HP OfficeJet Pro X – The Holy Grail arrives

Following HP’s announcement that it was shuttering PageWide for the office, we decided to take a look back at HP’s history with office inkjet and the evolution of the PageWide. We’ve covered Edgeline and now move onto the introduction of the OfficeJet Pro X.

In 2013, HP’s full-width thermal array print technology using PageWide technology made its debut. HP announced the HP OfficeJet Pro X Series, boasting “HP OfficeJet Pro X Series can deliver high-quality professional documents at up to 70 pages ppm, making it the fastest desktop printer according to Guinness World Records.” At the time, HP confessed to having pondered what name to give this new class of machines, and settled on “OfficeJet Pro”; later generations of these machines (2016) would sport the PageWide moniker.

The OfficeJet Pro X announcements were the biggest and perhaps the most dramatic announcement that the HP Printing group had made since 1984. For any industry veteran, watching a PageWide spit out full-color pages at blazing speeds (some at sub $1,000) was a striking example of the stunning technological achievement HP had engineered: the final step in a two-decade-long but seemingly inevitable mission to bring inkjet dominance to the office print world.

OK, so HP OfficeJet Pro X was going to scorch the imaging industry landscape and become the dominant marking technology from SOHO to the enterprise … right? The numbers made it all so clear: incredible, unmatched print speed, full-color output on plain paper, even in duplex, cheap color CPPs, long-life consumables, and quite affordable prices to boot. Wow — the laser-based competitors should have been shaking in their boots (many were, actually). In some ways, the promoted capabilities/strengths/benefits of the OfficeJet Pro X’s PageWide technology were somewhat – or even extremely — reminiscent of those offered for the Edgeline, among those that recalled them.

Stop the presses

With HP PageWides now shipping in volumes, the early reviews are coming in – and from most of the heavy hitters that OEMs fixate on — CNet, PC Mag, and the like — reviews are very, very good, averaging 4 to 4.5 out of 5 stars and raving about the print speeds. Overall, we found the XC576dw a very impressive MFP, with very few shortcomings,” said Computer Shopper Review.

They must have been dancing in the corridors in HP’s Vancouver site after reading heady reviews like these (I would have been). And don’t kid yourself: these reviews do influence people, especially in the SMB sector where few companies really have the time or compelling interest to spend IT resources researching what printer they should buy.

Behind the specifications

As a printer geek, when the HP OfficeJet Pro Xs were announced, my interest was piqued to look a bit deeper into the specs, especially because the print speeds were so dramatically faster than other competitive color products. The tremendous speed capabilities of the OfficeJet Pro X series had me thinking about how those abilities might shift real-life office usage because once users discovered how fast these new printers are in color, they might feel empowered to produce large document sets in color that they previously sent to an in-house/outside print provider. That kind of behavioral shift would change office print universe metrics, including AMPVs, supplies consumption rates, and the overall importance (and therefore perception) of the device to users and the organization. That line of thinking leads, naturally, to an examination of manufacturer Recommended Monthly Volume ratings for the devices and their laser counterparts. See the comparison table below:

[Note: I tried to find equivalent or similar comparative models for Color LaserJets and OfficeJet Pro X/PageWide Pros, though the comparisons are admittedly imperfect. OfficeJet Pro X models and their inherent speed in PPM, were faster than comparable Color LaserJets – a key competitive advantage against HP and other color lasers. For simplicity’s sake I used the fastest quoted speed in PPM, which for Color LaserJets and OfficeJet Pro X/PageWide Pros was a draft or similar mode. I also tried to compare models in comparable periods (2013 OfficeJet Pro X, 2016 PageWide Pros, for example) and “Pro” and “Enterprise” versions where the comparison seemed fair. Maybe most important, I tried to compare models that were similar in price at similar PPM levels, – with the intent of displaying how OfficeJet Pro X/PageWide Pro-Enterprise compared to comparable Color LaserJets in the same time period.]

Specification/ Printer ModelColor LaserJet Pro M452nwOfficeJet Pro X476dwColor LaserJet Pro MFP M479fdwHP PageWide Pro 577dwHP Color LaserJet Enterprise M653xPageWide Enterprise Color MFP 586dn
Recommended Monthly Print Volume750 – 4,000 pages (+30%)500 – 2,800 pages   (-30%)750 – 4,000 pages (-30%)up to 6,000 pages (+30%)2000 to 17,000   (+ 44%)2000 to 7500 pages (- 44%)
Rated Max. PPM28PPM55 ppm28PPM70PPM60PPM50PPM
Monthly ‘Print Time’ @ max Mo. AMPV & Rated Max. PPM, Hours (or Minutes)2.38 hours (143 minutes)51 minutes2.38 hours (143 minutes)1.43 hours (85.7 minutes)4.72 hours (283 minutes)2.5 hours (150 minutes)
Daily ‘Print Time’ @ max Mo. AMPV & Rated Max. PPM, Minutes6.8 minutes2.43 minutes6.8 minutes4 minutes13.5 minutes3 minutes
Accumulated Page Life @ maximum AMPV – 5 years240,000 pages168,000 pages240,000 pages360,000 pages1,020,000 pages450,000 pages
Difference72,000-72,00072000120,000570,000-570,000
MSRP*$499$799$649$899$2,149$1,999
TypePrinterMFPMFPMFPPrinterMFP
Marking Technologycolor laserPageWide inkjetcolor laserPageWide inkjetcolor laserPageWide inkjet

What the table reveals is that often, but not always, OfficeJet Pro/PageWide models offered much faster print speeds than a comparable Color LaserJet Pro, but lower AMPVs — 30% – 44% lower.  The exception here is the PageWide Pro 577dw, rated at up to 6,000 pages per month, 30% percent greater than a comparably-priced Color LaserJet. The lower AMPVs for the OfficeJet Pro/PageWide models is of significance because of their much higher print speeds – they can churn out more pages in a shorter time than almost any Color LaserJet.

Using the rated AMPVs, none of the OfficeJet Pro/PageWide models are rated to print for more than 2.5 hours a month, and by deduction, none are rated to average more than four minutes of printing per day. When HP refreshed the PageWide and LaserJet lineup in 2016, the same general pattern was evident – most (although not all)  LaserJets offered higher Recommended Average Print Volumes than PageWides.

HP’s website positions the PageWide this way; “HP PageWide printers and MFPs … [for] Work teams and departments with 5 to 10 or more users that need affordable color.” This market space seems to overlap with both the OfficeJet Pro line and the lower end of the Color LaserJet family.

A Duty Cycle Smoking Gun?

Curiously, on the issue of AMPVs, in late 2014 HP released another highly detailed examination of how PageWide works. Its technical white paper on HP PageWide Technology noted ”[PageWide] is scalable to meet a wide range of application and performance requirements and offers robust operation with economical print production.” However, in the “Printhead Servicing” section, this statement appears: “HP PageWide Printheads and HP PageWide Pigment Inks are designed for continuous printing for up to 10 minutes.”

10 minutes? What happened to “robust operation”? What if it is the end of the month and the print job is several hundred invoices and envelopes you need to send to customers? Remember, none are rated to average more than 4 minutes of printing per day. I bet EVERY LaserJet can withstand more than 10 minutes per day of continuous printing, and likely a lot more. Back in the day, office printers were generally expected to operate with an 8 power-on-hours per day and a 20% print duty cycle – 1.6 hours per day of printing.

Let’s now take a look at the next five years of PageWide in “PageWide Refresh, Whispers and Concerns.

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serves as a senior analyst for BPO Media. With more than 40 years of experience in the printing industry as an analyst, product developer, strategist, marketer, and researcher, he has covered the printing and supplies sectors for prominent market research firms such as Lyra Research, InfoTrends, and BIS Strategic Decisions, and served with major OEMs such as Samsung, NEC, and Diablo Systems/Xerox. McIntyre is the former managing editor of Lyra’s Hard Copy Supplies Journal and has conducted research and consulting engagements examining issues such as market and business strategies, product positioning, distribution channels, supplies marketing, and the impact of emerging technologies.

John McIntyre

serves as a senior analyst for BPO Media. With more than 40 years of experience in the printing industry as an analyst, product developer, strategist, marketer, and researcher, he has covered the printing and supplies sectors for prominent market research firms such as Lyra Research, InfoTrends, and BIS Strategic Decisions, and served with major OEMs such as Samsung, NEC, and Diablo Systems/Xerox. McIntyre is the former managing editor of Lyra’s Hard Copy Supplies Journal and has conducted research and consulting engagements examining issues such as market and business strategies, product positioning, distribution channels, supplies marketing, and the impact of emerging technologies.