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

Christine Dunne
Mar 5, 2013

Part four: Print quality

Based on my experience so far using HP’s new Officejet Pro X576dw MFP, as well as that of my colleagues, it appears that the page-wide inkjet device is proving to be perfectly suited to the needs of our office. During our usage in the last couple of weeks we have paid particular attention to the quality of printed output.

Crisp text

My colleague Cathy and I started out by printing a blog post in each of the device’s three different print modes: general office, professional, and presentation. The quality of text did not appear to vary significantly across modes; in all cases, the text was black, crisp, and sharp, and dried immediately. “The text looks good, even in the lowest mode,” Cathy observed. Given that the lowest mode uses the least amount of ink, this is good news for organizations that frequently print text documents.

Blog post printed in general office, professional, and presentation modes

Other colleagues seemed to agree that text looks good, including my colleague Carrie who printed out a PowerPoint presentation for an upcoming client meeting. “The text was sharper than I’d say I usually see from an inkjet,” she said (Carrie has an HP Photosmart device at home).

Carrie’s presentation

In general we’d say that the text quality is comparable with laser devices. My colleague Bob commented “I have printed a page on the new printer. Print quality is excellent. Black print is a good laser substitute.”

Riley agreed, pointing to a recent printout. “I wouldn’t have known this is inkjet. I mean I know because you told me but otherwise I would have just assumed it’s laser.” With many office customers continuing to believe that laser devices produce crisper and clearer black text, these observations are significant.

Vivid colors

My colleagues were also generally satisfied with the device’s color output.

According to Chris, who tested the color output between this device and our color HP LaserJet 4600, “Colors appear to be more vivid and actually match what I am expecting to see in print.” Eve came to a similar conclusion: “The text and images produced by the Officejet Pro X576dw are sharper and clearer (compared to the LaserJet 4600), and the printing process is considerably faster too.”

Some colleagues did notice that images with higher levels of color coverage took a few seconds to dry and did result in the paper being slightly wrinkly. In general , however, everybody felt the output was perfectly acceptable for a business environment. “This is something I would show somebody,” my colleague Tim said of a production printing graphic in multiple colors.

Tim’s graphic

After running a few tests, Cathy and I concluded that images print best on ColorLok paper in professional and presentation modes (the most basic mode is general office mode). The colors appear richer and more vibrant in these modes. “It’s almost like the color’s an entirely different shade,” Cathy noted about a particular red printed on ColorLok paper and plain office paper.

Pages printed on each paper type, in each mode

We also both agreed that images look best on regular ColorLok paper as opposed to specialty stocks such as glossy paper or cardstock. “It’s not horrible (on the other paper types)–it’s just not as good.” For a general office environment this is actually positive as the best results can be achieved with the regular paper.

Output on different types of specialty paper

Based on our initial usage and evaluation, it would appear that ColorLok paper is preferable for color images and photos. Fortunately, ColorLok paper is widely available and the cost is in line with that of plain office paper. We would also recommend printing color graphics in professional or presentation modes, even if they do take a little longer to print.

Fast, aesthetically pleasing, quiet

 

While I asked colleagues to focus their evaluation of the Officejet Pro X576dw MFP on the quality of its output, a number of colleagues also provided feedback on other aspects of the device. Several colleagues highlighted the speed of the machine, noting that their print job had already completed when they arrived in the copy room.

“The device printed a copy of the new corporate colors very quickly, and by the time I walked over to the device, the page was ready for me,” Philip said. “Whenever I’ve tried to print something on the color LaserJet (4600), it has to warm-up and even one page is never ready by the time I get to the copy room.”

Philip’s comment reflects the importance of first page out time in real world usage. HP states that the Officejet Pro X576dw delivers faster print speeds (up to 70 ppm in general office mode) compared to laser devices in the same price category, but also offers a faster first page out time (as fast as 9.5 seconds for both black and color). Our experience confirms this advantage.

Colleagues also commented on the device’s lack of noise, size, and aesthetics. Some noted it looks more like a laser printer than an inkjet device, while others lauded its design and coloring. “This one is very distinctive because of all the dark detailing,” said Matt, noting most printers are gray or beige in color.

The Officejet Pro X576dw MFP

Based on the feedback from my colleagues so far, it seems to us that the Officejet Pro X definitely has the potential to change opinions about inkjet technology in the office. Not only are my colleagues recognizing that in many ways the device is comparable to the laser devices they are familiar with, but they are also concluding that in some areas it is superior to these devices. If HP can capitalize on the capacity to shift public opinion, it appears their new page-wide inkjet devices could have a bright future ahead.

What’s next?

This blog post is the fourth in a series of five blog post about the experience of using HP’s new Officejet Pro X576dw (to read the other three posts, go here, here, and here). My last blog post will serve as a final report/summary, focusing on the key observations, conclusions, and recommendations from each of the first four blog posts. It will also include any additional insights from colleagues who are still planning to test the device, so be sure to stay tuned!

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