HP introduced its Officejet Pro X range of printers last year as something of a revolution in inkjet printing. A direct rival to small workgroup laser printers, the Officejet Pro X is aimed at offices, but with the extra advantages of inkjet.
The Officejet Pro X576DW, like the other printers in the range, has a printhead – or more precisely 10 overlapping heads – which run the full width of the paper, so the head doesn’t have to scan from side to side, and only the paper moves. This gives the printer a very significant speed boost, overtaking all but the fastest laser printers.
The X576DW is an unusual-looking printer. The large flatbed scanner comes complete with a 50-sheet Automatic Document Feeder (ADF), which like the printer is a duplex device. It doesn’t have twin scan heads, though, so a duplex scan involves three passes of each sheet.
The scanner sits on top of a broad column on the left, with a small flip-up cover which opens when pages are being printed. The output tray is a peculiar, curved support with room underneath for a complete ream of paper.
At the bottom of the front panel is a 500-sheet paper tray, where you insert the paper landscape-wise, as in a photocopier. Set into the left-hand end is a pull-down, 50-sheet multipurpose tray, and an optional extra 500-sheet tray can be fitted underneath the machine.
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Control is via a 109mm colour touchscreen, which is easy to use, although not as sensitive as a modern smartphone display. Set into the side of the touchscreen surround is a socket for USB drives, which can be used for printing and scanning.
A large flap below the control panel folds down to give access to the four ink cartridges, which click into place. These consumables have large yields, with the high-yield version of the black cartridge good for 9200 pages.
HP rates the X576DW at 70ppm in draft mode, though it calls this General Office mode. This is fair, as print in this mode is perfectly usable around the office, while Presentation mode, which is slower, can be left for customer documents.
Because of the high throughput of the printer, we ran an 80-page test and saw a true 60.0ppm. This was on a mono text and full-colour graphics document, so was a very impressive result. (The difference between our figure and the quoted one is because we include software preparation time in our tests.)
On shorter documents, we saw speeds of 24ppm on a five-page mono text test, 21.4ppm on a five-page text and colour graphics document, and 14.3ppm on five pages of straight mono text. A 20-side duplex document gave 5.9 sides per minute. All these speeds are very good.
Copies from the ADF were also quick, with a five-page text document taking 21 secs, though a 10-side duplex document took 1 min 18 secs, mainly due to the triple pass needed by the scanner to maintain page order.
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The text print quality is much as you'd expect from an HP inkjet, with sharp black text and bright, clean graphics. Registration of black over solid colour is good, while photo reproduction is decent on plain paper and excellent on photo paper. Shame the printer can’t do borderless photo prints, though.
Using the high-yield ink cartridges at the best prices we could find gives page costs of 1.6p for mono and 4.8p for colour, both including 0.7p for paper. These are much better than from any colour laser we’ve tested at the price. Compare with the £300 Samsung SL-C460FW Xpress, for example, which gives costs of 3.9p and 16.7p on the same basis.
The Officejet Pro X576DW MFP is the machine which best shows off HP’s PageWide technology, and demonstrates what’s possible with inkjet when the printhead doesn’t have to move.
If you have a lot of printing to do and a busy office to run it in, there’s a lot going for this printer. It’s much faster than colour lasers such as Dell’s C2665dnf – assuming you’re happy with the Officejet’s General Office mode – and much cheaper to run. Its colour output, particularly with photographic prints, show the wider colour gamut of its inkjet heritage, while its ability to print glossy photos is a useful bonus.
The Officejet Pro X576DW exceeds most of its rivals in speed and undercuts them in running costs. It could do with a faster duplex scanner, but it's still very easy to recommend as an inexpensive, modern, workgroup workhorse.
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