It has been just over three years since HP’s release of its Officejet Pro X line of printers based on the company’s fixed PageWide inkjet printhead technology, as described in our February 2013 review of the Officejet Pro X576dw Multifunction Printer. Many things about this new line impressed us at the time, including its exceptional print speed, great print quality, and extraordinarily competitive cost per page. In fact, this was the cheapest-to-use multifunction printer (MFP) we had tested at the time, be it a laser or an inkjet. (It still holds that distinction.)
However, HP never really filtered the PageWide technology way down its product stack. Unlike its competitor Epson, which offered a new printhead in mid-2014, dubbed “PrecisionCore,” in models all the way down to its entry-level, low-volume WorkForce multifunction printers (MFPs), the Palo Alto printer giant kept PageWide out of its lower-volume (and lower-priced) office-centric products.
That remains the case. On the date of this review, March 8, HP is rolling out a new, second-gen line of HP PageWide printers—and indeed, PageWide joins LaserJet and Officejet as a discrete HP product family—with more levels than before. Today’s review unit, HP’s $899.99-MSRP PageWide 577dw, for example, sits near the top of the PageWide product line, while the cheapest PageWide model, the PageWide Pro 452dw sfp, a single-function machine, lists for $499.99.
That’s a far cry from the average consumer- or small-office-grade $199 and $299 high-volume inkjets designed to churn out a few thousand pages per month. Our PageWide Pro 577dw review unit, for example, has an 80,000-page monthly duty cycle, which is the number of pages HP says the printer should be able to handle each month without undue wear. Since PageWide is a “fixed” printhead spanning the width of the page, more akin to a laser printer mechanism than a conventional inkjet, it can churn out pages mighty fast, without the limitations of a moving printhead carriage.
What we really liked about the first round of PageWide printers, though, was that unprecedented low cost per page (CPP) of operation. At the time, only very expensive enterprise-grade laser machines could touch it in that regard.
This time around, you can buy black cartridges with page yields up to 17,000 pages (and color tanks with yields up to 13,000), as opposed to 9,200 and 6,600, respectively, in the previous generation. The CPP figures, for both monochrome and color, have stayed about the same, which we’ll get into in greater detail in the Setup & Paper Handling section later on. Like any self-respecting high-volume printer, this one delivers a CPP low enough to make printing out multiple reams of paper each month reasonably economical compared with other like-priced printers.
Now, while a high duty cycle and a low CPP are important, so too are print speed, print quality, and, of course, mobile connectivity and cloud features. The 577dw delivers that, not to mention a wealth of security and network-administration options, along with some design features that make this, like its X576dw predecessor, a top pick for businesses that need bulk output, color, and not necessarily laser-quality text.
As we alluded to earlier, the PageWide Pro models are part of a much larger collection of products that all debuted on March 8. In addition to the PageWide additions to HP’s product stable (a total of seven printers, there, in PageWide Pro 500, PageWide Pro 400, and PageWide 300 lines), the company is also pushing out new and replacement models in the Officejet Pro, PageWide Enterprise, and Officejet Mobile product families. We’ll be getting down to reviews of many of these in the coming weeks.
All considered, we found little to quibble about in this high-volume workhorse, other than what seemed to us a lofty price, versus competing models such as Epson’s $549.99-list WorkForce Pro WF-6590 Network Multifunction Color Printer. The good news for HP here, though, is that this new PageWide model provides significantly lower CPPs than the highest-volume Epson WorkForce Pro models that are available at the moment, which is very important for high-volume printers like these. And the good news for businesses that need that kind of mass output: The PageWide Pro 577dw maintains most of the high points of its illustrious predecessor.
Read the entire review at Computer Shopper