We’ve commented several times lately that, with the release of several high-speed, business-centric all-in-one (AIO) inkjet printers, such as HP’s OfficeJet Pro 8600 Plus and Epson’s WorkForce Pro WP-4590, the line between inkjet and laser print technologies is rapidly blurring. These, and a few other high-volume inkjet models, print almost as fast as laser printers do, and they deliver a comparable cost of consumables, or cost per page (CPP).
Now, HP has debuted a new inkjet technology, dubbed “PageWide,” that may have just erased the line completely. PageWide technology differs from traditional inkjet mechanisms, which employ a printhead that travels across the paper as it lays down ink. With PageWide, the printhead itself doesn’t move. Instead, a stationary printhead containing thousands of nozzles spans the paper, placing ink on the page as it passes beneath the array of nozzles. It’s similar in design to how paper passes over the print drum on laser printers. (We’ll talk more about PageWide, and its precedent, in the Design & Features section on the next page.)
This technology is certainly much faster than traditional inkjets are, but HP claims that PageWide printers print up to twice as fast as lasers—quite the bold claim. In our benchmark tests, the test unit that the company sent us, the $799-list OfficeJet Pro X576dw, a high-volume multifunction model, printed as fast as several laser printers we’ve tested, but not nearly twice as fast as most of them, although it did beat several of the color lasers we’ve seen on some tests.
To be sure, this printer is speedy, but in our view, the masterstroke with this particular printer comes from a different place. What we really liked about the first of these machines based on PageWide technology, though, was the very competitive cost of its ink, resulting in eye-poppingly low CPPs. As you’ll see in the Setup & Paper Handling section of this review, the X576dw delivers CPPs lower than any other inkjet multifunction printer (MFP) we’ve seen, and it’s cheaper to use than most comparably priced color laser printers we know of, too. Offices and small businesses that print thousands of pages each month will appreciate this printer’s ongoing cost of ownership.
HP has debuted PageWide in a new line of high-volume models dubbed “OfficeJet X,” on February 11, 2013. Altogether, there are six models in this initial OfficeJet X line: three single-function models ranging from $449 list to $599 list, and three multifunction machines (which support printing, scanning, copying and faxing) ranging from $649 list to $799 list. In each category (single-function or multifunction, that is), the primary feature differences up and down the price ranges center around speed and connectivity options. The lowest-priced MFP, the X476dn, for example, doesn’t support Wi-Fi, and it’s rated by HP at up to 55 pages per minute (ppm). Our review unit, the top-of-the-line X576dw, comes with wireless connectivity and is rated at up to 70ppm.
As inkjet MFPs go, the XP576dw is the most expensive model we know of. Only Epson’s high-volume WorkForce Pro WP-4590, at $499.99 MSRP, comes close. That said, comparing this HP MFP to the bulk of inkjet models out there isn’t logical. In every way—speed, volume, and CPP—the X576dw (as well as the other OfficeJet X machines) are designed to compete with midrange laser printers, such as Dell’s $649-list, single-function C3760 Color Laser Printer.
Overall, we found the X576dw a very impressive MFP, with very few shortcomings. It’s fast; it prints both business documents and photographs very well; and it’s inexpensive to use once you’ve made the investment in the printer. This high-volume workhorse is well-deserving of our Editors’ Choice nod, and we’re confident that small offices and small businesses with high-volume print needs will find it up to the task—and then some.
Read the full review at Computer Shopper.