New Gadgets - December 2012 : LaserJet Pro M401dw, Pixma MG3250

12/19/2012 9:31:07 AM

There are four models in the M401 lineup, and we reviewed the top-of-the-range M4oldw, which provides automatic duplex printing, 802.11n Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet for connecting it to your office network, and a 3.5in touch-sensitive control screen.

The M401dw is a single-function printer, with no scanning or copying features, so some people may prefer to opt for a more versatile multi-function device. It’s also bulky for a basic A4 printer, measuring 271 x 364 x 368mm.

Its great strength though, is that it’s very fast. HP quotes a speed of 33 pages per minute, and although we got 30ppm that’s still much faster than an inkjet. Text quality is very good, and its recommended monthly print volume of up to 3,000 pages should be more than adequate for most small businesses.

LaserJet Pro M401dw

LaserJet Pro M401dw

The M401 is supplied with a basic toner cartridge that provides 2,700 pages, but HP’s high-yield replacement cartridges last for 6,800 pages and cost $241.5 when bought direct from HP. That works out at about 2.4p per page, and you can probably save more if you shop around for the cartridges online.

Macworld’s Buying Advice

There’s nothing fancy about the M4oIdw, but it’s very fast and affordable, with modest running costs as well. It will make an excellent workhorse printer for any small business.

Pixma MG3250

It’s not the fastest printer around, but Canon’s MG3250 is an affordable and versatile ink jet for home users.

It’s a multifunction device that has built-in Wi-Fi for connecting to your home network, and we were also pleased to see that Canon includes a USB cable.

It’s not particularly exciting to look at, consisting of little more than a black, plastic box. However, it’s fairly compact, measuring about 152 x 450 x 304mm, so it won’t require too much desk space.

Pixma MG3250

Pixma MG3250

Print quality is good for text and graphics, although its speed is relatively modest, coming in at about 6.5 pages per minute for black text and just 3.5 for colour. It also took a full minute to produce a 4 x 6m glossy photo print.

The MG3250 also has some useful extra features, such as automatic duplex printing, which you don’t often get in printers at this price. The software is well designed too, with a menu that pops up out of the Dock and provides quick access to network settings and various printing and scanning features.

Our main complaint is that Canon charges a rather steep $34.5 for its high-yield black and colour ink cartridges. However, you can save about per cartridge if you shop around online and that brings running costs down to about p per page for text documents and just under 8p for colour.

Macworld’s Buying Advice

The speed and running costs of the MG3250 mean it’s not the best choice for frequent, everyday use. However, its duplex option and helpful software will appeal to those who occasionally need to produce longer, high quality documents.


Usually when a camera is updated it gets a frame rate or pixel boost, but on inspecting the palm-sized J2 compact system camera (CSC), outwardly it seems Nikon has decided ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’. But with Canon entering the CSC market with its LOS M, plus Olympus, Sony, Panasonic and Samsung offering built-in Wi-Fi and iPhone style apps, can the J2 keep up?


Perhaps not, but luckily this has one of the coolest and most compact designs of all CSC’s in its favour, distracting from the modest 10.1 megapixel tin sensor that’s been retained. It’s available as a kit with a 10-30mm zoom lens, which is fine as a starter option. Nevertheless a welcome feature is the fact the camera can be switched on or off with a twist of the zoom ring, though a standard on/off button still features for when you’re using a fixed focal length.

Also new is a Creative Mode, which is a way of keeping real photographic controls such as Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual.

There’s no electronic viewfinder, but the fixed in screen has had its resolution upped from 460k dots to 921K. While battery life remains the same as the Ji’s for stills, should you choose the maximum 6ofps frame rate for Full HD stereo video, it’s worse. In terms of image quality, though shots are clear and crisp at first glance, but bugbears such as pixel fringing remain.

Macworld’s Buying Advice

The J2’s looks outstrip performance, but its small size and access to a wide range of lenses via adapter make it a sound option, though going for the older and cheaper Ji might be the better option.


Premium compacts meaning feature-festooned pocket models with plenty of manual controls, a high quality build and equally high price tag are on the rise in popularity. The Sony RX100 ($824.9) and Panasonic LX7 ($705) are two impressive recent examples of able semi pro all-in-ones and to that purchase shortlist is added Samsung’s EX2F.

Description: EX2F

For a pricey $643.5, this metal camera packs in a lot, including twin rangefinder like mode dials, a vacant hotshoe, a neatly implemented pop-up flash, a tilt and swivel rear screen, plus a brightest in class maximum lens aperture of f/1.4 via a 33x optical zoom, protected by old fashioned clip-on lens cap. While that fast aperture and resolution of 12.4 megapixels suggests the EX2F is a great tool for low light photography, in daylight we found ourselves manually dialling down the exposure to avoid burnt out highlight detail.

Still, Wi-Fi connectivity alongside manual options is the draw here, and for those stepping up from a smartphone, the menu options in Scene and Wi-Fi shooting modes are presented in the style of apps. There’s also a grip to aid handheld shooting and avoid blur, plus the in compositional screen is also AMOLED, so there’s a better contrast view with deeper blacks. The only downside is, despite including bags of detail from the centre to corner of a frame, pictures can look better on the camera’ s back than your own desktop.

Buying Advice

Samsung’s EX2F is a well built and solidly performing high-end compact for those who don’t want more professional-looking pictures

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