23rd February 2024 5:51 am
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HP’s fastest printers are now in SA

Did you know that two of HP’s Officejet printers, the Officejet Pro X576dw and X551dw jointly hold the Guinness World Record for the fastest time to print 500 pages? Well, you do now. They managed it in a time of just 7 minutes and 19 seconds, averaging 68.33 pages printed each minute. That’s more than a page per second.

We mention this obscure and tangentially related fact because today is the day that HP’s X-series of printers, which includes these two record breakers and two slightly more modestly-specced models (the X451dw and X476dw), were officially launched in South Africa. They’ve been on sale since December, but the launch event gave us a chance to quiz HP’s Kevin van Wyk, the company’s Category Manager for Inkjet Printers, about the tech that makes them so allegedly speedy.

The X-series of printers use a printhead technology called HP PageWide. Instead of moving back and forth above the paper as printheads have done for years, PageWide printheads are stationary. They are made up of over 42,000 individual nozzles that are spread out above the full width of the paper; this allows them to get ink onto paper with just a single pass of the sheet.

The 70 pages per minute speed threshold can’t be reached with the printers set to their absolutely best quality, though. Van Wyk said that these printers can only reach 70ppm printing in Presentation mode, which still looks very good, but it’s not quite as nice as documents printed at High Quality settings.

Even if speed isn’t that important to you, ink costs probably are. With new cartridge designs and super-high ink capacities, it’s possible to pay less for your ink than you would for laser toner cartridges while getting a very similar page yield per set. Van Wyk went on to tell us that each of the three XL colour cartridges for the high-end Pro X-series printers can print up to 6,000 pages each, and the extra-large black cartridge can do 9,000 pages on its own. With a cost of “around R800” per cartridge, Van Wyk said that savings with the X576dw and X551dw are “up to 50% the cost of a comparable laser”.

Other features of the X-series weren’t quite as exciting as the raw speed of the top two models; it was mostly the usual gang of suspects like Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity, HP’s by-now standard ePrinting technology that accepts prints sent over email, and colour touchscreens.

There was one last feature worth a mention though, that of the entire series’ ability to print from any device equipped with Wi-Fi. Called Wi-Fi Direct, it lets people set up an ad hoc wireless network between the printer and the device, with no need for a Wi-Fi router. It’s a considerate feature, to be sure, but the number of homes or offices that need printers this advanced are probably not hurting for connectivity.

These printers aren’t cheap, of course. The top two models start at R9,000, and the X476dw and X451dw kicking off at around the R6,000 mark, and they’re all available right now from most big technology retailers.

We’ve asked HP for an X576dw, as we’d love to put it through its paces to test HP’s claims about its speed and ink costs.

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