Is there a place for an inkjet in business printing? HP's A3 capable Officejet 7000 makes a very convincing case as this review demonstrates.
Inkjet printers are growing in popularity in the small business sector. In general, they cost less to run and buy than laser printers with similar capabilities. However, they still have to contend with the assumption that they suffer from slow speeds and inferior print quality. HP's latest A3+ wide format inkjet, the HP Officejet 7000, makes a good argument for the effectiveness of inkjets in an office environment. A3 printing has numerous business uses, like folded A4 brochures, posters, charts and plans.
The Officejet 7000 is surprisingly compact A3+ printer. It has a footprint of just 574 x 402mm, small enough to fit on a mid-sized desk without much trouble, but can handle paper sizes of up to 330 x 1,118mm. It looks rather smart, although its black plastic chassis isn't as sturdy as some other large-format inkjets we've seen. It has a monthly duty cycle of 7,000 A4 pages. This is a one-time maximum rather than a recommended usage figure, but indicates that it should easily meet the requirements of a typical small workgroup.
Its specification is pared down to the essentials, with USB and 10/100 Ethernet connections, four ink cartridges and a single paper tray capable of holding up to 150 sheets of A4 copier paper. The output tray has enough room for 100 sheets. There are no extra features like PictBridge or memory card slots, but neither is a great loss in a business printer. The network port is vital if you want to share the Officejet between several machines in a small workgroup. We would have welcomed a larger paper tray and automatic duplexer, though. The printer can handle media of up to 280gsm, including specialist card and photo papers, along with envelopes and transparencies.
HP quotes two sets of A4 print speed figures for the Officejet 7000. The first of these is a traditional pages per minute (ppm) measurement of 33ppm black and 32ppm colour. HP has also tested the printer's speed using the new ISO/IEC 24734 standard. We list these figures in our specifications in images per minute (ipm) – the HP quotes speeds of 8ipm mono and 7ipm colour.
Ppm is the older and more widely used standard for quoting print speeds. Ppm tests are designed to be as fast as possible: they use low-quality draft settings and ignore the time taken to print the first few pages. This allows manufacturers to quote incredibly fast speeds, sometimes over 30ppm, for even the slowest of printers. The documents used to produce these speeds are not standardised. Each manufacturer used their own set of documents for ppm print speed tests, which means that printers from different companies were not directly comparable.
Technology: Thermal inkjet
Print resolution: 4,800x1,200dpi (optimised)
OS: Windows 2000/XP/Vista, MacOS X v10.4/10.5
Maximum paper size: A3+
Maximum Paper weight: 280gsm
Paper tray capacity: 150 sheets
Maximum duty cycle: 7000 pages per month
PictBridge support: No
Borderless printing: A3+
Direct (PC-less) printing: No
Memory card support: None
CD printing: No
Connectivity: USB, 10/100 Ethernet