HP's latest range of business inkjet printers were launched a few weeks ago and we've had the chance to spend some time with them at the HP Fall printing event in Barcelona.
The new X-series range sports HP’s new PageWide technology. This combines 10 printer heads into a single unit, bringing together more than 42,000 nozzles. These can fire over a billion ink drops per second onto paper sheets that are propelled by the delivery mechanism at up to 70 pages per minute.
Not only does the ink take less than one second to dry, but the print speed is also constant regardless of whether it's a line of text or a full page colour photograph. The quoted 70ppm speed makes the X-series faster than the Lomond Evojet Office 2 by nearly 20 per cent, and it appears that the roller/delivery mechanism and the ink drying speeds are now becoming the limiting factors when it comes to raw output speed.
In-situ test prints carried out at the event were nothing short of impressive. The 70ppm printing speed is for what HP calls the “General office” mode, which prints at 600dpi - more than good enough for most tasks. Expect this speed to decrease to 42ppm when switching to the more demanding 1,200dpi resolution. Laser printers are not able to achieve the maximum speed of the X-series because of their more complex printing mechanism.
Four X-series models (two single function printers and two multi-function printers) will go on sale in Spring 2013, marking the end of a development period that spanned over 10 years and will be the start of a new dawn for business inkjet printers.
Not only will the printers be able to surpass laser printers on an affordable budget, but they will do so with a much lower cost per page and without any maintenance costs (the heads are not user replaceable). They will also have a lower power consumption, smaller environmental footprint and a notable reduction in noise.
The X-series range also offers a number of added features like full duplex capabilities, fully redundant nozzles (with self-healing capabilities), a large touchscreen display and redesigned easy access printer cartridges (taking less than five seconds to swap out). There are also two USB ports (one for reading storage devices), an Ethernet port, and ink based on reformulated water-resistant pigments, which according to HP, are its best ever.
The printers will come with normal cartridges with a yield of 2,500 pages for colour and 3,000 pages in monochrome. High capacity cartridges that bump the yield to 6,600 and 9,300 respectively are also available.
Sadly though, the X-series is rated for a monthly duty cycle of 4,000 pages, which explains why it's targeted at companies with up to 50 employees. But Jordi Monne, Marketing and Portfolio manager for HP in the EMEA region, hinted that HP will introduce new Office Jet Pro X models that may start to compete with its Laserjet Enterprise range, as it evolves the X-series to integrate more enterprise-focused features and boost its monthly duty cycle to tens of thousands. See the slide below.
The X-series printers will go on sale next year, but HP has yet to publish the list price of the four models and their associated consumables.