Hewlett Packard has built up an admirable reputation for producing printers that meet the needs of both individual users and businesses who require that magic combination of print quality, fast reproduction and the ability to handle a wide range of paper sizes and media options.
The Officejet Pro K550 series comes in three versions, with the K550dtwn having the ultimate extra of wireless networking. The K550dtn model reviewed here is aimed at small businesses who still like to have a (physical) networking option but are primarily concerned with bulk printing at a fast rate.
Hence it comes in three units; the main printer, a duplex accessory for automatic two-sided printing that attaches at the back and an additional tray that sits snugly under the printer. Although the usual accessories are included (power cable, software CD, printer cartridges and accompanying instruction and construction manuals) there are no USB or network cables in the box.
There are four ink cartridges (black, cyan, magenta, yellow) to install in the front fold-down compartment, and two print-heads (black/yellow and magenta/cyan) loading from the top, with the primary print tray slotting into the front. This is a sturdy printer that clearly means business and comes in a fashionable black and silver finish.
Designed for use with both Mac and PC, the top tray can take 250 sheets, with the secondary tray a further 350. The output tray carries 150 sheets and the duplex function can be set at automatic, unlike the basic K550 model.
As well as plain, photo and inkjet paper in sizes A4 to C6, the printer can handle brochures, labels and cards, with a projected duty cycle of up to 7,500 pages a month. Speed of printing is where the K550dtn scores highly, with 37 pages per minute (ppm) for black text drafts (12 ppm in normal usage) and 33 ppm mixed text and colour graphics (10 ppm in normal mode).
Using high quality HP Vivera Inks, the results are outstanding with the knowledge that they are also smudge- and water-resistant. Having the four separate cartridges makes for more efficient use and HP claims that you’ll make 30 percent cost reductions on colour documents compared to other printers in this range (25 percent on black text documents), so if you’re concerned about rising spending, this is the place to come.
The HP Toolbox software has a handy link to the myPrintMileage Web site which will keep track of how much ink you use and the projected number of pages you can expect to produce.
If you’re willing to spend a little bit more, the K550dtwn model has a separate USB input for flash drives as well as the wireless network option but for most day-to-day running in a small business, the K550dtn model should be ideal for your needs.
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