Choosing An A3 Color Ink-Jet Printer For Your Office
Purchasing a printer is never easy, especially when purchasing a color printer. As we have said before, when considering an A3 color printer, most offices can get away with a combination of one or more A4 B&W printers for a majority of office applications and a single A3 color ink-jet printer for office-color applications.
Ink-jet printers’ energy consumption, physical and carbon footprint, acquisition cost, cost per page and cost of ownership is a fraction of that of A3 color-laser printers.
Because the A3 media size provides the ability to print onto 11” x 17” (or larger) media, enabling offices to produce low volumes of brochures and booklets to be used as sales collaterals or reference materials for instance. This eliminates the need for A3 B&W printers.
That said, our investigation into A3 color ink-jet printers unearthed several unforeseen factors:
- There are only a very limited number of A3 color ink-jet printers available.
- Of these, one was a Brother MFP that we did not include in our comparison because of its copy, fax and scan capabilities
- Of the five remaining printers, two were photo printers that lacked networking and automatic duplexing, thus limiting their suitability for shared office use.
- Finally, the three remaining printers did provide key office-printer capabilities:
1. Duplex printing
3. Enterprise-level printer-management capability
The following table shows in detail the printers’ suitability for office use:
|Canon PIXMA Pro9000||Epson Stylus Photo 1400||HP Business InkJet 2800||HP OfficeJet K8600dn||Ricoh GX7000|
|Eight Ink Colors||Six Ink Colors||Four Ink Colors||Four Ink Colors||Four Ink Colors|
|No Duplex||No Duplex||Optional Duplex||Optional Duplex||Standard Duplex|
|No Network||No Network||Network Ready||Network Ready||Network Ready|
|1 Sheet||150 Sheets||250 Sheets||250 Sheets||400 Sheets|
|13” x 19”||13” x 19”||13” x 19”||13” x 19”||11” x 17”|
|GDI||GDI||PCL 3, PS 3||PCL 3||RPCS (GDI)|
|No Network Management||No Network Management||HP Remote Printer Management (RMS), HP Web JetAdmin (at NIB Level)||HP Jetdirect (HP Web Jetadmin)||Web SmartDevice Monitor, HP Web Jetadmin (at NIB Level)|
Following are the results of Wirth Consulting’s Head2Head Winter 2009 Comparison of A3 Color Ink-Jet Printers:
Overall Performance Winner – Ricoh GX7000
- Has office machine-like build-quality.
- Has office machine-like feeds and speeds.
- Cost per page is in line with that of color laser printers.
- Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is lower than that of most color-laser printers.
- Networking is standard.
- Capable printer-management.
Lowest Color TCO and CPP Winner – Hewlett-Packard OfficeJet K8600dn
- By far the lowest color TCO and Cost Per Page (CPP) to date.
- Low B&W TCO and CPP for a color ink-jet printer.
- Standard HP Jetdirect network interface.
- Highly capable printer management.
- Faster than the HP Business InkJet 2800.
How can you choose between the two winners when one is a excellent business printer and the other is a very good business printer with a considerably lower CPP and TCO?
- High print volumes – The Ricoh GX7000 because of its faster print speeds and greater media capacity.
- Use as a dedicated color printer – The HP OfficeJet K8600dn because of its versatility, economy and photographic image quality.
- Use as a supplement to a B&W workgroup printer – The HP OfficeJet K8600dn because of its versatility and economy
- Use as an your only office printer – The Ricoh GX7000 because of its faster print speeds, office-machine like build-quality, ease of use and media capacity
What about the Photo Printers?
In our evaluation, we noted several potential uses for photo printers in the office:
- Dedicated use as a specialty color printer – The Epson Stylus Photo 1400 because of its ability to product outstanding photographic print quality with its six-color ink system, and its ability to print onto CDs and DVDs.
- Dedicated use as a photo printer – Canon PIXMA Pro9000 because its ability to produce outstanding photographic print quality with its eight-color ink system, and the ability to print on a broad range of special Canon media. It should produce color image quality that will satisfy the needs of virtually everyone.
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