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Hands-on review: HP Pagewide Pro MFP577dw

19 Jul 2016

The lovely people at HP have seen fit to tempt me with another printer, and this time it prints in wide format. It is an inkjet printer, but with notable differences from other models. This one handles itself like a laser.

Given its price and the size, (and the Pro in the name) I’d say it’s aimed at the small to medium-sized business. This printer is designed to handle your day-to-day business needs, and you’ll still have time and ink left to print great-nephew’s first birthday pics. (My tongue is still blue from the cake, by the way.)

The PageWide Pro MFP577dw is easy to set up, with the inkjet cartridges sliding into their respective slots and clicking into place reassuringly. There is a relatively long set-up time (just over 20 minutes) while the inkjet primes itself for operation, and tests itself. In my Home/Office environment I run a network of Windows 10, Mac OS X el Capitan, and some Linux-powered machines.  I made the decision to use the HP Drivers, downloading the latest from the HP Website. The only issue I had with this is that I had to use the IP address of the printer on my Macs.  My Ubuntu Linux-powered machine easily identified the correct driver to use.

My new HP friends had told me how quiet (a few times I didn’t even realise it had printed and had to check the output tray before I pressed print again) and fast the Pagewide is. I had to find out for myself. “Right!” I thought to myself as I gleefully printed off a 233 page online networking manual. “Now we’ll see how fast you are!” Printing in duplex mode, this printer churned through the full colour manual in no time. While not running as fast as high-speed printers, it was still blisteringly quick, and had me running to ensure that I didn’t overtax the out-tray.

The wide-print format is a revelation. If you are producing products such as a flyer or brochure, the PageWide will give your product a professional look, making your work appear more “composed.” Colour prints look so much better without that tell-tale white border around the outside. I have grown to really like the “full-page print” mode for both photos and printed documents. You can choose the print mode from the print menu, and the Pagewide feature is a pleasant addition.

I haven’t written about the fax, copier and scanner functions yet, and the poor editor is going to have a job trimming down this epic review. (Sorry, Mr Ed.) If you live in the world of faxes, the PageWide Pro will happily send and receive your fax messages. How the move to fibre affects fax options is another topic entirely, so I will ignore it. The scanning function is also useful, and with the software is bundled OCR software called ReadIris. It appears adequate for the purpose, but if you do a lot of this type of scanning, I would investigate further. My test sample did an OK job of deciphering some of my handwritten hieroglyphs, and had no problems with printed text.

The printer also has an efficient copier function, and you can choose what to do with your copies. You can print, e-mail or send them to a computer. You also have the option of saving to a flash-drive, thanks to the USB port built in.

“OK,” I blustered. “Surely the print quality won’t compare to the laser printer!” During my, er, testing, I kept the print settings at about half-way between express and high-quality. This printer hasn’t missed a beat, producing crisp, clear pages, with photos that leap out of the page to greet you with sharp detail.  

“Aha!” I gloated to myself. “I’ll have used up all the ink. Everyone knows how inkjets churn through their ink. Muahahahaha!” You are going to love the miserly nature of this printer when it comes to ink usage. I’ve taken a screen snapshot to show you what happened after almost a month of , er, extensive testing. The modern business owner looks for economy wherever she or he can find it. The Pagewide Pro claims a 50% saving on equivalent laser printer usage.

If you have to print off medium sized runs of printing for presentations, the Pagewide will cope admirably. Its duplex function means that you can easily print out small runs of booklet type presentations, and you will end up with very professional results.  Likewise, if you need to print out a moderate run of business documents on a regular basis, the PageWide Pro could be the answer to your needs.

Almost four weeks of punishment has scarcely made a dent on ink levels, and that includes more than a few full colour prints. The black has barely shifted off “full” status.

What we have here, my discerning and rabidly loyal readers, is a printer that is quick, quiet, producing quality prints while being stingy on consumables. On the box it promises business printing “for up to 50% less cost per page than in-class lasers.” I’d go a little further and say that home users who produce a reasonable amount of printing will not be disappointed in the quality and ease of use of this printer.  Our home/office is wireless and this printer fits in nicely. With duplex printing, scanning capabilities, USB input for your flash-drive and remote Air Print, it’s a lot of printer for those of us on limited print budgets.

In regards to the cartridges, these are high capacity, and extremely easy to deploy. Like everything about this printer, well thought out, well engineered, and a joy to use.