CRN Printer Week Reviews: 4 More Multifunction Printers For SMBs

Printer Week Day 2

It was for the small business that the multifunction printer (MFP) was invented. And every company starts out small, often with a budget for just a single office machine. Today's MFPs deliver printing, copying, scanning and sometimes faxing to small networked workgroups or offices. Some employ laser printing; others use an inkjet. Common options include Wi-Fi, walk-up printing via NFC or USB, and options for paper capacity and handling.

Although the MFP represents a sale of just a single device, VARs stand to receive a portion of fax and scanner sales they might otherwise have missed to specialty retailers. And because they use a single set of consumables, MFPs offer a simplified stream of recurring revenue. For Printer Week 2015, the CRN Test Center reviewed four of the latest MFPs from leading vendors. All four mostly lived up to their performance claims and were easy to set up and use. Where they most varied was in ease of use and ratings for volume printing and opportunities for recurring revenue. Here are the highlights of all four.

Brother MFC J5620

Brother has outdone itself. The Brother MFC J5620 color inkjet multifunction printer has an ISO speed rating that's 10 percent faster than the MFP J4510dw we covered previously, and holds almost twice as many sheets in its auto-document feeder. Yet it still lists for $199 with a two-year warranty. What's more, Brother's transverse design allows it to print on paper as large as tabloid size, a feature that's usually accompanied by a far higher price tag.

Brother rates the J5620 at 35 pages per minute for black and white, and 27 ppm for color output. It can scan and make color copies at 9 ppm (12 ppm for black) from an auto-document feeder that holds 35 sheets. With a monthly duty cycle of 30,000 and recommended maximum of 1,500, the J5620 is not intended as a high-volume workhorse. Instead, it's a versatile office all-in-one that can produce photo-realistic color prints, and can scan and send and receive jobs to and from a variety of sources and devices.

Brother Features

In terms of input capabilities, the J5620 has something for everyone. It can accept jobs from rear-wired USB and Ethernet ports and Wi-Fi (with wired Ethernet disabled) with Wi-Fi Direct support. Behind a front panel are I/O ports for a USB stick and readers for ProDuo and SD card formats. It can print bmp, fpx, htm, jpg, max, pdf, pcx and tiff files, and allows direct printing from Box, Dropbox, Evernote, Flickr, Google Drive, Picasa and Microsoft OneDrive, and OneNote. Brother also offers a large selection of apps for Android, BlackBerry, iOS and Windows Phone.

It supports Brother Mobile Cloud Apps, which can edit portions of scanned documents without a computer, and can print and transport them for later reference or send scanned documents directly to Microsoft Office for editing. Maximum scanning resolution is 2,400-x-2,400 dpi; print resolution peaks at 6,000-x-1,200 dpi. Helping make some of these features possible is a 3.7-inch touch-sensitive color LCD, which, like a smartphone, is easily navigated with swipes and taps. Great for mom-and-pop shops, its on-screen wizards and messages make easy work of initial setup, changing configurations, clearing paper jams and replenishing supplies. The printer even stores instruction sets that it prints to help troubleshoot certain tasks. At around 19 inches wide by 14 inches deep, the unit can easily fit on a desk or small table.

Brother Test Results

The J5620 might be one of the more versatile printers in the office, but it won't be the fastest. Brother claims that its talented color inkjet MFP can output black jobs at up to 35 ppm and color at 27 ppm. Our 35-page black text job completed in 6:05, a rate of less than six ppm. For black pages, a 37-second time to first print isn't terrible. But we could have gone out for coffee while waiting for the first copy of our mixed-graphic test page, which took an agonizing 8:57 to complete. What's more, the control panel doesn't display relative page numbers or indicate how close the current job is to completion.

Print speed, notwithstanding, Brother makes a solid, feature-rich product with good color quality that's easy to set up, maintain and use. It can print borderless color on paper as large as tabloid size from a large variety of sources and can scan, edit and save to email, network and desktop application formats. In addition to its half-ream main tray that also can take photo paper as small as 3.5-x-5 inches, a multipurpose feeder holds up to 80 letter-sized sheets or five tabloid sheets.

HP OfficeJet Pro 8630

A printer that can alert an MSP when it's time to order more ink, the Hewlett-Packard OfficeJet Pro 8630 "e-All-in-One" printer is among the company's latest color inkjet MFPs. With claimed print speeds up to 21 ppm for black and 16.5 ppm for color and a starting list of $399, the 8630 can print, fax, scan and copy in color, and access e-mail and other web-based services. Its flatbed scanner has a 50-sheet auto-feeder and can accommodate documents as large as legal size.

A monthly duty-cycle rating of 30,000 pages makes the 8630 a solid choice for small companies and departments, and its 500-sheet capacity and duplex printing will keep documents flowing. HP recommends a maximum of 1,500 pages per month. Larger than most inkjet MFPs, the all-black matt and glossy unit stands almost 16 inches tall with its second 250-sheet paper tray installed. A bit large to share desk space with, VARs might consider proposing a separate stand or table. It's nearly 20 inches wide and 21 inches deep with the catch bin extended for letter-sized paper. It ships in three pieces that snap together quickly and without tools.

HP Features

As imposing a figure as its shiny, black upper half makes, the 8630 stands out most for its color LCD, which employs a swipe-and-tap navigation interface to control all functions. By default, the panel presents four large icons marked Copy, Fax, Scan and Apps. Sliding these from right to left exposes three more for Photo (which prompts to insert a USB stick), Setup and Discover, the latter of which explains printer features and capabilities such as eco mode and direct-from-device printing. The control panel works with three dedicated touch-sensitive keys for Home, Help and Back, which light up as applicable. With the exception of its power button, the 8630 employs no mechanical controls.

The 8630 puts functions, such as scan-to-email and printing from cloud-based storage, under Apps, which also links to HP's Flow CM doc management service,, Google Docs and numerous other cloud services. Apps also can send alerts when supplies run low, prompting VARs to visit or call the account. Apps are managed online at The 8630 supports walk-up printing with NFC and Mopria support, HP Wireless Direct, Apple AirPrint, a front-mounted USB port and free mobile printing apps for all major platforms. The printer comes with a one-year carry-in warranty, 24-hour web support and phone support during business hours.

HP Test Results

The 8630 mostly lived up to HP's claims of 21 ppm for black and 16.5 ppm for color printing. The first page of a 21-page document appeared in 26 seconds, and the whole job was ready to pick up in 1:23. The first page of our 17-page mixed-mode color job was finished in 25 seconds; total job time was 1:24. While printing, the LCD reports that fact and nothing particularly useful to indicate when it might finish.

Installing the ink cartridges took almost no time at all, and was made easier thanks to an animated video that played on the control panel. It starts with opening the large front door to expose a chamber so cavernous that it's lit with an LED. After a moment, the printhead and ink-carriage assembly travel from their parking spot to the service area, where CMYK cartridges click into place. Testers found the OfficeJet Pro 8630 to be a solid, well-thought-out solution that works reliably.

Lexmark CX510

For companies seeking accurate, high-resolution color output, the Lexmark CX510 would be a solid choice. This 1,200-x-1,200 dpi color laser printer, color copier, color scanner and color fax unit delivers 32 pages per minute when printing or copying in color or monochrome. It incorporates Pantone color-matching technology, has a duty cycle of 85,000 pages per month and can hold up to 1,450 pages with options. Pricing starts at $1,399, including Ethernet, a 550-page paper capacity, high-yield toner cartridges and one-year on-site service.

CX510 Features

The CX510 centers around a roomy 7-inch color LCD panel with logical touch navigation that has access to all printer features and settings. The panel is supplemented by physical controls, including a numerical keypad and buttons for copy, cancel and wake-from-sleep. In addition to plain paper, the CX510 supports card stock, paper labels and transparencies. A front-mounted USB port permits guests and visitors to print from a memory stick without requiring computer or network access. A 50-sheet auto-document feeder with reversing duplex capability speeds scanning and copying chores, even of two-sided originals. Tests of the feeder's speed got close to its rating. Options for the CX510 include a Wi-Fi b/g/n module and auxiliary bins that can increase paper capacity to 1,450 sheets.

CX510 Test Results

For testing, Lexmark sent a CX510de, the entry-level model that lacks a hard drive and extra 550-sheet paper tray. To test speeds, we created a test document with a high-res color graphic occupying about a quarter of a letter-sized page surrounded by black text. We sent a single page over Ethernet and clocked the time it took to print. When sending to a sleeping CX510, the page was ready to pick up after 21 seconds. A page sent after that was ready in 18 seconds. The same page requested with 32 copies was ready in 1:18, proving Lexmark's 32-ppm claim after subtracting the 18-second startup time.

Designed to keep pace with its 32-ppm print rate are the unit's scanner and auto-document feeder, and they very nearly did. We loaded 32 printed sheets into the ADF and hit the copy button, first with simplex (32 ppm) copying and the second with duplex (14 ppm). The first job completed in 1:15; the second in 1:36. These settings were at the tip of a finger using the intuitive icons of Lexmark's large touch screen and embedded navigation software. Just as easily, the printer can send scanned images via email or save to a server via FTP. Lexmark also offers bare-bones mobile apps for Android and iOS.

Xerox WorkCentre 3225 DNI

The Xerox WorkCentre 3225 DNI monochrome laser multifunction printer can copy, email, fax, print and scan. Starting at $319 list, including USB host cable, phone and power cords, this handsome unit is adorned with controls that are well laid out and easy to operate, and includes duplex printing and interfaces for 10/100 Ethernet, Wi-Fi b/g/n and USB 2.0. The unit occupies a relatively small footprint at about 16 inches-x-14 inches, and stands just over 14 inches high with the lid closed. Its 600-x-600 dpi print engine supports PCL 5e and 6 and PostScript 3, and is rated at 29 ppm and 30,000 pages a month.

The 3225 is covered by a one year carry-in warranty. To help Xerox VARs increase profits and recurring revenue, Xerox offers a fair number of WorkCentre accessories and maintenance items, including high-yield toner cartridges, extended service contracts and upgrades. The standard toner cartridge delivers roughly 1,500 pages and the drum cartridge is rated at 10,000 pages.

WorkCentre Features

The 3225 has plenty to offer for the small business or department. Special features include booklet printing and the ability to handle special page sizes, brightness and contrast adjustment, blank-page skip, poster printing, automatic scaling, watermarks and toner save modes. Its 250-sheet main paper tray can adapt to custom paper sizes from 4.14 inches-x-5.85 inches to 8.5 inches-x-11 inches. The manual feed slot holds a single sheet. For scanning and copying, its auto-document feeder holds 40 sheets up to legal size. The output tray can take 120 sheets.

Xerox offers multiple tools to print from mobile devices, and two should be of particular interest to VARs. For the enterprise is Xerox Mobile Print, which connects Android and iOS devices to a Xerox-hosted cloud service. Then there's Xerox PrintBack, a seamless means of printing from Android or iOS to any printer connected to an office machine running Mac or Windows. The 3225 also supports Apple AirPrint. The power-sipping 3225 consumed about 415 watts while printing, 42 watts while sleeping and less than 2 watts during its power save mode.

Xerox Test Results

The WorkCentre lived up to some speed ratings and fell behind in others. The printer's claimed maximum is 29 ppm, and 29 copies of our all-text test page finished printing in 1:13. However, the same number of mixed-mode pages took 4:13 to finish. In both tests, we subtracted the time to first print from a ready state, which for text was 16 seconds and for graphics was 31 seconds. Xerox claims a time to first print of as little as 8.5 seconds. The two-line LCD shows nothing helpful during print jobs except that it's "Printing…"

Surrounding the LCD are dedicated buttons with icons that clearly indicate Copy, Scan, Fax and Email. Another brings up the settings menus, which are grouped logically and are easily navigable. Below the LCD are multicolored LEDs that indicate alert conditions and Wi-Fi activity. Pressing any button will wake the unit in about 6 seconds, but controls such as "Copy" are operational in the meantime and will begin as soon as the unit is ready. A single copy cycle takes roughly 12 seconds and maximum resolution is 1,200-x-1,200 dpi.

Check out more coverage of Printer Week 2015 all during the week of Feb. 2-6 at