.” In the case of the Venue 10 model, the cylindrical portion was used to fasten Dell’s accessory keyboard to the actual tablet. The barrel hinge on the Yoga Tab 3, on the other hand, connects a thin metal “kickstand,” as shown in the image below, to the slate. But that’s hardly all it does.

In fact, aside from this slate’s gorgeous 2,560×1,600-pixel screen, much of its pizzazz and unique functionality stem from that hinge and what’s inside it. The slate’s barrel contains a larger battery than the one on the Yoga Tablet 2 of the same screen size, for a terrific showing in our battery-life testing. Also, the speakers have been updated significantly, and this Yoga has a miniature projector built in for sharing the screen contents with others, flashed onto the doors and walls of your home or office. This kind of tablet-integrated “pico” projector made its debut in the earlier Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro, which was a 13.3-inch Android from 2014. We’ll discuss the projector a little later in this review, but it’s by far the least common feature in this tablet.

Nearly every aspect of this classy tablet is new and improved. Compared to the competitors of the day, its Intel Atom processor, one of the company’s late-model “Cherry Trail”-family chips, performs relatively fast and seemingly glitch-free. With a pleather backing and a few other external refinements, the Tab 3 Pro is a little heavier than the Yoga Tab 2 of the same screen size was. But considering that this slate is designed to either prop up on (or hang from) its built-in kickstand—this slate’s other defining feature—and that the tubular portion is easy to grip, the extra weight is not a huge demerit.

Lenovo Tab 3 Pro (Kickstand)The bottom line for this tablet? Like Apple’s iPad Airs or Samsung’s Galaxy Tabs, it’s designed as a media-consumption device, primarily for movies, YouTube, Netflix, and other media sites and services that serve up digital video. As you’ll see in the Performance section later on, it also did better than we expected on our gaming performance tests, suggesting that it might fare better than most others on high-end, resource-intensive games down the line.

Our one major quibble we have with the Yoga Tab 3 Pro isn’t with the tablet proper but with one of the design decisions that affects the accessory prospects of this tablet: the lack of a detachable keyboard. Because of the barrel-like kickstand hinge, it’s not possible to snap an accessory keyboard onto this tablet to turn it into an impromptu Android-based laptop. For a tablet that has “Pro” in its name, we found that a bit of a disconnect; we’d expect a “Pro” tablet to offer at least thepossibility for keyboard-based productivity work. You can, of course, always supply a third-party, separate Bluetooth keyboard of your own, but it will always be, at best, a near match and a separate piece to wrestle with.

That said, as we’ll get into in the next section, this lack of a native keyboard accessory isn’t necessarily a drawback; this is a tablet that’s all about watching video. If you use it for its intended purpose most of the time—media consumption—the Tab 3 Pro will serve you as an impressive slate that’s likely worth the price, so long as you’re not jonesing after one of Apple’s iPads. (Those top tablets, the iPad Air and iPad Air 2, come in around the same price.)

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper

Canon Pixma MG3620 All-in-One Printer review at About.com
Click here for Canon Pixma MG3620 All-in-One Printer review at About.com

HP Envy 7640 e-All-in-One PrinterIt took a while (it was released in 2014), but we finally got our hands on HP’s flagship Envy all-in-one (AIO), the $199.99-list Envy 7640 e-All-in-One Printer. One benefit of reviewing a printer after it’s been out for a year or so is that, by that time, the machine has settled into its place in the market, which usually means a price point somewhat lower than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. As we wrote this in mid-November 2015, Amazon.com was selling the Envy 7640 for $85.99, less than half the original MSRP.

Even though it’s at the top of the Envy product line, the Envy 7640 (whose AIO functions comprise printing, copying, scanning, and faxing) is nonetheless a low-volume, entry-level machine. It’s designed to print and/or copy about 300 to 400 pages each month. A primary difference between this Envy and its siblings, though, is that this one has an automatic document feeder (ADF) to help you scan multipage documents. As we’ll get into in the next section, this is a huge advantage for this particular Envy model.

HP Envy 7640 (Cover)Over the years, the Envy line has changed considerably. At one time, HP offered only one model at a time, such as the Envy 100, Envy 110, or Envy 120. Now, HP offers a bunch of concurrent ones. In addition, at one time HP’s Envy brand—be it printers, desktop PCs, or laptops—was given only to the company’s top-of-the-line, highest-quality machines. Now, the Envy-name criteria is much more relaxed and mainstream, with an emphasis in printers on mobile connectivity features, as well as a decent mix of productivity and convenience options.

Even though this Envy is the sturdiest branch on the Envy tree, it’s by no means a high-volume multifunction printer. As you’ll see in our Setup & Paper Handling section later on, its input and output paper trays are quite small. And, while the print quality isn’t bad overall, it’s by no means perfect. HP promotes the Envy line as photo printers, and most of the Envy models we’ve reviewed have printed respectable photos, or ones as good you’d expect, at least, from four-ink printers. This one was a step behind.

HP Envy 7640 (Cover 3)

If a photo printer is what you’re after, you’ll generally get brighter, more accurately colored images from machines that deploy five or six inks—even HP’s own five-ink Photosmart 6520 e-All-in-One Printer or six-ink Photosmart 7520 e-All-in-One Printer we covered back in 2012. Since then, we haven’t seen any five- or six-ink consumer-grade photo AIOs from HP.

As with other Envy models, as well as the latest round of Officejet models, if you stay within HP’s suggested page-volume guidelines and subscribe to the Instant Ink consumables delivery service to save on ink, the Envy 7640 will satisfy. It isn’t a bad little low-volume printer for homes or home-based offices, especially as cheap as it is now. But you can find much better photo printers, if that’s what you are after, for not much more money. (Even a couple of recent Envy models we’ve tested printed better images than this one.) If, however, all you need is an occasional-use printer with the ability to scan and make usable copies now and then, this Envy works for that.

Keep in mind, though, that this printer makes much more budgetary sense if you enroll in HP’s Instant Ink program, described in the Setup & Paper Handling section a bit later—especially if you’ll use it for mostly photo prints.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.


 

Epson Expression Premium XP-830 Small-in-One Review and RatingsWe first encountered Epson’s Small-in-One printers in the Expression Premium XP-800, the first in a series that debuted back in November 2012. On sight, not much has changed in Small-in-One land since then.

In fact, as you can see in the image below, aside from the model number, from the outside the 2012 XP-800 and 2015 Expression Premium XP-830—today’s unit up for review, which lists for $99.99—are nearly identical…

That’s the XP-830 there on the right. Just like today’s review unit, changes to interim models in this series, such as the Expression Premium XP-810 and XP-820, were internal—that is, the updates consisted primarily of feature add-ins and performance tweaks.

When these Small-in-One units debuted a few years ago (especially the higher-end models like this one; Epson also offers Small-in-One models in its XP-400 and XP-600 series), we applauded them as impressive feats of engineering. They did (and do) so much given their diminutive sizes. And for all three previous XP-800-series models, our assessment was about the same: excellent little printer, but costs too much to use.

Unfortunately, while Epson has piled on the features over the years, it hasn’t done anything to bring down the per-page cost of ink. The XP-830 and all of its predecessors are, first and foremost, photo printers, and photo-oriented all-in-ones (AIOs) historically have a higher cost per page than equally priced and equipped office-centric AIOs.

Epson Expression Premium XP-830 (New and Old)That hasn’t changed here. New features have been added with each of the updates, for the most part the underlying XP-800-series machines haven’t changed all that much, nor their cost per page. As we pointed out in 2014’s review of the Expression Premium XP-820, however, the pricing on these units has gotten more aggressive.

The original XP-800 started out at a $279 list price. After that, the XP-810’s MSRP was $50 lower, or $229; then came the $30-cheaper ($199 list) XP-820. This year’s XP-830 also comes in at an MSRP of $199, but as we wrote this in mid-November 2015, it was discounted on Epson’s own Web site by $70, for a total price of $129. This price brings it close to parity with Canon’s five- and six-ink photo-centric Pixma AIO models, such as the five-ink Pixma MG6820 we reviewed recently.

Epson Expression Premium XP-830 (Off)When it comes to print quality and features, the Pixma MG6820 and the Expression Premium XP-830 are reasonably close. However, our Epson review unit has an automatic document feeder (ADF) for feeding multipage documents to the scanner—a feature that many users find very handy, and that the photo-centric Pixma MG models just don’t have.

Alas, few users need or have the space for a printer for each task, say, one for printing documents and another for photographs. When it comes to printing business documents, both black-and-white and color, the XP-830’s output quality, as discussed near the end of this review, is quite good. And when it comes to keeping up with the competition, this little Small-in-One held its ground in our speed tests, too.

Each year since 2012, we have given the latest XP-800-series models in this series 4 out of 5 stars; they have just missed our Editors’ Choice nod due to their too-high cost-per-page figures. Granted, many of Canon’s and HP’s budget photo printers have high per-page ink costs, too, but just because they all do doesn’t mean it’s justified—we haven’t given the competitions’ consumer-grade photo printers the award either. But with changes afoot in the inkjet-printing market, notably HP’s Instant Ink subscription program, which can rewrite the book on color printing costs if you print just a few hundred color pages a month, we have to dock an extra half a star here for the lack of progress on that front from Epson in its Small-in-Ones. Were it not so expensive to use, the XP-830 would surely have been an Editors’ Choice winner.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper

Have inkjet printer companies finally heard the outcry?

Have inkjet printer companies finally heard the outcry?

Read the entire article on using third-party ink cartridges and refill products at About.com

HP Officejet 4650 All-in-One Printer Review and Ratings

As we reported a few weeks ago in our review of the budget-model-inkjet HP Envy 5540 All-in-One Printer, HP has lately more fully embraced its Instant Ink delivery service, releasing six new Instant Ink-ready all-in-one (AIO) printers. That debut comprised two Envy models, the Envy 5540 and a lower-end Envy 4520 All-in-One Printer, both of which we’ve reviewed over the past few weeks. The other four are Officejets, and the first, the $99.99-MSRP Officejet 4650 All-in-One Printer, is the topic of this review.

In many ways, these new Officejets are simply Envy models with several added office-centric features (or perhaps, vice versa, the Envy printers are Officejets with the office features removed). Most Envy printers, except for the top-of-the line Envy 7640, don’t, for example, come with automatic document feeders (ADFs) for scanning, copying, and faxing multipage documents automatically, without you, the user, having to feed them page by page or flip them over manually.

They’re not otherwise terribly far apart, though. Here’s a visual comparison. The Officejet 4650 is the one on the left, the Envy 4520 on the right…

Imagine the Officejet on the left without the ADF (which we’ll talk more about in a bit), and you wind up with the Envy 4520 on the right, plus or minus some productivity and convenience features we’ll cover throughout the course of this review.

HP Officejet 4650 All-in-One (Top View)Given the Officejet 4650’s $99.99 suggested retail price, its feature list isn’t bad at all, nor is the cost per page (CPP), at least when you use HP’s Instant Ink ink-delivery service. We’ll look at the Instant Ink product, which is essentially an add-on, later, in the Setup & Paper Handling section. Meanwhile, this Officejet is priced and behaves very similar to its Envy siblings.

It wasn’t long ago, prior to some of today’s new ink-delivery initiatives—i.e. HP’s Instant Ink, Epson’s EcoTank, and Brother’s INKvestment—that using this kind of entry-level printer was, on a cost per page basis, an expensive proposition if you used your printer often. Nowadays, though, these vendor-specific services are making it cheaper to use some of these models. (We should add that so far we haven’t had much hands-on time with Brother printers relative to its INKvestment initiative, but will be doing so in the near future.)

Without question, if you plan to scan a lot of multipage documents, this Officejet model is more practical than one of the Envy units. If you’ve ever scanned a multipage document one page at a time, it doesn’t take long to realize that it’s tedious and time-consuming work.

Bottom line? As you’ll see in our Performance section later on, like the recent Envy models we’ve reviewed, this Officejet model is, well, pretty slow. Aside from that, it does everything that it’s supposed to—print, copy, scan, and fax—in fine fashion, in the same quality and with the same agility as its Envy counterparts.

HP Officejet 4650 All-in-One (Comparison)In the case of both those Envy units and this particular Officejet, we should not lose sight of the fact that they are low-volume printers with relatively low monthly volume ratings. From that perspective—an occasional-use machine with a low ongoing per-page cost—we think the Officejet 4650 is a good value.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper


HP Envy 4520 All-in-One Printer Review and RatingsIn HP’s 2015 lineup of Envy all-in-one printers (in this case, they are print-, copy-, and scan-capable models), you’ve got some very cheap printers—no other way of saying it.

Only one other Envy model, the Envy 4500 e-All-in-One Printer, is shorter on features and less expensive than the unit we’re reviewing here today: the $99.99-list Envy 4520 All-in-One Printer. In fact, as we wrote this in late October 2015, HP was selling the Envy 4500 for a mere $49.99—mind-bogglingly low for a full-blown multifunction printer. The Envy 4520, on the other hand (most likely because it’s so new), sold everywhere we checked for its full $99.99 MSRP. Still, that’s very inexpensive for a photo and document printer that can do all it does.

HP Envy 4520 (Top View)Like the HP Envy 5540 we reviewed a week or so before this model, the HP Envy 4520 was part of a new six-printer lineup HP released midyear. Ranging in list price from $79 to $299, the six new models comprise two Envy personal or family all-in-ones (AIOs) and four home- or small-office OfficeJet AIOs. (As we noted in our review of the Envy 5540, over the course of the next month or two we’ll look at most or all of them.) They all have one thing in common, though: support for a program HP calls “Instant Ink,” in which you pay a flat subscription fee to print a certain number of pages per month. To make that possible, HP sends you the necessary ink cartridges in the mail as you run low, automatically.

Instant Ink-compatible printers like these six new ones come ready to take part in the program right out of the box. Even so, most of HP’s recent, Internet-connectible consumer- and business-grade printers support or are eligible for, Instant Ink. (That includes some high-volume models, such as the popular OfficeJet Pro 8630 e-All-in-One Printer we looked at back in early 2014.)

The real-world distinction here is that signing up for Instant Ink is much easier with the printers that come Instant Ink-ready, as opposed to those that require you to register the machine with the service on your own. In fact, we found registering an Instant Ink-supported OfficeJet Pro 8620 a much more involved process that eventually led to a short session with HP’s Instant Ink support team. The good news is that the technician was knowledgeable and knew exactly how to help us.

HP Envy 4520 (Angle View)Like its similarly priced sibling, the Envy 5540, the Envy 4520 is small, prints somewhat sluggishly versus competitors, and lacks an automatic document feeder (ADF) for copying and scanning multipage documents. (You have to flip them over manually to copy or scan the other side.)

In other words, this isn’t a workhorse AIO by a long shot, and it’s missing some important convenience and productivity features you might expect on a slightly more expensive AIO. At the same time, unless you need multipage scanning and high-speed volume printing and copying on a semi-regular basis, the Envy 4520 isn’t a bad little entry-level printer.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper


 

HP Envy 5540 All-in-One Printer Review and RatingsIt may have taken a little while, but it looks like HP’s subscription Instant Ink program—which proactively sends you ink by mail when your printer is running low—has managed to gain some traction in the marketplace. The proof? Here in 2015, the company has released six new Instant Ink-capable printer models.

Ranging in list price from $79 to $299, the new lineup includes two Envy personal/family all-in-ones (AIOs) and four home- and small-office OfficeJet AIO models. Eventually, over the course of the next month or two, we’ll take a detailed look at most or all of them.

Today, as a first leap into this new group, we’re reviewing one of the smallest and least expensive of the bunch, the $99-list Envy 5540 All-in-One Printer. Granted, Instant Ink, which we’ll look at in more detail in our Setup & Paper Handling section a little later on, is the impetus for these new machines. In itself, except under certain circumstances, Instant Ink is not a good primaryreason to choose a given printer model over another. When it comes to controlling the day-to-day cost of running a printer, though, one of our primary concerns among entry-level and midrange inkjet AIOs has consistently been the cost per page (CPP). And in that regard, the Instant Ink program stands on solid ground for certain kinds of output.

HP Envy 5540 (Front View)In short, Instant Ink lets you print a certain number of pages per month for a flat rate, and HP sends you the ink to make that possible as you consume it. The program is a cost leveler across printer models, in that no matter which Instant Ink-compatible HP printer you’re looking at, the per-page cost of ink will be the same if you subscribe to the program. As a result, you can concentrate on choosing a printer with the right print-volume rating and feature set.

As for this specific Envy, just as its $99 list price suggests, it’s not only small in terms of its physical size, but also in terms of volume and overall print speed. While this Envy (like most others in the HP Envy line) really isn’t very fast, the good news is that our test prints, scan samples, and practice photocopies looked good. Doing the latter kinds of tasks, though, is strictly a page-or-two-at-a-time affair. That’s because neither Envy model in this wave of HP Instant Ink printers (which also includes the HP Envy 4520) has an automatic document feeder (ADF) mechanism for scanning or copying multipage documents.

If you want an Envy with an ADF, you’ll have to spring for the Envy 7640. (We haven’t yet reviewed that model, but we will. It has a list price of $199.99, and was selling for $149.99 at hp.com as of this writing, in mid-October 2015.) A good alternative to that model might also be one of HP’s business-centric Instant Ink-ready OfficeJet models, all of which have ADFs.

One thing is certain: When you combine these new Envy and OfficeJet models with HP’s existing lineup of similar printers, the company now offers an extensive line of modern, small-print-volume AIOs with a twist—they have, due to Instant Ink, respectable CPP figures. And that’s unusual among low-cost inkjets. Usually they are the priciest printers on a per-print basis.

HP Envy 5540 (Angle View)As for the Envy 5540, feature- and volume-wise, it falls between the HP Envy 5660  we reviewed a few months ago and the Envy 5530 we looked at a couple years ago, both of them decent low-end printers. As is, the Envy 5540 is a good little printer like its forebears, as long as you don’t try to use it beyond its recommended monthly page volume of 300 to 400 pages. Anything past that, and you’ll start to feel the pinch of this machine’s volume limitations, not to mention that of its low-capacity paper trays and single-sheet manual scanner. For heavier use than what HP recommends, a higher-volume printer will be a better pick.

Otherwise, within its limitations, the HP Envy 5540 is a quality printer for a home or home office.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.


 

Canon Color ImageClass MF810Cdn Review and RatingsIt’s not every day that a printer comes to our labs on the back of an 18-wheeler, strapped to a pallet and requiring at least two people to lift the machine out of the box. Typically, packages are shipped in this manner, via “freight,” to make them easier to move around—say, from plane to truck, or from one truck to another. Today’s review unit was hard enough to move from door to den—never mind across the country

The Canon ImageClass MF810Cdn is the less-expensive sibling of another high-volume laser, Canon’s $1,299-MSRP ImageClass MF820Cdn Color Laser Printer, a formidable multifunction color laser we reviewed (and dragged to and fro) back in April 2015. The MFC820Cdn weighed in at just over 99 pounds. The MFC810Cdn isn’t exactly the slim twin; this $999-MSRP beast weighs just over 95 pounds. That said, aside from noting a lower maximum Canon-rated monthly duty cycle (67,000 pages per month, versus 88,000), we didn’t find many significant differences between these two models. They’re both big and bulky, and they both print quite well.

Canon Color ImageClass MF810CdnGranted, Canon has a host of enormous ImageClass printers in its product-line past. But in addition to being reasonably fast, this one (as you’ll see in the section coming up) brings several firsts to the ImageClass series. These include large (3.5-inch) touch-enabled displays and a few new mobile-connectivity features. (These too, we’ll get to in a moment.)

The biggest bottom-line checkmark in the MF810Cdn’s Pros column, though, is that delivers a decent black-and-white cost per page (CPP), which we’ll look at in some depth in the Setup & Paper Handling section later on. We’ll also talk some there about this model’s expansion options, which include combinations of paper cassettes that can take paper capacity upward of 2,000 sheets.

Then, too, the MF810Cdn comes with a wealth of security, productivity, and convenience features that you’d expect from a $1,000 workgroup printer, among them device and document-management software, and a host of mobile connectivity options, including Canon’s Mobile Printing app—again, all of which we’ll cover over the next few pages.

Canon Color ImageClass MF810Cdn (Platen)Granted, the ImageClass MF810Cdn Color Laser Printer isn’t for everybody; you’d need a rather busy team or office to justify this much printer and this much horsepower. But, as mentioned, if you realize you need to start pushing this printer to its limits down the road, it can expand with you. Canon provides expansions to give your printer more—a lot more—capacity. As full-featured, color-laser MFPs go, the ImageClass MF810Cdn is a pretty good one.

Read entire review at Computer Shopper