Tech 10: Hot Printing Solutions For 20134:00 PM EST Thu. Aug. 01, 2013
For Printer Week 2013, the CRN Test Center looked at a variety of new printing and multipurpose office machines for small and medium-sized businesses. All offer sturdy, feature-rich solutions for the home or small office. The main differences came in the way of software and their level of integration with user operating systems. Here's a snapshot of each of those products. For full reviews and coverage of some great mobile printing apps, be sure to visit CRN's Printer Week 2013 page.
The Dell C-3765dnf Workgroup Color Printer is a sturdy two-sided laser printer that cranks out beautiful, photo-realistic color images with continuous tones, lifelike flesh tones and no banding or dithering. This PostScript machine is a clone of the Xerox Work Centre 6605 with a black outer shell and Dell-built software and drivers. It offers a rated duty cycle of 80,000 pages per month and can handle scanning, copying and faxing requirements of a small and medium-sized company or departments. A list price of $1,099 includes a duplex unit.
With its sturdy construction, versatile functionality great utilities and solid mobile printing solution, HP's LaserJet Pro 400 MFP M425dn is hard to beat for the small office or department. For $499 list, the M425dn is a two-sided, black-only PCL/Postscript laser printer with a high-resolution black-and-white copier, color scanner and fax. It's fast and easy to set up and configure, prints and copies at 35 ppm, can be managed from Mac OS or Windows, and has a touch-control panel that's intuitive enough for techies and interns alike.
The Samsung SCX 3405FW is a bare-bones black-only 21ppm laser MFP for the small office or department using fewer than 10,000 pages a month. This entry-level unit combines a high-resolution one-sided color scanner and copier. The $149 list price includes a 700-sheet starter toner cartridge, but fax and Wi-Fi are optional. Wi-Fi supports Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print or Samsung's own Mobile Print App. The input tray holds 150 sheets or 10 envelopes. The output tray holds 100 sheets; there is no two-sided option. The scanner has a 40-page auto-feeder and scan-to-PC function.
The Xerox Work Centre 6605 Color Multifunction Printer is an all-purpose PostScript workhorse for small to medium-sized companies and departments unveiled in September. The 6605 starts at $999 ($1,099 with duplexer) and delivers 36 pages per minute in black or color at a rated 80,000 pages per month. Easy to set up and use, the 6605 employs a 4.3-inch color touchscreen control panel that presents large buttons for copying, emailing, faxing and scanning. Scans can be saved to a network folder or local USB stick or sent to an email address. Wi-Fi is optional.
Listing for $199 is the tabloid-sized printing Brother MFC-J4510dw Business Smart Inkjet All-in-One color MFP. USB, Ethernet and Wi-Fi are standard, and it puts out clean, crisp color at 35 ppm for black and 27 ppm for color. There are inputs for USB and numerous memory cards. It supports Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print and Brother's iPrint for Android and iOS, plus direct printing from Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, Dropbox, Evernote and Google Docs. Color scans can be emailed or saved to a server or local media.
Canon delivers solid value with the Color ImageClass MF8580Cdw Color Laser Multifunction printer. For $599 list, the 8580 includes a two-sided color printer, copier, scanner and fax machine with network control and Ethernet, USB and Wi-Fi interfaces all standard. With its 40,000 page-per-month duty cycle, fast time-to-first-page and fairly high paper capacity, the 8580 is suited for the small office or busy department.
With its unusual rear-discharge output tray and trayless multipurpose input plus a feeder that handles just a single sheet at a time, the Lexmark CX410 Multifunction Color Laser Printer is far more than a glorified fax machine. Introduced in October, the CX410-series of laser MFPs start at $699 and combine printing, copying, faxing and scanning, all in high-resolution color. Setup on Mac and Windows is quick, and the printer delivers 32 ppm for color or black.
Label printing doesn't get much easier than with Epson's LW-300 Label Printer, a stand-alone labeller that's great for organizing the small office, the critical care unit and everything in between. Epson offers both the $39 LW-300 model with one-line LCD and the $49 Epson LW-400, which adds barcode printing, a two-line backlit LCD and more options for label types and colors. Both provide good value, are easy to use, come with a protective carrying case and are flexible enough for most situations. An AC power adapter is a $25 option.
The Epson Workforce Pro WP-4533 is a sturdy multifunction printer for small offices and work groups that's easy to set up. For $399 list, the 4533 delivers a networked, two-sided color CMYK inkjet printer, plus scanner, copier and fax machine. A Wi-Fi option lets mobile devices print using Apple AirPrint and Google CloudPrint. The Workforce is rated at 16 ppm for black-only printing, 11ppm for color and has a duty cycle of 25,000 pages per month. A 30-sheet feeder simplifies scanning and copying.
Dell in June unveiled a pair of wireless laser MFPs at a sub-$300 price point. The $199 B1165nfw is a 21ppm printer that offers 1200 dpi color scanning with 40-sheet feeder, 600 dpi copying and faxing capabilities, a 250-sheet main tray and a duty cycle of 20,000 pages per month. The $279 B1265dfw (shown) adds two-sided printing at 14ppm, bumps one-sided output to 28ppm and increases the input tray to 250 sheets.
Be sure to check out all of CRN's Printer Week 2013 coverage, including full printer reviews and lists of great mobile printing apps.