by December 17, 2005 0 comments

What is the one common problem that most users face with an
inkjet printer? It’s the running cost. The printers themselves are quite
affordable, with the entry level ones selling for around Rs 2,000. It’s the
cartridge cost that takes a toll on the pocket. In fact, in the long run, you
end up paying more for the cartridges than the printer itself. It was important
that we told you this before we talked about the Business Inkjet 1000 from HP.
The big deal being touted about this printer is that you won’t have to pay
through your nose for its running cost. In fact, it’s claimed to be more
affordable than an entry-level laser printer. That’s a big claim, so we put
the printer through its wits to check that out.

Business Inkjet 1000
Price and Warranty:
Rs 5,999 (1 year warranty), Cartridge price: Rs 1500/cartridge for 69 ml black and Rs 1500/28ml cartridge for other colors
Key Specs: CMYK, inkjet 
Economical, fast, excellent quality color printing
Contact: HP India,
Tel: 3030 4499. 
RQS# E50 or SMS 131250 to 9811800601

Normally you find print heads stuck on the cartridges
itself. This printer has an innovative solution where you have four print heads
and then four ink cartridges. This means that you don’t have to throw away
unused ink if your print head conks off and you will not have to throw away the
print head just because your cartridge is empty. Plus of course, there are four
separate ink cartridges, so you’ll only replace the one that gets emptied.

The printer setup is quite straight-forward and is a
surprising change from some of the printers we have seen. It installs quickly
with minimal questions. Another change in the software was that the drivers
displaying ink tank status were doing so in real time, without really having to
refresh anything. This is a great feature as it ensures that you are not caught
off guard when your cartridge is low or out of ink. For good measure, there is a
low ink status warning at around 20 percent ink levels.

For the speed tests, we had a text-based document, which
the printer managed to print in under 4 seconds (draft quality). That’s quite
commendable for an inkjet. In our quality tests, we tested it for text as well
as image quality. We found that the printer did a very commendable job in the
text quality area. We were able to read even the tiniest fonts with minimal
effort although it was not as sharp as the quality you get on a laser. For the
image test, it took a while to print our A4 size page and at best quality
settings using 173 g/sm Kodak glossy photo paper, it took 101 seconds to print
the photograph. That’s slightly more than a minute and half, which is really
fast for an inkjet. If you’re really picky though (like us), you might be able
to catch a slight hint of red bleeding.

Now let’s get to the printer’s real USP, the yield. HP
claims that it costs around a rupee per page and is pitching this against lower
end mono lasers and surprisingly, against Canon’s IP4000. We decided to empty
the whole tank by printing our test document in gray scale mode using just the
black ink cartridge. Our test document consisted of a mix of text, tables, and a
small graph. We couldn’t measure the percentage of ink coverage, but the page
was moderately covered (see picture).

With a 28 ml tank (you can buy up to 69 ml capacity for Rs
1500) we were able to print 440 pages, which means that with the 69 ml, you
should get 1000 pages. That brings the cost to Rs 1.50 per page. We had set the
quality mode to normal, so we suspect that if you use draft, your yields could
be higher. What we got was higher than what HP claims, but then we used a
different document. Even so, these results make it one of the cheapest
cost/print inkjets around.

Another thing we would like to point out here is that the
printer printed all our test documents without encountering a single paper jam.
The only time it’s LED blinked was to tell us that it needed more paper.
Lastly, one interesting thing we observed was that after it used up the black
cartridge, it automatically shifted to the color cartridges, despite the drivers
being set to only use the black cartridge.

Bottom Line: Definitely an excellent buy for
business users, given its attractive price tag of 6K and the cost per print,
something not many inkjet printers offer.

Varun Dubey

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