HP Officejet Pro X576dw printer
HP’s latest office inkjet is revolutionary - laser printers beware
- Incredibly fast printing
- Easy to use, simple maintenance
- Comparatively large
- Slightly pricy
HP’s Officejet Pro X576dw, at the top of its Pro X printer line-up, is reasonably expensive for a small office to consider. If you’re printing a lot, though, and you’d usually buy a workgroup laser printer, the X576dw deserves your attention -- it’s incredibly fast, and cheap to run and maintain.
HP has a very interesting printer in the Officejet Pro X576dw. It’s a multifunction inkjet printer that promises extremely fast print speeds and low per-page running costs — two areas where it’s laser printers that usually excel. It does this by doing away with a clunky moving print-head, instead using multiple print-heads arranged across the width of an A4 page.
The X576dw is the top model in the four-printer Pro X line-up. There’s also the slightly slower X476dn multifunction, and the X551dw and X451dn single-function models.
Note: The recommended retail price on the X576dw has been updated to $899 as of 17 June 2015. However, it can be found in Harvey Norman for $792 and Officeworks for $699. Customers can also get a $150 cashback from those stores if they trade in their old laser printer.
HP Officejet Pro X576dw: Design, features and setup
The HP Officejet Pro X576dw looks like any other small-office MFP, really — thick paper cassette at the bottom, internal duplexing, inks accessible from the front, an internal paper output tray, and a top-mounted flatbed scanner with an automatic document feeder and duplexer. It’s finished in a satin black on sturdy plastic — which means a minimum of cleaning required, apart from the occasional dust and wipe-down.
If you’re standing at the X576dw to use it, you’ll be using the 4.3-inch colour touchscreen, which presents basically the same friendly and simple user interface as the Envy 120. The printer’s interface is quick to respond and generally easy to understand, with the main tasks easy to access and more complicated settings hidden in sub-menus away from fiddling users.
The X576dw has a front USB port for direct-printing off a flash drive or portable hard drive, with a multitude of document and graphic types supported including PDF, DOC and JPG. Standard connectivity to an office network comes by way of Ethernet and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, as well as USB 2.0 and a RJ-11 modem port.
As standard, the Pro X576dw has a 500-sheet paper cassette, and can be augmented with an additional 500-sheet tray. There’s also a fold-out door for the printer’s 50-sheet multipurpose tray, useful for printing off labels, photo prints, or heavy-stock card. The output tray can handle 300 sheets at once.
The OfficeJet Pro X576dw is designed to be used by a small-office team of around 10 users, with moderate to high monthly print requirements. It’s recommended for monthly print runs of between 1000 and 4200 sheets, with a monthly duty cycle of up to 75,000 pages.
Setting up the X576dw is surprisingly simple — all we had to do in our admittedly basic test environment was set the printer’s Wi-Fi connection up, and then run HP’s setup assistant software on the test PCs. The PC software is reasonably lightweight and there’s no superfluous features installed by default. You can, of course, install monitoring software to keep close track of the printer’s performance and supply levels.
HP Officejet Pro X576dw: Performance, print quality and print speed
HP claims first-page-out times of as low as 9.5 seconds. We managed a 10-second performance consistently while printing from a network-connected PC, so this claim certainly holds water. Print speeds of up to 42ppm are also excellent for an office inkjet — this is HP’s Guinness World Records-winning achievement, with the fastest recorded inkjet printing speed.
That speed is achieved with laser-equivalent print quality too. Prints look great at this fast print speed, and we’d place them very close to the level of quality of an equivalently expensive laser printer — they’re perhaps very slightly less sharp or saturated than a laser, but the difference is academic.
If you’re just printing for around-the-office use rather than for presentations or for archival work, you can lower the print quality to Draft mode, which boosts print speed even higher to around 70 pages per minute. Just to test HP’s claims, we printed off a 200-page test document, with a print speed of around 63 pages per minute — at over one page per second over longer print jobs, there’s no reason at all to complain about the X576dw’s speed. HP’s PageWide wide print-head tech isn’t just quick, it’s also quiet. There’s little to no clunking around, and as a result the printer works with a gentle whirr and just gets the job done.
HP says its Pro X series printers can print at half the cost of a laser printer. Its 971-series ink cartridges are certainly capacious. $99 is the standard price for HP 971 colour cartridges — magenta, cyan and yellow — as well as the HP 970 black, so $396 will get you a full standard refill with 2500 and 3000 pages worth of ink respectively. XL cartridges are $159 for colour and black, with 6600 and 9200 pages per cartridge respectively.
Looking at these numbers, it’s easy to see that XL cartridges are the smarter choice. Buying standard cartridges means 3.3cents per page for black and 15.9cents for four-ink colour, while jumping up to XL means 1.7cents for black and 9.6cents for four-ink colour, which is very cheap if you’re planning to do a lot of printing.
HP Officejet Pro X576dw: Conclusion
If we’re honest, the Officejet Pro X576dw may be overkill for anything but serious printers. If you’ve got a bustling office that knows how much it’s going to print, though, we have no qualms whole-heartedly recommending the X576dw. It’s incredibly fast for an inkjet, it’s quiet, it’s easy to maintain, and after the initial purchase price it’s cheap to keep running.
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