Ease of Learning: 4 / 5
Ease of Use: 4.5 / 5
Enjoyment: 4 / 5
Design: 4 / 5
Value for Money: 3.5 / 5
During a roadshow late last year, HP announced a few new additions to the line-up. Among their new office peripherals included a series of printers. The HP Officejet Pro X576dw Multifunction Printer is one of those printers in question. The X576dw is the perfect solution for a small business’s printing needs. We managed to get our hands on one of them; a first for FoS. The simple inclusion of “Pro X” in the title already hints that the X576dw is a top-of-the-range model. You should know, then, that it comes at a slightly higher premium over its siblings. The look, build quality, and performance quickly end all fears that this is just another overly priced printer with nothing to show for it.
Build and Design
Being the top in its range, there’s little doubt of X576dw’s quality. The overall look doesn’t do much to set the world alight in terms of its industrial design, but what you do get is a solid machine that does its job well…in silence. Aimed at your small, local business, the printer adds a few multifunction features that make things that little bit easier. Weighing in at 24KG, and measuring 52x40x52cm, the printer is a little beast.
The printer includes a host of connectivity options; Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and USB. The page feeder on the top (for scan and fax) takes a capacity of 50 sheets of paper, which also perform two-sided reading if reading. This method of scanning uses a reversing duplexer, which feeds the paper through twice to perform the scan on both sides. While this does slow down the overall process, it still outperforms quite a number of scanners previously used, which includes the actual office printer we have setup on site. In addition to the 50 sheet capacity when scanning, the paper drawer is able to house 500 sheets on its own. There is also the option to include a secondary drawer, which will also house a further 500 sheets. The output tray has a capacity of 300 pages at a time, which I find a little frustrating if you’re planning to print a full 500 pages for which you have capacity for in the drawer. So leaving the printer for those long prints requires a quick check about halfway through the feed.
The 4.5” tilted touchscreen Colour Graphic Display adds to the ease of use for the X576dw, switching between modes and specific settings. Users, however, shouldn’t expect the same touch sensitivity we’ve become accustomed to on modern smartphones, but a rather heavier, slower input. Still, there wasn’t any overall issues with the input. The interface also allows users to perform all the basic settings of the printer, as well as connectivity to the network. In addition, users can also connect to a few Web services available via (some form of) an online store, some of which offer a subscription for daily prints. For example, you could subscribe to a daily puzzle, which would then print at a set time every day, allowing you to simply collect each morning when you arrive. There’s even an Angry Birds app that allows daily printing activities for kids.
Weighing in at 24KG, and measuring 52x40x52cm, the printer is a little beast. It is still small compared to your typical office laser printer. The easiest option to get the printer out of its enclosure is by cutting the box around it, and simply folding the cardboard away and removing those protective Styrofoam sheets. Setup of the printer itself, however, is much easier than removing it from the box. Completed in less than 5 minutes (on the user end), you simply remove all the annoying blue tape, insert the clip-in cartridges, plug it in, and wait for the instructions on the screen. The device will then proceed to completing the configuration and diagnostics on its own, which has a runtime of around 22 minutes. If you wish to connect it to your office network, the wireless adapter offers an easy connection. Running on Windows 7 or 8 doesn’t require much in the way of setup either, as it should auto-detect the drivers. In the event it doesn’t the setup disk included will sort out any issues in this regard.
While the overall process was smooth, it would feel unfitting not to mention that there were one or two issues during the setup. This, however, was caused by shipping and handling, and once ironed out, there were no further issues.
The HP Officejet Pro X576dw Multifunction Printer performs its printing in relative silence, which is quite deceiving. If you managed to get your hands on one of these printers without reading any of the manuals and guides, you would easily mistake this for a laser printer, and not an inkjet. Using stationary print heads makes all the difference here, with HP’s own PageWide System meaning that the printer is lighter, uses less power, generates less heat, and comes in at a fraction of the cost per page of most laserjet printers available. In addition, the printer is also faster than other printers within the same category.
The overall print quality won’t match that of laser printing, however, but does come fairly close. Printing high quality documents yielded satisfactory results, at really good print speeds. Both colour, and black and white printing produced good quality prints, with only one or two negatives. Colours are slightly faded, and blacks slightly greyed. These, however, are only observable during isolated prints, like solid black, or high colour imagery, something you wouldn’t easily pickup when printing text or photos. The basic testing was performed using the default print settings, which can be adjusted for higher quality prints, and for different page sizes and qualities as well. Not forgetting the X576dw’s 792Mhz processor adds to the speed to performing these prints, as well as navigating through the settings and additional features. Overall, there aren’t any jitters or delays using any of the interfaces, including that of printing.
If there’s any printing job you need done, the HP Officejet Pro X576dw Multifunction Printer is more than capable of handling anything you through at it. At a price of R11,500 it isn’t affordable enough to consider as a household printer for most, but is sufficiently attainable for small to medium businesses considering all the options out there on the market. The 4.3” touchscreen display makes any job easier to complete, and with its online presence adds a new nifty features for daily use. If you’re ever in the market for an office printer that offers quite a lot in the line of affordability, speed, cost and efficiency, you won’t find many, if any, that can beat the HP Officejet Pro X576dw.