HP Officejet Pro X576DW stands up to its laser cousins

PHOTO: HP

When HP first tried to sell me the idea that its latest inkjet printer was great for office printing, I almost fell off my chair.

Having run my own business for five years previously, I have always chosen the monochrome all-in-one laser printer over inkjets because the laser printer is faster and cheaper. And with colour laser all-in-one prices dropping to under $1,000, colour lasers are now in vogue.

So why would anyone even consider a colour inkjet all-in-one that costs $1,349? In terms of quality, inkjet makes better colour prints. For commercial printing purposes, however, its slower speed and higher cost usually mark it as a "fail".

But HP claims its Officejet Pro X series has not only the speed but also the low cost-per-page advantage of its laser cousins. Although I was sceptical, I decided to give it a shot.

HP claims its Officejet Pro X series has not only the speed but also the low cost-per-page advantage of its laser cousins. Although I was sceptical, I decided to give it a shot. It turns out that this is no ordinary inkjet with the ordinary print head scanner that moves from left to right to scan each line of the page. 

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $1,349 (Promotion until Oct 30: Free set of black and colour XL cartridges worth $728)

    PAPER TRAY: 550 pages with add-on option for 1,050 pages

    DISPLAY: 4.3-inch colour touchscreen

    CONNECTIVITY: Ethernet, Wi-Fi (b/g/n)

    MOBILE PRINTING: HP ePrint, Google Cloud Print, Apple AirPrint

  • RATING

  • FEATURES 1 2 3 5

    DESIGN 1 2 3 5

    PERFORMANCE 1 2 3 4 5

    VALUE-FOR-MONEY 1 2 4 5

    OVERALL 1 2 3 5

It turns out that this is no ordinary inkjet with the ordinary print head scanner that moves from left to right to scan each line of the page.

In the Officejet Pro X, HP combines 10 of those print heads into a print bar that is as wide as the page it prints. This PageWide technology means that the Pro X prints pages in a single pass, just like its laser cousins. So you don't have to sit around watching the print head do its line dance.

What moves is the paper, not the print head. I printed 10 pages of a black-and-white form with a colour logo at the top and was impressed by the speed. From the time I hit the "Print" key to the time the first page emerged, it was seven seconds, compared with the typical 15 to 20 seconds for entry-level colour laser printers.

It took 20 more seconds to print the other nine pages. This was not quite 70 pages per minute, as HP promised, but it was still remarkably faster than my existing colour laser printer's time of 43 seconds.

According to HP, two cents is the per-page cost for black, and 11 cents for colour, comparable with existing laser printing costs. But at $1,349, its new printer costs much more than today's affordable colour laser printers which go for between $700 and $900.

HP probably realises this, which is why it is throwing in an extra set of ink cartridges, which it values at more than $700. This deal is available only for business users, and not for other consumers.

The other cool thing about this printer is its ink. It uses the more rugged pigment ink instead of the usual dye-based inks. I even splashed tap water onto a freshly printed colour page and was amazed that the ink did not run. When I rubbed my fingers over the soaked page, the ink smeared a little but the print generally maintained its integrity.

  • Verdict: This new printer may look like just another all-in-one, but it is a high-tech inkjet that earns its place among its laser cousins.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 29, 2015, with the headline 'HP Officejet Pro X576DW stands up to its laser cousins'. Print Edition | Subscribe