Gadget review: HP Officejet Pro X551DW printer

The X551DW is a big unit but it performs admirably. Picture: Contributed
The X551DW is a big unit but it performs admirably. Picture: Contributed
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A powerhouse printer that combines the best of both inkjet and laser models

Gadget review: HP Officejet Pro X551DW

£353

PRINTERS are one of the few areas of tech that seem immune to innovation. For years, the divide between inkjet and laser devices has been clearly defined, with only modest progress being made in both camps. With the X551DW, however, HP have produced a machine that combines the rich colour results of a top level inkjet model with the breakneck speed of its laser counterparts.

Underpinning this welcome fusion is HP’s PageWide technology, a superb and disruptive innovation which does away with the traditional inkjet mechanism that sees the printhead move around a piece of paper. In in the X551DW, the printhead is much wider and remains still, allowing it to cover the page quickly and uniformly instead of distributing ink one row at a time. The end result? Inkjet quality at up to 70 pages per minute for draft colour A4 output.

Images appear with depth and clarity while text is crisp

Tested with a mixture of Office documents and photographs imported from a Canon SLR, HP’s machine performed admirably. The images were processed quickly without the loss of any of the depth and clarity you would expect from a standard inkjet. The text in the Office pages also came out looking uniform and crisp, on a par with the kind of pinpoint presentation delivered by most lasers.

Straightforward to install (make sure you disable any unwanted add-ons like browser toolbars) the X551DW’s rectangular body benefits from an elegant design and it feels sturdy. A word to those for whom space is at a premium, however: it does require some advance planning depending on where you plan to position it, especially at home. Measuring 51cm by 39cm by 41cm, it could never be described as petite, but it is still compact enough to fit under most desks in a study or living room.

The touchscreen packs in an array of features

At the top left of the printer, HP shoehorn an array of great features into a 4.3 inch LCD touchscreen. Intuitive and responsive to use, it is a great way to navigate the various print apps the company has available, change setting and, best of all, preview the image before it appears on paper. With a variety of wireless options, it also allows you to print directly from Apple and Android devices.

The one omission that would have been useful, especially given the high quality of the photo images, is a memory card slot. But it is a problem that can be worked around and the only real chink in the X551DW’s armour. This is an excellent piece of kit and HP have shown that now again, the humble printer can make great leaps forward.

The HP Officejet Pro X551DW printer is available from eBuyer