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The Best Cheap Printer Today

Color is swell, but for most documents, black and white look just fine. Monochrome laser printers and avoid the waste and hassle of inkjet machines (no cleaning purges!), the cost and bulk of color laser (only one toner cartridge!), and still churn out a couple dozen pages per minute with razor-sharp text. For students, small-office denizens, or anyone with modest printing needs, the Samsung Xpress M2835DW is the most efficient way to make hard copies of term papers, tax forms, or any other documents that look great in grayscale.

I spent more than 20 hours researching the mono laser category, looking over dozens of expert reviews and hundreds of user testimonials for the best, most affordable black-and-white printers. Meanwhile, Wirecutter researcher Audrey Lorberfeld spent another 32 hours analyzing existing professional printer reviews and comparing them to user reviews to identify how we could improve upon them with our own testing. With her findings in mind, I’ve spent 23 total hours testing a handful of the top contenders, jumping through hoops to set them up on a smorgasbord of devices and operating systems and printing stacks of monochrome documents to measure speed and print quality.

Like any worthwhile laser printer, the M2835DW spits out crisp text fast and at a wicked low cost per page.

Like any worthwhile laser printer, the M2835DW spits out crisp text fast and at a wicked low cost per page. It’s affordable to buy, yet still includes cost- and time-saving features like automatic two-sided printing and wireless networking, which are often missing from some pricier models. And for what it’s worth, it’s the candidate least likely to send you into fits of rage, Office Space-style, during setup.

Tested Builds: Quadcopter Drone, Part 2

The quadcopter build moves briskly in the second day of building, but Will and Norm run into a hiccup by the end of the session. To watch and follow along with the build, sign up for a Tested Premium Membership by clicking here. Post your comments and questions about the build below!

The Comic-Con 2014 Cosplay Gallery (750+ Photos)

Every year, we attend Comic-Con to celebrate our favorite parts of popular culture. We meet amazing artists, storytellers, toymakers, and of course, cosplayers. Adam walks the floor incognito in one of his new costumes, and I get to spend my free time roaming the convention hall meeting and taking photos of people who embody their favorite characters through cosplay. (It's a great photography exercise, too!) The cosplayers of Comic-Con never cease to impress me with their creativity and enthusiasm, and I'm pleased to share with you my favorite photos from this year's convention. Know who these cosplayers are? Email me at norman@tested.com with "Comic-Con 2014 cosplay" in the subject line to help me credit these awesome cosplayers. Thanks!

Tested Builds: Quadcopter Drone, Part 1

The month of building continues, Comic-Con and travel be damned! This week's project challenges Will and Norm to assemble a quadcopter kit, something neither have done before. To watch and follow along with the build, sign up for a Tested Premium Membership by clicking here. Post your comments and questions about the build below!

Google Play App Roundup: Bamboo Paper, Wayward Souls, and Madefire

Get ready to fire up the Play Store and load up some new apps and games, because it's time once again for the Google Play App Roundup. This is where you can come each and every week to find out what's cool and new on Android. Just hit the links to open the Play Store on your device.

This week you can take notes and doodle in a new way, go on a quest that is sure to end in death, and experience comics in a whole new way.

Bamboo Paper

Wacom released the "memo" version of Bamboo paper for phones a few months ago, but now Android tablet users have access to the real deal. Bamboo Paper is a notebook app that lets you take notes, sketch, or just get your thoughts down on (virtual) paper quickly. The interface is designed for tablets, so it won't install on phones. If you check out Bamboo Paper now, you can get all the features for free too.

The home screen in Bamboo Paper is just a scrollable list of your notebooks. You can change the colors, paper types, and names of each one. The notebook theme is carrier through the rest of the app, but it's not overbearing. I suppose I'd say Paper uses skeuomorphism to an acceptable degree--it never gets too out of hand.

The notebooks work like, well... notebooks. You can swipe in from the edges to navigate between pages and choose if you want plain, lined, graph or dotted paper. A real notebook certainly doesn't have a menu bar at the top like the app does. This is where you choose the brush type, line thickness, and color. These are "brushes" in the technical sense, but they're mostly for writing and doodling. You won't find any advanced Photoshop-style brushes, but that's not really what Paper is all about.

The menu bar also has controls for undo/redo, sharing, eraser, and image importing. Images are actually quite cool in Paper. You can pull in pictures from any service that has registered itself correctly with the OS. That means all your gallery apps, file managers, and the camera app should be there as options. You can paste these images into a notebook however you like by resizing, moving, and tilting with a multitouch gesture.

You can use Bamboo Paper with a regular capacitive stylus or one of the ten capacitive styluses that are attached to your hand, but Wacom's Bamboo-branded styluses are the best way to do it. These devices connect to the tablet via Bluetooth and provide pressure-sensitive input and allows the app to ignore other inputs, like your palm resting on the screen. They're neat tools, but you'll pay $20-80 for the good ones. Anyone with a Galaxy Note tablet will be able to take advantage of some of that same functionality without buying a new stylus, though Wacom will sell special versions that offer an improved Paper experience on those devices as well.

If you download Bamboo Paper now, you'll get all the tools for free. The iOS version sells most of the brushes and features as in-app add-ons. These will be added to the Android app later, but you can keep all of them on your device permanently as long as you act quickly.

Show and Tell: LEGO Mystery Build #8

We saw many new LEGO kits announced at this past Comic-Con, so what better to celebrate that than a LEGO mystery build! This week's kit is an official LEGO one that was actually designed by a Tested reader. Place your best guess as to what's being built in the comments!

Tested Builds: Japanese Papercraft, Part 7

It's the final episode of the papercraft kit build! The end is in sight as Will and Norm add the finishing details to the Hotel Adriano from the film Porco Rosso. To watch the epic finale, sign up for a Tested Premium Membership by clicking here! Tomorrow, another project begins!

Adam Incognito at Comic-Con 2014: Alien Spacesuit

Ever year, Adam Savage walks the floor of Comic-Con incognito, hidden in plain view wearing one of his elaborate cosplay costumes. This year, Adam debuts a costume he has been working on for almost a decade: a perfect replica of the environmental space suit from Ridley Scott's Alien!

So, We Had a Little Comic-Con Party...

To the Tested community members, new community members, and to all of the makers in general who were at our party last night at Comic-Con.

Thank you.

For those who might not be at the Con this year, Tested, AOL, our sister site Mandatory, and I threw a party for a few hundred people in San Diego, featuring about a dozen of my costumes and constructions on display, along with work we've commissioned for Tested. We called it Incognito.

I think it was a pretty good party.

I had an awesome time. I've never had that many of my costumes on display all in one place like that and seeing them together was amazing. I've had many of them set up in my Cave, to be sure, but not like this and not for hundreds of people to appreciate at once. It was real, to see how much time and energy and love and obsession each represented to my past. I have deep and fond memories of every problem solved, every hurdle jumped, and it was lovely to share that with people who were able to attend.

The best part about hosting a Comic-Con party is that I get to see so many of my favorite people all at once. That's pretty much the purpose of any party, right?

I got to talk to dozens of makers of every stripe, skill level, and inclination. In addition to my friends and loved ones, we opened the party up early to Tested Premium members and anyone who was in San Diego last night--cosplayers and makers and tinkerers. I took a lot of pictures with a lot of people last night, and I tried to talk to as many people as I could.

The sheer breadth of experience, enthusiasm, diversity, passion, and talent I encountered among the crowd was stunning. Humbling. Thrilling. I heard stories of tiny shops in the corner of apartments. Of projects tackled, difficulties overcome, and obsessions indulged. My favorite kind of conversations. Over and over attendees told me about their work, their lives, and their tools and materials.

I found every interaction inspiring. Everyone in the room shared interests, and I caught some wonderful meeting-of-the-mind moments, where people were trading their hard-earned lessons. It felt that the broad community of Comic-Con was well represented at our shindig. And I'm grateful to be a part of that community.

Thank you.