Just a few years ago, wide-format printers—which print to tabloid-size (11×17-inch) or larger paper—were seldom seen, and usually expensive. Nowadays, though, all of the major makers of inkjet printers (Brother, Canon, Epson, and HP) offer at least one in their consumer- and small-business-priced lines. Brother has gone in the biggest on wide-format, in that nearly all of its Business Smart models can print pages up to tabloid-size. And several such models, such as the Brother MFC-J6535DW, also scan and copy 11×17-inch pages.
So can the machine at the center of today’s review, HP’s $249.99-MSRP Officejet Pro 7740 Wide Format All-in-One. The ability to handle tabloid-size pages greatly increases your design options across a host of scenarios. It allows you, for example, to create spreadsheets twice the width of standard letter-size (8.5×11-inch) paper, as well as four-page (and larger) letter-size booklets, by simply printing two pages on each side and folding the sheet in the middle.
However, as we’ll get into later on, unlike some Brother models, the Officejet Pro 7740’s cost per page (CPP) is high—too high, in fact, for any kind of real printing in volume. On the other hand, the Epson WorkForce WF-7620 (a two-drawer version of the WorkForce WF-7610 that we reviewed a while back) has even higher running costs than the Officejet Pro 7740. The printer’s maximum monthly duty cycle (the number of pages HP says you can print safely each month) is 30,000 pages, but the recommended monthly page limit is a mere 250 to 1,500 pages. That said, that’s less a cause for concern than it might seem at first. Given this Officejet model’s CPP figures, printing a few hundred pages (say, up to 500) each month is the only practical use for it in terms of value for money.
A major difference between the Officejet Pro 7740 and competing Brother tabloid-capable models is that the former churns out better-looking business graphics and photos. Epson’s wide-format models, on the other hand, have comparable output to the Officejet Pro 7740, and they support pages up to 13×19 inches (also known as Super B or Super A3), making those machines’ output all the more versatile. (That also applies to the company’s much more expensive—$999.99 list—WorkForce Pro ET-16500 EcoTank Wide-Format All-in-One Supertank Printer.) The 13×19-inch format makes a decent-size poster, for instance.
Nowadays, finding a wide-format printer isn’t the issue; it’s finding the one that suits your needs, such as whether quality output supersedes the cost of use. In addition to superb print quality, the Officejet Pro 7740 has a wide range of mobile- and cloud-connectivity features, as well as a single-pass automatic document feeder (ADF) for faster, more efficient two-sided (duplex) scans.
We like this Officejet as a relatively low-volume tabloid printer, but you’ll get much more value from it if you can make use of some of its other features, too, such as scanning oversize media, employing the optical character recognition (OCR), and using the printer from your smartphone and the cloud.