HP’s enterprise ink series: positioning & key features

Christine Dunne and Zac Butcher
Apr 14, 2014

HP is targeting its new page-wide business inkjet series towards the “enterprise,” which the company defines as “large” organizations with solutions needs around manageability, security, extensibility, etc. In addition, HP suggests the devices are intended for groups of 5 to 15 users who print up to 6,000 pages per month.

Positioning of new HP Officejet Enterprise X series

The new Officejet Enterprise X line incorporates features and functionality that go beyond the capabilities of the Officejet Pro X series, including more robust scanning, embedded OCR, a pull-out keyboard, a larger touchscreen, customizable job shortcuts, full solutions capability, and a secure hard disk. It is clear these features were included with the needs of larger businesses in mind.

However, the positioning of these devices as “enterprise” is likely something that is going to prove subjective, especially as the definition of “enterprise” often varies from one vendor to another. Indeed, with lack of finishing options, a relatively low standard paper capacity of 550 sheets, and a recommended monthly page volume of 2,000-6,000 pages, there may be some competitors that do not consider this device a threat to their own devices positioned for the enterprise. However, support for 5-15 user workgroups and the LaserJet-like features set are something that competitors would be wise to take note of.

In that vein, these devices offer greater features and functionality than comparably priced laser devices and other inkjet devices on the market. With the compelling cost per page being significantly lower these devices appear to be a very clear statement of intent from HP. (The cost benefits of the device will be explored in the next blog post on this series.)

In the course of using the new device (we have the “z” X585 MFP model), we have explored some of the key advantages of the new series compared to the Pro X series.

Scanning capabilities

Whereas the Officejet Pro X MFPs have a 50-page reversing automatic document feeder (ADF) with two-sided scanning, the “z” model of the new Officejet Enterprise X585 MFP line-up features a 100-sheet automatic document feeder with single-pass, two-sided scanning and HP EveryPage ultrasonic double-feed detection technology. Optical character recognition is also available for easy searching or editing of digital documents.

The Officejet Enterprise X585z MFP’s 100-sheet ADF

Pull-out keyboard, larger touchscreen, and shortcuts

The new X585z MFP model features a pull-out keyboard for easy inputting of information, a large (8-inch) “Easy Select pivoting” touchscreen, and “Quick Sets” for customizable job shortcuts. These are major enhancements over the Officejet Pro X series (which offers no keyboard or Quick Sets, and a 4.3-inch color graphics touchscreen). The inclusion ensures greater consistency with HP LaserJet Enterprise devices and will undoubtedly help with fleet harmonization, integration, and contractual business.

Full solutions capability

Like HP’s LaserJet Enterprise devices, the new Officejet Enterprise X series provides FutureSmart firmware and full OXP solutions support–making the devices compatible with the full spectrum of HP and third-party software. In addition, there is a hardware integration pocket for hardware solutions such as security swipe and authentication.

This level of solutions support and integration takes business inkjet technology into a new league. However, with many customers believing inkjet devices do not offer the same features and functionality as laser devices (see chart below) HP will likely need to emphasize the wide-ranging capabilities of these new devices during the sales engagement.

Source: Is Inkjet Printing Ready to Transform the Office Printing Environment?

Other enterprise-level features

Other advanced features of these new devices include a secure hard disk, access control, image preview/adjusting capabilities, job build, more memory compared to the Officejet Pro X lineup, N-up printing, Auto-On/Auto-Off technology, and a restricted color use option.

Easy mobile printing option

The new Officejet Enterprise X series, which consist of three MFPs and two single function printers, is compatible with an optional hardware accessory for NFC and wireless direct printing from mobile devices. These methods make mobile printing easier, as NFC involves a simple touch of the mobile device to the printer, and both approaches allow users to print without accessing the company network. AirPrint and ePrint are also listed as supported, but InfoTrends has experienced some difficulty getting these to work. The issues are being investigated and may well be on our end. Whatever the outcome, this does speak to the challenge vendors have in simplifying mobile printing for users and driving adoption.

Final thoughts/InfoTrends’ opinion

While these devices may not immediately scream “enterprise” from a pure hardware speeds and feeds perspective, the connectivity and solutions support are all very definitely enterprise-level. In delivering these devices HP has succeeded in moving business inkjet further up the stack and competitors should take note as one of the hardware growth segments is A4 color MFPs. With the highly competitive running costs of these devices they represent a genuine inkjet alternative to the hitherto default choice of a laser device for workgroups in larger businesses, and in both channel and direct sale MPS engagements.

Zac Butcher contributed to this post.

This is the second in a series of posts about the new Officejet Enterprise X series. Read the first post here.

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