Over the course of a year, we test a lot of tech products, from laptops through tablets to mobiles, along with a range of other hardware from routers to external hard disks, and of course an abundance of software from office suites to security utilities.
And every year, products make improvements on the previous year’s offerings, both in terms of quality and value. Indeed, many product categories have a number of excellent offerings among their ranks – but sometimes you want things really narrowed down. Sometimes, you want to know the winner among the winners – and that’s what this series of articles is all about.
We kicked everything off last week, when we looked at the best laptops of 2013, not to mention the top tablets, and this week we’ve also turned our attention to the best smartphone and mobile devices, among others.
Today, however, we’re looking at the best printers which have emerged this year.
Each product mentioned is the top of its class for 2013, and as such comes with an unreserved recommendation.
So, which is our favourite small office inkjet and mono laser printer of the year? Read on and find out… and stay tuned for more top products of 2013 in the coming days as we run up to Christmas.
Best small office inkjet: HP Officejet Pro X551dw (£435)
A winning balance of speed, output quality, paper handling, low cost per page, and additional features such as mobile printing makes the Officejet Pro X551dw a smart pick over its direct competition.
The closest it comes to having a weakness is its print quality, but for most workplaces the HP Officejet Pro X551dw hits all the right notes.
Best personal mono laser: Samsung Xpress M2625D (£85)
The Samsung Xpress M2625D printer offers unusually capable paper handling for personal use. In addition to an automatic duplexer, it includes a 250-sheet paper tray and a one-page manual feed slot so you don't have to swap out paper every time you want to print a page on a different paper stock. Its paper handling, solid performance in terms of speed and output quality, and small size makes this a highly attractive printer for the price.
Best small office mono laser MFP: Samsung Multifunction Xpress M2875FW (£210)
The M2875FW has lots of strong points and no notable weaknesses. Its particular balance of speed, output quality, paper handing, multifunction printer (MFP) basics, and small conveniences – like Wi-Fi Direct and the ability to copy single-sided originals to double-sided copies – all adds up to the proverbial more-than-the-sum-of-its-parts. That's enough to make it an excellent fit for a micro or small office.
Best small office colour inkjet MFP: HP Officejet Pro X576dw (£650)
The HP Officejet Pro X576dw multifunction printer's mix of fast speed, high quality output, excellent paper handling, and the convenience of a 4.3in touchscreen, combined with a long list of MFP features put it way out in front of the pack. That's before considering its low cost per page. It's a laser-class inkjet: The X576dw looks like a laser, feeds paper like a laser, and performs like a laser.
Best small office colour A3 MFP: Brother MFC-J6920DW (£285)
If you need an A3-capable multifunction printer that's both inexpensive and loaded with features, the Brother MFC-J6920DW may be just what you're looking for. It's the flagship model of Brother's new Business Smart Pro series and is perfect for a micro or small office needing to print and scan at A3 size. Its combination of duplex scanning, NFC, and a large touchscreen make it an appealing choice for users who need any or all of these features.