Now that the Officejet Pro X is available, what’s it like?

Christine Dunne
Feb 20, 2013

Part two: Setting up the device and installing the drivers

As I explained in my last blog post, over the next couple of weeks I will be writing about the experience of using an HP Officejet Pro X page-wide inkjet device (the X576dw MFP). The last post discussed the process of handling and unpacking the newly released device. This post will address the experience of setting up the MFP and installing the drivers.

In the first blog post I said I was a little surprised to see polystyrene foam used to protect the printer, given HP’s leadership in a variety of “green” areas, and its usage of cardboard in other packaging. HP read that blog and has been kind enough to respond with an explanation. HP says that “Molded pulp cushion is well utilized when unit weight is up to 12 pounds. The Officejet Pro X is well beyond that weight limit. Some of our typical small size/light weight products can use molded pulp, but not all; product fragility is also a factor. With units over 12 pounds, the MP (molded pulp) does not provide enough cushioning in drop tests.”


We thank HP for that response. It highlights an important issue–in a world where people are green-conscious, it is easy for people to reach a negative conclusion, perhaps unfairly. It may be advisable for all vendors to communicate why certain materials are being used in their packaging. A simple sticker on polystyrene explaining why alternatives were not suitable could suffice.

The experience of setting up the device and installing drivers was fairly simple. The first step was opening the ink cartridge door, removing an orange shipping restraint, inserting the ink cartridges, and closing the ink cartridge door. The shipping restraint came right out and the cartridges went in nice and smoothly.

A couple of days after setting up the device I noticed in the full user manual online that the metal connector portion of the ink cartridge must not be touched as fingerprints can cause print-quality related problems. I don’t believe that Bill, our IT support specialist, or I touched this part of the cartridges, but we could have done this quite easily. We could have ensured this did not happen by reading the full user guide online while setting up the printer, but as I mentioned in our last blog post, the short installation guide included with the device is much more user-friendly. Since the fingerprint warning seems important perhaps inclusion in the short version of the guide (the version most people likely rely on) or a sticker warning might be advisable.

I asked HP about this issue; a spokesman provided the following response: “A general rule of thumb for any ink cartridge is to keep fingerprints off of the connectors, and I know from just replacing the ink in our unit here, that the graphic on the screen (when telling a user how to replace cartridges) specifically instructs users not to touch that area. There is usually a sticker on that area on other ink cartridges, but not on these ones in particular. This is something the product team will look into addressing, as not everyone knows to not touch the connectors!” As the screen was not available during the initial set up this appears to be a one-time issue. Nevertheless, we are impressed by HP’s willingness to take the feedback on board.

The next step was opening the main paper tray, setting the appropriate default paper size (we chose letter), placing the paper in the tray, and sliding the tray into the product. We filled the tray with the 17 pages of ColorLok paper provided by HP. We later realized this wasn’t the best decision. At some point during the configuration stage, while we were away from the printer, it printed out nine test sheets of paper. If we had known this would occur we would have filled the tray with plain office paper. A couple of pages is normal but nine was a surprise and I am sure we will not be the only people to do this.

After filling the paper tray (see above), we connected the power cord and Ethernet cable. Both the power and Ethernet ports were easily accessible behind the device. It was important that we connect the device to the company network, as network capability is a key feature of business inkjet devices. Unlike most consumer inkjet printers and MFPs, business inkjet devices are designed for supporting a number of users on a network. InfoTrends’ recent primary research study titled Is Inkjet Printing Technology Ready to Transform the Office Printing Environment? indicates that on average more than 10 people are sharing the serial business inkjet devices that are currently available. It is likely that a larger number of users will be connected to and using page-wide inkjet devices such as this one.

The next steps were turning on the device, setting the desired language, and following the on-screen instructions. The instructions were very straightforward and included questions about location (i.e. country), whether the network is wired or wireless, whether Web Services should be enabled (we enabled this feature), and the device’s IP address. Bill manually entered an IP address for the printer, though it appears there is also a way for the printer to automatically assign the product an IP address. According to Bill, the touchscreen had better responsiveness than the older HP LaserJet 4345 MFP in the copy room. I also thought it seemed easy to use. Once Bill answered the required set-up questions, the printer began configuring.

The configuration process took longer than expected (a couple of hours) as the device seemed to get stuck configuring at the 85% mark. We tried to wait out the delay but eventually Bill restarted the device and the configuration continued automatically, with no problems. During this process, I clicked on the Web Services icon for the device’s email address. This address is required for setting up a Web Services account at–a necessary step for printing from mobile devices and downloading apps to the printer’s touchscreen.

The process of setting up a Web Services account was not entirely straightforward. The first few times I tried to create an account I received an error message (the message stated “Oops! Something just went wrong on our server! We’ve logged the problem and will fix it as soon as possible. Sorry for the inconvenience.”). I decided to wait until the following day to try again. At this point, after entering my email address, I was told my existing Snapfish account would now become an HP Web Services account; that this would give me access to all of HP’s web services. This was fine by me.

After configuring a number of settings in my Web Services account, such as the printer’s new email address (you can keep the default address if desired), and the allowed senders, my account was connected to the printer. I look forward to trying out ePrint and various web apps in the near future; this experience will be discussed in a third blog post focused on the experience of using the MFP.

After creating my Web Services account, I walked over to the printer and saw it had finished configuring. Below are the test sheets that had printed out. I was concerned that only eight pages of the ColorLok paper remained (for testing purposes), but then I realized that my office has plenty of its own ColorLok paper to try out. In addition to testing output on different types of paper, I will eventually be trying out the device’s different modes (general office, professional, and presentation).

I then had Bill add the new device to my work PC and download the necessary drivers. I could have opted to use the installation CD provided by HP, but I knew that others in the office would be setting up their PCs to use the printer and thought it might be easier for them to conduct a manual set up (this way, I thought, they could download the drivers anytime they want–not just when the CD is available). The process was very easy and took just a few minutes. Here are the instructions Bill has prepared for my colleagues.

Installing HP Officejet Pro X576dw

  1. Click on Start
  2. Right click on Computer -> Choose Properties
  3. Write down your System Type, 32 or 64 bit
  4. Choose the appropriate link below depending on your system type
  5. HP OfficeJet Pro X576dw Installer – 64bit
  6. HP OfficeJet Pro X576dw Installer – 32bit
  7. Click on the Download button
  8. Start the Installer
  9. Accept Agreement
  10. Choose Wired Network
  11. Click Next to the connect printer to router window
  12. Enter XXX.XXX.XXX.XX for the IP Address (IP address left out deliberately)
  13. Search
  14. Next through different networks window
  15. Next to finish

My fourth blog post will discuss my colleagues’ impression of downloading the device drivers and using the device themselves. At that point I will have one colleague use the installation CD to see how that process compares to downloading the drivers manually. In the meantime, I am getting ready to try out the X576dw with my colleague Cathy (a senior consultant for InfoTrends’ Communications Supplies Consulting Service). Prior to testing its different functions, we will adjust the settings appropriately via the touchscreen. All of these settings can be accessed from the home screen, which is shown below.

The icons at the top of the screen represent Web Services settings, network settings, eco settings (such as screen brightness, two-sided copy, standby mode), fax status, and estimated ink levels. By clicking the arrow to the right, users can access two additional categories of settings: plug and print (i.e. print from a USB device), and “setup.” They can also call up a variety of help topics by clicking on the question mark. Over the next couple of days Cathy and I will try out these various settings and functions, and share our impressions in a separate blog post.

In summary, the process of setting up the device and installing the device drivers was relatively painless. Bill was particularly pleased that no separate pieces needed to be installed besides the ink cartridges, which could be a real selling point for business inkjet manufacturers targeting laser users. Additionally, the user-friendliness of the touch screen, and relative simplicity of configuring the MFP, setting up a Web Services account, and downloading the device drivers are also attractive propositions. As mentioned earlier it may be advisable for HP to mention a couple of additional points in the paper version of the user guide, and ensure the website is reliably functioning at all times.

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