HP OfficeJet X551dw review

According to HP, its new Officejet Pro X printers are the fastest inkjet printers in the world – an achievement that has been officially ratified by the Guinness Book Of Records.

There are several models in the Officejet Pro X range, including multifunction models costing as much as £700. However we tested the X551dw model, which is a conventional, single-function printer priced at £480, and which claims to offer speeds of up to 70 pages per minute for both mono and colour printing.

The X551dw is a bit of a beast, measuring a full 414mm high, 517mm wide and 399mm deep. It also weighs in at a hefty 17.1Kg, so it’ll definitely need a sturdy table or desk to support it. The printer should earn its keep, though, as it is equipped with both Ethernet and wifi networking, as well as a standard USB interface. It supports Apple’s AirPrint for iOS devices, along with HP’s own ePrint feature, which allows you to print remotely over the Internet by emailing documents to the printer.

The main paper tray holds 500 sheets of A4 paper, with a second tray holding a further 50 sheets for photo paper or envelopes., and it’s suitable for monthly print volumes of up to 4,200 pages, which should be more than enough for most small businesses.

The X551dw is claimed to be the world’s fastest inkjet printer

The X551dw uses the four standard cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks for printing and HP quotes a speed of 70ppm for both mono and colour documents when using the printer’s ‘general office’ mode, or 42ppm using ‘professional’ mode. Our test results weren’t quite in that league – although they were still pretty impressive for an inkjet printer – and we did notice a big difference between printing speeds for mono and colour documents.

Mono printing hit a frankly jaw-dropping 55ppm using general office mode, which produced smooth, crisp text output that genuinely rivaled that of a laser printer. Professional mode dropped to a still-impressive 40ppm and produced slightly bolder text, but we think that the general office mode would be perfectly adequate for the vast majority of day-to-day printing tasks.

Colour printing was considerably slower, though – mainly because the X551dw seemed to take quite a bit longer to download and print the first page of colour documents. We achieved speeds of 35ppm with general office mode and a relatively modest 15ppm with professional mode.

Running costs are good too, especially if you use HP’s high-capacity XL cartridges. The Black XL cartridge costs £88.99 but can produce an impressive 9200 pages, which works out at a very reasonable 1p per page (0.96p to be precise). The XL cartridges for coloured inks cost £86.99 – or £261 for all three – and last for 6600 pages, which comes to 4p per page, which is definitely below average for an inkjet printer.

OUR VERDICT

It doesn’t quite live up to HP’s performance claims, but the X551dw is certainly the fastest inkjet printer we’ve seen so far. Its speed, quality and competitive running costs make it a good option for businesses that require a versatile, high-volume printer but can’t perhaps afford a more expensive colour laser.

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