If you have a need to print pages larger than A4, but not as big as traditional wide-format printers, the DesignJet 90r could be just what you’re looking for. Aimed at the graphics professional, it can print at sizes up to A2+, while still sitting on a desktop, albeit a big one.
HP’s printer appears functional enough, with room for a status display and small control panel to the left of the main carriage and print heads and cartridges to the right. There are six coloured inks with, interestingly, the cyan and magenta slots taking 28ml cartridges and all the other colours, including light cyan and light magenta, coming in 69ml tanks.
The ink tanks are not integrated into the heads as is common in smaller HP printers, though each of the heads plugs into the separate head carrier and should be replaced at regular intervals. Exactly how often though is not clear. Just to be really helpful, HP has quoted this as 'every 400ml'. So for cyan and magenta it will be roughly every 14 cartridges, while for the other colours it will be every six cartridges. The number of pages will depend on the size of paper and the amount of ink cover.
The paper tray can be filled with sheets from A4 up to A2+, though with only one size at a time, and can take plain or photo media, either gloss or satin. The printer feeds from the front and makes a 180-degree turn before feeding out to the front again, onto the output-tray.
The ‘r’ designation in the DesignJet 90r refers to a roll paper feed, which fits onto the back of the printer. It can be fed into the printer in place of cut sheets and the printer will guillotine the sheets to custom length automatically, depending on the size of the printed image.
Installation is straightforward, if a bit more longwinded than on a smaller ink-jet. You first have to install the paper-feed tray, its cover and a separate paper-out tray, before switching the printer on and waiting for its back-lit LCD status display to flash its empty ink icons at you.
You then install each of the six ink-cartridges in turn, followed by the replaceable print heads. When this is all done, you install the software on your PC, only connecting the printer, via the supplied USB cable, when asked to do so. A parallel connection is also provided, but Ethernet is an optional extra.
There are one or two odd design choices in this printer, like the way you have to open its main cover before you can lift the paper-out tray, to refill or change the paper.
We’d also have found it more helpful to have had an alphanumeric status display, rather than the icon-only approach adopted by HP. It’s not always obvious what the icons are alerting you to, without referring to the manual.