It’s not all that often that we get to test an inkjet multifunction printer that costs more than $300. (Most inkjets are geared toward consumers and come in below that.) The most recent was HP’s $799.99-list Officejet Pro X576dw, an ultra-high-volume model based on the company’s relatively new PageWide technology, quite different from other machines built around standard inkjet mechanisms. Prior to that, the last $300-plus inkjet we had seen in some time was the Editors’ Choice-winning, $499.99-list Epson WorkForce Pro WP-4590—which we reviewed back in 2012.
What we liked about the WorkForce Pro WP-4590—aside from its strong feature set and its laser-like print quality and print speeds—was its highly competitive cost per page (CPP). This was one of few inkjets (and still is) that delivered black-and-white pages for under 2 cents per page, and color pages for well under 10 cents. Not only are these CPPs extremely low for an inkjet printer, but they are also less expensive per page than many color-laser-class machines. Combine this low cost of ownership with an extensive feature set, a high monthly print volume, and exceptional print quality and speed, and you get a great all-in-one (AIO) machine for small businesses and workgroups that print a lot.
That’s also what you get with the subject of this review, HP’s $399.99-list Officejet Pro 276dw Multifunction Printer$399.99 at OfficeMax—a highly capable, feature-rich, high-volume AIO with a very reasonable per-page cost of consumables. In fact, feature for feature—right down to an optional additional 250-sheet paper drawer and PCL/PostScript laser-printer emulation—HP’s 276dw and Epson’s WP-4590 have a lot in common. Frankly, we would find choosing between them difficult.
The good news is that no matter which one you choose, both machines provide an excellent alternative to a midrange color laser multifunction printer—not to mention the benefits you get from inkjet technology versus laser technology. Inkjet printers, for example, turn out much higher-quality photographic images and intricate graphics, and they do so while consuming less power than their laser counterparts.
As we see it, then, this really is a battle of two high-volume business-centric inkjet AIOs—the 276dw reviewed here and Epson’s highly capable WP-4590. Aside from the $100 difference in their list prices (which, on high-volume models like these, is less important than their CPPs), the devil is in the details. This Officejet, for example, comes with a high-capacity automatic document feeder, or ADF (holding 50 pages, versus 30 on the Epson printer), and a slightly higher suggested maximum monthly duty cycle (30,000 pages versus 25,000). On the other hand, the Epson model delivers slightly lower CPPs, which, if you print thousands of pages each month, can save you plenty year in and year out.
Our suggestion is that you check out our reviews of both models and compare them heads up to decide which one better fits your needs. In the meantime, as we said about the WP-4590 last year, we found very little to dislike about this Officejet. It’s hands-down an easy earner of our Editors’ Choice nod.
See the entire review at Computer Shopper.